I landed on this planet (I was born) 64 years ago on November 16, 1953. That also happens to be Oklahoma Statehood Day because we became a state in 1907.
I’ll be honest. I don’t remember anything that happened in 1953 (hey, I was a baby). But thanks to the Internet, I have found some fascinating yet trivial details about my birth year.
In 1953, the New York Yankees won the World Series and the Detroit Lions were NFL champions (there was no Super Bowl back then). The Minnesota Lakers, who had not moved to Los Angeles yet, won the NBA title. Golfer Dick Mayer won the U.S. Open and Maryland won the NCAA football title (I would have guessed OU but I would have been wrong).
The most popular TV show in 1953 was – you guessed it – I Love Lucy. Dragnet was No. 2, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts was No. 3 and my favorite, You Bet Your Life (with host Groucho Marx) was No. 4.
Some of the popular movies in 1953 were From Here to Eternity, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Julius Caesar, Peter Pan, The Robe, Hondo, Stalag 17 and The War of the Worlds.
Some of the more popular songs that year were I Believe by Frankie Laine; That’s Amore by Dean Martin; and Stranger in Paradise by Tony Bennett.
A fifth of champagne would cost you about $3.49 in 1953. If you bought that bottle 64 years ago and still had it, it would be worth more than $800.
In 1953, the world population – just eight years after World War II ended – was 2,732,000,000. Now it’s more than 8 billion.
The first issue of Playboy Magazine – a forerunner of America’s moral slide into the abyss – was published in December of 1953. Founder Hugh Hefner passed away a few weeks ago.
Here’s a sad note – Country singer Hank Williams, Sr., died of a drug and alcohol overdose on January 1, 1953, on his way to a concert in Canton, Ohio.
More sad news – A storm breached sea dikes in the Netherlands and killed 1,800 people in 1953.
On February 8, 1953, actress Mary Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas. Boxer Leon Spinks was born on July 11, 1953. Actor John Malkovich was born on December 9.
Some other famous 1953 births were Tim Allen, Pierce Brosnan, Jeb Bush, Pat Benatar, Kim Basinger, Michael Bolton, Rick Moranis, Tony Blair, Kathie Lee Gifford, Louis Anderson, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Miller, Donnie Most, Dezi Arnez (Jr.), George Brett, Dog the Bounty Hunter and the late Bill Pullman.
Baseball star pilot Ted Williams was unhurt when his plane was shot down in Korea in 1953.
Mass murderer Joseph Stalin was buried in Moscow on March 9, 1953. Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the USSR.
On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal were the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. (Later, Hillary Clinton claimed to be named after Hillary but she was lying because she was born in the 1940s before he became famous).
On July 25, 1953, a truce ended the Korean War. On July 27, an armistice was signed by representatives of the United Nations, Korea and China. Prisoners were exchanged and a 2.5-mile demilitarized zone was set at the 38th parallel.
The New York City transit fare rose from 10 to 15 cents and tokens started being accepted for the first time in 1953.
Sen. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 36, married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953.
The show, Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, premiered on September 29, 1953.
On November 21, the “Piltdown Man” – supposedly the “missing link” between the great apes and man in Darwin’s theory of evolution – was proven to be a hoax. It had been discovered in 1912.
Test pilot Chuck Yeager reached Mach 2.43 in a Bell X-1A rocket plane on December 12.
On December 30, the first color TV sets went on sale. An Admiral color TV cost $1,175.
Swanson and Sons introduced the first TV dinners – with turkey, sweet potatoes and peas – for 98 cents. Campbell Soup bought Swanson in 1955.
British author Ian Fleming published his first James Bond book, Casino Royale.
The Rev. Billy Graham published his first book, Peace with God.
Cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzalez debuted in the United States in 1953.
In 1953, comedian Steve Allen created and hosted The Tonight Show in New York City (it went national in 1954).
In 1953, President Eisenhower issued an executive order that required the firing of all homosexual government employees.
Air conditioning became widely available on American cars in 1953.
Oklahoma athlete Jim Thorpe died in 1953.
In 1953, Mexico gave women the right to vote.
That’s a lot. And that only skims the surface of what happened in 1953.
Back then, America had morality. The United States had saved the world from Nazi Germany eight years earlier and the economy flourished.
That could have been the Golden Age of America.