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Fun Facts and Trivia From the Year 1954

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 1954.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1954.

What Happened in the Year 1954?

What are some fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1954? 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. From July 1953 to May 1954, the United States experienced the post-Korean War recession. History.com tells us that this relatively short and mild contraction occurred when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to combat high inflation that was caused by an influx of dollars into the wartime economy. During the 11-month downturn, the GDP lost 2.2 percent and unemployment peaked around 6 percent.
  2. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.” Soonafter, integration began in both the Washington, DC and Baltimore public schools.
  3. On December 2, the U.S. Senate voted 65 to 22 “to condemn Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct unbecoming of a senator.” The condemnation—which was equivalent to a censure—”related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of suspected communists in the U.S. government, military, and civilian society.” Thus, the end of McCarthyism.
  4. President Eisenhower signed a bill mandating that the words “under God” be added to the Pledge of Allegiance. He also signed legislation authorizing the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway—an elaborate system of locks and canals in both the United States and Canada that would connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
  5. The first mass inoculation against polio with the Jonas Salk vaccine took place at the Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh.
  6. American plastic surgeon Joseph Murray performed the first successful organ transplant “when he moved a living kidney from one identical twin to the other.”
  7. The Hudson Motor Car Company merged with the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, forming the American Motors Corporation (AMC).
  8. In the middle of a debate over atomic energy, Vice-President Nixon broke the ivory gavel that had been used by the Senate since 1789—back when John Adams presided. (The government of India provided the Senate a new ivory gavel, which is still being used today.)
  9. From August 25 to October 18, three major hurricanes—Carol, Edna, and Hazel—caused widespread damage from southern Quebec to the Bahamas. (The 1954 Atlantic hurricane season had above-average activity, with 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes, and 16 tropical storms identified. On the other hand, the Pacific hurricane season had below-average activity, with 11 tropical storms recorded.)
  10. On January 9, the temperature plunged to -87°F at the Northice research station in Greenland, setting a countrywide record. On June 28, the temperature soared to 111°F in Camden, South Carolina, setting a state record.
  11. The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into two countries—North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  12. The German airline Lufthansa was founded.
  13. RCA began production of the CT-100, its first color TV for consumers. Although the color set sold for $1,000, you could also buy an RCA 17-inch black and white tabletop at the time for $189.
  14. In 1954, about 29 million American households had television sets—double the number from three years earlier. However, most televisions still were black and white models, since color TVs cost between $1,000-$1,295.
  15. Sports Illustrated magazine and Popular Electronics magazine (1954-99) both began publishing.
  16. Adele Davis published Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit, one of the earliest health food books.
  17. The Piña Colada was invented in Cuba, Royal Crown Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans, and Tropicana owner Anthony Rossi developed a “flash pasteurization process” that made it easier to transport fresh orange juice across the country.
  18. In 1954, milk cost 91 cents a gallon, Swanson TV dinners were 89 cents apiece, and Skippy peanut butter was 37 cents for a 14-ounce jar. Eggs were 53 cents a dozen, Kraft Miracle Whip cost 47 cents for a quart jar, and fresh pineapples were 19 cents each. A movie ticket went for 70 cents, a daily newspaper cost a nickel, and an issue of Life magazine was 20 cents.
  19. TheBalance.com tells us that on November 23, 1954, “the Dow hit a new high of 382.74. It had taken 25 years for it to beat the pre-Depression high of 381.17, set on September 3, 1929.”
  20. Consumer products introduced in 1954 include the Butterball turkey, Carnation instant nonfat dry milk, Chiffon margarine, Kraft Cracker Barrel cheese, M&M's peanut chocolate candies, Rolaids, the transistor radio, Trix cereal, and the Wigomat (the first electric drip coffee maker).
  21. In 1954, Al Roker, Angela Merkel, Christie Brinkley, Denzel Washington, Gayle King, Howard Stern, Jackie Chan, Jermaine Jackson, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey, Ruby Bridges, Sonia Sotomayor, Tina Knowles, and Yanni were all born.
  22. The Minneapolis Lakers were the NBA champs, the New York Giants won the World Series, and the Detroit Red Wings clinched the Stanley Cup.
  23. At the 26th Academy Awards, From Here to Eternity won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
  24. W. Leonard Evans, Jr.—a Chicago advertiser—founded the National Negro Network, the country’s first black-owned radio network.
  25. At the 27th Scripps National Spelling Bee, 14-year-old William Cashore of Center Square, Pennsylvania, correctly spelled the word “transept.”

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1954. 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 1954, the Ford Motor Company was one of America’s largest corporations.

In 1954, the Ford Motor Company was one of America’s largest corporations.

Table of Contents

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

  1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1954
  2. What Was the U.S. Economy Like in 1954?
  3. History Facts From the USA and World
  4. Sports Trivia
  5. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
  6. Nobel Prize Winners
  7. Best-Selling Books
  8. 1954 in American Television
  9. 1954 in American Radio
  10. Highest-Grossing Films
  11. Ten Best Horror Movies of 1954
  12. Biggest Pop Music Artists
  13. Top 30 Songs for the Year
  14. Food and Beverage Trivia
  15. Famous Birthdays
  16. Notable Weddings
  17. Famous People Who Died
  18. Top 15 U.S. Companies by Revenue
  19. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
  20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1954
In 1954, Chicken Tetrazzini—a pasta-bake casserole that was named in honor of Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini—was a real crowd-pleaser.

In 1954, Chicken Tetrazzini—a pasta-bake casserole that was named in honor of Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini—was a real crowd-pleaser.

1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1954

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

  1. Bacon: 87 cents for a one-pound package
  2. Bananas: Two pounds for 25 cents
  3. Beans (baked, Van Camp’s): Two 16-ounce cans for 29 cents
  4. Beef (sirloin steak): 61 cents a pound
  5. Bread (white): 15 cents for a 16-ounce loaf
  6. Butter: 59 cents for a one-pound package
  7. Cereal (Kellogg's Rice Krispies): 26 cents for a 9.5-ounce box
  8. Chicken (frying): 29 cents a pound
  9. Chocolate (Whitman’s Sampler): $2.25 for a one-pound box
  10. Coffee (Ehlers, instant): 59 cents for a two-ounce jar
  11. Cookies (Sunshine Hydrox): 35 cents for a 12-ounce package
  12. Corn (Birdseye, frozen): Two 16-ounce packages for 29 cents
  13. Crackers (Ritz): 39 cents for a one-pound box
  14. Crisco: 33 cents for a one-pound can
  15. Eggs: 53 cents a dozen
  16. Fish (flounder fillet): 65 cents a pound
  17. Ham: 79 cents a pound
  18. Hot dogs: 53 cents for a one-pound package
  19. Ice cream: $1.29 for a half-gallon carton
  20. Juice (orange): Two 18-ounce cans for 23 cents
  21. Margarine (Good Luck brand): 30 cents for a one-pound package
  22. Mayonnaise (Kraft Miracle Whip): 47 cents for a quart jar
  23. Milk: 91 cents a gallon
  24. Onions (Texas): Three pounds for 19 cents
  25. Oranges (Florida): 39 cents for a five-pound bag
  26. Peanut butter (Skippy): 37 cents for a 14-ounce jar
  27. Pineapples (fresh): 19 cents apiece
  28. Potatoes: 29 cents for a five-pound bag
  29. Soda (C&C brand, assorted flavors): Three 12-ounce cans for 29 cents
  30. Tea (White Rose): 55 cents for a 48-count box
  31. Tuna (Chicken of the Sea, chunk light): 38 cents for a 6.5-ounce can
  32. TV dinner (Swanson’s): 89 cents for a 12-ounce package
In 1954, James McLamore and David Edgerton founded the fast food chain Burger King.

In 1954, James McLamore and David Edgerton founded the fast food chain Burger King.

2. What Was the U.S. Economy Like in 1954?

From July 1953 to May 1954, the United States experienced the post-Korean War recession. History.com tells us that “This relatively short and mild recession followed the script of the post-WWII recession as heavy government military spending dried up after the end of the Korean War. During a 10-month contraction, the GDP lost 2.2 percent and unemployment peaked around 6 percent.”

Income, Housing, and Transportation:

  1. Average income per year: $4,137.00
  2. Average cost of a new house: $22,000.00
  3. Average monthly rent: $85.00
  4. Average cost of a new car: $1,700.00
  5. Cost of a gallon of gas: 22 cents

Consumer Prices:

  1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, "$1 in 1954 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $9.78 today, an increase of $8.78 over 67 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.46% per year between 1954 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 877.75%. A dollar today only buys 10.22% of what it could buy back then."
  2. A gallon of milk: 91 cents
  3. A loaf of bread: 15 cents for a 16-ounce loaf
  4. A dozen eggs: 53 cents
  5. American cheese: 55 cents a pound
  6. Swiss cheese: 69 cents a pound
  7. Butter: 59 cents for a one-pound package
  8. Crisco: 33 cents for a 16-ounce can
  9. Kraft Miracle Whip: 47 cents for a quart jar
  10. Del Monte ketchup: Two 14-ounce bottles for 25 cents
  11. Skippy peanut butter: 37 cents for a 14-ounce jar
  12. Post Grape Nuts cereal: 19 cents for a 10-ounce box
  13. Bananas: Two pounds for 25 cents
  14. Florida oranges: 39 cents for a five-pound bag
  15. Potatoes: 29 cents for a five-pound bag
  16. Sirloin steak: 61 cents a pound
  17. T-bone steak: 95 cents a pound
  18. Hot dogs: 53 cents for a one-pound package
  19. A pound of bacon: 87 cents
  20. An issue of Life magazine: 20 cents
  21. A movie ticket: 70 cents
  22. A 1954 Chevrolet 150 series sedan: $1,696.50
  23. A 1954 Oldsmobile 88: $2,362.00
  24. A 1954 Packard Clipper: $2,638.00
  25. A boy’s jacket or slacks: $3.95 apiece
  26. A girl’s playsuit: $1.99-$2.99 each
  27. A man’s dacron suit: $60.00 apiece
  28. A woman’s skirt: $3.00-$14.00 each
  29. Parsons ammonia: 22 cents for a 32-ounce bottle
  30. Old Dutch cleanser: Two 14-ounce cans for 23 cents
  31. Clorox bleach: 19 cents for a half gallon
  32. A mattress and box spring set: $69.50
  33. A Lane cedar chest: $49.95-$79.95
  34. Cannon sheets: $1.87 apiece
  35. An ironing board: $5.99-$9.99 each
  36. A dinnerware set (136 pieces): $29.73
  37. A General Electric washer and dryer set: $449.90-$529.00
  38. A 20-gallon gas water heater: $75
  39. A vacuum cleaner: $24.95-$59.95
  40. A 20” metal rake: 79 cents each
  41. A daily newspaper: Five cents
  42. Pepsodent toothpaste: 69 cents for two giant tubes
  43. Ivory soap: Three medium bars for 25 cents
  44. Toilet tissue (1,000 sheets): Three rolls for 29 cents
  45. A baseball glove: $4.44 apiece
  46. A Sears badminton set: $3.69 each
  47. Camera film: Three rolls for $1.00
  48. Golf balls: Three balls for $1.25
  49. Sears roller skates: $1.99 a pair
  50. A Zenith portable radio: $39.95

The U.S. Economy:

  1. Unemployment averaged 5.0%.
  2. Inflation was 0.32%.
  3. The minimum wage was 75 cents per hour.
  4. In 1968, the average closing price for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was 334.34.
  5. TheBalance.com tells us that on November 23, 1954, “the Dow hit a new high of 382.74. It had taken 25 years for it to beat the pre-Depression high of 381.17, set on September 3, 1929.”
  6. The DJIA low for the year was 279.87.
  7. In January, the prime rate was 3.25%.
  8. GDP growth was -0.6%.
  9. The price of gold averaged $35.00 per troy ounce.
In 1954, Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of the first films shot in CinemaScope.

In 1954, Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of the first films shot in CinemaScope.

3. History Facts From the USA and World

  1. In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States, and Richard M. Nixon was the vice-president.
  2. John Foster Dulles was the secretary of state, and Herbert Brownell Jr. was the attorney general.
  3. On January 9, the temperature plunged to -87°F at the Northice research station in Greenland, setting a countrywide record.
  4. On January 14, the Hudson Motor Car Company merged with the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, forming the American Motors Corporation (AMC).
  5. On January 20, the temperature fell to -70°F in Rogers Pass, Montana, setting a state record.
  6. On January 21, the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, was launched into the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut.
  7. On January 21, General Motors introduced the Firebird—the first gas turbine-powered car—at their annual Motorama display of new models at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
  8. On February 18, L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology was incorporated in California.
  9. On February 23, the first mass inoculation against polio with the Jonas Salk vaccine took place at the Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh.
  10. On March 20, the first newspaper vending machine went into operation in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
  11. On March 22, Northland Center, the world’s largest shopping mall at the time, opened in Oakpark, Michigan.
  12. On March 22, the London gold market reopened after being closed since 1939.
  13. On March 25, RCA began production of the CT-100, its first color TV for consumers. Wired.com tells us that “the RCA set had a 15-inch screen and sold for $1,000.”
  14. On April 1, the U.S. Air Force Academy was created by an act of Congress. According to AcademyAdmissions.com, “The United States Air Force Academy provides a world-class education that also combines athletics, character, leadership development, and military training to forge outstanding United States Air Force and Space Force officers who are ready to lead on day one.”
  15. On April 25, Bell Labs unveiled the first solar battery made from silicon.
  16. In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO in order to preserve peace in Europe. On May 7, however, the United States, Great Britain, and France all rejected the Soviet proposal.
  17. On May 13, President Eisenhower signed legislation authorizing the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway—an elaborate system of locks and canals in both the United States and Canada that would connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. (The St. Lawrence Seaway officially opened on June 26, 1959.)
  18. On May 17, in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.”
  19. On May 24, the German airline Lufthansa was founded.
  20. On June 14 (Flag Day), President Eisenhower signed a bill mandating that the words “under God” be added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
  21. On June 28, the temperature hit 111°F in Camden, South Carolina, setting a state record.
  22. On July 14, the temperature reached 117°F in East St. Louis, Illinois, also setting a state record.
  23. On July 14, the temperature hit 118°F in both Warsaw and Union, Missouri, again setting a state record.
  24. On July 15, the temperature reached 110°F in Balcony Falls, Virginia, setting another state record.
  25. On July 15, the Boeing 367-80 made its first flight from Renton Field, which is located southeast of Seattle. Wired.com tells us that the jet-powered airliner became the Boeing 707, and ushered in the jet age for passenger travel.
  26. On July 27, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into two countries—North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  27. On August 16, Sports Illustrated magazine began publishing.
  28. On August 24, President Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act into law. The bill outlawed the Communist Party of the United States, and criminalized membership in or support of the Communist Party.
  29. On August 29, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opened.
  30. From August 25 to September 1, Hurricane Carol ravaged the east coast of the United States as well as points beyond. It caused widespread damage in the Bahamas, southern Quebec, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and North Carolina. HurricaneScience.org points out that over 4,000 homes, 3,500 automobiles, and 3,000 boats were destroyed as a result of Hurricane Carol.
  31. On September 7, integration began in both the Washington, DC and Baltimore public schools.
  32. From September 2 to September 15, Hurricane Edna ravaged the east coast of the United States as well as points beyond. It caused widespread damage in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. HurricaneScience.org tells us that Hurricane Carol became “the most powerful storm to strike southern New England since the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.”
  33. From September 29 to October 2, the World Series was broadcast in color for the first time.
  34. From October 5 to September 18, Hurricane Hazel caused widespread damage in Canada, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. Weather.com reports that “Hazel made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Calabash, North Carolina, close to the North Carolina/South Carolina state border, halfway between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. The hurricane brought a storm surge of over 18 feet to a large area of the North Carolina coastline, producing severe coastal damage.”
  35. On October 26, Chevrolet unveiled its V-8 engine that would end up in the 1955 Corvette.
  36. On October 27, in a letter to South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, President Eisenhower promised “direct assistance” to South Vietnam.
  37. On October 18, Texas Instruments announced plans for the Regency TR-1, the first transistor radio to be commercially sold. “The move was a major one in tech history that would help propel transistors into mainstream use and also give new definition to portable electronics.”
  38. On November 12, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shut its doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892.
  39. On December 2, Senator Joseph McCarthy was formally censured by the Senate in a 67 to 22 vote, thus ending his Communist witch hunt which had begun in 1950.
  40. On December 11, the Philadelphia Phillies purchased Connie Mack Stadium.
In 1954, the New York Giants won the World Series.

In 1954, the New York Giants won the World Series.

4. Sports Trivia

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

  1. Indianapolis 500: Bill Yukovich
  2. Kentucky Derby: Determine
  3. NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers
  4. NCAA Basketball: La Salle
  5. NCAA Football Champs: Ohio State & UCLA
  6. NFL Champions: Cleveland Browns
  7. Orange Bowl: Oklahoma over Maryland
  8. Rose Bowl: Michigan State over UCLA
  9. Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
  10. Sugar Bowl: Georgia Tech over West Virginia
  11. U.S. Open Golf: Ed Furgol
  12. U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): E. Victor Seixas, Jr./Doris Hart
  13. Wimbledon (men/women): Jaroslav Drobny/Maureen Connolly
  14. World Cup Soccer: West Germany
  15. World Series Champions: New York Giants
In 1954, the Cleveland Browns were the NFL champions.

In 1954, the Cleveland Browns were the NFL champions.

  1. In 1954, popular baby names were Michael, James, Robert, John, Mary, Linda, Deborah, and Patricia.
  2. The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 74 years.
  3. The most popular holiday gifts included Matchbox cars, Scrabble, and the Wiffle bat and ball.
  4. Fashion icons for the year were Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Audrey Meadows, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, and Jane Wyatt.
  5. Evelyn Ay (Pennsylvania) was crowned Miss America.
  6. Miriam Stevenson (South Carolina) became Miss USA.
  7. Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.
  8. Consumer products introduced in 1954 include Chiffon margarine, the Jotter ballpoint pen, the Kodak stereo camera, Rolaids, Sunsilk (a hair care product), the transistor radio, Trix cereal, and the Wigomat (the first electric drip coffee maker).
  9. In 1954, about 93% of U.S. farms had electricity, and another 49% had telephones.
  10. For the first time, there were more tractors on American farms than horses and mules.
  11. Kraft introduced the Cracker Barrel brand of natural cheese.
  12. Adele Davis published Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit, one of the earliest health food books.
  13. On January 4, the daytime soap opera The Brighter Day premiered on CBS. It aired until September 28, 1962.
  14. On January 16, the musical South Pacific closed at the Majestic Theater in New York after 1,928 performances.
  15. On January 20, W. Leonard Evans, Jr.—a Chicago advertiser—founded the National Negro Network, the country’s first black-owned radio network. BlackAmericaWeb.com explains that “The network launched with over 40 affiliates up to a height of 45 stations across the country. The time slots were filled with popular soap operas, including The Story of Ruby Valentine, which starred the late actress Ruby Dee. Famed musician and band leader Cab Calloway also had a show that appeared on the network.”
  16. On February 1, the daytime soap opera Secret Storm debuted on CBS. It aired until February 8, 1974.
  17. On March 15, the Morning Show—a CBS news program that was hosted by broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite—premiered. It was quite similar to NBC’s Today Show in format, and originally aired on weekdays from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM ET. In 1955, the Morning Show was shortened to one hour to accommodate the debut of the children’s series Captain Kangaroo.
  18. On March 20, the Broadway musical The King and I closed at the St. James Theater after 1,246 performances.
  19. On May 13, the Broadway musical The Pajama Game opened at the St. James Theater, and ran for 1,063 performances.
  20. On July 5, the BBC aired its first daily television news program.
  21. On July 28, the crime drama film—On the Waterfront—directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint, was released.
  22. On September 27, The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen, premiered on NBC.
  23. On September 29, the film A Star Is Born—starring Judy Garland and James Mason,—was released.
  24. On October 3, the sitcom Father Knows Best debuted on CBS.
  25. On October 7, Walt Disney’s first television show, Disneyland, premiered on ABC.
In 1954, I Love Lucy—a TV sitcom that starred Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley—was the most popular American television show.

In 1954, I Love Lucy—a TV sitcom that starred Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley—was the most popular American television show.

6. 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 1954 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.

  • Chemistry: Linus Pauling
  • Literature: Ernest Hemingway
  • Peace: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Physics: Max Born and Walther Bothe
  • Physiology or medicine: John Franklin Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, and Frederick Chapman Robbins

7. Best-Selling Books

This book trivia from 1954 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.

Fiction books:

1. Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson

2. Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier

3. Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone

4. The Royal Box by Frances Parkinson Keyes

5. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari

6. No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman

7. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

8. The View from Pompey's Head by Hamilton Basso

9. Never Victorious, Never Defeated by Taylor Caldwell

10. Benton's Row by Frank Yerby

Nonfiction books:

1. The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version

2. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

3. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by the BH&G editors

4. Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cook Book by the Betty Crocker editors

5. The Tumult and the Shouting by Grantland Rice

6. I'll Cry Tomorrow by Lillian Roth, Gerold Frank, and Mike Connolly

7. The Prayers of Peter Marshall by Catherine Marshall

8. This I Believe, Volume 2, edited by Raymond Swing

9. But We Were Born Free by Elmer Davis

10. The Saturday Evening Post Treasury edited by Roger Butterfield

8. 1954 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 1954-55 season:

1. I Love Lucy (CBS)

2. The Jackie Gleason Show ((CBS)

3. Dragnet (NBC)

4. You Bet Your Life (NBC)

5. The Toast of the Town (CBS)

6. Disneyland (ABC)

7. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)

8. The George Gobel Show (NBC)

9. Ford Theatre (NBC)

10. December Bride (CBS)

In 1954, the following USA-based television stations began broadcasting:

  1. On January 13, WEAR TV (ABC) began broadcasting in Pensacola-Mobile, Florida.
  2. On February 15, WRDW TV (CBS) began broadcasting in Augusta, Georgia.
  3. On February 16, WNEM TV (NBC) began broadcasting in Bay City, Michigan.
  4. On February 17, WAST TV (now WNYT) (NBC) began broadcasting in Albany-Troy, New York
  5. On April 1, WQED TV (PBS) began broadcasting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  6. On April 24, WSEE TV (CBS) began broadcasting in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  7. On June 10, KQED TV (PBS) began broadcasting in San Francisco.
  8. On July 1, WDBO TV (now WCPX) (CBS) began broadcasting in Orlando, Florida.
  9. On July 8, KMOX TV (now KMOV) (CBS) began broadcasting in St. Louis, Missouri.
  10. On July 15, KOCO TV (ABC) began broadcasting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  11. On July 22, WTHI TV (CBS) began broadcasting in Terre Haute, Indiana.
  12. On July 26, WCET TV (PBS) began broadcasting in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  13. On August 6, WLAC TV (now WTVF) (CBS) began broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee.
  14. On August 22, WPTV TV (NBC) began broadcasting in Palm Beach, Florida.
  15. On September 10, WLUK TV (NBC/ABC) began broadcasting in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  16. On September 18, KTUL TV (ABC) began broadcasting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  17. On September 26, KUTV TV (NBC) began broadcasting in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  18. On November 20, KTRK TV (ABC) began broadcasting in Houston, Texas.
  19. On December 7, KCTS TV (PBS) began broadcasting in Seattle, Washington.
  20. On December 17, WEAU TV (NBC) began broadcasting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
In 1954, Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club was a popular morning variety show on the ABC radio network. (The Breakfast Club ran from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968.)

In 1954, Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club was a popular morning variety show on the ABC radio network. (The Breakfast Club ran from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968.)

9. 1954 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 popular radio programs from 1954:

  1. Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club
  2. Ma Perkins
  3. Midwestern Hayride
  4. Milkman’s Matinee
  5. Monitor
  6. Moon River
  7. Pop Chronicles
  8. Ranger Bill
  9. Suspense (radio drama)
  10. The Eternal Light
  11. The Romance of Helen Trent
  12. The Standard School Broadcast
  13. Unshackled!
  14. Young Doctor Malone
  15. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

The following radio shows ended their runs on network radio during 1954:

  1. January 3: Quiz Kids (CBS)
  2. January 6: Dr. Christian (CBS)
  3. January 15: Double or Nothing (ABC)
  4. January 16: The Baron and the Bee (NBC)
  5. March 5: Family Skeleton (CBS)
  6. March 12: House of Glass (NBC)
  7. March 26: Front Page Farrell (NBC)
  8. March 28: Bulldog Drummond (Mutual)
  9. March 30: Rocky Fortune (NBC)
  10. May 22: The Armstrong Theater of Today (CBS)
  11. May 27: Time for Love (CBS)
  12. June 18: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (ABC)
  13. June 24: The Six Shooter (NBC)
  14. July 9: Can You Top This? (NBC)
  15. August 1: Broadway Is My Beat (CBS)
  16. September 3: The Lone Ranger
  17. September 7: Crime and Peter Chambers (NBC)
  18. September 25: Escape (CBS)
  19. September 25: Stars Over Hollywood (CBS)
  20. September 30: On Stage (CBS)
  21. November 27: The Falcon (Mutual)

10. Highest-Grossing Films

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

  1. White Christmas
  2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  3. Demetrius and the Gladiators
  4. Rear Window
  5. Caine Mutiny
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. The Egyptian
  8. The High and the Mighty
  9. On the Waterfront
  10. Vera Cruz

11. Ten Best Horror Movies of 1954

This film trivia from 1954 has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. Godzilla
  2. Them!
  3. Creature from the Black Lagoon
  4. The Naked Jungle
  5. The Mad Magician
  6. The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters
  7. The Witch
  8. Phantom of the Rue Morgue
  9. Target Earth
  10. Gog

Hey There: Rosemary Clooney

12. Biggest Pop Music Artists

Popular music artists from 1954 included B.B. King, the Chords, the Chordettes, Doris Day, the Drifters, Eddie Fisher, Four Aces, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Joe Turner, Johnny Ace, Kay Starr, Muddy Waters, Patti Page, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Roy Hamilton, and Tony Bennett.

13. Top 30 Songs for the Year

This music trivia from 1954 has been made available courtesy of Music-Outfitters.com.

1. Little Things Mean a Lot: Kitty Kallen

2. Wanted: Perry Como

3. Hey There: Rosemary Clooney

4. Sh Boom: Crew Cuts

5. Make Love to Me: Jo Stafford

6. Oh! My Pa-Pa (O mein papa): Eddie Fisher

7. I Get So Lonely: The Four Knights

8. Three Coins in the Fountain: The Four Aces

9. Secret Love: Doris Day

10. Hernando's Hideaway: Archie Bleyer

11. Young At Heart: Frank Sinatra

12. This Ole House: Rosemary Clooney

13. I Need You Now: Eddie Fisher

14. Cross Over the Bridge: Patti Page

15. The Little Shoemaker: The Gaylords

16. That's Amore: Dean Martin

17. The Happy Wanderer: Frank Weir

18. Answer Me, My Love: Nat King Cole

19. Stranger In Paradise: Tony Bennett

20. If I Give My Heart To You: Doris Day

21. If You Love Me (Really Love Me): Kay Starr

22. Skokiaan: Ralph Marterie

23. Hold My Hand: Don Cornell

24. Changing Partners: Patti Page

25. Papa Loves Mambo: Perry Como

26. Shake Rattle And Roll: Bill Haley & His Comets

27. Rags to Riches: Tony Bennett

28. In the Chapel In the Moonlight: Kitty Kallen

29. Stranger In Paradise: Four Aces

30. Here: Tony Martin

In 1954, homemade apple pie was all the rage.

In 1954, homemade apple pie was all the rage.

14. 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.”

Courtesy of TheDailyMeal.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, here are some foods and beverages that were popular in 1954:

  1. Ambrosia
  2. Apple pie
  3. Baked Alaska
  4. Baked beans
  5. Baked ham
  6. Beef Bourguignon
  7. Beef Stroganoff
  8. Braised pork chops
  9. Chicken a la king
  10. Chicken Tetrazzini: TheDailyMeal tells us that “Named after opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, Tettrazini 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.”
  11. Chiffon cake
  12. Clam dip
  13. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and RC Cola
  14. Creamed chipped beef on toast
  15. Deviled ham
  16. Dinty Moore beef stew
  17. Fondue
  18. Fried chicken
  19. Fruit cocktail cake
  20. Gelatin molds
  21. Green bean casseroles
  22. Hamburgers and French fries
  23. Meatloaf
  24. Party mixes
  25. Pineapple upside down cake
  26. Relish trays
  27. Snowballs: TheDailyMeal.com describes this dessert as “a scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in shredded coconut and usually drizzled with chocolate sauce.”
  28. SPAM
  29. Stuffed celery
  30. Swanson TV dinners
  31. Swedish meatballs
  32. Tomato aspic
  33. Tuna noodle casseroles
  34. Tunnel of fudge cake
  35. Wacky cake
In 1954, Swanson TV dinners were a popular food trend.

In 1954, Swanson TV dinners were a popular food trend.

15. Famous Birthdays

Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1954:

  1. Al Roker: TV show host
  2. Angela Merkel: World leader
  3. Catherine O’Hara: TV actress
  4. Charlie Sykes: Journalist
  5. Christie Brinkley: Model
  6. David Newman: Composer
  7. Denzel Washington: Movie actor
  8. Don Stark: TV actor
  9. Gayle King: Radio host
  10. Howard Stern: Radio show host
  11. Jackie Chan: Movie actor
  12. James Cameron: Director
  13. James Pickens Jr.: TV actor
  14. Jermaine Jackson: Pop singer
  15. Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian
  16. John Taffer: TV show host
  17. John Travolta: Movie actor
  18. Louis Sachar: Children’s author
  19. Matt Groening: Cartoonist
  20. Oprah Winfrey: TV show host
  21. Ruby Bridges: Civil rights activist
  22. Sonia Sotomayor: Supreme Court Justice
  23. Tina Knowles: Fashion designer
  24. Walter Payton (1954-99): Football player
  25. Yanni: Composer

16. Notable Weddings

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

  1. On January 14, MLB player Joe DiMaggio married actress Marilyn Monroe.
  2. On February 21, actor Leonard Nimoy wed actress Sandra Zober.
  3. On March 27, actress Elizabeth Montgomery married socialite Frederick Gallatin Cammann.
  4. On May 28, actor Kirk Douglas wed producer Ann Buydens.
  5. On June 23, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg married tax law expert Martin D. Ginsburg.
  6. On July 11, football coach Al Davis wed Carol Segal.
  7. On July 17, comedian Groucho Marx married actress Eden Hartford.
  8. On July 31, TV personality Steve Allen wed actress Jayne Meadows.
  9. On August 7, musician Johnny Cash married Liberto.
  10. On September 14, comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara tied the knot.
  11. On September 17, actress Shirly MacLaune wed Steve Parker.
  12. On September 25, actress Audrey Hepburn married actor Mel Ferrer.
  13. On November 1, actor John Wayne wed actress Pilar Pallete.
  14. On November 19, actress Vera-Ellen married Victor Rothschild.
  15. On November 20, professional football player Johnny Unitas wed Dorothy Hoelle.

17. Famous People Who Died

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

  1. Alan Turing: Mathematician
  2. André Derain: Sculptor
  3. Austin Hobart Clark: Zoologist
  4. Colette: Novelist
  5. Edwin Armstrong: Inventor
  6. E.H. Crump: Politician
  7. Enrico Fermi: Physicist
  8. Eugene Pallette: Actor
  9. Fay Baker: Actress
  10. Fred Rose: Film producer
  11. George “Machine Gun” Kelly: Gangster
  12. Gladys George: Movie actress
  13. Harry Baals: Politician
  14. Henri Matisse: Painter
  15. Hugh Duffy: Baseball player
  16. Hugo Eckener: Inventor
  17. James Hilton: Novelist
  18. Lionel Barrymore: Movie actor
  19. Pop Warner: Football coach
  20. Robert Capa: Photographer
  21. Robert H. Jackson: Supreme Court Justice
  22. Russel Stover: Entrepreneur
  23. Sydney Greenstreet: Movie actor
  24. Tom Tyler: Movie actor
  25. William Van Alen: Architect
In 1954, the Detroit Red Wings were the Stanley Cup champs.

In 1954, the Detroit Red Wings were the Stanley Cup champs.

18. Top 15 U.S. Companies by Revenue

These corporate facts have been made available courtesy of the Lycean Group of San Diego (Lynceans.org).

  1. General Motors
  2. Exxon Mobil
  3. U.S. Steel
  4. Ford Motor Company
  5. General Electric
  6. Chrysler
  7. Swift & Company
  8. Armour
  9. Bethlehem Steel
  10. Gulf Oil
  11. DuPont
  12. Mobil
  13. Amoco
  14. AT&T
  15. Texaco

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

Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1954:

  1. Ford: 1,165,942
  2. Chevrolet: 1,143,561
  3. Plymouth: 463,148
  4. Buick: 444,609
  5. Oldsmobile: 354,001
  6. Pontiac: 287,744
  7. Mercury: 259,305
  8. Dodge: 154,648
  9. Chrysler: 105,030
  10. Cadillac: 96,680
  11. Nash: 91,121
  12. DeSoto: 76,580
  13. Studebaker: 68,708
  14. Hudson: 50,660
  15. Lincoln: 36,993
  16. Packard: 31,291
  17. Metropolitan: 13,162
  18. Willys: 11,856
  19. Kaiser: 8,539
  20. Henry J: 1,123

20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1954

  1. Accent Records: A Hollywood-based record label.
  2. Bob’s Stores: A chain of 30 retail stores that are located in the northeastern United States.
  3. Drug Fair: A chain of drugstores that was based in New Jersey.
  4. Gale: An educational publishing company that is based in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
  5. Handy Hardware: A hardware store distribution center that serves 1,000 retailers in nine states.
  6. Kanvas by Katin: One of the oldest surf shops in California.
  7. Lakeshore Learning Materials is “one of the largest retail and online suppliers of educational materials to teachers with more than 60 stores in 29 states.”
  8. Mego Corporation: An American toy company that became famous for producing celebrity dolls and the Micronauts toy line.
  9. Nicor Gas: An energy company that is located in Naperville, Illinois.
  10. Realistic: A brand that was produced by the former Radio Shack chain.
  11. Savers: A chain of thrift stores that is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington.
  12. Varsity Bus Company: A former school bus operator in New York City.
In 1954, Kraft introduced its Cracker Barrel brand of natural cheese.

In 1954, Kraft introduced its Cracker Barrel brand of natural cheese.

References:

In 1954, Royal Crown Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in a can.

In 1954, Royal Crown Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in a can.

© 2021 Gregory DeVictor

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