The 1950s Arts and Entertainment: Chronology

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The 1950s Arts and Entertainment: Chronology

1950:     March The Boston Institute of Contemporary Art and New York's Metropolitan Museum and Whitney Museum release a joint Statement on Modern Art opposing "any attempt to make art or opinion about art conform to a single point of view."

1950:     October 2 Peanuts, the comic strip written and drawn by Charles Schulz, debuts in seven U.S. newspapers.

1951:      The Caine Mutiny, the war novel by Herman Wouk, is published and soon becomes one of the longest-lasting bestsellers of all time, holding its place on the New York Times list for forty-eight weeks.

1951:     August 5 The soap operas Search for Tomorrow (1951–82) and Love of Life (1951–80) premiere on CBS.

1951:     October 15 The sitcom I Love Lucy (1951–57) premieres on CBS.

1951:     November 18 The news program See It Now (1951–58), hosted by Edward R. Murrow, premieres on CBS.

1952:     Gunsmoke debuts as a radio drama. In 1955, the Western drama moves to TV where it lasts until 1975. The show becomes the longest running prime-time TV show with continuing characters.

1952:     January American Bandstand (1952–89), a popular teen-oriented music program, debuts as a local show in Philadelphia. Dick Clark, its most famous host, comes aboard in 1956.

1952:     January 14 The Today Show (1952–) debuts on NBC.

1952:     November Bwana Devil, the first 3-D movie, is released.

1953:      Playboy (1953–) becomes the first mass-market men's magazine and rockets to popularity when it publishes nude pictures of rising movie star Marilyn Monroe.

1953:     January 1 Hank Williams, the father of contemporary country music, dies at age twenty-nine from a heart disease resulting from excessive drinking.

1953:     April 3–9 The first national edition of TV Guide is published.

1954:     April 4 Walt Disney signs a contract with ABC to produce twenty-six television films each year.

1954:     July The Newport Jazz Festival debuts in Newport, Rhode Island.

1954:     July 19 "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky," the first professional records made by Elvis Presley, are released on Sun Records.

1954:     September 27 The Tonight Show (1954–) debuts on NBC.

1955:      The $64,000 Question (1955–58) debuts and soon becomes the most popular game show of the 1950s.

1955:     January Contralto Marian Anderson becomes the first black singer to appear at the Metropolitan Opera.

1955:     January 19 President Dwight Eisenhower holds the first televised presidential news conference.

1955:     March The Blackboard Jungle, the first feature film to include a rock and roll song on its soundtrack, "Rock Around the Clock," by Bill Haley and The Comets, opens. The song becomes the country's number-one single in July.

1955:     September 30 Actor James Dean dies after his Porsche roadster slams into another car on a California highway.

1955:     October 13 Poet Allen Ginsberg gives the first public reading of Howl, his controversial poem-in-progress.

1956:     November 30 Videotape is first used commercially on television, during the broadcast of CBS' Douglas Edwards with the News (1948–62).

1957:     September 26 The landmark musical West Side Story, a modern-day adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, opens on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre.

1958:     October 2 Leonard Bernstein begins his first season as director of the New York Philharmonic.

1958:     October 16 Sponsors drop the NBC quiz show Twenty-One (1956–58) after a grand jury investigation determines that contestants were provided with preshow answers.

1959:     February 3 Rock and roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson, otherwise known as "The Big Bopper," die in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa.

1959:     October 21 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in New York.

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The 1950s Arts and Entertainment: Chronology