Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.
What Happened During the Year 1949?
What are some fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1949? What were the top news stories in the U.S. and around the world, and what major events took place in the business and financial sectors? How much did a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk cost, and what happened in science, technology, sports, and in the entertainment industry? What were the biggest food and fashion trends, and what were the most popular baby names and Christmas gifts?
From world leaders to pioneers to innovators, who were the most influential people in 1949? What was the median household income, the average life expectancy, and how much did a new house or car cost? What about famous birthdays, marriages, and deaths that year, as well as the most popular slang words and pastimes? Finally, what was the year 1949 best known for, and was it a good or bad year overall? Let's find out.
Here is a summary of the top news stories and history events that happened in 1949:
- After 20 years of hardship due to the Great Depression and World War II, post-World War II economic expansion in the United States was temporarily delayed because of a recession. The Recession of 1949 began in November 1948 and lasted until October 1949, and followed “a period of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.” Unemployment peaked at 7.9% in October 1949, department store sales fell by 22% for the year, and GDP growth was a stagnant -0.6%. Although the downturn was not as severe as some economists had predicted, it was still not a very good time to look for a job.
- In his 1949 State of the Union address to Congress, President Harry Truman announced a Fair Deal, and recommended that all Americans have health insurance, that the minimum wage be increased, and that all Americans be guaranteed equal rights.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) came into force. According to History.com, “the United States and 11 other nations established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was a mutual defense pact aimed at containing possible Soviet aggression against Western Europe.”
- Between 1949 and 1952, the White House Reconstruction took place. After 150 years of “hurried renovations,” this massive project “was a comprehensive dismantling and rebuilding of the interior of the White House,” from the ground up.
- The Housing Act of 1949—a vital part of President Truman’s Fair Deal—was enacted. The Act was “a landmark, sweeping expansion of the federal role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing.”
- President Truman announced that the USSR had detonated its first nuclear device, and the National Military Establishment was renamed the Department of Defense.
- From January 4 to February 22, a series of winter storms ravaged Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming with winds of up to 72 mph. As a result, tens of thousands of cattle and sheep perished.
- The last six surviving veterans of the American Civil War met in Indianapolis for the final GAR encampment.
- American celebrities including Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, John Garfield, and Edward G. Robinson were named in an FBI report as members of the Communist Party.
- The first 12 women graduated from the Harvard Medical School, and Wesley Anthony Brown became the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy.
- Pope Pius XII excommunicated all Communist Catholics, and the Jewish population of Israel reached 1,000,000.
- The British iron and steel industry was nationalized, and Newfoundland became Canada’s 10th province.
- Here are some sports facts from 1949: The New York Yankees won their 12th World Series, the Philadelphia Eagles were the NFL champs, and the Toronto Maple leafs clinched the Stanley Cup.
- Joe DiMaggio became the first New York Yankees player to earn $100,000, and the New York Giants signed their first black players—Monte Irvin and Ford Smith.
- In 1949, MLB legend Jackie Robinson became the National League’s MVP, and major-league player Ted Williams became the American League’s MVP.
- The Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).
- At the 21st Academy Awards, which honored the best films of 1948, Hamlet won an Oscar for Best Picture, and John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Laurence Olivier (Hamlet) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda) won an Oscar for Best Actress.
- In 1949, RCA introduced 7-inch vinyl records, also known as 45s. NJSpotlight.com tells us that the 45 rpms sounded better than the 78s, “lasted longer, and tended not to shatter if dropped.”
- Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical, South Pacific, opened at the Majestic Theater in NYC for 1,928 performances.
- The first daytime soap opera, These Are My Children, debuted on NBC.
- The “Hollywoodland” sign officially became the “Hollywood” sign, when the City of Los Angeles removed “land” from the “Hollywood” sign and rebuilt the “H.”
- WERD, the first black-owned radio station, began broadcasting in Atlanta.
- In 1949, Anna Wintour, Billy Joel, Elizabeth Warren, George Foreman, Jessica Lange, Lionel Richie, Meryl Steep, Richard Gere, Twiggy, Vera Wang, and Wolfgang Puck were all born.
- Consumer products that were introduced in 1949 include 45 rpm records, Golden Crisp breakfast cereal, the Hedge fund, Joy dishwashing liquid, Junior Mints, Kraft singles, LEGO construction toys, the photocopier, Rise shaving cream, Robitussin, Silly Putty, the Round Chair, and Whoppers.
- At the 22nd Scripps National Spelling Bee, the winner was 13-year-old Kim Calvin of Canton, Ohio, who correctly spelled the word “dulcimer.”
This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1949. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, political and economic news, advances in science and medicine, famous birthdays, and other cool pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1940s-themed trivia quiz.
Table of Contents
Are you ready for your next 1940s trivia quiz? For easier planning and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:
- Grocery Prices in the Year 1949
- History Facts and Events From the USA and World
- Sports Facts and Trivia
- Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
- Entertainment News
- Nobel Prize Winners
- Best-Selling Fiction and Non-Fiction Books
- 1949 in American Television
- 1949 in American Radio
- Most Popular Movies
- Horror Films From the Year 1949
- Animated Films That Were Released
- Biggest Pop Music Artists
- Top 25 Songs for the Year
- Food and Beverage Trivia
- Famous Birthdays
- Notable Weddings
- Famous People Who Died
- U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
- American Companies and Brands Established During 1949
1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1949
These 1949 grocery prices have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library and Reference.com.
- Apples: Four pounds for 25 cents
- Bacon: 49 cents for a one-pound package
- Bananas: 15 cents a pound
- Beef (pot roast): 43 cents a pound
- Bread (sliced): 15 cents for a 16-ounce loaf
- Butter: 69 cents for a one-pound package
- Cabbage: Two cents a pound
- Cake mixes (assorted flavors): 25 cents a box
- Campbell’s tomato soup: 10 cents for a 10½-ounce can
- Candy (M&Ms): 23 cents for a seven-ounce bag
- Cantaloupes: Seven cents apiece
- Carrots: Five cents a pound
- Celery: Six cents a pound
- Cheese (Kraft, Velveeta): 25 cents for an eight-ounce package
- Chewing gum (Wrigley): Six packages for 25 cents
- Chicken: 55 cents a pound
- Chocolate syrup (Bosco): 25 cents for a 12-ounce jar
- Coca-Cola: Five cents a bottle
- Coca-Cola: 25 cents for a six-bottle carton
- Coca-Cola: $1.00 for a 24-bottle carton
- Coffee (Asco brand): 46 cents a pound
- Cold cuts: 49 cents a pound
- Cookies (Sunshine, Hydrox): 15 cents for a four-ounce package
- Cucumbers: Four cents a pound
- Doughnuts: 15 cents per dozen
- Eggs: 49 cents a dozen
- Fish (tuna, Chicken of the Sea): 41 cents for a seven-ounce can
- Fritos corn chips: 19 cents for a four-ounce package
- Grape jam: 35 cents a jar
- Ground beef: 37 cents a pound
- Ham: 49 cents a pound
- Hot dogs (Oscar Mayer): 45 cents for a one-pound package
- Juice (Del Monte, pineapple): 39 cents for 56-ounce can
- Junket powder: Three 1.5-ounce packages for 29 cents
- Kellogg’s corn flakes: 19 cents for a 13-ounce box
- Lamb chops: 85 cents a pound
- Milk: 84 cents a gallon
- Miracle Whip (Kraft): 49 cents for a quart jar
- Olives: Two nine-ounce cans for 39 cents
- Oranges (California): 15 for 25 cents
- Oreos: 14 cents for a 4.25-ounce package
- Peanuts (Planter’s): 31 cents for an eight-ounce can
- Popcorn (Jolly Time): 18 cents for a 10-ounce can
- Potato chips: 25 cents for a five-ounce bag
- Potatoes: 35 cents for a 10-pound bag
- SPAM: 39 cents for a 12-ounce can
- Soda (Pepsi-Cola): Six bottles for 23 cents
- Spaghetti (Franco-American): Two 16-ounce cans for 29 cents
- Sugar (Jack Frost, granulated): 45 cents for a five-pound bag
- Watermelon: Three cents a pound
2. History Facts and Events From the USA and World
- In 1949, Harry S. Truman (D-Missouri) was president of the United States, and Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky) was the vice president.
- The 80th Congress was in session, and there were 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats.
- After 20 years of hardship due to the Great Depression (1929-39) and World War II (1939-45), post-World War II economic expansion (1950-73) in the U.S. was delayed because of a recession. The Recession of 1949 began in November 1948 and lasted until October 1949, and followed “a period of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.” Unemployment peaked at 7.9% in October 1949, but the GDP shrunk by only 2% during the 11-month downturn.
- Between 1949 and 1952, the White House Reconstruction took place. After 150 years of “hurried renovations,” this massive project “was a comprehensive dismantling and rebuilding of the interior of the White House,” from the ground up. SmithsonianMag.com remarks that “Today, presidential families usually add their own touches to the mansion, though nods to history are maintained. Yet despite Jackie’s careful effort, some out of the way spaces still show the touch of Truman’s work.”
- From January 4 to February 22, a series of winter storms ravaged Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming with winds of up to 72 mph. As a result, tens of thousands of cattle and sheep perished.
- In his State of the Union address to Congress on January 5, President Harry Truman announced a Fair Deal, and recommended that all Americans have health insurance, that the minimum wage be increased, and that all Americans be guaranteed equal rights.
- On January 11, Los Angeles had its first recorded snowfall.
- On January 17, the first Volkswagen Beetle arrived in the United States—a 1948 model.
- On January 20, about 10 million people watched President Truman’s inauguration on network television.
- On January 28, the New York Giants signed their first black players—Monte Irvin and Ford Smith.
- On February 7, Joe DiMaggio became the first New York Yankees player to earn $100,000.
- On March 31, Newfoundland became Canada’s 10th province.
- On April 4, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., thus creating the NATO defense alliance.
- On April 19, the New York Yankees dedicated a plaque to MLB legend Babe Ruth.
- On May 9, Prince Rainier III became the monarch of Monaco.
- On May 23, the Federal Republic of West Germany was created out of the American, British, and French occupation zones.
- On June 3, Wesley Anthony Brown became the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy.
- On June 8, American celebrities including Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, John Garfield, and Edward G. Robinson were named in an FBI report as members of the Communist Party. History.com tells us that "The FBI report was part of a continuing campaign by the U.S. government to suggest that Hollywood was rife with communist activists who were using the medium of motion pictures to spread the Soviet party line."
- On June 23, the first 12 women graduated from the Harvard Medical School. They were Doris Rubin Bennett, Martha Kern Caires, Raquel Eidelman Cohen, Shirley Gallup, Dora Benedict Goldstein, Marcia Gordon, Marjorie Kirk, Clare Kent Marshall, Edith Stone, Edith Schwartz Taylor, Jo Ann Tanner Taylor, and Ladislas Wojcik.
- On July 12, at the 16th All-Star game, the American League won, 11-7, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
- On July 13, Pope Pius XII excommunicated all Communist Catholics.
- On July 24, Fausto Coppi of Italy won the 36th Tour de France.
- On August 3, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).
- On August 10, the National Military Establishment was renamed the Department of Defense.
- On August 24, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) came into force. According to History.com, “the United States and 11 other nations established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was a mutual defense pact aimed at containing possible Soviet aggression against Western Europe.” (The 12 first members of NATO were the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Luxembourg, and Iceland.)
- On August 28, the last six surviving veterans of the American Civil War met in Indianapolis.
- On September 23, President Truman announced that the USSR had detonated its first nuclear device.
- On October 9, the New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4 games to 1, to win their 12th World Series title.
- On October 24, construction began on the headquarters of the United Nations in NYC.
- On October 6, President Truman increased the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents.
- On November 18, MLB player Jackie Robinson became the National League’s MVP.
- On November 20, the Jewish population of Israel reached 1,000,000.
- On November 24, the British iron and steel industry was nationalized.
- On November 25, MLB player Ted Williams became the American League’s MVP.
- On December 1, the MLB announced that attendance for the season was 20.2 million, down from 20.9 million in 1948.
3. Sports Facts and Trivia
Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.
- Kentucky Derby: Ponder
- NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers
- NCAA Basketball: Kentucky
- NCAA Football Champs: Notre Dame
- NFL Champions: Philadelphia Eagles
- Orange Bowl: Texas over Georgia
- Rose Bowl: Northwestern over California
- Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
- Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma over North Carolina
- U.S. Open Golf: Cary Middlecoff
- U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): Richard A. Gonzales/Margaret Osborne duPont
- Wimbledon (men/women): Ted Schroeder/Louis Brough
- World Series Champions: New York Yankees
4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
- In 1949, the most popular baby names for boys were James, Robert, John, William, and Michael. Today, the most popular names are Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah, and William.
- In 1949, the most popular baby names for girls were Linda, Mary, Patricia, Barbara, and Susan. Today, the most popular names are Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Ava, and Sophia.
- The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 65.2 years.
- The most popular holiday gifts included Silly Putty and Candy Land.
- Fashion icons in 1949 were Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner.
- Jacque Mercer (Arizona) was crowned Miss America.
- Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” was Winston Churchill, who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-45, and again from 1951-55.
- Motor Trend magazine began publishing.
- In 1949, Los Angeles had its first recorded snowfall.
- On June 8, George Orwell’s seminal novel, 1984, was published in Oceania.
- On October 26, the minimum wage increased from 40 to 75 cents.
- Harvard raised its tuition to more than $500 a year.
- Chocolate rationing ended in the UK.
- The first self-defrosting refrigerators were introduced in the U.S.
- U.S. agricultural exports were about $2.42 billion, or 22% of total exports.
- Earl Olson of Minnesota founded Jennie-O, “which would become the world's largest turkey processor.”
- Milk was 84 cents a gallon, a 16-ounce loaf of bread was 15 cents, and bananas were 15 cents a pound.
- Bleach (Clorox): 49 cents a gallon
- Broom: $1.49 each
- Coffee maker (General Electric): $1.95-$3.98 apiece
- Garbage can (steel, 20-gallon size): $1.97-$2.69 each
- Gas range (Royal Rose): $79.95-$119.95 apiece
- Household cleaner (Spic and Span): 23 cents for a regular box
- Ironing board (steel): $5.63-$5.98 each
- Laundry detergent (Fab): 27 cents for an 18-ounce box
- Lawn seed (Willowlawn): Five pounds for $4.50
- Shower curtain (vinyl): $2.98-$5.95 apiece
- Sofa bed: $38.95 each
- Toaster: $10.95-$19.95 apiece
- Wax paper (Cutrite): 23 cents for a 125’ roll
- Unemployment peaked at 7.9% in October.
- Inflation rate: -1.24%
- Average income per year: $2,950
- Average cost of a new house: $7,450
- Average monthly rent: $50
- Average cost of a new car: $1,420
- Average cost of a gallon of gas: 17 cents
- A first-class stamp cost three cents.
- The price of gold averaged $31.69 per troy ounce.
- On December 31, the Dow closed at 200.13.
5. Entertainment News
- On January 2, KDKA (CBS) began broadcasting in Pittsburgh, PA.
- On January 3, the anthology series, Colgate Theatre, premiered on NBC.
- On January 10, the sitcom, The Goldbergs, debuted on CBS. The show starred Gertrude Berg, Arlene McQuade, Eli Mintz, and Robert H. Harris, and was about a Jewish-American family living in New York City.
- On January 10, RCA introduced the 45 rpm record.
- On January 12, the variety show, Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, premiered on CBS.
- On January 25, at the first Primetime Emmy Awards, Pantomime Quiz (KTLA) won an Emmy for Most Popular Television Program, The Necklace (Your Show Time Series) won an Emmy for Best Film Made for Television, and Shirley Dinsdale won an Emmy for Most Outstanding Television Personality.
- On January 31, the first daytime soap opera, These Are My Children, debuted on NBC.
- On February 10, Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, opened at the Morosco Theater in NYC.
- On February 12, the musical, Annie Get Your Gun, closed at the Imperial Theater in NYC after 1,147 performances.
- On February 19, the first Bollingen Prize for poetry was awarded to the poet Ezra Pound.
- On February 21, the TV soap opera, A Woman to Remember, premiered on the DuMont television network.
- On March 24, at the 21st Academy Awards, which honored the best films of 1948, Hamlet won an Oscar for Best Picture, and John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Laurence Olivier (Hamlet) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda) won an Oscar for Best Actress.
- On April 3, KQW-AM in San Francisco, CA changed its call letters to KCBS.
- On April 7, Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, South Pacific, opened at the Majestic Theater in NYC for 1,928 performances.
- On May 2, Arthur Miller won a Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman.
- On May 5, KGO (ABC) began broadcasting in San Francisco, CA.
- On May 29, Candid Camera, a comedy show, moved from CBS to NBC.
- On June 3, the police drama, Dragnet, debuted on NBC radio. Detailing the cases “of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners,” Dragnet ran for 314 episodes until July 26, 1957.
- On June 8, George Orwell’s seminal novel, 1984, was published in Oceania.
- On June 24, the first network western, Hopalong Cassidy, premiered on NBC.
- On June 25, the Long-Haired Hare, an animated short film featuring Bugs Bunny, was released in theaters across the U.S.
- On July 2, the musical, High Button Shoes, closed at the Century Theater in NYC after 727 performances.
- On September 2, The Third Man, a film directed by Carol Reed, and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles, was released in the United Kingdom.
- On September 15, the western drama, The Lone Ranger, debuted on ABC.
- On September 15, WJAC (NBC/ABC) began broadcasting in Johnstown, PA.
- On September 16, KABC (ABC) began broadcasting in Los Angeles, CA.
- On September 17, WFAA (ABC) began broadcasting in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX.
- On September 26, the “Hollywoodland” sign officially became the “Hollywood” sign, when the City of Los Angeles removed “land” from the “Hollywood” sign and rebuilt the “H.”
- On October 3, WERD, the first black-owned radio station, began broadcasting in Atlanta.
- On October 30, the musical, Lost in the Stars, based on Alan Paton’s novel, Cry the Beloved Country, opened at the Music Box Theater in NYC for 281 performances.
- On November 8, the Academy-Award-winning film, All The King's Men, directed by Robert Rossen and starring Broderick Crawford, was released in NYC.
- On November 30, KOTV TV (CBS) began broadcasting in Tulsa, OK.
- On December 8, Jule Styne's musical comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in NYC for 740 performances.
- On December 8, On the Town, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical, and starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Ann Miller, and Vera-Ellen, was released.
- On December 21, the film, Samson and Delilah, directed and produced by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature, opened in NYC.
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 1949 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.
- Chemistry: William Giauque
- Literature: William Faulkner
- Peace: John Boyd Orr
- Physics: Hideki Yukawa
- Physiology or medicine: António Egas Moniz and Walter Rudolf Hess
7. Best-Selling Fiction and Non-Fiction Books
This book trivia from 1949 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.
1. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
2. The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas
3. Mary by Sholem Asch
4. A Rage to Live by John O'Hara
5. Point of No Return by John P. Marquand
6. Dinner at Antoine's by Frances Parkinson Keyes
7. High Towers by Thomas B. Costain
8. Cutlass Empire by Van Wyck Mason
9. Pride's Castle by Frank Yerby
10. Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
1. White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes Jr
2. How to Win at Canasta by Oswald Jacoby
3. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
4. Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes Jr
5. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
6. The Greatest Story Ever Told by Fulton Oursler
7. Canasta, the Argentine Rummy Game by Ottilie H. Reilly
8. Canasta by Josephine Artayeta de Viel and Ralph Michael
9. Peace of Soul by Fulton J. Sheen
10. A Guide to Confident Living by Norman Vincent Peale
8. 1949 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.”
Here are 25 TV programs that premiered during the 1949-50 season:
- Arthur Godfrey and His Friends: Variety
- Believe It or Not: Drama, history
- Captain Video and His Video Rangers: Sci-fi, adventure
- Casper: Fantasy
- Cavalcade of Stars: Family, music
- Come Dancing: Music
- Family Theatre: Drama
- Fireside Theatre: Drama
- Hands of Mystery: Mystery
- Hollywood on Television: Talk show
- Mama: Family comedy-drama
- Man Against Crime: Crime drama
- Martin Kane: Drama
- MotoGP: Sports
- One Man’s Family: Drama
- Suspense: Mystery
- The Aldrich Family: Comedy
- The Big Story: Drama
- The Clock: Mystery
- The Ed Wynn Show: Comedy, music
- The Fred Waring Show: Music
- The Goldbergs: Comedy
- The Lone Ranger: Western
- The Voice of Firestone: Music
- Time for Beany: Family
9. 1949 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 25 of the most popular radio programs from 1949:
- Adventures of Sam Spade
- Adventures of the Thin Man
- Amos ‘n’ Andy
- Bing Crosby
- Captain Midnight
- Duffy’s Tavern
- Edgar Bergen - Charlie McCarthy
- Fibber McGee & Molly
- Green Hornet
- Lone Ranger
- Molle Mystery Theatre
- Mysterious Traveler
- Sherlock Holmes
- Straight Arrow
- The Inner Sanctum
- This Is Your FBI
- Will Bradley Orchestra
- Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
10. Most Popular Movies
This movie trivia has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
- All the King's Men
- Beyond the Forest
- Knock on Any Door
- On the Town
- Samson and Delilah
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
- The Accused
- The Reckless Moment
- The Third Man
- Twelve O'Clock High
- Whiskey Galore!
- White Heat
11. Horror Films From the Year 1949
This film trivia from 1949 has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.
- The Queen of Spades
- Blood of the Beasts
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
- Mighty Joe Young
- Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
- Master Minds
- The Man in Black
- Ghost of Yotsuya
- Shinshaku Yotsuya kaidan: kôhen
- Unusual Tales
12. Animated Films That Were Released
- Alice in Wonderland (a 1949 French film)
- All in a Nutshell (Walt Disney Productions)
- Bear Feat (Warner Bros.)
- Bowery Bugs (Warner Bros.)
- Daffy Duck Hunt (Warner Bros.)
- Donald’s Happy Birthday (Donald Duck cartoon)
- Fast and Furry-ous (Warner Bros.)
- A Ham in a Role (Warner Bros.)
- Hare Do (Warner Bros.)
- Hatch Up Your Troubles (Tom and Jerry series)
- Hippety Hopper (Warner Bros.)
- Holiday for Drumsticks (Warner Bros.)
- Jerry’s Diary (Tom and Jerry series)
- Long-Haired Hare (a 1949 American short film)
- Mississippi Hare (Warner Bros.)
- Mouse Mazurka (Warner Bros.)
- Playing the Piper (Warner Bros.)
- Porky Chops (Warner Bros.)
- Rabbit Hood (Merrie Melodies)
- Rebel Rabbit (Warner Bros.)
- Tennis Chumps (Tom and Jerry series)
- The Grey Hounded Hare (Warner Bros.)
- Toy Tinkers (Walt Disney Productions)
- Which Is Witch (Warner Bros.)
- Wise Quackers (Warner Bros.)
13. Biggest Pop Music Artists
Popular music artists and groups from the year 1949 include the following:
- The Andrews Sisters
- Perry Como
- Bing Crosby
- Vic Damone
- Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra
- Frankie Laine
- Peggy Lee
- Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians
- Tony Martin
- Dinah Shore
- Frank Sinatra
- Mel Torme
- Margaret Whiting
14. Top 25 Songs for the Year
This music trivia has been made available courtesy of PopularSong.org.
- (Ghost) Riders In The Sky: Vaughn Monroe
- Mule Train: Frankie Laine
- “A” You’re Adorable (the Alphabet Song): Perry Como
- You’re Breaking My Heart: Vic Damone
- I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Freddy Martin
- Some Enchanted Evening: Perry Como
- A Little Bird Told Me: Evelyn Knight
- Cruisin’ Down the River: Russ Morgan
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark
- That Lucky Old Sun: Frankie Laine
- I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts: Freddy Martin
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Gene Autry
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer
- Cruisin’ Down the River: Blue Barron
- Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You): Vaughn Monroe
- Forever and Ever: Russ Morgan
- Dear Hearts and Gentle People: Bing Crosby
- Bamboo: Vaughn Monroe
- My Darling, My Darling: Jo Stafford and Gordon McRae
- Dear Hearts and Gentle People: Dinah Shore
- Powder Your Face With Sunshine: Evelyn Knight
- For You My Love: Larry Darnell
- She Wore A Yellow Ribbon: Eddie “Piano” Miller
- Beans and Cornbread: Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five
- Slippin’ Around: Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely
15. Food and Beverage Trivia
SoYummy.com tells us that “The second World War ended in 1945, so people needed to ration supplies and make substitutions for pricier ingredients. Even if you had the money, you might not be able to get the items you wanted from the market. Consequently, certain meals were improvised, and a little had to go a long way. People got creative, though. And foods from the 1940s turned out to be unique and innovative."
Here are 30 of the most popular foods from the 1940s:
- Betty Crocker’s cake mixes
- Bread pudding
- Cape Cod Bay brown bread
- Cheese, potato, and onion pie
- Coconut cream pie
- Concentrated orange juice
- Cornmeal pancakes
- Deviled lobster
- Egg salad
- Gold nugget cake
- Homemade applesauce
- Irish soda bread
- Jell-O salad
- Jellied chicken
- Ketchup (During the 1940s, ketchup was the most-used flavoring ingredient.)
- Lord Woolton pie
- Mashed potatoes
- Meat and potato patties
- Molasses cookies
- Oslo meals
- Panned curried cabbage
- Plum Charlotte
- Potato and hot dog salad
- Vegetable soup
- York peppermint patties
16. Famous Birthdays
Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1949:
- Anna Wintour: Journalist
- Benjamin Netanyahu: World leader
- Bernard Arnault: Entrepreneur
- Billy Joel: Rock singer
- Bruce Springsteen: Rock singer
- David Foster: Music producer
- Don Johnson: TV actor
- Elizabeth Warren: Politician
- George Foreman: Boxer and entrepreuner
- Ivana Trump: Entrepreuner
- Jeff Bridges: Movie actor
- Jessica Lange: Movie actress
- Jim Varney: Movie actor
- Lady C: Non-fiction writer
- Lionel Richie: R&B singer
- Loretta Devine: Movie actress
- Mary Pope Osborne: Children’s author
- Meryl Streep: Movie actress
- Niki Lauda (1949-2019): Race car driver
- Richard Gere: Movie actor
- Robert Englund: Movie actor
- Sissy Spacek: Movie actress
- Twiggy: Model
- Vera Wang: Fashion designer
- Wolfgang Puck: Chef
17. Notable Weddings
These marriage facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.
- On January 28, NFL coach Tom Landry married Alicia Wiggs.
- On February 6, diplomat Henry Kissinger married Ann Fleisher.
- On March 11, CBS news correspondent Mike Wallace married actress Buff Cobb.
- On May 21, film director David Lean married actress and producer Ann Todd.
- On June 1, entertainers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were married for the second time.
- On June 11, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle married artist Jane Coupe.
- On June 11, American actress Hattie McDaniel married interior decorator Larry Williams.
- On June 30, filmmaker Billy Wilder married former singer Audrey Young.
- On July 13, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Jones married film producer David O. Selznick.
- On August 9, film and stage actor Jimmy Stewart married model Gloria Hatrick McLean.
- On August 12, award-winning actress Angela Lansbury married actor and producer Peter Shaw.
- On October 1, television host and comedian Johnny Carson married Joan Morrill Wolcott.
- On December 20, Gone with the Wind actor Clark Gable married socialite Sylvia Ashley.
- On December 24, linguist Noam Chomsky married Carol Doris Schatz.
- On December 25, British actor Cary Grant married actress Betsy Drake.
18. Famous People Who Died
This information has been made available courtesy of TheFamousPeople.com.
- Al Shean: Comedian
- Amadeo Giannini: Banker and entrepreuner
- Bill Robinson: Dancer
- Bill Traylor: Artist
- Bunk Johnson: Musician
- Charles Ponzi: Con artist
- Edward Stettinius Jr.: Former Secretary of State
- Edward Thorndike: Psychologist
- Elton Mayo: Psychologist and university professor
- Felix Bessart: Actor
- Frank Morgan: Actor
- Harry Burleigh: Composer
- Jack Lovelock: Athlete
- James Forrestal: Investment banker
- Klaus Mann: Writer
- Lead Belly: Singer
- Leonard Bloomfield: Linguist
- Margaret Mitchell: Author of Gone with the Wind
- Richard Georg Strauss: Composer
- Robert Ripley: Cartoonist
- Solomon Guggenheim: Businessman
- Stephen Samuel Wise: Rabbi
- Victor Fleming: Film director
- Wallace Beery: Actor
- Wiley Blount Rutledge: Former Justice of the Supreme Court
19. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1949:
- Ford: 1,118,308
- Chevrolet: 1,010,013
- Plymouth: 520,385
- Buick: 409,138
- Pontiac: 304,819
- Mercury: 301,319
- Oldsmobile: 288,310
- Dodge: 256,857
- Hudson: 159,100
- Nash: 135,328
- Studebaker: 129,301
- Chrysler: 124,218
- Packard: 116,955
- DeSoto: 95,051
- Cadillac: 92,554
- Kaiser: 79,947
- Lincoln: 73,507
- Frazer: 21,223
- Crosley: 7,431
20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1949
- ADP: A provider of HR management software and services.
- Cafaro Company: A company that owns several retail shopping centers in the United States. Based in Niles, Ohio, “it is the largest privately owned shopping center development and management company in the United States.”
- Circuit City: A former consumer electronics retailer.
- Combe Incorporated: A personal-care company based in White Plains, New York.
- Martinizing Dry Cleaning: A dry cleaning franchise that has over 450 locations in the United States.
- PEMCO: A personal-lines mutual insurance company based in Seattle, Washington.
- Pottery Barn: In 1949, Pottery Barn, an upscale home furnishings chain, was founded in West Chelsea, Manhattan by Paul Secon and his brother Morris.
- Renys: A chain of department stores located throughout the state of Maine.
- Strand Bookstore: An independent bookstore located at 828 Broadway in NYC.
- Wyle Laboratories: A privately-held provider of “engineering, scientific, and technical services to the Department of Defense, NASA, and a variety of commercial customers primarily in the aerospace industry.”
- Food Timeline: 1946 to 1950 - Food History Events
1946 to 1950 Food Timeline - Events in the History of Food & the Culinary Arts: Births and Deaths, Inventions and Patents, Discoveries, etc
- What Were Some Average Prices of Everyday Groceries in 1949?
- 1949 | Morris County Library
Historic prices in Morristown, as printed in the Daily Record, for the year 1949.
- THE 1949-50 SEASON
An almanac of the 1949-50 broadcast season when television continued to cut into Network Radio's audience and revenues.
- Popular Songs of 1949 – PopularSong.org
- TV Series,Released between 1949-01-01 and 1949-12-31(Sorted by Popularity Ascending) - IMDb
IMDb's advanced search allows you to run extremely powerful queries over all people and titles in the database. Find exactly what you're looking for!
- Famous People Who Died in 1949
Discover the most famous people who died in 1949. The list includes people like Sarojini Naidu, George Gurdjieff, Wallace Beery, Victor Fleming, Birbal Sahni and many more.
- Famous Weddings & Divorces in 1949 - On This Day
Famous weddings and divorces in 1949. See which famous celebrities and historical figures married and divorced in 1949.
- Born in 1949 | Famous Birthdays
Famous people born in 1949 including Caitlyn Jenner, Meryl Streep, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, Roger Taylor and many more.
- Famous Weekly Old Time Radio Shows
Short Soundbytes and histories of famous weekly Old Time Radio Shows
- These Curious Foods From The 1940s Might Make You Long For A Forgotten Era
Things were rough during WWII, but the foods from the 1940s seemed surprisingly good. You won't believe how creative they got, despite the war rations.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Gregory DeVictor
Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on October 11, 2021:
Peggy, thank you for the comment and for reading my article. I went grocery shopping yesterday and still can't believe how much prices have increased this year. Yes, it would be nice to have 1949 prices again. Thank you again for the comment.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 11, 2021:
That was the year one of my brothers was born. It was fun reading through all of these facts and trivia. It would be fun to have grocery prices like that today!
Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on October 11, 2021:
Liz, thank you for comment and for reading the article.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 11, 2021:
This article gives a fascinating post war snapshot. I have learnt a lot from reading it.
Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on October 10, 2021:
Thank you for your comment, and for reading the article. Yes, there is a lot of data that has to be covered in order to do the job right. And then there is SEO.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 10, 2021:
Exhaustive and elaborate information, thanks for sharing.