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Cost of Living 1955How Much things cost in 1955
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 0.28%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.5%
Average Cost of new house $10.950.00 Average Monthly Rent $87.00 Average Yearly Wages $4.130.00 Minimum Hourly Rate $1.00 Average Cost of a new car $1,900.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas 23 cents Ladies Swim Suits $12.95 Black and White TV $99.95
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 2,064
| Part of our 1950s Toys Selection of 250 Fifties Toys |
| From Fifties Fashion Section |
| From Our Fifties Furniture Page |
| From Our Fifties Electrical |
What Events Happened in 1955Iran
- US military intervention in Iran
- Hurricane Diane hits the northeast United States, killing 200 and causing over $1 billion in damage
- Great Britain declares State of Emergency due to National Rail Strike
- The first Commercial TV Station with advertisements starts in London, England
- The USS Nautilus becomes the first operational nuclear powered submarine when it casts off on its first true voyage in January.
The USS Nautilus submarine was put to sea for the first time on January 17th of 1955. The USS Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. It was authorized for construction in 1951 by the United States Congress and commissioned into service for the United States Navy while it neared completion in 1954. As it made its first real voyage in January of 1955, Commander Eugene Wilkinson relayed the historic message of “Underway On Nuclear Power.” The USS Nautilus continued operating until it was decommissioned in March of 1980 and during its time in service it impressively broke many submarine records and completed several important research and naval missions.
- Jonas Salk's polio vaccine is declared safe and effective in April.
In April of 1955, it was announced to the world that Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was determined to be safe and highly effective in preventing the disease. Salk had started to develop the vaccine in 1952 and the trials began in 1954. By 1957, the vaccine was more widely available and the number of new cases of polio had dramatically declined. In 1962, a new, more effective oral polio vaccination was created by Albert Sabin and quickly replaced Salk’s vaccine. The creation of these vaccines nearly eradicated the formerly rampant illness and now in most developed countries there are only a handful of cases each year.
- "The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts on ABC.
In October of 1955 the original Mickey Mouse Club television program made its debut on ABC. The show was billed as a variety show for children and would feature cartoons, educational segments and serials like “The Hardy Boys” and “Spin and Marty.” The show also featured child actors as “Mouseketeers” who would perform in musical and dance numbers as well as the other segments. The original run of the Mickey Mouse Club lasted four seasons until it was canceled in 1959 and would feature a rotation of 39 different “Mouseketeers.”
- British Newspapers Not Printed for 1 month due to strike in Fleet Street By Maintenance Workers
- Clement Attlee who oversaw the creation of the British Welfare System resigns as leader of the Labour Party
- Middle Eastern nations and the United Kingdom form a cooperative pact similar to NATO.
In February of 1955 the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) is formed after the Baghdad Pact is agreed upon by Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the United Kingdom. It was also known as the Middle East Treaty Organization and its purpose was to created a structure similar to NATO in which the participating countries would agree to protect each other, cooperate on trade and military issues, and agree to not interfere in each other’s affairs. The organization was largely unsuccessful and in 1959 Iraq left the pact. The United States had limited involvement in the alliance but eventually joined the military committee. The pact was used as an anti-Soviet alliance during the Cold War but did not make much of a difference on the USSR’s influence on the Middle East. The Baghdad Pact officially ended in 1979.
- Princess Margaret announces she will not marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend.
- The St. Lawrence Seaway opens to Ocean Vessels from Montreal to US ports on the Great Lakes
- The Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact on May 14th integrating the military, economic and cultural policy between the eight Communist nations.
On May 14th of 1955 the Soviet Union and seven of its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact in Poland. The seven Soviet satellites that took part in the deal with the Soviet Union included Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. The Warsaw Pact treaty set up a mutual defense agreement between the eight members and was created as a response to the Western formation of NATO and their inclusion of West Germany during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact remained intact with six of the original eight members until 1991 when the Soviet Union fell apart and was dissolved.
- The Broadway musical "Peter Pan" was broadcast live on television.
The Broadway musical “Peter Pan” was broadcast live on NBC on March 7th of 1955. The occasion marked the first time a stage musical was performed on television in almost the exact same way it was performed on stage. The live performance featured most of the original Broadway cast, including Peter Pan portrayer Mary Martin, and it aired only a few days after the show’s run on Broadway ended. It was shown as a part of a show called “Producer’s Showcase” and drew in 65 million viewers, the largest single episode television audience in history at that time. Actress Mary Martin also won an Emmy for her performance in the live television production of Peter Pan.
- "The $64,000 Question" the popular US television game show starts.
In June of 1955 the popular game show “The $64,000 Question” debuted on CBS. Based on the radio quiz show “Take It or Leave It,” it was created by Louis G. Cowan who had also created several popular radio quiz shows like “Quiz Kids.” Contestants on the game show boasted specialized knowledge in specific areas of expertise such as spelling or Shakespeare. The suspenseful format of the show meant that they would compete week to week building up their winnings until they reached the final round. The show became extremely popular but the success was relatively short-lived and it ended in 1958 when it was revealed that several popular game shows had been rigged.
- The popular Western show "Gunsmoke" debuts on television.
The classic television show “Gunsmoke” made its debut on CBS during September of 1955. The popular Western starred James Arness in the lead role of “Marshal Matt Dillon” and plot lines focused on him keeping order in Dodge City, Kansas during the Old West era. The television show was adapted from a popular radio serial with the same name that ran from 1952 to 1961. Gunsmoke, the TV show, became immensely popular and ran for twenty seasons until 1975, making it the longest running scripted show from the United States during the 20th century. The show featured several other talented actors including Amanda Blake, Burt Reynolds, Milburn Stone, and Dennis Weaver.
- Great Britain effected by worst winter storms causing roads, rail and problems with food and medical supplies
- Disneyland opens in California on July 17th
- 'In God We Trust' is added to all US paper currency
- United Airlines Flight 629 is blown up shortly after takeoff over Longmont, Colorado
- First Guinness Book of World Records Published.
The very first edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published on August 27th of 1955 in the United Kingdom. The United States version was not released until the next year. The chairman of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, came up with the idea for the records book in 1951 and by 1954 he had enlisted Norris and Ross McWhirter to create the records book. The book was a huge hit and a best-seller almost immediately after its release as it became the go-to Christmas gift.
- Disneyland opens in California on July 17th.
The Disneyland resort and theme park, located in Anaheim, California, opened its doors in July of 1955. Walt Disney grew his animation company throughout the 1930s and by the early 1950s he had started to plan the construction of a theme park to be built on 160 acres of land near Los Angeles. Construction on the park began in 1954 and by July of 1955 it was nearly complete. An invite-only opening was held on July 17th, but thousands more people than expected showed up to the event with counterfeit tickets. Although Disneyland was not ready for the full opening on that day, the park recovered and was officially opened to the public in the following days.
- Ruth Ellis the last woman in England to be executed is hung at Holloway Prison
- 77 Die in a disaster at 24hr Le Mans Race
- The New Synthetic Material Polyurethane used in more and more everyday goods
- Rosa Parks arrest in Montgomery Alabama sets the American Civil Rights Movement in Motion
- The United States begins its involvement in the Vietnam conflict.
The United States involvement in the Vietnam Conflict or Second Indochina War officially began on the first of November in 1955 with the arrival of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (M.A.A.G.) in South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese military after the French left the conflict. While the date of the true beginning of the Vietnam War could be debated as earlier or later, November 1, 1955 is the earliest date that the United States government uses to qualify a member of the military as being a veteran of the Vietnam War. The war in Vietnam would last until April 30, 1975 when the last of the U.S. military left the embassy in Saigon, making the total length of the United States’ involvement in the war nearly twenty years.
- Emmett Till, a black fourteen year old teenager is murdered for not showing respect to a white woman in Money, Miss.
- West Germany Joins NATO
- The Military seizes control in Argentina forcing Juan Peron to flee
- Rosa Parks, an African-American bus passenger, is arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama.
1. Claudette Colvin (15) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on March 2, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama.
2. Aurelia Browder (37) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on April 19, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama.
3. Mary Louise Smith (18) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws on October 21, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin, Browder, and Smith were all arrested for refusing to give up their seats to white passengers.
4. Rosa Parks (42) refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger on December 1, 1955. Parks is arrested for violation Alabama segregation laws by refusing to follow orders from the bus driver. Parks becomes a figurehead for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement due to her image as a respected member of the community and her involvement with the NAACP.
5. The Montgomery Bus Boycott by African-American citizens began in December of 1955 after Parks is convicted. The boycott is led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
6. The NAACP files the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit testing the legality of Alabama bus segregation on February 1, 1956. Colvin, Browder, and Smith are all plaintiffs in the case which is directed against the Mayor of Montgomery, W.A. Gayle.
7. During April of 1956 bus companies begin implementing desegregation in several Southern cities.
8. A Federal District Court rules that bus segregation violates the Fourteenth Amendment in the Browder v. Gayle case on June 5, 1956.
9. The US Supreme Court upholds the District Court decision with no dissenting opinion on November 13, 1956. This essentially dismantles the "Separate but Equal" racial segregation standard set by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case.
10. In December of 1956 the US Supreme Court rejects further appeals of the Browder case.
11. The Montgomery Bus Boycott ends on December 21, 1956 after the Browder ruling takes effect. African-American citizens of Montgomery return to the buses and desegregate the bus service.
12. It is also important to note that the desegregation efforts were met with resistance from many white citizens who would retaliate, often violently, against black passengers during the following years. Many of the leaders of the boycott movement were targeted and many random attacks were also reported on the buses or at the bus stops.
- First pocket transistor radios available
- Fish Fingers are marketed by Bird's Eye
- The first Atomically generated power is used in the US
Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Atomic Clock England
Hovercraft England by Christopher Cockerell
Lego Gotfried Kirk Christiansen
Velcro Switzerland by George De Mestral
Popular Culture 1955
- Ray Kroc starts the McDonald's fast food restaurant chain.
- First riot at an Elvis Presley concert takes place in Jacksonville, FL
- "The $64,000 Question" the popular US television game show starts
- James Dean’s stars in the movie East of Eden
- James Dean killed in car accident near Cholame, California
- First Guinness Book of World Records Published
- "The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts on ABC
- The Quatermass Xperiment
- Rebel without a Cause
- To Catch A Thief
- The Quatermass Xperiment
- The seven year itch
- Elvis Presley
- Bill Haley and the Comets " Rock Around The Clock"
- Chuck Berry
- Fats Domino.
- The Platters
Check out our Television Programmes From The 50s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.
Born This YearMata Amritanandamayi September 27th
Whoopi Goldberg November 13th
Olga Korbut May 16th
Steve Jobs February 24th
Bill Gates October 28th
Major World Political LeadersAustralia Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies Brazil President Café Filho Till 9 November
Brazil President Carlos Luz From 9 November
Brazil President Carlos Luz Till 11 November
Brazil President Nereu Ramos From 11 November
Canada Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent
China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Mao Zedong
France President René Coty
Germany Chancellor Konrad Adenauer
India Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru
Italy Prime Minister Mario Scelba Till 2 July
Italy Prime Minister Antonio Segni From 6 July
Japan Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama Mexico President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines Russia / Soviet Union
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev South Africa Prime Minister Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower United Kingdom Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill Till 7 April
United Kingdom Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden From 7 April
British General Election 1955 Anthony Eden ( Conservative )defeats Clement Attlee ( Labour ) and Clement Davies ( Liberal )