Timeline – 1948 to 1953

Back to previous TIMELINE page – 1943 to 1947



Top stars: Bing Crosby, Betty Grable, Abbott & Costello (21/194)

Top gross movies of 1948

  1. Road to Rio
  2. Easter Parade
  3. Red River
  4. tie: The Three Musketeers & Johnny Belinda


Early 1948              The Hollywood Ten are sentenced, most of the receiving $1000 fines and one year sentences. (75/295) However the notices of the details of the sentences aren’t handed down until JUN1948. (75/311)

13FEB1948             James Stewart, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

23-25FEB1948        Communists seize power in Czechoslovakia. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1948.html

MAR1948                 Screenwriter Lester Cole files suit against MGM for wrongful dismissal.

25MAR1948            Van Johnson, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

Early 1948              8% drop in domestic theater attendance and a 75% tax on American film earnings in Britain led the major studios to begin a series of layoffs – MGM 25% of staff, Columbia 33% (16/259)

MAR1948               In the March 1948 edition of Photoplay, Bogart wrote an article claiming that he and other members of the Committee did not realize some of the Hollywood Ten were really communists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_the_First_Amendment

13MAR1948            Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet becomes the first British film to win the American Academy Award for Best Picture at the Shrine Auditorium. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_in_film

16MAR1948            Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper meet for lunch at Romanoff’s. (16/278)

01APR1948             Only 20 commercial television stations are broadcasting in the U.S. (95/9)

01APR1948             The Soviet Union begins its land blockade of the Allied sectors of Berlin, Germany.  A counter blockade by the west was put into effect, as well as a British and U.S. airlift of supplies and food, until both blockades were lifted on September 30, 1949. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

08APR1948             George C. Marshall proposes a plan to assist European economic recovery, thereafter known as the Marshall Plan. (70/120)

08APR1948 – Truman signs the Economic Cooperation Act which funds the Marshall Plan to the tune of $5.6 billion for 16 countries in 15 months. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_plan says it was 03APR1948

SPRING1948          J. Parnell Thomas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Parnell_Thomas#Anti-communism_and_HUAC ) was well satisfied with his Spring 1948 visit to Hollywood and he announced that “90% of Communist infiltration in Hollywood is found to be among screenwriters.” (72/257)

05MAY1948            Leading L.A. madam Brenda Allen is indicted after an LAPD telephone tap recorded an all-too-chummy business chat between the bordello queen and her lover/business partner, Hollywood vice cop, LAPD Sgt. Elmer V. Jackson. Her arrest shakes Hollywood, which instantly begins to buzz with rumors about a little black box containing the names of 250 celebrity clients, including entertainment industry figures, politicians and gangsters.

15MAY1948                The British governor general of Palestine, General Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham, aboard the Eurylus, steams past the three-mile limit and fires a flare to celebrate the end of Britain’s mandate over Palestine. (42/p371)

MAY1948                    The Supreme Court declares that the Hollywood system is indeed a conspiracy, and that it would final order the breakup that Thurman Arnold had requested back before the war. In October, the Justice Department announces that it wants the five major studios to give up their interests in 1400 movie theaters. (42/p351)

MAY1948               Billionaire Howard Hughes buys RKO for a reported $9 million. Hughes clashes with Schary who then returns to MGM. Hughes orders all production at the studio shut down and in the summer of 1948 Peter Rathvon (company’s president) is fired along with 700 other employees. (47/54) Hughes never publicly sets foot on the lot but chooses to run it from his office at the nearby Goldwyn Studio. Through the Late 1940s – the RKO becomes increasingly known for its stable of big-breasted starlets. (78/p236-241)

Melancholy was not Dore Schary’s style, but despite his cheery success, RKO kept losing money. The melancholy statistics on 1947 amounted to a loss of nearly $2 million. The chief stockholder, Floyd Odlum, was not a movie man but a rancher and flier, someone who liked to maneuver money. After a series of secret nighttime rendezvous in parked cars and obscure way stations, he agreed to sell the whole of RKO, including the production studio with its 2000 employees, plus 124 movie theaters for the sum of exactly $8,825,690 to Howard Hughes. (42/p342)

The HUAC hearings had failed to turn up any evidence that Hollywood was secretly disseminating Communist propaganda, but the industry was nonetheless transformed. The fallout from the inquiry was a factor in the decision by Floyd Odlum, the primary owner of RKO Pictures, to get out of the business. As a result, the studio would pass into the hands of Howard Hughes; within weeks of taking over in May 1948, Hughes fired most of RKO’s employees and virtually shut the studio down for half a year as he had the political sympathies of the rest investigated. Then, just as RKO swung back into production, Hughes made the decision to settle a long-standing federal antitrust suit against the industry’s Big Five studios. This would be one of the crucial steps in the collapse of the studio system that had governed Hollywood, and ruled much of world cinema, for a quarter-century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist

JUN1948                 Berlin is divided into an Allied-ruled zone (West Berlin) and a Soviet-ruled zone (East Berlin) soon leading to the blockade of Berlin by the Russians which leads to the Berlin Air Lift aka Operation Vittles which doesn’t end until 12MAY1949. (79/105)

JUN1948                 Texaco Star Theater moves from radio to TV, originally with a rotation of hosts with Milton Berle being one of them until he was named the permanent host that fall. He was a smash once the new full season began, Texaco Star Theater hitting ratings as high as 80 and owning Tuesday night for NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texaco_Star_Theater

20JUN1948             The Ed Sullivan Show premiers on CBS as Toast of the Town. It officially becomes known as The Ed Sullivan Show on 25SEP1955. (80/88) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ed_Sullivan_Show

21JUN1948             Columbia Records unveiled the LP at a press conference in the Waldorf Astoria on June 21, 1948, the summer solstice and thus the longest day of the year, in two formats: 10in (25cm) in diameter, matching that of 78rpm singles, and 12in (30cm) in diameter.Although they released approximately 50 simultaneously to allow for a purchasing catalog, the first catalog number for a ten-inch LP, CL 6001, was a reissue of the Frank Sinatra 78 rpm album set The Voice of Frank Sinatra; the first catalog number for a twelve-inch LP, ML 4001, was the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D played by Nathan Milstein with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter. These two albums are therefore the first long-players. Owing to marketing attitudes at the time, the 12-inch format was reserved solely for higher-priced classical recordings and Broadway shows, and popular music appeared only on 10-inch records. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LP_album

JUN1948                 The Hollywood Ten are sentenced, most of the receiving $1000 fines and one year sentences. (75/295) However the notices of the details of the sentences aren’t handed down until JUN1948. (75/311)

01JUL1948             Dory Schary leaves RKO and joins MGM, much to Louis B. Mayer’s chagrin. (425/19) (259/107) at a salary of $6000 per week. (p446/129)

04JUL1948             On the Sunday afternoon of the July 4th holiday, Carole Landis makes her fourth suicide attempt and succeeds with a handful of Seconals. (223/96)

15JUL1948             Gilmore Drive-in opens on what is now The Grove, showing “Silver River” with Errol Flynn (closes 1977, torn down 1979)

JUL1948                 The Woody Woodpecker Song becomes a top-selling record. (21/195)

20JUL1948             A federal grand jury indicts 11 leaders of the Communist Party in the U.S. They were charged with conspiracy to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. Government by force. The defendants were not proven to be agents of the Soviet Union; nor were they even charged with engaging in espionage. In a much publicized 10-month trial that began in JAN1949, the prosecutors established that the Communist leaders advocated the principles of Marxism-Leninism, which in the atmosphere of the time was enough to convict them. (89/27)

21JUL1948             D.W. Griffith dies at the Knickerbocker Hotel at 1714 Ivar, ignored by the Hollywood he helped create (2/5)

27JUL1948             D. W. Griffith’s funeral takes place at the Masonic Lodge on Hollywood Boulevard and is attended by Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, Samuel Goldwyn, Will Hays, Jesse Lasky, Erich von Stroheim, Hedda Hopper, David O. Selznick, Preston Sturges, Walter Wanger, William Wyler, and Louis B. Mayer. (p284/113)

28JUL1948             All major studios observe a 3-minute period of silence during D.W Griffith’s funeral. (21/195)

28JUL1948             Executive Order 9981 was issued by Truman. It expanded on Executive Order 8802 (also known as the Fair Employment Act) by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins, effectively bringing an end to segregation in the military. (79/100) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9981

29JUL1948             Opening of the London Olympic Games, the first since the Berlin games of 1936. (70/94)

03AUG1948            Chambers makes his first public accusation against Alger Hiss. (64/370)

03AUG1948            Whittaker Chambers, senior editor for TIME magazine, appears before the HUAC and tells them that he had once been a Communist and an underground courier. The names 10 men as his former associates, the best known being Alger Hiss. (81/39) (93/12)

01SEP1948             Robert Mitchum is arrested in a raid on a cottage where people are smoking marijuana. (21/195) And gets two months jail time on 10JAN1949. He serves 49 days and is released 29MAR1949. (21/197)

Earning $3000 a week at RKO, Robert Mitchum is arrested and convicted on marijuana possession but Howard Hughes stands by him. (78/239) (219/96)

SEP1948                 The studios are announcing plans to expand into TV. (21/195)

OCT1948                 The Paramount anti-trust decision forces the studios to divest themselves of their cinema chains. (95/2) MAY1948 – The Supreme Court declares that the Hollywood system is indeed a conspiracy, and that it would final order the breakup that Thurman Arnold had requested back before the war. In October, the Justice Department announces that it wants the five major studios to give up their interests in 1400 movie theaters. (42/p351)

30OCT1948            RKO is first major studio to announce sale of theaters. (14/244) (16/259) (21/193)

02NOV1948            Presidential Election Day – Truman versus Dewey. (64/341)

10NOV1948            ‘Joan of Arc’, Hollywood’s most expensive and extravagantly publicized spectacle since ‘Gone with the Wind’ premieres at the Victoria Theater on Broadway (born of Ingrid Bergman’s highly successful 6-month run in ‘Joan of Lorraine’.) (77/284)

NOV1948                Rita Hayworth and Prince Aly Khan are Hollywood’s hottest romance. (21/195)

NOV1948                First Polaroid camera is sold to the public.

Late 1940s              The first commercial hairsprays were marketed in the late 1940s. These early products used shellac, a natural resin, to hold hair in place. http://www.answers.com/hairspray%20?ff=1

04DEC1948            Louis B. Mayer marries Lorena Layson. (IMDB)

15DEC1948            Alger Hiss, former State Department official, is indicted for perjury in connection to denials of passing state secrets to a communist spy ring.  He would be convicted of the conspiracy on January 21, 1950 and receive a five year sentence. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

1948                        Work begins on the Hollywood Freeway (which opened in 1954 giving the San Fernando Valley direct access to downtown Los Angeles) by ripping up streetcar tracks. http://framework.latimes.com/2011/08/16/streetcar-tracks-removed/

1948                        A new category is added to the Oscars: Costume Design. (p67/114)

1948                        Drive-ins multiplied rapidly in the late 1940s and early 1950s. in 1948 there were 820 drive ins; by 1952 there were over 3000. (89/341)

1948                        California governor Warren signs legislation calling for equal pay for equal work. (82/217)

1948                        Milton Berle becomes “Mr. Television”, receiving a $6 million contract paid at his request over 30 years. (31/p147)

1948                         All employees of Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County are required to take an oath that they are not communists, requiring the dismissal of anyone who balked. (42/p378)

1948                        Warner Bros. profits for 1948 were half those for 1947; $11 million as opposed to $21 million. (76/419)

1948                        Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1948.html The original printing was slated for 10,000 copies but as pre-publication interest grew, it was increased to 25,000. At 804 pages and $6.50 it was considered a large and expensive book. Within 10 days of the release the publisher had to order a sixth printing, making a phenomenal 185,000 copies in print. (93/278)

1948                        Combined net studio profits plummet to $45 million in 1948 from 1946’s $90 million and 1947’s $100 million (31/118)

1948                        The “Hollywood 10”:

  • Alvah Bessie
  • Herbert Biberman
  • Lester Cole
  • Edward Dmytryk
  • Ring Lardner, Jr.
  • John Howard Lawson
  • Albert Maltz
  • Samuel Ornitz
  • Adrian Scott
  • Dalton Trumboare charged with contempt of Congress and jailed for refusing to cooperate with its inquiries and answer the question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1940s.html

1948                        By 1948, Paramount owned 4 out of the first 9 TV stations in the U.S. (including KTLA, Los Angeles’s 1st TV station) and had applied for licenses in six additional cities. (95/128)

1948                        The Frisbee invented by Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

1948                        The U.S. Armed Forces become integrated. (77/235

1948                        “My Favorite Husband” – the radio show version of “I Love Lucy” starts its 1948 to 1951 run of 124 episodes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Favorite_Husband

1948                        The Hollywood Freeway opens.

1948                        Velcro invented by George de Mestral.

1948                        Robert Hope-Jones invented the Wurlitzer jukebox

1948                        Cake mix invented. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

Late 1940s              Budgets at MGM are clamped down to $1.5 million. (19/442)

1948                        Goldmark develops the long-playing (LP) phonograph record. (23/349)

1948                        Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi. (23/348)

Late 40s/Early 50s The Reverend Billy Graham is drawing massive crowds to his tent revivals across America. (45/123)

Late 40s/Early 50s All of the major Hollywood companies were interested and active in developing theater television during the late 1940s and early 1950s; however Paramount (again) was the most heavily involved…featuring political news coverage, prize fights, and other sporting events through 1952, having introduced theater TV in Los Angeles in 1948 and 1949. However by 1953 hopes for theater TV had faded. (95-97/129)



Top stars: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Abbott & Costello (21/196)
Top grossing movies of 1949

  1. Adam’s Rib
  2. Jolson Sings Again
  3. Pinky
  4. tie I Was a Male War Bride, The Snake Pit, Joan of Arc
  5. Bicycle Thieves
  6. Twelve O’clock High
  7. The Heiress
  8. A Letter to Three Wives
  9. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
  10. The Third Man
  11. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon


10JAN1949             Robert Mitchum gets 2 months on marijuana charge. (21/197)

JAN1949                 A federal grand jury indicts 11 leaders of the Communist Party in the U.S. They were charged with conspiracy to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. Government by force. The defendants were not proven to be agents of the Soviet Union; nor were they even charged with engaging in espionage. In a much publicized 10-month trial that began in JAN1949, the prosecutors established that the Communist leaders advocated the principles of Marxism-Leninism, which in the atmosphere of the time was enough to convict them. (89/27)

27JAN1949             Tyrone’s marriage to Linda Christian is big international news.

10FEB1949             MGM celebrates 25 years by assembling 58 stars. (21/198)

MAR1949                   Motion Picture Industry Council formed to keep Hollywood free of Communists. (21/p197) (42/p379)

SPRING 1949         L.A.’s first parking meters appear in North Hollywood.

01APR1949            The first of Universal’s Ma & Pa Kettle movies – Ma and Pa Kettle – is released, goes on to earn $2.5 million, nearly 10 times its production costs, and kicks of a series of nine movies. (p467/129)

04APR1949             NATO is officially formed when the North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom), as well as the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nato (64/316)
NATO, the North American Treaty Organization, is formed by the United States, Canada, and ten Western European nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom).  The treaty stated that any attack against one nation would be considered an attack against them all. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

07APR1949             “South Pacific” opens at the Majestic Theater on Broadway. (80/266)

21APR1949             Roy Rogers and Trigger, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

12MAY1949            The Berlin Air Lift ends the Blockade of Berlin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_air_lift#The_Blockade_ends

31MAY1949            Alger Hiss trial starts at the U.S. District Court in New York. (64/374)

JUN1949                 The Fred Allen Show perhaps the best and most sophisticated radio show of its era, ends its 18-year run, an early victim to the advent on TV. (93/180)

JUN1949                 The first episode of the radio show, Dragnet, airs on NBC at 10pm. (The first episode of the TV version airs 16DEC1951.)

08JUN1949             An FBI informant in a secret report at a spy trial names as Communists or sympathizers John Garfield, Paul Muni, Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Edward G. Robinson and Melvyn Douglas. The California State Senate Committee links many in Hollywood to the Communist Party Line, including Charlie Chaplin, Katherine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, and Orson Welles. (21/198)

29JUN1949             United States withdraws its troops from Korea. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

08JUL1949             Jury on the first Alger Hiss trial cannot reach a decision; a mistrial is declared. (64/376)

29JUL1949                 “The Battle of the Sunset Strip” takes place when gunmen open fire as Mickey Cohen exits Sherry’s, however they do not kill him. http://bit.ly/1BHMuHc

13JUL1949             David O. Selznick marries Jennifer Jones. (IMDB)

JUL1949                 The Senate ratifies the NATO treaty and Congress agrees to provide more than $1 billion in weapons and other military aid to the NATO nations. (79/111)

Summer and early Fall 1949      Joe Mankiewicz writes the treatment of Best Performance, which would become All About Eve. (131)

09AUG1949            Bette Davis’s last day on the Warner Bros lot, after 18 years. (21/199

03SEP1949             The U.S. learns that the Soviet Union has conducted a successful atomic bomb test (70/107) that had taken place sometime between 26 and 29 AUG, probably in the vicinity of the Asian part of the Soviet landmass. Truman makes the announcement on 23SEP1949. (93/25)

08SEP1949             Mr. Magoo debuts. (21/199)

26SEP1949             Joe Mankiewicz sends Zanuck his completed treatment for Best Performance.

15SEP1949             After having been a highly successful radio show in one form or another since 1933, ABC TV launched a TV show version which runs through to SEP1960. (80/173)

16SEP1949             Road Runner debuts. (21/199)

23SEP1949             Truman makes the announcement that the Russians have exploded an atom bomb. (93/26)

28SEP1949             My Friend Irma, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s first movie, premieres. (21/199)

FALL1949               Billy Graham’s first national fame comes when he opens what was to be a 3-week “Christ for Greater Los Angeles Crusade”. … Afterwards, Graham became the central voice of the revival. (89/99)

NOV1949                By November 1949, everybody in Los Angeles knew who Billy Graham was. (p150/123)

28NOV1949            Mike Connolly debuts as a Hollywood gossip columnist, filling in for Florabel Muir, who was vacationing from her “Just For Variety” column in Daily Variety. (87/17)

OCT1949                Arguably Bette Davis’s worst movie – ‘Beyond the Forest’ is released in which Davis gives what she believes is her worst performance in which she induces a home abortion by throwing herself off a cliff. (88/116)

OCT1949                After ‘The Outlaw’ had played for years in independent venues, Howard Hughes resubmits the film – and the advertising campaign – to the MPAA, whereupon its original Code Seal (Production Code Administration No. 7440) was reissued. Thus, the most notorious renegade film of the 1940s was finally roped and branded. (77/263)

07OCT1949            Tokyo Rose, the femme fatale of Japanese war broadcasts, was sentenced to ten years in prison. She would be paroled in 1956 and pardoned in 1977. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

14OCT1949            October 14, 1949 – Eleven leaders of the United States Communist party are convicted of advocating a violent insurrection and overthrow of the U.S. government.  The Supreme Court would uphold the convictions on June 4, 1951. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

24OCT1949            Permanent UN headquarters in New York is dedicated. (70/121

26OCT1949            The minimum wage is raised from 40 to 75 cents and hour. (70/121)

18NOV1949            The George Cukor directed, Hepburn and Tracy comedy Adam’s Rib opens; it is Judy Holliday’s debut. (266/107)

28NOV1949            Future Hollywood Reporter columnist, Mike Connolly, makes his debut as a Hollywood gossip columnist in Daily Variety’s chatter column, “Just For Variety.” (p87/17)

Late 1949                Both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter announce that Claudette Colbert has been cast as Margo Channing in All About Eve. (131)

08DEC1949            Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner’s romance begin at the Broadway opening night of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (21/200)

LATE 1940s / EARLY 1950s  J. Edgar Hoover supports Billy Wilkerson’s anti-Communist campaign. (39/91)

12DEC1949            Louella Parsons breaks story of Ingrid Bergman’s pregnancy by Roberto Rossellini. (21/197)

15DEC1949            Gregory Peck, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

21DEC1949            New York premiere of Samson and Delilah, which will go on to be 1950’s biggest movie. (IMDB)

23DEC1949            Gene Autry and Champion, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

DEC1949                Communists led by Mao Tse-tung win control of mainland China; Nationalist government of Chiang Tai-chek flees to Taiwan. (70/121) But 93/10 says this happened on 21JAN1949

1949                         By 1949, Adolph Zukor, the Hungarian émigré who founded Paramount was 77 years old and functioned merely as a figurehead chairman of the board. Barney Balaban was president, and Y. Frank Freeman vice-president in charge of production. (125/p31)

1949                         In 1949, Howard Hughes acquires the Pantages movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard for his RKO Theatre Circuit and moved his personal offices to the building’s second floor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantages_Theatre_%28Hollywood%29

1949                        In 1946, there were approximately 400 TV sets in Los Angeles. By 1949, there were 90,000 and at the end of the year, 300,000. (p290/113)

1949                            All employees of the university of California are required to take an oath that they are not communists, requiring the dismissal of anyone who balked. (42/p378)

1949                        There have been three recorded instances of snowfall in the city; two inches (5 cm) of snow fell in 1932 and the last snowfall occurred in 1949. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles%2C_California#Trivia

1949                            While all the other majors suffered declining profits in 1949, with RKO actually suspending production altogether for a time, MGM’s profits climb from a 21-year low of $4.2 million in 1948 to $6 million in 1949. (p453/129)

1949                        Martin J. Quigley (son of Martin S. Quigley), takes over as editor of the Motion Picture Herald from his father and continues in that role until 1972. (77/10)

1949                        By 1949, a million TV sets had been sold and approx 1000 sets were installed every 24 hours. (16/260)

1949                        Television station W6XYZ becomes KTLA the first licensed commercial television station in Los Angeles. Their first show was hosted by Bob Hope, and also featured Cecil B. DeMille, William Deverest, Dorothy Lamore and others. In 1955 Paramount took over the old Warners Studio at 5858 Sunset and made it the new home of KTLA. (67/46)

1949                        Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind, is killed in car accident. (13/27)

1949                        Universal puts Rock Hudson under contract for $125 a week. (4/200)

1949                        The Los Angeles Airport is officially renamed Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01h.htm taking over from Burbank Airport which has been L.A.’s major commercial air terminal since 1930. (25/281)

1949                        The “H” in the Hollywood Sign blows down. (6/109) (67/71

1949                        After winning a seat in Congress as a Republican in 1946, Richard Nixon rises to prominence in 1949 by pushing the treason case of Alger Hiss. (80/209)

1949                        The “bikini” is introduced. (23/351)

1949                        US recognizes the state of Israel. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1949.html

1949                        The first Emmy Awards are handed out on January 25, with Pantomime Quiz Time earning top honor as the Most Popular Television Program. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1949.html

1949 to 1953           Between 1949 and 1953 the yearly distribution of Bibles rose 140% reaching the incredible figure of nearly 10 million Bibles a year by 1953. (89/86)

1949                        Cable television debuts, bringing better reception to rural areas where the conventional television signal is weak. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1949.html

1949                        Milton Berle hosts the first telethon, which benefits cancer research. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1949.html

1949                        45 rpm records are sold in the U.S. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1949.html

1949                        American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute warn that cigarette smoking may cause cancer. (23/351)

1949                        Germany splits into East and West. (23/350)

1949                        Permanent HQ for the UN is dedicated in NY. (23/352)

1949                        NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is established. (23/350)



Top stars: John Wayne, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby (21/201)

Top 10 Moneymakers 1950: (95/306)

  • John Wayne
  • Bob Hope
  • Bing Crosby
  • Betty Grable
  • James Stewart
  • Abbott and Costello
  • Clifton Webb
  • Esther Williams
  • Spencer Tracy
  • Randolph Scott

Top grossing movies of 1950

  1. Samson and Delilah (released late 1949)
  2. Battleground
  3. King Solomon’s Mines
  4. Cheaper by the Dozen
  5. Annie Get Your Gun
  6. Cinderella (Disney)
  7. Father of the Bride
  8. Sands of Iwo Jima
  9. Broken Arrow
  10. Twelve O’clock High

01JAN1950             The Paramount anti-trust consent decree requiring separate ownership for production companies and theater chains goes into effect (although it takes several years for the studios to conform. (95/7)

02JAN1950              Congressman J. Parnell Thomas former chairman of the HUAC, resigns from Congress amid accusations of fraud of which he was later convicted and given an 18-month sentence. He served his term in Danbury, CT where Lardner and Cole – members of the Hollywood Ten were also serving. (42/p426)

21JAN1950             2nd Alger Hiss trial concludes; Hiss is found guilty of 2 charges of perjury and sentenced to 5 years in prison. After a failed appeal, Hiss enters the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (64/376) on 21MAR1951. His prison term lasts 44 months. (93/16)

JAN1950                 Billy Wilkerson and his fiancée Beatrice Ruby “Tichi” Noble are in Sun Valley, Idaho, when Virginia Hill confronts him in the dining room of their hotel screaming at him that it was his fault that Siegel was dead. (39/114)

JAN1950                 Joe Mankiewicz’s new movie, Best Performance is retitled All About Eve. (131)

14JAN1950             The United States recalls all consular officials from China after the seizure of the American consul general in Peking. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

17JAN1950             The Brinks robbery in Boston occurs when eleven masked bandits steal $2.8 million from an armored car outside their express office. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

FEB1950                 Vietnam splits in two and marks the start of tensions between US and Russia. (Chronicle)

06FEB1950                 At 4.15am, an explosion wrecks the Brentwood house of Mickey Cohen. (book 124)

08FEB1950             The first Francis the Talking Mule movie premieres. (21/202)

09FEB1950             Less than a week after the Fuchs story broke and while Americans were still inflamed over Alger Hiss, China and the Soviet atomic bomb, Senator Joseph McCarthy, holding an old laundry list while addressing the Wheeler Women’s Republican Club announced, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” With these words began McCarthy’s national anti-communist career. In the following 5 years he would take the already existing mania to new heights of irrational hysteria. (89/29)(94/49)

15FEB1950             “Stromboli” opens in the US. Howard Hughes (who put up the money) is very disappointed. (104/17)

05MAR1950            Sid Grauman dies of a heart attack, a 71yo bachelor and the only people at his deathbed were his doctor, his secretary for the past 21 years and the PR chief for 20th Century Fox. (22/340) (42/4)

14MAR1950            Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado denounced Ingrid Bergman on the floor of the US Senate and proposes a bill that would protect Americans from the threat of such “moral turpitude” as “aliens” like Ingrid posed. (104/171)

23MAR1950            Quiz show “Beat The Clock” starts on CBS, until 16FEB1958. (80/23)

23MAR1950            At the Oscars (Pantages Theater) Louis B. Mayer was given a special Academy Award, “for distinguished service to the motion picture industry.” http://cemeteryguide.com/mayer.html

APR1950                 The Supreme Court, by a substantial majority decides not to review the cases of the Hollywood Ten. (47/352) (42/p423)

07APR1950            Two days after her 42nd birthday, Bette Davis signs her All About Eve contract. (131)

APR1950                 Love Happy opens, featuring Marilyn Monroe’s first lines spoken in a film. (93/567)

23APR1950             Lucy Ball and Desi Arnaz announce the creation of Desilu Productions. (21/203)

24MAY1950             Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman are married in Mexico by proxy. (104/173)

06MAY1950             Elizabeth Taylor’s marriage to Conrad Hilton Jnr takes place with 600 guests crammed into the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, including: Louella Parsons, Hedda Hopper, Sheilah Graham, Spencer Tracy, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Esther Williams, June Allyson, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson, George Murphy, Joan Bennett. The celebrated marriage lasted 7 months. (42/428)

24MAY1950            Lana Turner, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

MAY1950                 Kefauver Hearings – the Special Committee on Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce – commence and last for 15 months. held sessions in 14 cities, and questioned 800 witnesses. It was not the first congressional committee to be televised, but it was the first to attract a large audience. Although few homes owned TVs in 1950-51, many people were able to watch in bars and restaurants and businesses. The hearings were a fascinating revelation of the “enemy within” of criminals and their associates who formed a secret “government within a government.” For 8 days in New York City, from March 12-20, 1951, over 50 witnesses described the highest-ranking crime syndicate in America, allegedly led by Frank Costello who had taken over leadership from Lucky Luciano. According to Life magazine, “the week of March 12, 1951, will occupy a special place in history. . . people had suddenly gone indoors into living rooms, taverns, and clubrooms, auditoriums and back-offices. There, in eerie half-light, looking at millions of small frosty screens, people sat as if charmed. Never before had the attention of the nation been riveted so completely on a single matter.” The hearings popularized the legend of a highly-organized crime family called the “mafia” imported from Sicily. In fact, organized crime in America was not centralized or imported only by immigrants. It was decentralized and diffuse at the city and regional levels, as Lincoln Steffens found in his 1904 book Shame of the Cities. It was composed of all ethnic groups who found crime to be a practical avenue of upward social mobility. The real leader of the Cosa Nostra (“our thing”) syndicate founded by Luciano in 1931 was Vito Genovese after 1949. After his imprisonment in the 1960s, it was led by Philip Lombardo until 1981, then by Vincent Gigante. It was this syndicate that began as bootleggers and racketeers in the 1920’s and expanded into the longshoremen and fish markets and other labor unions in the 1930s, then into casinos and real estate in the 1940s. The hearings had significant results. Legalized gambling proposals were defeated in Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Montana. Over 70 local crime commissions were established in cities across America as public awareness of the danger of crime increased. Kefauver sought the vice-presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956. The Senate established a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, or the “rackets committee,” that held hearings under John McClellan1957-1963. With the help of special counsel Robert Kennedy, Joe Valachi would testify, Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamster’s Union would be sent to prison. http://history.sandiego.edu/GEN/filmnotes/kefauver.html —  http://www.pophistorydig.com/?p=320

Confidential publisher Bob Harrison will later find inspiration for Confidential largely on the testimony of Virginia Hill, Bugsy Siegel’s girlfriend (or “moll” as the press liked to call her) at these hearings. (88/39)

1950                        Senator Estes Kefauver headed a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime. The committee, officially known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, was popularly known as the Kefauver Committee or the Kefauver hearings. The Committee held hearings in fourteen cities and heard testimony from over 600 witnesses. Many of the witnesses were high-profile crime bosses, including such well-known names as Willie Moretti, Joe Adonis, and Frank Costello, the latter making himself famous by refusing to allow his face to be filmed during his questioning and then staging a much-publicized walkout. A number of politicians also appeared before the Committee and saw their careers ruined. Among them were former Governor Harold G. Hoffman of New Jersey and Mayor William O’Dwyer of New York City. The Committee’s hearings, which were televised live just as many Americans were buying televisions, made Kefauver nationally famous and introduced many Americans to the concept of a criminal organization known as the Mafia for the first time ever. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estes_Kefauver (45/21)

1st week JUN1950   Joe Mankiewicz wraps All About Eve. Cost of movie: $1,400,000 ($500,000 of which went to cover cast salaries (against an original estimate of $1,246,500.) (131)

JUN1950                Filming commences on Born Yesterday at Columbia. It was the first time $1 million dollars had been paid for a screen property. (p282/141)

09JUN1950             The first of the Hollywood Ten go to jail. (21/201) However 47/352 says: Sentencing is announced on June 29th for the Hollywood Ten. Lester Cole and Ring Lardner Jnr were imprisoned at Danbury, CT. Albert Maltz and Edward Dymtrrk were sent to the prison camp at Mill Point, WV. Each of the 10 were fined $1000, the max under the law although sentences vary from 1 year to 6 months.

JUN1950                 With the advent of the Korean War, a new Hollywood Canteen opens in the old Florentine Gardens building on Hollywood Boulevard. Unlike the original, it’s only open on the weekends. (p182/119)

17JUN1950             Judy Garland was next cast in the film Royal Wedding when June Allyson became pregnant in 1950. She again failed to report to the set on multiple occasions, and the studio suspended her contract on June 17, 1950, replacing her with Jane Powell. The final decision not to renew her contract – effectively putting an end to her time at MGM, came in SEP1950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Garland#Leaving_MGM (233/96)

22JUN1950             The Right began distribution of a booklet called “Red Channels”, purporting to list all those in the industry whose loyalty to the US was questionable.
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAredC.htm :
In 1947 Roy Brewer, a close friend of Ronald Reagan was appointed to the Motion Picture Industry Council. Brewer later commissioned a booklet entitled Red Channels. Published on 22nd June, 1950, and written by Theodore Kirkpatrick, a former FBI agent and Vincent Harnett, a right-wing television producer, it listed the names of 151 writers, directors and performers who they claimed had been members of subversive organizations before WWII but had not so far been blacklisted.

The names included in Red Channels had been compiled from a variety of sources including a right-wing journal, Counterattack, FBI files and a detailed analysis of the Daily Worker, a newspaper published by the American Communist Party.
A free copy of Red Channels was sent to those involved in employing people in the entertainment industry. All those people named in the pamphlet were blacklisted until they appeared in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and convinced its members they had completely renounced their radical past.
People listed in Red Channels included Larry Adler, Stella Adler, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Joseph Bromberg, Lee J. Cobb, Aaron Copland, John Garfield, Howard Da Silva, Dashiell Hammett, E. Y. Harburg, Lillian Hellman, Burl Ives, Zero Mostel, Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker, Philip Loeb, Joseph Losey, Anne Revere, Pete Seeger, Gale Sondergaard, Howard K. Smith, Louis Untermeyer and Josh White.

See also 89/317

JUN1950                 John Howard Lawson was in essence the leader of the Communist Party in Hollywood from about 1937 to 1950, when he went to jail. (72/88)

27JUN1950             George Pal’s Destination Moon, the first of the 1950s “outer space” movies premieres. (21/202) (89/335)

25JUN1950             The Korean War begins its three year conflict when troops of North Korea, backed with Soviet weaponry, invade South Korea.  This act leads to U.S. involvement when two days later, the United States Air Force and Navy are ordered by President Truman to the peninsula.  Seoul falls 28JUN. Douglas MacArthur arrives in Korea 29UN. (93/68) On June 30, ground forces and air strikes are approved against North Korea. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

JUL1950                 Billy Wilkerson in his Trade Views column in the Hollywood Reporter wrote scathingly of “foreigners” including Billy Wilder and William Wyler who had criticized the treatment of the Hollywood Ten. He argued that “this is no time for such claptrap and something should be done to muzzle them in the future.” (95/72)

01JUL1950             The Korean War begins after an attack by North Korea on South Korea. (23/352)

89/401 says North Korea invades South Korea. Within days UN forces, dominated by American forces, join South Korea in the war.

17JUL1950             The Tydings Committee, established to look into McCarthy’s accusation of Communists in the State Department, makes their report public bluntly exposing McCarthy for the falsifier he was. (89/30)

28JUL1950             Bette Davis marries her All About Eve costar Gary Merrill at the home of divorce attorney Jose Amador Y Trias. Bette is later quoted as saying, “An hour after I married him, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.” (131)

10AUG1950            New York premiere of Sunset Boulevard, heralding Gloria Swanston’s comback. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043014/

31AUG1950            New York premiere of Summer Stock, the movie that turns out to be Judy Garland’s final MGM movie. (274/107) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043012/releaseinfo

SEP1950                 Judy Garland was next cast in the film Royal Wedding when June Allyson became pregnant in 1950. She again failed to report to the set on multiple occasions, and the studio suspended her contract on June 17, 1950, replacing her with Jane Powell. The final decision not to renew her contract – effectively putting an end to her time at MGM, came in SEP1950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Garland#Leaving_MGM

02OCT1950            Charles M Schultz’s comic strip “Peanuts” debuts. (23/352) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Schulz

13OCT1950            All About Eve premieres at the 6200-seat Roxy in New York. (131)

23OCT1950            Al Jolson dies of heart attack at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco at the age of 64. (2/58) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_jolson#Death_and_commemoration

06NOV1950            Bette Davis’s hand-and-footprint ceremony at Grauman’s. http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

09NOV1950            “All About Eve” opens in Los Angeles (after having premiered in New York 13OCT) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042192/releaseinf

11NOV1950            Mattachine Society – U.S.’s first homophile organization first meets in Los Angeles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattachine_Society

26NOV1950            United Nations forces retreat south toward the 38th parallel when Chinese Communist forces open a counteroffensive in the Korean War.  This action halted any thought of a quick resolution to the conflict.  On December 8, 1950, shipments to Communist China are banned by the United States. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

18DEC1950            Johnny Hyde dies, leaving Marilyn Monroe without a mentor/protector. http://marilynmonroepages.com/Timeline.html

25DEC1950            The Disney Company airs its first ever TV production, “One Hour In Wonderland”. Edgar Bergen takes Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd to a Christmas party thrown by Walt Disney. Clips of movies and animated shorts, including Disney’s not yet released Alice in Wonderland, are shown via a magic mirror. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251912/

1950                        The FBI introduces its ‘Ten Most Wanted List’ making them available to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. (172/99)

1950                        Samson and Delilah is polled by Box Office magazine as the American public’s favorite movie for 1950. (p119/122)

1950                        McCarran Act or Internal Security Act of 1950 is enacted; it requires that Communist and so-called Communist-front organizations to register with the government and to clearly label all their mail and literature as Communist. (89/35) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freedom_of_speech_for_everyone/message/2707

The McCurran Internal Security Act, a drastic anti-communist measure, passes. (89/??)

1950                        Judy Garland’s marriage to Vincent Minnelli is over and with her drinking and drug taking out of control, MGM drops her contract. (59/172)

1950                        The television laugh track was introduced to viewing audiences in 1950 on NBC’s ‘The Hank McCune Show’. The program itself appears to have been rather run-of-the-mill, but in its review Variety noted the innovation: “there are chuckles and yucks dubbed in. Whether this induces a jovial mood in home viewers is still to be determined, but the practice may have unlimited possibilities if it’s spread to include canned peals of hilarity, thunderous ovations and gasps of sympathy.”

1950                        Under Ronald Reagan’s leadership, the board of the Screen Actors Guild drafts a(n anti communist) loyalty oath. The following year it openly condoned the blacklist. (42/p379)

1950                        First credit card (Diners) invented by Ralph Schneider.  http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

80/66 says it was invented by New York attorney Frank McNamara when he was found himself without cash one night. 80/79 says it was invented by them and Alfred Bloomingdale.

Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reported the latest gimmick was a thing called “the Diner’s Club”. Subscribers had one single charge account for a whole flock of cafes, nightclubs and restaurants. All they did was sign a tab and then, at the end of the month, they received only one statement. She predicted a new trend in credit. (28/237)

1950                        One of the actresses Rock Hudson was coupled with was Vera-Ellen, a dancer under contract at MGM. Vera Ellen was more well known than Rock, so she was able to pull him up. In 1950, they conceived the idea of putting on skimpy bathing suits, painting their bodies gold and going to the Hollywood Press Photographers Ball as Mr. and Mrs. Oscar. It was daring and all the photographers rushed and jostled to take their picture. Louella Parsons, who was doing a live radio show from the ball, invited Vera to the microphone. She brought Rock along, which is how he got his first interview with Louella on national radio. (27/101)

1950                        20th Century Fox gives Darryl F. Zanuck a 10-year contract with a base salary of $260,000 a year. (95/1)

1950                        Hollywood’s approach to color filming changed significantly with the introduction of Eastmancolor tripack negative film, announced in 1950 with the first feature films released in 1951 and 1952 – “Hurricane Island” (1951), “The Sword of Monte Cristo” (1951), “Sunny Side of the Street” (1951), “Carson City” (1952). (95/108)

1950                        Under Earl Warren, a special crime study is commissioned on organized crime (the California Crime Commission) for the period November 1947 to the 30th of June 1950. Its report ranked Mickey Cohen as the top leader of the West Coast underworld, with Jimmy Utley coming in second. (115/p138)

1950                        “You Can Survive” is published, one of the earliest of such pamphlets, advising people how to survive an atomic bomb explosion. (89/49)

1950                        Private fallout shelters are beginning to creep into the imagination. They range from the economical $13.50 foxhole to the luxurious $3500 version with phone and Geiger counter. (89/51)

1950                        In the media world of the MID-20th century, you couldn’t get any bigger than Walter Winchell – the most powerful journalist of the 20th century. (88/49)

1950                        Lew Wasserman negotiates a deal for Jimmy Stewart to receive 50% of the net receipts for ‘Winchester ‘73’ from Universal – a deal that was said to have revolutionized the film business, since before that time starts had rarely received a share of the box office. (95/143)

1950                        The MPAA mints a new slogan to herald the new decade (and the onslaught of TV) “Movies Are Better Than Ever!” (77/292)

1950                        Saturday morning children’s programming begins. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1950.html

1950                        Broadway classic Guys and Dolls debuts at the 46th Street Theatre and becomes an instant hit. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1950.html

1950                        Number of drive-ins doubles in the U.S. (Chronicle)

1950                        Weekly sales of movie ticket sales drops to 40 million while the national number of TV sets climbs to 11 million. (45/127) By 1950 movie attendance had declined more than 25% from its postwar height.

1950                        By 1950 4.4 million families had a TV and people bought them at an acceleratingly feverish rate – 20,000 a day by 1956. (89/344)

1950                        Around 1950 Hollywood discovers Europe. With the postwar surge in international travel and the advent of television, movie audiences are no longer satisfied by studio replicas of foreign locales. Movie companies at this time had a great deal of money frozen in European countries, the only way to use it was to film pictures there. (47/274)

1950                        Hollywood began to develop ways to counteract free television’s gains by the increasing use of color, and by introducing wide-screen films (i.e., CinemaScope, Techniscope, Cinerama, VistaVision, etc.) and gimmicks (i.e., 3-D viewing with cardboard glasses, Smell-O-Vision, etc.). http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1950s.html

1950                        The top three TV shows are Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater (Tuesday nights), Philco Playhouse and General Electric Theater. (45/13)

1950        For the first time, the 1920 census indicated a population in the United States over 100 million people. The 15% increase since the last census now showed a count of 106,021,537.  The geographic center of the United States population still remained in Indiana, eight miles south-southeast of Spencer, in Owen County. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

1950                        Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin charges the State Dept has been infiltrated by Communists. (23/352)



Top stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Betty Grable. (21/205)

Top 10 Moneymakers 1951: (95/306)

  • John Wayne
  • Martin and Lewis
  • Betty Grable
  • Abbott and Costello
  • Bing Crosby
  • Bob Hope
  • Randolph Scott
  • Gary Cooper
  • Doris Day
  • Spencer Tracy

Top grossing movies of 1951

  1. David and Bathsheba
  2. Show Boat
  3. tie The Great Caruso and An American in Paris
  4. A Streetcar Named Desire
  5. Born Yesterday
  6. Alice in Wonderland
  7. On the Riviera
  8. Place in the Sun
  9. No Highway
  10. Penny Points to Paradise
  11. Quo Vadis


27JAN1951             Nevada Test Site conducts first nuclear weapons test only 65 miles from downtown Las Vegas. http://www.lasvegassun.com/history/timeline/

14FEB1951             Ava Gardner moves in with Frank Sinatra (they wouldn’t marry until November. (“Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations.”)

17FEB1951             USO opens its own offices in Hollywood at 1710 N. Ivar. (p182/119)

26FEB1951             The 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, limiting Presidents to a two-term limit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22nd_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

08MAR1951            HUAC begins more hearings into communism in Hollywood. (21/195 & 209) (47/354)

16MAR1951            The trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg commences.
The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, and on April 5 were sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman.

27MAR1951            The Movie Production Code is changed to once again totally ban narcotics as a film subject. Abortion, for the first time, is also explicitly placed off limits. (21/206)

MAR1951                8 screenwriters, actors and directors with former communist affiliations received subpoenas to appear before the committee. The first to testify is Larry Parks who had earned acclaim in the 1946 movie The Jolson Story. (16/301)

21MAR1951            Alger Hiss enters the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; his sentence is 5 years of which he serves 44 months. (93/16)

29MAR1951            “The King and I” starts its run at the St James Theater in Broadway. (80/158)

11APR1951             Truman dismisses MacArthur as commander of the Korean forces. Korea is much in the news this year: many Americans cannot understand why an American-led victory has not occurred. (89/403) MacArthur’s withdrawal process begins on 16APR1951 where nearly 250,000 Japanese lined the streets to bid their postwar rule farewell. An estimated 100,000 turned out in Hawaii. In San Francisco 20,000 turned out to the airport and then another 500,000 at the San Francisco city hall.

25APR1951             APR – Edward Dymtryck reappears before the HUAC and names 26 people he had known to be Communists – 17 writers, 6 directors and 3 others. (47/355)

29APR1951             The opening of The Thing aka The Thing From Another World one of the first major sci-fi movies of the 1950s. (95/173) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044121/releaseinfo

31MAY1951            Louis B. Mayer’s 27 years at MGM ends with a Variety announcement that Louis B. Mayer would tender his resignation within 10 days. (“Lion of Hollywood” by Scott Eyman, p443) “Mayer’s contract ran until August 31, 1954 but there was a window for cancellation as of AUG 31, 1951 as long as notice was given by JUN 30. (p444)

04JUN1951             14OCT1949 – Eleven leaders of the United States Communist party are convicted of advocating a violent insurrection and overthrow of the U.S. government.  The Supreme Court would uphold the convictions on June 4, 1951. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

25JUN1951             MGM announces that Louis B. Mayer has resigned. (21/207) 282/107 puts this date at 22JUN. P456/129 puts this at 23JUN

Mid-1951                 The height of the State Dept gay purges.

JUN1951                 Amos ‘n’ Andy TV show premiers on CBS, until 11JUN1953. (80/13)

Summer 1951        The Supreme Court upholds the convictions of the eleven Communist Party leaders, and four of those leaders jump bail. (42/p432)

16JUL1951             Cary Grant, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

14AUG1951            William Randolph Hearst dies in the 30-room mansion at 1011 Beverly Drive that he shares with Marion Davies. (240/96)

31AUG1951            Louis B. Mayer resigns from MGM (463/19) (240/96) (http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/rcah/html/ah_057400_mayerlouisb.htm )
19/464 says the news of his announcement made the papers on June 26.

SEP1951                     I Love Lucy premieres and is TV’s first runaway hit. The deal between CBS and Desilu with Philip Morris as a sponsor called for 39 episodes in the 1951-52 season, on a $24,500 per episode budget. (p474/129)

18SEP1951             Beverly Hills premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044081/releaseinfo

28SEP1951             ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ opens. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043456/ The L. A. Times notes that it is 20th Century Fox’s first science fiction film  and the first science fiction film to feature well-known actors. (95/179)

01OCT1951            Mike Connolly begins his 15-year stint with his “Rambling Reporter” column at the Hollywood Reporter. (17/91)

OCT1951                Lili St Cyr is arrested for lewdness during her engagement at Ciro’s. Jerry Geisler charges her $2000 to turn the charges into a joke in the courtroom. (63/102) http://pincurlmag.com/burlesque-arrests-lili-st-cyr

OCT1951                Billy Wilkerson quits gambling cold turkey when his son Willie Jnr is born. (39/116)

15OCT1951            “I Love Lucy” premieres on CBS, and runs until 06MAY1957. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_Lucy
By Fall 1952, the show has 34 million regular visitors. (89/365) (93/197)

16OCT1951            Josephine Baker (with her husband and three friends, all white) dares to break the color line and enters the Stork Club just before midnight.

Spring 1951           HUAC, now chaired by Georgia Senator John Wood, returned to Hollywood to resume its investigations. (16/301)

04SEP1951             The inauguration of trans-continental television occurs with the broadcast of President Truman’s speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco.  The treaty would be signed on September 8 by the U.S., Japan, and forty-seven to her nations. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

10NOV1951            The telephone industry made a United States “first” in the New Jersey communities of Englewood and Teaneck with the introduction of what is known now as Direct Distance Dialing. Starting on November 10, 1951, customers of the ENglewood 3, ENglewood 4 and TEaneck 7 exchanges (who could already dial New York City and area) were able to dial 11 cities across the United States, simply by dialing the three-digit area code and the seven digit number (which at the time consisted of the first two letters of the Exchange Name and five digits). The 11 cities and their area codes at that time were: Boston, Massachusetts (617), Chicago, Illinois (312), Cleveland, Ohio (216), Detroit, Michigan (313), Milwaukee, Wisconsin (414), Oakland, California (415), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (215), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (412), Providence, Rhode Island (401), Sacramento, California (916) San Francisco, California (318)

18NOV1951            In the first broadcast of Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now series, Murrow shows the split-screen image of the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and tells viewers it is the first time to see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans simultaneously. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1951.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See_It_Now

13DEC1951            Prominent movie producer Walter Wanger shoots MCA talent agent Jennings Lang and the groin, in a Beverly Hills parking lot directly across from Beverly Hills city hall. (115/p179)

16DEC1951            Airing of the first episode of the TV version of Dragnet. (book 124.)

DEC1951                Heavy smoker Joseph Breen is diagnosed with lung cancer. (77/293)

DEC1951                Issue of the American Legion Magazine features an exhaustive list of all contaminated films currently in release of production. (17/106)

25DEC1951            The Bloody Christmas scandal occurs when a severe beating of seven men was made by officers from the LAPD. The attacks, which left five Latino and two White young men with broken bones and ruptured organs, was only properly investigated after lobbying from the Mexican American community. The internal inquiry by L.A. Chief of Police William H. Parker resulted in eight police officers indicted for the assaults, a further 54 were transferred and 39 were suspended. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Christmas_%281951%29

1951                        In 1951, six of the nation’s eight most popular stars were Abbott and Costello, Hope and Crosby, and Martin and Lewis. (p466/129)

1951                        In 1951, AT+T completed a coast-to-coast TV signal relay link, using microwave and coaxial cable. Now, 95% of the nation’s televisions can tune into the same program at the same time. (p292/113)

1951                        The Mariana Trench is surveyed for the first time by the Royal Navy vessel Challenger, which gave its name to the deepest part of the trench, the Challenger Deep. Using echo sounding, the Challenger II measured a depth of 5,960 fathoms (10,900 metres, 35,760 ft). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Trench

1951                        Having watched Billy Wilkerson gamble away millions of dollars, Tom Steward sues Wilkerson for corporate mismanagement. (39/24)

1951                        Mickey Cohen is jailed for tax evasion. He is sentenced to five years and serves four.                                                               http://www.modestyarbor.com/ellroytimeline.html

1951                        CBS makes the first color telecast, although very few color TVs are in use. (89/403)

1951                            Although patented in 1927, Tupperware does not become a commercial success until Brownie Wise, a Florida housewife, began throwing Tupperware parties in 1951 in order to demonstrate the product and explain the features.

1951                        The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution passes, limiting the presidency to 2 terms. (89/404)

1951                        Sammy Davis Jr. was discovered by Hollywood when he performed with the Will Mastin Trio at Ciro’s Nightclub on Historic Sunset Strip in 1951. (JP)

1951                        “Amazingly real” plastic plants are manufactured on a large scale. (89/404)

1951                        “Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger is published. (80/45)

1951                        Charles Ray has his first RnB hit “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand”. (80/48)

1951                        Color television introduced in the U.S. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1951.html

Summer 1951         In an effort to introduce rhythm and blues to a broader white audience, which was hesitant to embrace “black music,” disc jockey Alan Freed uses the term rock ‘n’ roll to describe R&B. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1951.html In the summer of 1951, Alan Freed inaugurated ‘The Moondog Show’ in Cleveland. His success was immediate. It was as if an entire generation of young white kids in the area had been waiting for someone to catch up with them. (93/466)

EARLY 1950s         Confidential reports that Sammy Davis Jnr is dating Ava Gardner. (88/5

1951                        “Golden Aerial Day” is celebrated in Los Angeles, the installation of a trans-continental microwave system, which, among other things, will allow television sets in Los Angeles and New York to be tuned to the same program. http://www.socalhistory.org/LA%20Chronology0001.html

1951                        John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo were imprisoned and the eight remaining members of the Hollywood Ten were convicted of contempt of Congress. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1950s.html

1951                        UNIVAC 1 is the first mass-produced computer. (23/357)



Top stars: Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, (21/205)

Top 10 Moneymakers 1952

  • Martin and Lewis
  • Gary Cooper
  • John Waybe
  • Bing Crosby
  • Bob Hope
  • James Stewart
  • Doris Day
  • Gregory Peck
  • Susan Hayward
  • Randolph Scott

Top grossing films of 1952

  1. The Greatest Show on Earth
  2. Quo Vadis
  3. Ivanhoe
  4. The Snows of Kilimanjaro
  5. Sailor Beware
  6. tie: The African Queen and Jumping Jacks
  7. tie: High Noon and Son of Paleface
  8. Singin’ in the Rain
  9. The World in His Arms
  10. Invasion U.S.A.


02JAN1952             The TV version of “Dragnet” premiers on NBC and remains on prime time until SEP1970. (80/85)

10JAN1952             Cecil B. DeMille’s circus epic, The Greatest Show on Earth, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_in_film

14JAN1952            “The Today Show” premieres on NBC. (80/292)

Early 1952              When Marilyn Monroe met Joe DiMaggio in early 1952, she was twenty-five, he was thirty-seven. Inner conflicts and constant fears notwithstanding, she was becoming the most famous star in Hollywood history. He had recently retired. (Marilyn Monroe: The Biography by David Spoto, page 202)

20FEB1952            The film The African Queen opens (Capitol Theater in New York City). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_in_film

13MAR1952           Marilyn Monroe’s nude calendar story broken to the public by Aline Mosby of the United Press. http://marilynmonroepages.com/Timeline.html (p6/17)

MAR1952                 Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio go out on a first date. http://marilynmonroepages.com/Timeline.html

27MAR1952            Singin’ in the Rain premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_in_film, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045152/releaseinfo

18APR1952            Marilyn Monroe’s option was, to no one’s surprise, exercised by Fox: she would receive seven hundred fifty dollars a week for the year beginning 11MAY1952— one of the lowest salaries then paid any important star. (Marilyn Monroe: The Biography by David Spoto, page 218)

APR1952                I Love Lucy becomes the first TV show to reach 10 million US households and is seen by at least 30 million viewers. (p475/129)

APR1952                 The FCC lifts its freeze on new television stations allowing television to explode. (95/131)

06APR1952             Howard Hughes temporarily suspends production at RKO at – he claims – ferret out Communists at this studio. (21/212)

08APR1952              The Hollywood Reporter, mistaking writer Garson Kanin for director Elia Kazan, reports that Kanin has told HUAC in closed session that he was once a Communist. They will be forced to print a front-page retraction on April 10.

10APR1952             Elia Kazan appears before the HUAC. (75/351)

15APR1952             Judy Garland brings her show from the Palace Theater in New York to Philharmonic Auditorium in downtown L.A. and is “welcomed home” with an extravagant celebrity turnout and a spectacular party afterwards at Romanoff’s. (108/26)

16MAY1952            Fire at Warner Bros causes $1.5 million worth of damages. (21/212)

JUN1952                 Princess Elizabeth crowned as Queen Elizabeth II. (Chronicle)

19JUL-03AUG        Helsinki Olympic Games. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki_Olympic_Games During these games, the first triple jump in figure skating history is performed by Dick Button, who won one of the four gold medals gained by U.S. athletes. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

12JUN1952            Columbia announces the launch of Screen Gems, the studios television subsidiary. The name is resurrected from Columbia’s short-subject program from years before. It is launched by Ralph Cohn, eldest son of Jack with a $50,000 loan. The company was so successful so quickly that no further injection of cash was necessary. (p288/141)

21JUL1952             Tehachapi Earthquake at 4.52am

21-26JUL1952        At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Gov. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois wins the Democratic nomination for President. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adlai_Stevenson#1952_presidential_bid

AUG1952                In 1942, Frank Ross, a producer at RKO buys the rights to The Robe before the book has even been released, but the movie version gets stuck in pre-production. Ten years later, in August 1952, Darryl F. Zanuck buys the rights, determined to reclaim the religious from Cecil B. DeMille. (p129/45)

30SEP1952             This Is Cinerama’s NY premiere – the first Cinerama film — it was the first real widescreen feature film format, with 3 side-by-side frames shown by three projectors on a huge curved screen at the Broadway Theater where it will run for 122 weeks http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1950s.html (19/472) (21/214)

SEP1952                 20th Century Fox officially cuts its ties to its exhibition business. (95/2)

SEP 1952                Hedda Hopper’s autobiography “From Under my Hat” becomes a best-seller. (45/290)

15SEP1952             Lucy episode in chocolate factory

30SEP1952             The Cinerama widescreen system, invented by Fred Waller, debuts with the film This Is Cinerama. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_in_film

FALL1952               The Abbott and Costello TV show premiers, and is popular but only lasts 52 episodes, finishing in 1953. (80/1)

FALL1952               ‘The Adventures of Superman’ starts on TV and remains in production until 1957. (80/6)

21OCT1952            Ava Gardner, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

OCT1952                “This Is Your Life” premieres on NBC. http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/T/htmlT/thisisyour/thisisyour.htm

1952                        Cinema admissions hit a record low of 58 million a week, down nearly 40 million since 1947 with over 3000 cinemas closed since 1950. (16/308)

01NOV1952            The first U.S. full-strength hydrogen bomb was exploded on an island in the Enewetak atoll, with a yield of 10.4 megatons (over 450 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_bomb

November 1, 1952 – At Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the first hydrogen bomb, named Mike, is exploded.  On January 7, President Harry S. Truman announces the development of the H-Bomb. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

26NOV1952            To avoid losing the battle with television, Hollywood counterattacks with 3-D films. The first feature-length 3-D film released is Bwana Devil, inspiring a flood of other quickly and cheaply made, but sometimes successful, 3-D features. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1950s.html (21/214)

Bwana Devil was made for $10,000 and made $154,000 within the first week. (47/371)

It was made in something called “Natural Vision 3 Dimension”. (108/30)

NOV1952                November 1952 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a newcomer to politics, but popular due to his role in winning World War II as European commander, gains as easy victory over Democratic challenger Adlai E. Stevenson.  The Electoral College vote was 442 to 89. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

NOV1952                Publisher Bob Harrison launches Confidential as a quarterly, with a press run of just 150,000 and a release date of DEC (his magazines always hit the newsstands a month early so that it would seem brand new for two whole months. (17/27) (88/64) The 2nd issue was APR1953, 3rd was JUL1953,

08DEC1952            The first episode of I Love Lucy on Lucy’s pregnancy airs. (93/200)

09DEC1952            Olivia de Havilland, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

DEC1952                 Howard Hughes opens the Jane Russell 3D musical “The French Line” in St Louis without the benefit of the Production Code Administration seal of approval. Days before the film’s premiere, the city’s 473,000 Catholics were warned they faced the “penalty of mortal sin” if they attended. 60,000 tickets were sold in the first five days. (78/244)

DEC1952                                George -to- Christine Jorgenson becomes world’s first public transsexual. (Chronicle)

19DEC1952            Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ opens and becomes Paramount’s number two box office attraction of the decade. The number one picture is DeMille’s ‘The Ten Commandments’. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044672/ (95/203)

1952                        The Power of Positive Thinking is first published in 1952, and stays on the New York Times bestseller list for 186 consecutive weeks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Vincent_Peale (89/86)

EARLY 1950s         By the early 1950s, more money was being spent on fishing tackle or on bowling than at the cinema.
Corporate profits after taxes in the movie business fell from $181 million in 1946 to the industry-wide loses of 1956. Clearly something was wrong and much of 50s film history can be seen as Hollywood’s attempt to find new ways of luring back the crowds. (89/315)

1952                        RKO ownership is briefly taken over by a group known to be involved in organized crime and gambling. (95/30)

1952                        Betty Furness becomes a celebrity of significant proportions for the first time during the 1952 political conventions. “You can be sure if it’s a Westinghouse.” (93/498)

1952                        Katharine Hepburn leaves MGM. (290/107

1952                        In 1952 the TV industry made a profit of $41 million. (93/186)

1952                        By the end of 1952 there were 19 million sets in the U.S., and 1000 new stores selling TV sets opened each month. (93/195)

1952                        Drive-ins multiplied rapidly in the late 1940s and early 1950s. in 1948 there were 820 drive ins; by 1952 there were over 3000. (89/341)

1952                        Howard Hughes fires 1000 staff members whom he suspects of being Communists. (66/34)

1952                        Lillian Hellman appears before the HUAC. (81/3)

1952                        Senator Joseph McCarthy is at the top of his power, and is re-elected to the Senate. (81/3)

1952                        20th Century Fox announces a pay cut of 25 for everyone earning from $500 to $1000 a week, 35% from $1000 to $2000, and 50% for all receiving more than $2000 a week. (65/424)

1952                        CBS Television Cityon Fairfax Ave is built. (61/24)

1952                        Pacific Electric Red Cars left Valley the last time, after 41 years.                                                              http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1952                        A Japanese company called Sony introduce the pocket-sized ‘transistor radio’ which becomes an instant consumer success and contributes the post-WWII recovery of Japan. (80/294(

1952                        During this year, 300,000 cases of polio were reported in the U.S., up from 150,000 in 1950. (80/225)

1952                        The Hollywood Freeway completed.

1952                        Underground garage built beneath Pershing Square.

1952                        Olympic Games in Helsinki. (23/357)

1952                        56 million watch Richard Nixon’s “Checker’s speech” on TV.                                            http://www.infoplease.com/year/1952.html
Richard Nixon makes his Checkers speech on TV and radio, denying that he’s a crook and saving his place as the Republican VP nominee. (89/??)

1952                        Television’s first magazine-format program, the Today Show, debuts on NBC with Dave Garroway hosting. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1952.html

1952                        Paint-by-number kits are introduced by a Detroit firm. (89/405)

1952                        The Palmer Paint Company of Detroit, Michigan, introduces the world to Paint-by-number kits at the New York Toy Show and kicks off a new fad.

1952                        Mr. Potato Head patented. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122999a.htm

1952                        First diet soft drink sold. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122999a.htm

1952                        The Loretta Young Show begins on TV



Top stars: Gary Cooper, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, John Wayne, (21/218)

Top 10 Moneymakers 1953: (95/306)

  • Gary Cooper
  • Martin and Lewis
  • John Wayne
  • Alan Ladd
  • Bing Crosby
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • James Stewart
  • Bob Hope
  • Susan Hayward
  • Randolph Scott

Top grossing films of 1953

  1. The Robe
  2. From Here to Eternity
  3. Shane
  4. How to Marry a Millionaire
  5. Peter Pan (Disney)
  6. Hans Christian Anderson
  7. House of Wax
  8. Mocambo
  9. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  10. Moulin Rouge


JAN1953                 One Magazine – the nation’s first homosexual magazine – begins publication from an office on the 2nd floor at 232 South Hill St in downtown L.A. (60/116-7)

08JAN1953             The headline in today’s Hollywood Reporter reads: “Fox Gets Big Screen Process”. It takes the process used for Cinerama and transforms it into a practical format, calling it CinemaScope. (108/49)

19JAN1953             Episode where Lucy goes to the hospital.

20JAN1953             Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated as President. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1953.html

26JAN1953             Rita Hayworth’s marriage to Prince Aly Khan ends in divorce. (IMDB)

05MAR1953            Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin

19MAR1953            The Academy Awards were televised for the first time on black and white NBC-TV. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1950s.html

…resulting in the largest audience in commercial television history. Hollywood has to admit and succumb to the competing pressures from the burgeoning home entertainment medium. The show was telecast throughout the US and Canada. http://www.filmsite.org/aa52.html

03APR1953             The first issue of TV Guide magazine hits the newsstands on April 3 in 10 cities with a circulation of 1,560,000.

09APR1953             Warner Bros’ House of Wax is the first 3D movie release from a major studio. (21/218) The film’s director, Andre do Toth, didn’t seem like the most logical choice for this particular picture. He was an excellent director, but he only one yee and therefore wasn’t able to see the third dimension. He never fully understood what the commotion was about. (51/381)

APR1953                 Louella Parsons’ 30th anniversary as a columnist is marked by a Masquers Club event at which Eddie Cantor candidly admitted, “I am here for the same reason everybody else is – we were afraid not to come.” (45/284)

25APR1953             The 3D movie “House of Wax” is released by Warner Bros. and is a tremendous success. (95/111)

29APR1953             First Cinerama showing in L.A. at Warner Hollywood (19/472) http://www.fromscripttodvd.com/cinerama_la.htm

29MAY1953            Mt Everest is conquered by Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay. (23/359)

19JUN1953             Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (American communists) are executed in Sing Sing New York after having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges were in relation to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Theirs was the first execution of civilians for espionage in US history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg

26JUN1953             Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

MID 1953                Darryl Zanuck offers Richard Burton $1 million for a 7-year, 7-picture deal with 20th Century Fox. Burton turns down the offer. (45/135)

08JUL1953             The success of “The Moon is Blue”, even without the Production Code’s seal of approval, is beginning to generate questions about the Production Code’s relevance. http://www.pictureshowman.com/timeline_1950_1960.cfm , http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046094/

Also the first condemned studio film to turn a profit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_condemned_by_the_Legion_of_Decency

27JUL1953             An armistice ending the Korean War is signed at Panmunjon. (89/405)
JUL1953                 Fighting ceased in the Korean War.  North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and the Republic of China sign an armistice agreement. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

AUG1953                                MGM and NBC-TV announce a broad cooperative alliance.

02SEP1953             Paramount’s “Roman Holiday” – Audrey Hepburn’s debut – opens. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046250/

16SEP1953             The Robe premieres in New York’s Roxy Theater, grossing $35,000, then a premiere-day and one-day record. It is the first CinemaScope widescreen format movie. (21/220) (45/131) Because of the nature of the deal, the independent producer of ‘The Robe’ made more money on that film than Fox’s Darryl F. Zanuck would make in several years. (95/2) It cost $4.5 million to make and earns $30 million at the box office. (95/118)

29SEP1952             The Danny Thomas Show premiers on ABC TV as “Make Room for Daddy”, and then changes its name to “The Danny Thomas Show” in 1957. (80/71)

30SEP1952             From Here to Eternity premiers in Los Angeles. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045793/releaseinfo

01OCT1953            After a ten year absence, Joan Crawford returns to MGM to make Torch Song which premieres on this date. (296/107)

12OCT1953            At Warner Bros., filming begins on Judy Garland’s A Star Is Born. (108/113)

OCT1953                Audrey Hepburn rises to fame in Roman Holiday. (Chronicle)

19OCT1953            TWA inaugurates the first nonstop air service between L.A. and NY. (21/217)

04NOV1953            How to Marry a Millionaire premieres. http://marilynmonroepages.com/Timeline.html

Calamity Jane premieres http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045591/

During early 1954, music from this film reigned supreme in “Billboard.” Number one among the singles was a Doris Day trademark, the Oscar-winning, tender ballad, “Secret Love” (music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster). Also, the Day-Howard Keel 10-inch LP of songs from the score, issued by Columbia Records, zoomed to second place amongst the popular albums. Doris Day recorded the song “My Secret Love” in only one take. Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner decided to make “Calamity Jane” after he tried — and failed — to buy the movie rights to “Annie Get Your Gun” as a vehicle for Doris Day. He not only drew on another legendary “wild woman” of the Old West for his heroine, he hired the same male star, Howard Keel, who’d appeared in the film of Annie Get Your Gun (1950).

22DEC1953            Knights of the Round Table – the first MGM movie to be shot in CinemaScope is premiered. It is also the first film in CinemaScope which was not produced by 20th Century-Fox.

30DEC1953            The Wild One starring Marlon Brando is released, convincing millions of Americans that prevailing concerns about juvenile delinquency were not exaggerated. (80/311)

30DEC1953            The first color televisions go on sale. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1950.html

1953                       In 1953, David O. Selznick wrote wrote to Louis B. Mayer, MGM’s recent deposed studio boss that all of Hollywood’s “old companies” were still geared to a business that no longer exists. (p3/129)

1953                        20th Century Fox declares that all of its films would henceforth be in color and CinemaScope. (95/109)

1952                        Universal Pictures is bought by Decca Records. (95/205)

1953                        Monogram Studios changes its name to Allied Artists. (95/24)

1953                        Having started out in 1951 by marketing frozen pot pies, the Swanson brothers in Omaha, NE start marketing complete frozen dinners in sealed aluminum trays. They are bought out by Campbell Soups in 1955 by which time they are selling 25 million meals a year. (80/288)

1953                        Frank Sennes takes over the old Earl Carroll Theater and after an extensive remodel, transforms it into the highly popular and successful Moulin Rouge with seating capacity for 1200 people making it the largest theater-restaurant in the world. (14/220)

1949 to 1953           Between 1949 and 1953 the yearly distribution of Bibles rose 140% reaching the incredible figure of nearly 10 million Bibles a year by 1953. (89/86)

1953                        After a failed acting career as “Martin Fuss” (which he gave up on after a director told him he had only three facial expressions: “Blank, blanker, and blankest”, Ross Hunter signs on with Universal as a producer. (45/264)

1953                        The Hollywood Freeway is dedicated at the Cahuenga Pass. Although http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php says that this happened in 1954.

1953                        The Pacific Electric Railway cedes control of its bus and red car lines to Metropolitan Coach Lines                http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01h.htm

1953                        Bermuda shorts for men become popular. (23/359)

1953                        Confidential runs a story about how the big tobacco companies are lying to the public about how their product. (45/20)

Fall 1953                 Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. (23/361)

What Kinsey found, after studying 12,000 people, was that “males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual.” Rather, there is a continuum of sexual tendencies among men, from those who are exclusively heterosexual to those who are exclusively homosexual. Few men warrant being placed at either extreme, and most fall somewhere in between. At least 37% of the male population has had some homosexual experience between adolescence and old age, Kinsey said. “This is more that one male in three that one might meet as he passes along a city street. (34/101)

1953                        Hugh Hefner founds Playboy. (23/358) Playboy magazine hits newsstands. A nude Marilyn Monroe graces the cover. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1953.html (88/17)

1953                        Joseph McCarthy’s hearings into army subversion.

Go to next TIMELINE page – 1954 to 1973 →

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