My Look Back: 1951

Friday, June 24, 2011

Muller Bros. Car Wash, 1951  
Photo by Allan Grant from the LIFE Photo Archive
Summer is in full swing and this time of year I actually don't mind washing my car if only to stave off the heat. I'm taking a look back at the year 1951 and I must admit that out of all of my favorite decades, the fifties is definitely top dog. So here is some trivia, happenings, and the like that all took place in 1951.

  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is published.
  • The first NBA All-Star game is played.
  • Anjelica Huston, Kurt Russell, Kirstie Alley, and Phil Collins are born.
  • A loaf of bread costs 16 cents, the average cost of a new car is $1,500 dollars, and a gallon of gas is 19 cents.
  • The first oral contraceptive ("the pill") is invented at a small company called Syntex in Mexico.
  • Popular singers include Perry Como, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett.
  • Elizabeth Taylor signs her first divorce from Conrad Hilton, Jr.
  • Frank Sinatra records "I'm a fool to want you".
  • I Love Lucy makes its debut.
  • All About Eve wins the Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (see my movie review here).
  • The average life expectancy is 68.4 years.
  • Shoe designer Charles Jourdan introduces the stiletto heel, which begins to replace the more prevalent chunky styles of the time.

    Nine years later the stiletto is the source of some painful sacrifices for fashion, as seen here in 1960
    Photo by James Whitmore from the LIFE Photo Archive

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