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Year 1951 Fun Facts and Trivia

Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1951.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1951.

Why Was the Year 1951 so Special?

What are some fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1951? What were the top news stories in the U.S. and around the world? What happened in the business and financial sectors, in science, technology, sports, the entertainment industry, and in everyday life? What about famous birthdays, marriages, and deaths that year.

  1. In 1951, Americans were buying houses in the suburbs, and were also busy purchasing new cars, televisions, and refrigerators. Unemployment had dipped to 3.3%, inflation was 7.88%, and the average household income was $3,510.00. The average cost of a new home was $9,000.00, the average cost of a new car was $1,500.00, and a gallon of gas averaged 19 cents. Consumerism was on the rise, and Americans were enjoying “a standard of living that no other country could approach.”
  2. On January 27, nuclear testing officially began at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) with the detonation of Shot Able, “a 1-kiloton bomb.” AtomicHeritage.org reports that "between 1951 and 1992, the U.S. government conducted a total of 1,021 nuclear tests at the NTS. Out of these tests, 100 were atmospheric and 921 were underground."
  3. On February 27, the Twenty-Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, which limits an elected president to two terms in office. Likewise, “someone who fills an unexpired presidential term lasting more than two years is also prohibited from being elected president more than once.”
  4. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sanctioned an agreement between American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and Western Union “to stay out of each other's business domain.”
  5. AT&T became the first American corporation to have one million stockholders.
  6. A Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derailed near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, killing 85 people and injuring over 500.
  7. The first Jack in the Box fast food restaurant opened in San Diego, California.
  8. There were 2,900,000 American soldiers in Korea.
  9. American citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg “were convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union.”
  10. Between June 15 and July 1, thousands of acres of forests were destroyed by fires in Arizona, British Columbia, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. In August, thousands of acres of land were flooded by the Mississippi River in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
  11. The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights between Idlewild Airport (New York) and Heathrow Airport (London) began—courtesy of El Al Airlines.
  12. In June, the first S&H Green (trading) Stamps were given out at King Sooper, a Denver, Colorado grocery store chain. The popularity of trading stamps was overwhelming, and S&H Green Stamps soon had many competitors across the America, including Greenbax Stamps (offered by Piggly Wiggly), Triple S Stamps (offered by Grand Union), Plaid Stamps (offered by the A&P), Top Value Stamps (offered by Kroger), and Eagle Stamps (offered by several divisions of the May Department Stores Company).
  13. In a survey conducted with the U.S. armed forces in 1951, banana cream pie was voted the favorite dessert. In another survey conducted that year by the New York Bartenders' Union, Local 15, the three most popular alcoholic beverages were manhattans, martinis, and daiquiris.
  14. The Los Angeles Rams were the NFL champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the Stanley Cup champs, and the New York Yankees won their 14th World Series.
  15. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays played in their first MLB games, and Joe DiMaggio—aka “the Yankee Clipper”—announced that he was retiring from baseball after 13 years.
  16. Brooklyn Dodgers’ catcher Roy Campanella and New York Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra each won their first of three National League MVP awards.
  17. WCBS in New York City aired the first televised MLB game in color. (The Boston Braves beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 8-1.)
  18. Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the English Channel from England to France.
  19. The comic strip, Dennis the Menace, debuted in 16 newspapers. QuizClub.com tells us that “The comic strip became so successful that it was adapted to other popular media, including several television shows, both live-action and animated, and several feature films, including theatrical and direct-to-video releases.”
  20. Jet magazine was launched by John H. Johnson.
  21. The sitcom—I Love Lucy—premiered on CBS-TV, and ran for six seasons. Other popular shows that debuted in 1951 were Dragnet (NBC), the Hallmark Hall of Fame (CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS), Search for Tomorrow (CBS), and Love of Life (CBS). (In September 2014, it was decided that the Hallmark Hall of Fame would “air exclusively on the Hallmark Channel during the foreseeable future,” thus ending its 63-year run on broadcast television.)
  22. Premiere—the first color TV broadcast on CBS—was aired over a five-station network from New York’s Studio 57.
  23. At the 23rd Academy Awards—which honored the best films of 1950—All About Eve won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
  24. In 1951, Ben Carson, Charles S. Dutton, Chesley Sullenberger, Jane Seymour, Jill Biden, John Mellencamp, Luther Vandross, Michael Keaton, Olivia Hussey, Phil Collins, Robin Williams (1951-2014), Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021), Sting, and Tommy Hilfinger were all born.
  25. At the 24th Scripps National Spelling Bee, 13-year-old Irving Belz of Memphis, Tennessee correctly spelled the word insouciant.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1951. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, famous birthdays, and other cool pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1960s-themed trivia game.

In 1951, AT&T became the first American corporation to have one million stockholders.

In 1951, AT&T became the first American corporation to have one million stockholders.

Table of Contents

For easier reading and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:

  1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1951
  2. History Facts From the USA and World
  3. Sports Trivia
  4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
  5. Entertainment News
  6. 1950s Slang Words and Phrases
  7. Nobel Prize Winners
  8. Best-Selling Novels
  9. 1951 in American Television
  10. 1951 in American Radio
  11. Highest-Grossing Films
  12. Ten Best Horror Movies of 1951
  13. Biggest Pop Music Artists
  14. Top 30 Songs for the Year
  15. Food and Beverage Trivia
  16. Famous Birthdays
  17. Notable Weddings
  18. Famous People Who Died
  19. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
  20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1951
In 1951, Armour Star Treet—a canned meat product similar to SPAM that is made from chicken and pork—was a real crowd-pleaser.

In 1951, Armour Star Treet—a canned meat product similar to SPAM that is made from chicken and pork—was a real crowd-pleaser.

1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1951

These grocery facts have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, NJ.

  1. Apples (McIntosh): Four pounds for 35 cents
  2. Bacon (Sunnyfield, sliced): 55 cents for a one-pound package
  3. Beef (ground): 65 cents a pound
  4. Beef (rib roast): 89 cents a pound
  5. Bread (Jane Parker, rye): 18 cents for a 16-ounce loaf
  6. Candy (Nestle’s, semi-sweet morsels): 22 cents for a six-ounce package
  7. Candy (Whitman’s Sampler): $2.00 for a one-pound box
  8. Cheese (Philadelphia, cream): 41 cents for an eight-ounce package
  9. Chicken legs: 65 cents a pound
  10. Chocolate syrup (Hershey’s): 45 cents for a 48-ounce tin
  11. Cookies (Nabisco, chocolate mallomars): 31 cents for two four-ounce packages
  12. Crackers (Keebler Town House): 21 cents for an eight-ounce box
  13. Eggs: 24 cents a dozen
  14. Fish (swordfish): 69 cents a pound
  15. Grapefruit (Florida): Three for 19 cents
  16. Ham (smoked shank): 39 cents a pound
  17. Ketchup (Del Monte): 20 cents for a 14-ounce bottle
  18. Juice (Minute Maid): 33 cents for six two-ounce cans
  19. Margarine (Allsweet): 32 cents for a one-pound package
  20. Mincemeat (Borden’s): 19 cents for a nine-ounce package
  21. Oil (Mazola): 61 cents for a quart bottle
  22. Pineapple (Del Monte, sliced): 36 cents for a 30-ounce can
  23. Potatoes: $1.99 for 48 pounds
  24. Potatoes: Five cents a pound
  25. Raisins (A&P, seedless): 17 cents for a 15-ounce package
  26. Rice (Carolina): 17 cents for a one-pound box
  27. Soda (Canada Dry, ginger ale): 39 cents for two two-liter bottles
  28. SPAM (Armour): 48 cents for a 12-ounce can
  29. Tea: 45 cents for a 48-count box
  30. Wheat germ (Kretschmer’s): 28 cents for a 12-ounce jar
In 1951, the first S&H Green (trading) Stamps were given out at King Sooper, a Denver, Colorado grocery store chain.

In 1951, the first S&H Green (trading) Stamps were given out at King Sooper, a Denver, Colorado grocery store chain.

2. History Facts From the USA and World

  1. In 1951, Harry S. Truman was president of the United States, and Alben W. Barkley was the vice-president.
  2. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court was Fred M. Vinson.
  3. The speaker of the House of Representatives was Sam Rayburn, and the Senate majority leader was Scott W. Lucas.
  4. The 81st Congress was in session until January 3, 1951. On January 4, 1951, the 82nd Congress convened.
  5. On January 9, the American documentary, Life After Tomorrow, became the first film to receive an “X” rating.
  6. On January 9, the Washington Capitals basketball team folded.
  7. On January 27, nuclear testing officially began at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) with the detonation of Shot Able, “a 1-kiloton bomb.” AtomicHeritage.org reports that "between 1951 and 1992, the U.S. government conducted a total of 1,021 nuclear tests at the NTS. Out of these tests, 100 were atmospheric and 921 were underground."
  8. On February 1, the temperature plunged to -50°F in Gavilan, New Mexico, setting a state record.
  9. On February 2, the temperature fell to -35°F in Greensburg, Indiana, setting a state record until 1994.
  10. On February 6, a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derailed near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, killing 85 people and injuring over 500. It was one of the worst rail disasters in American history.
  11. On February 16, New York City passed a bill that prohibited racism in city-assisted housing.
  12. On February 16, the dome of San Francisco’s City Hall caught fire. FreeEngineering.com explains that sparks from a coppersmith’s acetylene torch ignited the interior wooden supports of the copper dome sheath. “Fast and effective work by firemen, however, held the damage to the dome at approximately $10,000.”
  13. On February 21, the Jack in the Box fast food restaurant chain was founded by Robert O. Peterson in San Diego, California.
  14. On February 26, bread rationing began in Czechoslovakia.
  15. On February 27, the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. AnnenbergClassroom.org explains that “Passed by Congress in 1947, and ratified by the states on February 27, 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment limits an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years. If more than two years remain of the term when the successor assumes office, the new president may serve only one additional term.”
  16. On March 6, the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg —alleged Soviet spies—began in the New York Southern District federal court.
  17. On March 10, J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, turned down the post of baseball commissioner.
  18. On March 12, the comic strip, Dennis the Menace, appeared in American newspapers for the first time.
  19. On March 19, there were 2,900,000 American soldiers in Korea.
  20. On March 29, American citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg “were convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union.”
  21. On April 11, President Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his command in Korea.
  22. On April 16, Shigeki Tanaka of Japan won the 55th Boston Marathon.
  23. On April 17, Mickey Mantle played his first game with the New York Yankees.
  24. On April 19, General Douglas MacArthur ended his military career.
  25. On May 8, men’s dacron suits were introduced.
  26. On May 16, the first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights between Idlewild Airport (New York) and Heathrow Airport (London) began—courtesy of El Al Airlines.
  27. On May 25, Willie Mays played his first MLB game with the New York Giants.
  28. On May 30, Lee Wallard won the Indianapolis 500.
  29. On June 11, the New York Times reported that the New York subway system would auction off all “found property.”
  30. Between June 15-July 1, thousands of acres of forests were destroyed by fires in Arizona, British Columbia, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.
  31. On July 10, armistice talks to end the Korean conflict began at Kaesong, North Korea.
  32. On July 31, Japan Airlines was established.
  33. On August 11, thousands of acres were flooded by the Mississippi River in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
  34. On August 25, the Cleveland Indians won their 16th straight home game.
  35. On August 31, the first 33⅓ album was introduced in Dusseldorf, Germany.
  36. On September 11, Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim English Channel from England to France. It took 16 hours and 19 minutes.
  37. On September 20, NATO accepted Greece and Turkey as members.
  38. On October 4, Shoppers World, one of the first shopping malls in the United States, opened in Framingham, Massachusetts.
  39. On October 10, the New York Yankees won their 14th World Series by defeating the New York Giants.
  40. On October 20, the "Johnny Bright incident"—an assault on an African American player—occurred during a college football game in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
  41. On October 24, President Truman declared an official end to the war with Germany.
  42. On October 25, peace talks aimed at ending the Korean War resumed in Panmunjom, South Korea.
  43. On October 26, Winston Churchill was re-elected British prime minister.
  44. On November 1, Jet magazine was launched by John H. Johnson.
  45. On November 8, New York Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra won his first of three National League MVP awards.
  46. On November 10, direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began.
  47. On November 10, Brooklyn Dodgers’ catcher Roy Campanella won his first of three National League MVP awards.
  48. On November 13, Janet Collins became the first African-American dancer to appear at the Metropolitan Opera.
  49. On December 11, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
  50. On December 31, the Marshall Plan expired, after having distributed more than $13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
In 1951, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the Stanley Cup champs.

In 1951, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the Stanley Cup champs.

3. Sports Trivia

Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.

  1. Kentucky Derby: Count Turf
  2. NBA Champions: Rochester Royals
  3. NCAA Basketball: Kentucky
  4. NCAA Football Champs: Tennessee
  5. NFL Champions: Los Angeles Rams
  6. Orange Bowl: Clemson over Miami (Florida)
  7. Rose Bowl: Michigan over California
  8. Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
  9. Sugar Bowl: Kentucky over Oklahoma
  10. U.S. Open Golf: Ben Hogan
  11. U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): Frank Sedgman/Maureen Connolly
  12. Wimbledon (men/women): Dick Savitt/Doris Hart
  13. World Series Champions: New York Yankees
In 1951, the Los Angeles Rams were the NFL champions.

In 1951, the Los Angeles Rams were the NFL champions.

4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends

  1. In 1951, popular baby names were James, Robert, John, Michael, Linda, Mary, Patricia, and Deborah.
  2. The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 65.6 years.
  3. The most popular holiday gifts included Scrabble, the View-Master, and Muffin the Mule.
  4. Fashion icons for the year were Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Meadows, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lana Turner.
  5. Yolande Betbeze (Mobile, Alabama) was crowned Miss America.
  6. Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” was Mohammed Mossadegh, the former prime minister of Iran.
  7. Average income per year: $3,510
  8. Average cost of a new house: $9,000
  9. Average monthly rent for an apartment in NYC: $60.00
  10. Average cost of a new car: $1,500
  11. Average cost of a gallon of gas: 19 cents
  12. Unemployment had dipped to 3.3%.
  13. Inflation had increased to 7.88%.
  14. The minimum wage was 75 cents an hour.
  15. In January, the prime rate was 2.5%.
  16. GDP growth during the first quarter of 1951 was 1.4%.
  17. GDP growth during the second quarter was 1.7%.
  18. GDP growth during the third quarter was 2.1%.
  19. GDP growth during the fourth quarter was 0.2%.
  20. The price of gold averaged $34.72 per troy ounce.
  21. On the last trading day of 1951, the Dow closed at 269.23.
  22. A Polaroid camera: $89.75.
  23. A folding doll buggy: $8.49
  24. A model airplane: 25 cents each
  25. An RCA 17” television: $299.95
  26. A toy tea set: 98 cents apiece
  27. A harmonica: 59 cents each
  28. A “Happy Time” tricycle: $20.95-$22.95 apiece
  29. A seven-room dollhouse: $5.94 each
  30. A toy tool set (18 pieces): $4.98
In 1951, Atlas Comics—a comic book label that evolved into Marvel Comics—was founded by Martin Goodman in New York City.

In 1951, Atlas Comics—a comic book label that evolved into Marvel Comics—was founded by Martin Goodman in New York City.

5. Entertainment News

  1. On January 23, at the 3rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse won an Emmy for Best Dramatic Show, Time for Beany won an Emmy for Best Children's Show, and KTLA Newsreel won an Emmy for Best News Program. Likewise, Alan Young won an Emmy for Best Actor, Gertrude Berg won an Emmy for Best Actress, and Groucho Marx won an Emmy for Most Outstanding Personality.
  2. On January 27, Leonard Bernstein's musical, Peter Pan, starring Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff, closed at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 320 performances.
  3. On February 3, The Victor Borge Show premiered on NBC-TV.
  4. On February 28, at the 8th Golden Globe Awards, which honored the best films of 1950, Sunset Boulevard won a Golden Globe for Best Picture, José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac) won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama, and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard) won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. Finally, Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard) won a Golden Globe for Best Director - Motion Picture, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture.
  5. On March 27, Frank Sinatra recorded I’m a Fool to Want You.
  6. On March 29, at the 23rd Academy Awards—which honored the best films of 1950—All About Eve won an Oscar for Best Picture, Jose Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday) won an Oscar for Best Actress. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) won an Oscar for Best Director, and All About Eve won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Finally, Sunset Boulevard won an Oscar for Best Story and Screenplay, and Mona Lisa (Captain Carey, U.S.A.) won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
  7. On March 29, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I—which was based on Margaret Landon’s novel Anna and the King of Siam—opened at the St. James Theater in New York City. It ran for 1,246 performances.
  8. On May 14, The Ernie Kovacs Show debuted on NBC-TV.
  9. On May 18, The Jerry Colonna Show premiered on ABC-TV. It lasted for a single season.
  10. On June 9, The Doodles Weaver Show debuted on NBC-TV.
  11. On June 25, Premiere—the first color TV broadcast on CBS—was aired over a five-station network from New York’s Studio 57. EyesOfAGeneration.com tells us that some of the familiar faces appearing on the debut show were Arthur Godfrey, Faye Emerson, Sam Levenson, Ed Sullivan, Gary Moore, Robert Alda, Isabel Bigley, Patty Painter (the first “Miss Color Television”), FCC chairman Wayne Coy, CBS chairman William S. Paley, and CBS president Frank Stanton.
  12. On June 28, Amos 'n' Andy premiered on CBS-TV.
  13. On June 30, the final episode of The Victor Borge Show aired on NBC-TV.
  14. On July 14, CBS aired the first color broadcast of a sporting event—the Molly Pitcher Handicap horse race from the Monmouth Park Jockey Club in Oceanport, New Jersey.
  15. On July 28, Walt Disney's animated musical film—Alice In Wonderland—was released.
  16. On August 11, WCBS in New York City aired the first televised MLB game in color. (The Boston Braves beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 8-1.)
  17. On August 14, A Place in the Sun—a film directed by George Stevens, and starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters—was released.
  18. On August 26, An American in Paris—a film directed by Vincente Minnelli, and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron—was released in London. (In 1952, An American in Paris won an Oscar for Best Picture.)
  19. On September 3, the soap opera Search for Tomorrow debuted on CBS-TV.
  20. On September 4, U.S. President Harry Truman made the first transcontinental TV broadcast.
  21. On September 9, the soap Love of Life premiered on CBS-TV
  22. On September 18, A Streetcar Named Desire—a film directed by Elia Kazan, and based on Tennessee Williams' play of the same name—was released. It starred Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh.
  23. On September 19, the soap Search for Tomorrow debuted on CBS-TV.
  24. On September 29, NBC aired the first live sporting event that was broadcast coast-to-coast—a college football game between Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh.
  25. On September 29, CBS broadcasted the first college football game in color, a match between the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.
  26. On October 3, CBS aired the first coast-to-coast broadcast of a prize fight.
  27. On October 15, the sitcom I Love Lucy, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, premiered on CBS-TV.
  28. On December 4, The Pied Piper—a ballet by Aaron Copland and Jerome Robbins—debuted in New York City.
  29. On December 16, the police drama, Dragnet, debuted on NBC-TV.
  30. On December 26, The African Queen, a film directed by John Huston, and based on C. S. Forester’s 1935 novel of the same name, was released in Los Angeles. It starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
In 1951, I Love Lucy was a popular TV show.

In 1951, I Love Lucy was a popular TV show.

6. 1950s Slang Words and Phrases

During the 1950s, hundreds of new slang words and phrases were added to the English language. Here are 101 of the era’s best slang expressions, many of which are still being used today:

  1. Ain’t that a bite: This is another way of saying, “That’s too bad.”
  2. All decked out: Impeccably dressed
  3. All show and no go: Something that looks good on the surface, but has little “substance” or “proof of performance” otherwise.
  4. Antsville: A crowded place
  5. Apple butter: Smooth talk
  6. Are you writing a book?: An expression that refers to a person who is too inquisitive or nosy.
  7. Baby: A term of endearment
  8. Backseat bingo: Making out in the backseat of a car.
  9. Bad news: Someone or something that is undesirable.
  10. Bad: Really cool
  11. Badass: In the 1950s, a badass was a tough guy. Today, badass refers to either a tough guy or a tough girl.
  12. Bash: A party
  13. Beatnik: Someone from the 1950s “who survived the war and was looking for a more casual, fun-loving lifestyle—”complete with alcohol, drugs, and a great music scene.”
  14. Big daddy: A sugar daddy
  15. Big deal: Who cares?
  16. Blast: Great time
  17. Blitzed: Inebriated
  18. Bonafied: The real thing
  19. Brew: Beer
  20. Bummed out: To be out of sorts emotionally
  21. Can: In the 1940s, the word “can” referred to a jail or prison. In the 1950s, a “can” meant a toilet or bathroom.
  22. Classy chassis: An attractive female body
  23. Cooking with gas: Doing something the best way
  24. Curtain climbers: Small children
  25. Cut the gas!: Be quiet!
  26. Dig?: Does that make sense? Do you understand?
  27. Dipstick: A male idiot
  28. Ditz: A female idiot
  29. Don’t flip your wig: Don’t get too excited
  30. Don’t sweat it: Don’t worry
  31. Dreamboat: A really cute guy
  32. Drip: An uncool person
  33. Eat your heart out: Look and wish
  34. Fab: The best of the best
  35. Fade out: Disappear
  36. Far out: Really cool
  37. Fink: A two-faced person
  38. Flick: A movie
  39. Flip your lid: Go crazy
  40. Flip-top: A convertible
  41. Floor it: To accelerate an automobile
  42. Fox: A fine woman with desirable looks
  43. Fuzzy duck: A female with a short haircut
  44. Gas: Fun
  45. Get with it: Get with the program
  46. Got the zorros: Feeling nervous
  47. Greaser: A tough guy
  48. Gringles: Worries
  49. Handle: A name
  50. Haul ass: Get going fast
  51. Hep: Cool or cutting edge
  52. Hip: Cool or cutting edge
  53. Hottie: A fine-looking woman
  54. Jazzed: Excited
  55. Knocked up: Pregnant
  56. Knuckle sandwich: A punch in the face
  57. Kookie: Crazy
  58. Low: Feeling dejected or depressed
  59. Made in the shade: Something that is guaranteed to be a success.
  60. Madison Avenue: Cutting edge
  61. Make the scene: Make an appearance
  62. Mickey Mouse: Small time
  63. Nerd: An uncool person
  64. Nifty: Cool
  65. Nifty: Great or cool
  66. No Sweat: No problem
  67. Nod: Drifting off to sleep
  68. Oddball: An odd person
  69. Old lady: Wife
  70. Old man: Husband
  71. On the make: Looking for romance
  72. Outta sight: Cool
  73. Pad: Living space
  74. Paper shaker: A cheerleader
  75. Party pooper: Someone who is not fun to be around
  76. Passion pit: A drive-in movie theater
  77. Peachy keen: The best
  78. Play dead: To be quiet
  79. Put down: To insult or degrade
  80. Rag top: A convertible
  81. Rattle your cage: To upset
  82. Raunchy: Inferior or disgusting
  83. Reds: Communists
  84. Ring-a-ding-ding: An expression of sarcasm
  85. Round-up time: Summer’s end
  86. Screamer: A hot rod
  87. Sex pot: An overly-sexed woman
  88. Shades: Sunglasses
  89. Shiner: A black eye
  90. Shoot low: Use caution
  91. Shot down: Failure or rejection
  92. Shuckster: A deceitful person
  93. Skag: Ugly
  94. Spaz: A confused person
  95. Split: To depart
  96. Stacked: A big-busted woman
  97. Stuck up: To be conceited or condescending
  98. Stud: A desirable man with a pleasing appearance
  99. Sweat hog: An obese woman
  100. The fuzz: The police
  101. The royal shaft: To be unfairly treated
In 1951, the first Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant opened in San Diego.

In 1951, the first Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant opened in San Diego.

7. Nobel Prize Winners

Beth Rowen tells us that winning a Nobel Prize is a life-changing honor. Whether the laureate is an internationally known figure (such as Mother Teresa) or a scientist from obscurity (like Richard R. Ernst), the award brings worldwide recognition that highlights one's life work and provides the funds to continue the mission.

This Nobel Prize information from 1951 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.

  • Chemistry: Edwin Mattison McMillan and Glenn Theodore Seaborg
  • Literature: Pär Fabian Lagerkvist
  • Peace: Léon Jouhaux
  • Physics: Sir John Douglas Cockcroft and Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton
  • Physiology or medicine: Max Theiler

8. Best-Selling Novels

This book trivia from 1951 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.

  1. From Here to Eternity by James Jones
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
  3. Moses by Sholem Asch
  4. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
  5. A Woman Called Fancy by Frank Yerby
  6. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
  7. Melville Goodwin, U.S.A. by John P. Marquand
  8. Return to Paradise by James A. Michener
  9. The Foundling by Cardinal Spellman
  10. The Wanderer by Mika Waltari

9. 1951 in American Television

Encyclopedia.com tells us that “Television was introduced to Americans in 1939 and began to gain a foothold after World War II (1939–45). In the 1950s, the sale of TV sets and the boom in programming made TV America's favorite source of entertainment. Consider the numbers: in 1946, 7,000 TV sets were sold; in 1948, 172,000 sets were sold; and in 1950, 5 million sets were sold. In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs.”

Courtesy of Nielsen TV Research, here are the most popular television shows from the 1951-52 season:

1. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS)

2. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC)

3. I Love Lucy (CBS)

4. The Red Skelton Show (NBC)

5. The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC)

6. Arthur Godfrey and his Friends (CBS)

7. Fireside Theatre (NBC)

8. Your Show of Shows (NBC)

9. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)

10. You Bet Your Life (NBC)

In 1951, J. D. Salinger’s controversial novel—Catcher in the Rye—was published.

In 1951, J. D. Salinger’s controversial novel—Catcher in the Rye—was published.

10. 1951 in American Radio

Encyclopedia.com tells us that “Television changed the American entertainment landscape. In towns where TV was introduced, movie attendance and book sales dropped off dramatically. Radio, which had been America's favorite form of at-home amusement, declined in importance in the 1950s. Variety, comedy, and dramatic shows left the airwaves for TV. Radio increasingly focused on news, talk shows, and sports broadcasting.”

Here are some of the most memorable moments from 1951 radio:

  1. January 1: The Archers premiered on BBC Radio, and was still broadcasting 65 years later as the world’s longest-running radio soap.
  2. January 5: The soap opera, David Harum, ended its run on CBS Radio.
  3. January 25: We, the People—a radio show that featured human interest stories from the 1930s and 1940s—ended its run on NBC Radio.
  4. April 27: The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective ended its run on network radio. The show had 13 episodes on ABC Radio in 1946, 157 episodes on CBS Radio in 1946–49, and 51 episodes on NBC Radio in 1949–51.
  5. April 1: Paul Harvey’s News and Comment—a news magazine that aired during the morning and at noon on weekdays, and at noon on Saturdays—began its 59-year run on ABC Radio.
  6. April 7: Alias Jane Doe, an adventure series, debuted on CBS Radio. The show ended its run on September 22.
  7. May 11: The detective drama, Hannibal Cob, ended its run on ABC Radio.
  8. May 20: Candy Matson—a detective series that debuted on June 29, 1949—ended its run on NBC West Coast Radio. The show centered around Candy Matson, a female private investigator with a “wry sense of humor” who lived on Telegraph Hill, a toney neighborhood in San Francisco.
  9. May 28: The Goon Show, a comedy program, premiered on the BBC Home Service.
  10. June 11: Bob Elson on Board the 20th Century Limited—”a weekday radio program that featured popular sports announcer Bob Elson interviewing passengers about to depart on the 20th Century Limited”—ended its run on the Mutual Radio Network Radio Network.
  11. July 1: The detective series, Charlie Wild, Private Detective, ended its run on CBS Radio.
  12. July 2: The New Adventures of Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, premiered on Radio Luxembourg, and ran five times a week for five years.
  13. July 6: The crime drama, Defense Attorney, debuted on ABC Radio.
  14. July 11: Alan Freed launched The Moondog House on WJW (AM) in Cleveland, Ohio. On the nighttime program—which was dedicated to playing rhythm and blues music—Freed made the first known use of the term "rock 'n roll."
  15. July 19: I Fly Anything, an adventure series, ended its run on ABC Radio.
  16. July 22: Meet Frank Sinatra ended its run on CBS Radio.
  17. August 18: The variety show, The Arthur Murray Party, debuted on ABC Radio. The show was hosted by the famous dance couple, Arthur and Kathryn Murray.
  18. August 21: Black Night, a musical variety show, premiered on ABC Radio. The show ended its run on September 25.
  19. August 28: The Bickersons, a comedy sketch series that debuted on September 8, 1946, ended its run on CBS Radio.
  20. September 14: Death Valley Days, an anthology series that ran for 18 seasons, ended its run on ABC Radio.
  21. September 15: The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, a mystery series that had been Bob Hope’s summer replacement, ended its run on CBS Radio.
  22. September 26: American Agent, a suspense drama, ended its run on ABC Radio.
  23. September 26: The Fat Man—a popular detective series during the 1930s and 1940s—ended its run on ABC Radio.
  24. September 28: The Screen Directors’ Playhouse, a radio anthology series, ended its run on NBC Radio.
  25. October 3: Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, a detective drama, premiered on NBC Radio.
  26. October 19: The CBS "Eye" logo was shown for the first time on TV shows and printed radio schedules.
  27. October 21: WLOU, Louisville, completed its conversion to a full-time rhythm and blues format that lasted until 1995.
  28. November 19: The American Album of Familiar Music—a program that premiered on October 11, 1931—ended its run on ABC Radio.
  29. December 30: The Carnation Contented Hour, a long-running musical series, ended its run on CBS Radio.
  30. December 31: Hashknife Hartley, a western series, ended its run on the Mutual Radio Network.
In 1951, All About Eve won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

In 1951, All About Eve won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

11. Highest-Grossing Films

This movie trivia has been made available courtesy of The-Numbers.com.

  1. Quo Vadis?
  2. David and Bathsheba
  3. Show Boat
  4. The African Queen
  5. A Streetcar Named Desire
  6. Strangers on a Train
  7. Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.
  8. Across the Wide Missouri
  9. Call Me Mister
  10. An American in Paris

12. Ten Best Horror Movies of 1951

This film trivia from 1951 has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. The Thing from Another World
  2. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man
  3. The Strange Door
  4. Five
  5. The Man from Planet X
  6. Ghost Chasers
  7. Bride of the Gorilla
  8. The Son of Dr. Jeckyl
  9. Lost Continent
  10. Death Is a Number

Because of You: Tony Bennett

13. Biggest Pop Music Artists

Popular music artists and groups from 1951 included the Ames Brothers, Billy Eckstine, the Dominoes, the Four Aces, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, Hank Williams, Jo Stafford, Joe Turner, Johnny Ray, Mario Lanza, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Tommy Edwards, Tony Bennett, Vaughn Monroe, Vic Damone, Dinah Washington, and the Weavers.

14. Top 30 Songs for the Year

This music trivia from 1951 has been made available courtesy of Music-Outfitters.com.

1. Too Young: Nat King Cole

2. Because of You: Tony Bennett

3. How High the Moon: Les Paul & Mary Ford

4. Come On-A My House: Rosemary Clooney

5. Act I Finale from Madam Butterfly: Mario Lanza

6. On Top of Old Smokey: The Weavers

7. Cold, Cold Heart: Tony Bennett

8. If: Perry Como

9. The Loveliest Night of the Year: Mario Lanza

10. The Tennessee Waltz: Patti Page

11. Jezebel: Frankie Laine

12. I Get Ideas: Tony Martin

13. Mockin' Bird Hill: Les Paul & Mary Ford

14. Mockin' Bird Hill: Patti Page

15. My Heart Cries for You: Guy Mitchell & Mitch Miller

16. Sin (It's No Sin): Eddy Howard

17. Sound Off: Vaughn Monroe

18. Sweet Violets: Dinah Shore

19. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise: Les Paul & Mary Ford

20. My Truly, Truly Fair: Guy Mitchell & Mitch Miller

21. (It's No) Sin: Four Aces & Al Alberta

22. Aba Daba Honeymoon: Debbie Reynolds & Carlton Carpenter

23. Rose, Rose, I Love You: Frankie Laine

24. Down Yonder: Del Wood

25. I Apologize: Billy Eckstine

26. Would I Love You (Love You, Love You): Patti Page

27. You're Just In Love: Perry Como

28. Undecided: The Ames Brothers & Les Brown

29. The Thing: Phil Harris

30. Because of You: Les Baxter

In 1951, chicken a la king was a popular food trend.

In 1951, chicken a la king was a popular food trend.

15. Food and Beverage Trivia

GoodHousekeeping.com tells us that “Like fashion, food falls in and out of style. Back when kids of the '50s and '60s were growing up, family dinners meant these dishes were front and center at every family get-together, holiday meal, or cocktail party your parents threw. Many of these recipes evolved from the appeal of new ‘convenience’ foods ranging from canned soups to boxed cake mixes.”

SpoonUniversity.com adds that “The emergence of the Cold War also had a large impact on the food industry of the 50’s. Many families packed their pantries and bomb shelters with canned foods that wouldn’t spoil in the case of a bombing or food shortage. This brought things like canned soups and beans to become household staples."

Courtesy of TheDailyMeal.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and SpoonUniversity.com, here are some foods and beverages that were popular in 1951:

  1. Ambrosia
  2. Apple pie
  3. Armour Star corned beef hash
  4. Armour Star Treet
  5. Baked Alaska
  6. Baked beans
  7. Baked grits
  8. Baked ham
  9. Beef Bourguignon
  10. Beef Stroganoff
  11. Braised pork chops
  12. Champagne punch
  13. Chef Boyardee grated cheese
  14. Chicken a la king
  15. Chicken Tetrazzini: TheDailyMeal tells us that “Named after opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, Tetrazzini is a dish made with poultry or seafood (usually chicken or turkey) and mushrooms in a creamy sauce flavored with wine or sherry, served over pasta.”
  16. Chiffon cake
  17. Chili con carne
  18. Clam dip
  19. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Royal Crown (RC) Cola
  20. Creamed chipped beef on toast
  21. Cucumber canapes
  22. Daiquiri
  23. Deviled ham
  24. Dinty Moore beef stew
  25. Egg salad
  26. Fondue
  27. Fried chicken
  28. Fruit cocktail cake
  29. Gelatin molds
  30. Green bean casseroles
  31. Ham and eggs
  32. Hamburgers and French fries
  33. Meatloaf
  34. Minute rice
  35. Old fashioned
  36. Oscar Mayer wieners
  37. Party mixes
  38. Pineapple upside down cake
  39. Pinwheels
  40. Prem
  41. Relish trays
  42. Shrimp cocktail
  43. Snowballs: TheDailyMeal.com describes this dessert as “a scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in shredded coconut and usually drizzled with chocolate sauce.”
  44. SPAM
  45. Split pea soup
  46. Stuffed celery
  47. Swanson pot pies (chicken, beef, and turkey)
  48. Swanson TV dinners
  49. Swedish meatballs
  50. Tomato aspic
  51. Tuna noodle casseroles
  52. Tunnel of fudge cake
  53. V-8 vegetable juice
  54. Van Camp’s chili con carne with beans
  55. Van Camp’s pork and beans
  56. Veg-All mixed vegetables
  57. Wacky cake
  58. Waffles
In 1951, Swanson introduced beef, chicken, and turkey pot pies.

In 1951, Swanson introduced beef, chicken, and turkey pot pies.

16. Famous Birthdays

Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1951:

  1. Anjelica Huston: Movie actress
  2. Ben Carson: Doctor
  3. Bonnie Tyler: Pop singer
  4. Chesley Sullenberger: Pilot
  5. Jane Seymour: TV actress
  6. Jill Biden: First Lady
  7. John Deacon: Bassist
  8. John Mellencamp: Pop singer
  9. Kirstie Alley: TV actress
  10. Kurt Russell: Movie actor
  11. Luther Vandross: R&B singer
  12. Lynn Carter: TV actress
  13. Mark Hamill: Movie actor
  14. Michael Keaton: Movie actor
  15. Nick Saban: Football coach
  16. Olivia Hussey: Movie actress
  17. Phil Collins: Rock singer
  18. Phyllis Smith: TV actress
  19. Robin Williams (1951-2014): Movie actor
  20. Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021): Radio host
  21. Sally Ride: Astronaut
  22. Skip Bayless: Sportscaster
  23. Sting: Rock singer
  24. Tommy Hilfinger: Fashion designer
  25. Tony Danza: TV actor

17. Notable Weddings

These trivia facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.

  1. On January 8, actor Burgess Meredith married ballerina Kaja Sundsten.
  2. On April 3, actress and singer Doris Day wed producer Martin Melcher.
  3. On April 10, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser married nurse Alyce Chester.
  4. On April 18, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz wed Joyce Halverson.
  5. On June 4, actress Janet Leigh married actor Tony Curtis.
  6. On July 31, musician Ray Charles wed Eileen Williams.
  7. On September 15, actor Peter Sellers married actress Anne Howe.
  8. On November 7, entertainer Frank Sinatra wed film star Ava Gardner.
  9. On November 14, musician Louis Jordan married dancer Vicky Hayes.
  10. On December 23, MLB player Mickey Mantle wed author Merlyn Mantle.

18. Famous People Who Died

This information has been made available courtesy of FamousBirthdays.com.

  1. Andre Gide: Autobiographer
  2. Arthur H. Vandenberg: Politician
  3. Artur Schnabel: Pianist
  4. August Horch: Entrepreneur
  5. Billy Ryan: Football player
  6. Eddie Collins: Baseball player
  7. Fanny Brice: Comedian
  8. Ferdinand Porsche: Engineer
  9. Harry Heilmann: Baseball player
  10. Henry Taylor: Swimmer
  11. James Norman Hall: Novelist
  12. Jimmy Yancey: Pianist
  13. Joe Jackson: Baseball player
  14. John Flynn: Entrepreneur
  15. Kenneth Wherry: Politician
  16. Mady Christians: Movie actress
  17. Maria Montez: Movie actress
  18. Mildred Bailey: Jazz singer
  19. Oscar Micheaux: Novelist
  20. Pauline Pfeiffer: Journalist
  21. Sigmund Romberg: Opera singer
  22. Sinclair Lewis: Novelist
  23. W. K. Kellogg: Entrepreneur
  24. Warner Baxter: Movie actor
  25. William Randolph Hearst: Entrepreneur
In 1951, Pabst aired the first color beer commercial on television.

In 1951, Pabst aired the first color beer commercial on television.

19. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year

Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1951:

  1. Chevrolet: 1,229,986
  2. Ford: 1,013,381
  3. Plymouth: 611,000
  4. Buick: 404,657
  5. Pontiac: 370,159
  6. Mercury: 310,387
  7. Dodge: 290,000
  8. Oldsmobile: 285,615
  9. Studebaker: 246,195
  10. Nash: 205,307
  11. Chrysler: 163,613
  12. Kaiser: 139,452
  13. Hudson: 131,915
  14. Cadillac: 110,340
  15. DeSoto: 106,000
  16. Packard: 100,713
  17. Henry J: 81,942
  18. Lincoln: 32,574
  19. Frazer: 10,214
  20. Crosley: 6,614

20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1951

  1. AAR Corporation: A private provider of aviation services.
  2. Atlas Comics: A comic book label that evolved into Marvel Comics.
  3. Cubic Corporation: An American public transportation and defense corporation.
  4. Elephant Car Wash: A chain of car washes that is based in Seattle, Washington.
  5. Liberty Travel: A retail travel and cruise company.
  6. Lillian Vernon Corporation: “An American catalog merchant and online retailer that sells household, children's. and fashion accessory products.” The company was founded by Lillian Vernon, out of her Mount Vernon, New York apartment.
  7. Stemco: A company based in Longview, Texas that “manufactures and distributes products for the global commercial vehicle market.”
  8. Texas Instruments: “An American technology company headquartered in Dallas, Texas that designs and manufactures semiconductors and various integrated circuits.”
  9. Universal Television: A television production company.
  10. Wang Laboratories: A computer company.
In 1951, Premier Foods—the first supermarket in Great Britain—opened its doors.

In 1951, Premier Foods—the first supermarket in Great Britain—opened its doors.

References:

In a survey conducted with the U.S. armed forces in 1951, banana cream pie was voted the favorite dessert.

In a survey conducted with the U.S. armed forces in 1951, banana cream pie was voted the favorite dessert.

© 2021 Gregory DeVictor

Comments

Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on May 17, 2021:

Mary, happy birthday and thank you for reading the article. I was quite surprised about all the events that occurred that year.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 17, 2021:

As this is my birth year, of course, I read it. I wonder if my mother ever knew of these events as we lived in another country. Can't ask her now.

Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on May 16, 2021:

Thank you for the comment. Thus far, in terms of page views, my 1960, 1970, and 1991 articles have consistently been the most successful.

Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on May 16, 2021:

Liz, thank you for the comment, and thank you for reading the article.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 15, 2021:

This is an extremely detailed and fascinating fact file. I was interested to read about the first transatlantic flight. I understand that in 1951 an architect was commissioned to design the first permanent buildings for passengers at Heathrow. It has come a long way since then.

Churchill's time as Prime Minister post war never scaled the heights of his wartime popularity.

I have a friend who was a Beatnik.

This is an excellent article. You have built up a great collection of interesting information.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 15, 2021:

This is an extremely well-documented fact file. I was interested to read about the first transatlantic flight. I understand that in 1951 an architect was commissioned to design the first permanent terminal buildings at

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