CONTEST! Flashback to 1955 – and Win!

This is a guest post from Kristal Howard of Kroger – one of the generous sponsors of our current Texas! The Exhibition. She’s sharing a fascinating look back at the year 1955 – and an opportunity to win $50 in Kroger gift cards plus tickets to see Texas!

The world around us is constantly changing and evolving. No year is ever the same. Current events, music artists and gas prices trend differently from year to year.

Imagine a world where gas is 23 cents a gallon, minimum wage is $1 per hour and the average home costs $11,000! In 1955, this was reality for Americans.

In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office and the wording “In God We Trust” was added to all U.S. paper currency.

In the mid-50s, popular television programs included “Lassie,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Perry Mason.” Do any of these shows ring a bell?

Elvis Presley rocked the music scene and had fans all shook up. Other successful rock-and-rollers during this era were Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino.

Films “Oklahoma,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” featuring legendary actor James Dean, and “The Seven Year Itch” hit the big screen.

Oil Boom
Texas! The Exhibition begins with Texas first indigenous residents
- and runs all the way through the Spindletop era.

Did you know that some of today’s leading pop culture icons and inventors were born in 1955? Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, claim 1955 as their birth year.

Disneyland opened its doors on July 17 in Anaheim, California and “The Mickey Mouse Club” debuted on ABC the same year. Another entertainment option debut included the first edition of the widely-popular “Guinness Book of World Records.”

On the home front, the average monthly rent was $87 and the median household income was $4,130. More than 7.9 million cars were sold in the U.S. this year with 7 out of 10 families owning a motor car. This year also marked the passing of new legislation that required seat belts to be installed in all new cars.

This year marked the beginning of the fast food craze. The first McDonalds opened for business and TV dinners grew in popularity when the Tappan Stove Co. introduced the home microwave oven, which retailed for $1,300! Despite the emergence of quick food options, grocery stores were still in demand in 1955. Locally, Kroger entered the Houston market after acquiring the Henke and Pillot chain.

Are you interested in seeing how far $50 will go in 2011?

Leave us a comment on this post with your favorite history fact, and you’re entered to win $50 in Kroger gift cards and four tickets to see Texas! The Exhibition at HMNS! We’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, Aug. 5 – so get your entry in!

18 thoughts on “CONTEST! Flashback to 1955 – and Win!

  1. A beautiful new 1955 Chevrolet convertible cost $3050.

    Driving from Texas to California was a real adventure. No big interstate highways then. You went through lots of small town, each with its own peculiar little eating places. Homogenization of of the country had not yet taken over back then

  2. Fun Houston history facts: The West and South Loop segments of IH-610 were approved for construction in the mid-1950s. These two segments, along with the North Loop, were incorporated into the Interstate Highway system in 1956. Also: the Loop was originally called the “Defense Loop”, and the original intent was to allow for the movement of troops and military materiel around the city of Houston.

    ~EdT.

  3. Obviously the year 1955 wasn’t all idyllic and innocent as well. Two major Civil Rights movement events took place that year, the murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi during the summer and then the beginning of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott with the emergence of the young Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. serving as a public figure leading that year-long protest.

  4. Two fun fashion facts from 1955: Pink clothes for men become a trend and artificial diamonds are created for the first time.

  5. On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. While her action was not the first of its kind to impact the civil rights issues, Parks’ individual action of civil disobedience created further impact by sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted over a year and led to the desegregation of buses in Alabama.

    While it is nostalgic to remember all of the fun stuff that happened in the fifties, we must also remember the great struggles that many Americans were facing during that time. Our nation has come a long way since 1955, but we still have much further to go. I hope that in my generation we will see “liberty and justice for all” instead of for a select few.

  6. In 1955 in Houston, Texas, there were four TV channels with PBS having begun broadcasting in 1953. Most of them quit broadcasting each day around 10:00 p.m. if not earlier. Half the households in the US had a television set (mostly black and white) and my family got our first one that year when I was five years old. I remember being disappointed because the day we got it, we could only watch a few minutes of Howdy Doody as it was a church night. I’m sure I made up for lost time in the succeeding days.

    However, when I caught the measles that same year, I was not allowed to watch the television for fear I would permanently lose or damage my eyesight. We were also told in those days that sitting too close to the set was bad for our eyesight. Oh, and the remote controls in those days were called children. My father, “Change the channel to 11.” Me and/or my siblings to each other, “You’re closer.” Me and/or my siblings after moving further from the set, “No, you’re closer.” Ah, good times. :)

  7. The biggest and most popular fast food chain is born…McDonald’s. Disneyland opens in California and the sad news of James Dean dies in a car crash.

  8. •The first Commercial TV Station with advertisements starts in London, England
    Disneyland opens in California on July 17th, and”The Mickey Mouse Club” debuts on ABC. These are just a few fun facts. :)

  9. I was almost 2 years old. So that meant my oldest sibling was going to become a teen that year. WOW I can just imagine the music he listened to. Soon rock was born. Elvis out there somewhere. A new generation born. I noticed someone mentioned Lady and the Tramp. I have two metal trays that we used to eat our meal on…one was from that movie and the other has Disney characters on it. I still have them. Also look back at the home movies on 8mm. We survived on minimal or no a.c. Not having to deal with fast food places. We ate at cafeterias such as Wyatt’s. Ate a real meal not junk. Cars didn’t have a variety of colors. Just basics. We knew how to play games…outside. Tag, Red Rover, hide n seek, tag football.

  10. If it has to pertain to 1955, then the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway from Montreal to U.S. ports on the Great Lakes is really neat!

    If it does not have to pertain to 1955, then the 18-minute battle at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 is awesome!!

  11. The antiproton (an antimatter particle) was discovered by Owen Chamberlain in 1955.

  12. November 5, 1955: Dr. Emmett Lathrop Brown slips on his toilet seat while trying to change a light bulb, knocking himself unconscious. When he comes to, he realizes the secret to time travel, the Flux Capacitor! I know this isn’t a true historical fact, but a fun one that has stuck in my memory and is always recalled when I hear about the 50′s. :P

  13. Nov. 9th 1989, the East German gov’t allowed it’s citizens to visit West Germany. People broke off pieces of the Berlin wall as souvenirs in the weeks following this. Oct 3rd 1990, East and West Germany officially became one country again.

  14. In 1955, Nabokov’s Lolita was first published in Paris. In addition to its literary importance, Lolita is a vivid depiction of post-War American life; much of it is dedicated to a pre-interstate road trip.

  15. My parents were married, and music was great with Elvis capturing young girls hearts.

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