Return to home1953 Jan 1,
Country singer Hank Williams Sr. (29) died of a drug and alcohol
overdose while enroute to a concert date in Canton, Ohio. In 1998
Mercury Records released "The Complete Hank Williams," with 225
(AP, 1/1/98)(WSJ, 10/30/98, p.W9A)
1953 Jan 3, Frances Bolton and
her son, Oliver from Ohio, became the first mother-son combination
to serve at the same time in the United States Congress.
(440 Int'l. 1/3/99)
1953 Jan 5, In South Korea the
Changgyeong ferry sank as it was cruising from Yeosu to Busan.
1953 Jan 6, Jazz trumpeter
Dizzy Gillespie threw a party for his wife Lorraine at Snookie’s in
Manhattan. His trumpet’s bell was bent upward in an accident, but he
liked the sound and had a special trumpet made with a raised bell.
(SFEC, 7/27/97, DB p.34)
1953 Jan 7, President Truman
announced in his State of the Union address that the United States
had developed a hydrogen bomb.
1953 Jan 8, An FBI report
prepared for the attorney general said that Ethel Rosenberg was
"cognizant" of her husband’s activity, though "uncooperative." A
1997 revelation by a retired KGB officer stated that Julius helped
to organize a spy ring but wasn’t directly involved in stealing
atomic secrets and that his wife was not a spy.
(WSJ, 10/18/96, p.A15)(WSJ, 3/17/97, p.A1)
1953 Jan 14, In Washington DC
the Pennsylvania Railroad's Federal, the overnight train from
Boston, crashed into the Union Station. Remarkably, no one was
1953 Jan 14, Josip Broz Tito
was elected president of Yugoslavia by the country’s Parliament.
1953 Jan 15, The First Asian
Socialist Conference agreed on alliances with the West and land for
1953 Jan 17, GM introduced the
first American sports car, the two-seater Corvette at the annual NYC
Motorama Show at the Waldorf-Astoria. It was not made available for
sale to the public until June 30th.
1953 Jan 17, In Egypt all
political parties were dissolved and banned. The ban continued to
1953 Jan 20, In the US Dwight
D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as president. He succeeded Harry S.
Truman. TV coverage sent the event to 21 million sets.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(SFC, 1/17/03, p.E8)
1953 Jan 22, The Arthur Miller
drama "The Crucible" opened on Broadway. It was about the 1692 Salem
witch trials and dealt a blow to the McCarthy witch hunts.
(TL, 1988, p.114)(SFC, 8/1/97, p.C14)(AP,
1953 Jan 24, [Karl R] Gerd von
Rundstedt (77), gen-field marshal (Normandy), died.
1953 Jan 28, J. Fred Muggs (the
chimp) joined NBC's "Today Show."
1953 Jan 30, President Dwight
Eisenhower announced that he would pull the Seventh Fleet out of
Formosa to permit the Nationalists to attack Communist China.
1953 Jan 31-1953 Feb 1, A
powerful storm breached sea dikes in the south of the Netherlands,
killing more than 1,800 people and cementing a deep resolve among
the Dutch that their ancient enemy, water, would never kill again.
307 people died in eastern England.
1953 Jan, Pres. Eisenhower
selected Charlie Wilson, the president of General Motors, as
Secretary of Defense. During his confirmation hearing Wilson made
his famous statement: “…what was good for our country was good for
General Motors, and vice versa."
(SSFC, 1/7/07, p.E6)
1953 Jan, Sen. Wayne Morse of
Oregon left the Republican Party to protest its domination by
conservatives. He continued to vote for a GOP majority leader to
honor his election as a Republican.
(WSJ, 5/25/01, p.A14)
1953 Jan, In Russia leaders of
the alleged Jewish "Doctor’s Plot" were arrested. They were accused
of conspiring to murder the Soviet leadership. In 2003 Jonathan
Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov authored "Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot
Against the Jewish Doctors."
(WSJ, 5/8/01, p.A24)(Econ, 7/26/03, p.78)
1953 Feb 1, CBS-TV debuted
"Private Secretary", starring Ann Sothern, on this day. Ann played
Susie McNamera, private secretary to NY talent agent, Peter Sands
(played by Don Porter). The show ran during the regular TV seasons
on CBS, and last show was September 10, 1957. It ran on NBC-TV in
the summers of 1953 and 1954.
(SFC, 2/21/97, p.A26)(440 Int'l, 2/1/1999)
1953 Feb 1, "You Are There"
with Walter Cronkite premiered on CBS television.
1953 Feb 3, J. Fred Muggs, a
chimp, became a regular on NBC's Today Show.
1953 Feb 5, "Peter Pan" by Walt
Disney opened at Roxy Theater, NYC. [see Feb 11]
1953 Feb 6, US controls on
wages and some consumer goods were lifted.
1953 Feb 8, Mary Steenburgen,
actress (Parenthood, Time After Time), was born in Newport, Ark.
1953 Feb 9, "Adventures of
Superman" TV series premiered in syndication.
1953 Feb 9, General Walter
Bedell Smith, USA, ended term as 4th director of CIA. Allen W.
Dulles, became acting director of CIA and served to 1961.
(MC, 2/9/02)(SFC, 5/29/97, p.A4)
1953 Feb 9, The French
destroyed six Viet Minh war factories hidden in the jungles of
1953 Feb 11, Walt Disney’s
"Peter Pan" premiered. [See Feb 5]
1953 Feb 11, President
Eisenhower refused a clemency appeal for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1953 Feb 12, An explosion at
the Hercules Powder Co. near Pinole, Ca., killed 12 employees.
(SFC, 11/21/03, p.E4)
1953 Feb 12, The Soviets broke
off diplomatic relations with Israel after the bombing of Soviet
1953 Feb 13, Pope Pius XII
asked the U.S. to grant clemency to convicted spies Ethel and Julius
1953 Feb 15, Tenley Albright
(b. June 18, 1935) became the first American to win the women’s
world figure skating championship at a competition in Davos,
1953 Feb 17, Baseball star and
pilot Ted Williams was uninjured as his plane was shot down in
1953 Feb 18, "Bwana Devil," the
movie that heralded the 3D fad of the 1950s, opened in New York
1953 Feb 19, William Inge's
"Picnic," premiered in NYC.
1953 Feb 19, Georgia approved
the 1st US literature censorship board.
1953 Feb 20, Riccardo Chailly,
conductor (West Berlin Symph Orch), was born in Milan, Italy.
1953 Feb 20, US Court of
Appeals ruled that Organized Baseball is a sport & not a
business, affirming the 25-year-old Supreme Court ruling.
1953 Feb 24, Karl R.G. von
Rundstedt (77), German general and field marshal at Ardennes, died.
1953 Feb 25, General de Gaulle
condemned the European Defense Community.
1953 Feb 26, Allen W. Dulles
was promoted from deputy to 5th director of CIA.
1953 Feb 27, F-84 Thunderjets
raided North Korean base on Yalu River. A year after leaving West
Point, Lt. Joe Kingston was en route to Korea, where he, like a lot
of others, found himself retreating and advancing in a single day.
1953 Feb 28, Francis Crick
(d.2004) and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA-molecule.
Watson and Crick managed to describe the structure of DNA as a
double helix consisting of two long strings coiled around one
another. About 100,000 genes, short sections of DNA, tell the cells
how to build proteins, the building blocks of life. Rosalind
Franklin made the 1st x-ray image that revealed the double helix
structure of DNA. In 2002 Brenda Maddox authored "Rosalind Franklin:
The Dark Lady of DNA." In 2003 Watson co-authored "DNA: The Secret
of Life." [see Apr 25, Sep 20, 1953]
(V.D.-H.K.p.330)(TL, 1988, p.114)(Wired, 1/97,
p.161)(SSFC, 11/10/02, p.M2)(WSJ, 3/28/03, p.W8)(AP, 2/28/04)
1953 Feb 28, Greece, Turkey and
Yugoslavia signed a 5-year defense pact in Ankara.
1953 Feb 28, Stalin met with
Beria, Bulganin, Khrushchev and Malenkov.
1953 Mar 3, Canadian Comet
crashed at Karachi, 11 killed.
1953 Mar 5, Russian Premier
Joseph Stalin died at age 73 after 29 years in power. After his
death the Chechens were allowed to return home. In 1973 Prof. Adam
B. Ulam of Harvard Univ. authored "Stalin: The Man and His Era." In
2003 Simon Sebag Montefiore authored "Stalin : The court of the Red
Tsar." In 2004 Robert Service authored “Stalin: A Biography."
(AP, 3/5/98)(SFC, 4/1/00, p.A26)(Econ, 7/26/03,
p.78)(Econ, 1/8/05, p.74)
1953 Mar 5, Sergei Prokofiev
(61), Russian composer (Peter and the wolf), died in Moscow.
1953 Mar 6, Georgi Malenkov
(b.1902) took over as premier of the USSR. Leadership was actually
in the hands of a collective presidium that included Lavrenti P.
Beria (b.1899), Vyacheslav Molotov (b.1890), Nikolai A. Bulganin
(b.1895) and Lazar M. Kaganovich (b.1893).
(HN, 3/6/98)(WUD, 1994, p.1684)
1953 Mar 8, Census indicated
239,000 farmers gave up farming in last 2 years.
1953 Mar 9, U.S. vs. Reynolds
was a landmark ruling that formally established the government's
"state secrets" privilege, a privilege that has enabled federal
agencies to conceal conduct, withhold documents and block
troublesome civil litigation, including suits by whistle-blowers and
possible victims of discrimination. It provided a fundamental basis
for much of the Bush administration's response to the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, including the USA Patriot Act and the handling of
terrorist suspects. [See Oct 6, 1948]
1953 Mar 9, Josef Stalin was
buried in Moscow.
1953 Mar 10, North Korean
gunners at Wonsan fired on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by
firing 998 rounds at the enemy position.
1953 Mar 10, Charles Gordon
Curtis (92), inventor (Curtis-steam turbine), died.
1953 Mar 11, F.M. Adams became
the 1st US commissioned woman army doctor.
1953 Mar 11, An American B-47
accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on South Carolina, however the
bomb did not go off due to 6 safety catches.
(HN, 3/11/98)(MC, 3/11/02)
1953 Mar 18, Margaret L.
Augustine, project manager for Biosphere 2, was born in Buffalo, NY.
1953 Mar 18, The Braves
baseball team announced that they were moving from Boston to
1953 Mar 19, Tennessee
Williams' "Camino Real," premiered in NYC.
1953 Mar 19, The Academy Awards
ceremony was televised for the first time; "The Greatest Show on
Earth" was named best picture of 1952. Gary Cooper & Shirley
Booth won for best actor and actress.
Mar 20, In the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev became the head of a
five-man group called the Secretariat, although for all intents and
purposes, he is in a leadership role that will gradually push
Malenkov aside. In September Khrushchev was officially given the
title of First Secretary of the Communist Party.
1953 Mar 23, Raoul Dufy, French
fauve painter, died.
(WSJ, 5/4/99, p.A20)(MC, 3/23/02)
1953 Mar 24, Mary (85), queen
of Great Britain and North Ireland, died.
1953 Mar 25, The USS Missouri
fired on targets at Kojo, North Korea, the last time her guns fire
until the Persian Gulf War of 1992.
1953 Mar 26, Eisenhower offered
increased aid in Vietnam to France.
1953 Mar 26, Dr. Jonas Salk of
the University of Pittsburgh announced that a vaccine against polio
had been successfully tested in a small group of adults and
children. By April 1955, the vaccine had undergone further testing
and gained federal approval for public use. Salk’s polio vaccine was
so successful that by 1961 the incidence of polio had decreased by
95 percent. Dr. Joseph Melnick (d.2001 at 86) was among the first to
have discovered that the polio virus belonged to the larger
enterovirus group and were chiefly transmitted by fecal
(HNPD, 3/26/99)(SFC, 1/23/01, p.C2)
1953 Mar 27, Charles Bohlen was
named the U.S. ambassador to the USSR
1953 Mar 28, In the 7th Tony
Awards: Crucible and Wonderful Town won.
1953 Mar 28, Jim Thorpe
(b.1887), native American decathlon athlete (Olympics-gold-1912),
died in Lomita, California.
1953 Mar 30, Einstein announced
a revised unified field theory.
1953 Mar 31, Department of
Health, Education and Welfare was established.
1953 Mar 31, UN Security
Council nominated Dag Hammarskjöld secretary-general.
1953 Mar, The US CIA’s Tehran
station reported that an Iranian general had approached the US
embassy for support in an army-led coup. Based on this information
Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, approved $1 million to be used to
help bring about the fall of Prime Minister Mossadegh.
(SFEC, 4/16/00, p.A18)
1953 Apr 1, Barry Sonnenfeld,
director (When Harry Met Sally, Big), was born.
1953 Apr 2, Jean Epstein (56),
French director (Vive la Vie), died.
1953 Apr 3, Walter Annenberg of
Philadelphia began a national TV Guide. His father had published
Radio Guide and he bought TV Forecast in Chicago and local
television guides in New York , Philadelphia and Washington to begin
his operation. A picture of the first cover featured Lucy and Desi
Arnaz’ baby (I Love Lucy).
1953 Apr 7, The U.N. General
Assembly elected Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) as Secretary-General
of the UN.
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(AP, 4/7/97)
1953 Apr 8, A Federal Grand
Jury in SF indicted Hugh Bryson, pres. of the National Union of
Marine Cooks and Stewards, on charges that he falsely claimed that
he was not a communist in a Taft-Hartley affidavit.
(SFC, 4/4/03, p.E6)
1953 Apr 8, Jomo Kenyatta
(1891-1978), one of modern Africa's earliest nationalist leaders,
was convicted by Kenya's British rulers for leading the Mau Mau
Rebellion against the white settlers of his country. Along with five
other Mau Mau leaders, he was subsequently sentenced to seven years'
1953 Apr 10, The first 3-D
horror movie "House of Wax," produced by Warner Bros. and starring
Vincent Price, premiered in New York City. It was directed by Andre
de Toth (d.2002 at 89).
(AP, 4/9/97)(HN, 4/10/98)(SFC, 11/1/02, p.A28)
1953 Apr 11, Oveta Culp Hobby
became the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower had named her head of the Federal
Security Agency, which, later that year, was elevated to a Cabinet
position and renamed the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare, with Hobby becoming its first Secretary on April 11. She
held the Cabinet position until 1955. Hobby had led the War
Department's Women's Interest Section, served as Director of the
Women's Army Corps during WWII and was awarded the Distinguished
(AP, 4/11/97)(HNQ, 8/18/99)
1953 Apr 14, Viet Minh invaded
Laos with 40,000 troops in their war against French colonial forces.
1953 Apr 17, Mickey Mantle hit
a home run in Washington's Griffith Stadium off the Senator's Chuck
Stobbs that was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as
measuring 565 feet. The distance was later said to have been padded.
(WSJ, 7/9/03, p.A1)
1953 Apr 20, Operation Little
Switch began in Korea, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of
1953 Apr 24, British statesman
Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham
(AP, 4/24/97)(HN, 4/24/98)
1953 Apr 25, The magazine
Nature published an article by biologists Francis Crick and James
Watson, describing the "double helix" of DNA.
1953 Apr 26, In Korea two U.S.
Air Force B-29s dropped leaflets behind enemy lines, offering a
$50,000 reward and political asylum to any pilot delivering an
intact MiG-15 to American forces for study.
1953 Apr 27, President Dwight
D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements
for Government Employment. The order listed "sexual perversion" as a
condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment
to potential applicants. Homosexuality, moral perversion, and
communism were categorized as national security threats; the issue
of homosexual federal workers had become a dire federal personnel
1953 Apr 27, US General Mark W.
Clark issued Operation Moolah to coincide with Operation Little
Switch, an exchange of sick and wounded POWs between the Communist
and UN forces in North and South Korea. The US set up Operation
Moolah to award $100,000 to the first pilot to defect in a Russian
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Moolah)(Econ, 5/16/15, p.79)
1953 Apr 28, French troops
evacuated northern Laos.
1953 Apr, In British Guyana Dr.
Cheddi B. Jagan was elected chief minister.
(SFC, 3/7/97, p.A24)
1953 May 2, Prince Hussein
became King Hussein (17) as he inherited the royal title from his
(SFC, 1/23/99, p.A10)(SFC, 2/6/99, p.A13)
1953 May 4, Pulitzer prize was
awarded to E. Hemingway (Old Man & The Sea).
1953 May 7, "Can Can" opened at
Shubert Theater in NYC for 892 performances.
1953 May 11, An F5 tornado hit
downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114 people with 597 injured. Damages
were estimated at $200 million.
(SSFC, 5/11/03, Par p.11)(SFC, 5/11/09, p.D8)
1953 May 11, Winston Churchill
criticized the domino theory of John Foster Dulles.
1953 May 16, Django Reinhardt
(b.1910), Gypsy jazz guitarist, died in France. In 2004 Michael
Dregni authored “Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend."
1953 May 18, Jacqueline Cochran
became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a
North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.
1953 May 23, Schools 1st used
1953 May 25, Jane Priest,
Prince Charles' lover, was born in Perth, Australia.
1953 May 25, Rich Alves, singer
(Pirates of the Mississippi-Fred Jake), was born in
1953 May 25, 1st non-commercial
educational television station began in Houston, TX.
1953 May 25, The first atomic
cannon was fired at Frenchman Flat, Nevada.
(HN, 5/25/98)(SC, 5/25/02)
1953 May 28, Arto Lindsay,
rocker, actor (Cookie, Desperately Seeking Susan), was born.
1953 May 28, Premier of first
animated 3-D cartoon in Technicolor, "Melody".
1953 May 29, Danny Elfman,
composer (Simpson Show Theme), was born in Los Angeles, CA.
1953 May 29, Rick Henderson,
singer (Mason Dixon-Karen Comes Around), was born in Beaumont, TX.
1953 May 29, Mount Everest was
conquered as Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay, A
Sherpa of Nepal, became the first climbers to reach the summit. The
expedition was led by John Hunt (d.1998 at 88). Tenzing Norgay later
authored the autobiography "Man of Everest."
(AP, 5/29/97)(SFEC, 6/1/97, p.T5)(HN,
5/29/98)(SFEC, 11/8/98, p.A23)(WSJ, 6/4/01, p.A20)
1953 May 30, Jonas Zemaitis
(b.1909), the last Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisan commander, was
captured and transported to Moscow to be interviewed by intelligence
chief Lavrenti Beria. Beria was executed this year. Zemaitis
was executed in 1954.
1953 May 31, V.I. Tatlin
(b.1885), Ukrainian-born painter and sculptor, died in Moscow.
1953 Jun 2, Queen Elizabeth II
of Britain was crowned in Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the
death of her father, King George VI.
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(AP,
1953 Jun 4, An atomic bomb test
explosion took place at Yucca Flats, Nevada, equivalent to 50,000
tons of TNT. This was double the 1945 blast over Hiroshima.
(SFC, 5/30/03, p.E7)
1953 Jun 4, North Koreans
accepted U.N. proposals in all major respects.
1953 Jun 7, Pres. Eisenhower
announced that proposals for a Korean truce are acceptable to the US
and appealed to South Korea to accept terms to stop the war.
(SFC, 6/6/03, p.E2)
1953 Jun 7, The 1st color
network telecast in compatible color was in Boston, Mass.
1953 Jun 8, The Supreme Court
ruled that restaurants in Washington, D.C. could not refuse to serve
(AP, 6/8/97)(HN, 6/8/98)
1953 Jun 8, A killer tornado
hit Flint, Mich. It killed 116 people and injured more than 850 in
Ohio and Michigan.
(SSFC, 5/11/03, Par p.A11)(Hartford Courant,
1953 Jun 9, About 100 people
died when a tornado struck Worcester, Mass. The tornado from the
Midwest roared into Massachusetts. By the time it left, 94 people
were dead, and more than $58 million in property damage occurred. It
was the worst tornado in New England history.
1953 Jun 10, John R. Edwards,
US Senator, was born Seneca, South Carolina. In 2004 he ran as a
Democrat presidential candidate and then agreed to run for the
vice-presidency under Sen. John Kerry.
(SSFC, 2/29/04, p.D2)(SFC, 7/7/04, p.A9)
1953 Jun 13, Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla (1900-1975) began serving president of Colombia and
continued to 1957.
1953 Jun 17, Supreme Court
Justice William O. Douglas stayed the executions of spies Julius
& Ethel Rosenberg scheduled for next day, their 14th wedding
anniversary. They were put to death June 19.
(MC, 6/17/02)(AP, 6/17/03)
1953 Jun 17, The East Germans
threw stones at Russian tanks and were quickly subjugated. Eric
Honecker threatened demonstrators with a "Peking Solution." Soviet
tanks fought thousands of Berlin workers rioting against the East
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(WSJ, 10/18/96, p.A13)(HN,
1953 Jun 18, Egypt was declared
a republic, and the monarchy was abolished, ending the rule of
Muhammad Ali's dynasty. Naguib became the first president and also
prime minister. Nasser became deputy prime minister and minister of
1953 Jun 19, Julius
(b.5/12/1918) and Ethel Rosenberg (b.9/28/1915), convicted of
passing U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II,
were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. The Supreme
Court had vacated a stay granted by Justice William O. Douglas and
President Eisenhower refused to intervene, despite a massive
worldwide campaign to free them. In 1983 Ronald Radosh and Joyce
Milton authored “The Rosenberg File." In 2001 Sam Roberts authored
“The Brother," an account of David Greenglass, the younger brother
of Ethel Rosenberg and star witness against her and Julius. In 2008
Morton Sobell (91), a former Soviet spy who had spent nearly 20
years in Alcatraz, fingered Julius Rosenberg as a fellow Soviet spy,
but not Ethel.
(TL, 1988, p.114)(BEP, 1994)(WSJ, 10/1/01,
p.A22)(WSJ, 9/25/08, p.A19)
1953 Jun 19, Egypt was
proclaimed a republic. Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser became
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1953 Jun 24, John F. Kennedy
and Jacqueline Bouvier announced their engagement.
1953 Jun 24, The 6th annual
World Trade Fair opened in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel with
products imported from 21 nations.
(SFC, 6/20/03, p.E2)
1953 Jun 26, Lavrenti Beria,
Russian vice-premier, interior minister, intelligence chief, was
arrested. [see Jul 10]
1953 Jun 27, Alice McDermott,
writer (That Night, At Weddings and Wakes), was born.
1953 Jun 30, The first Corvette
rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. The brainchild
of designer Harvey J. Earl sold for $3,250. GM made 300 Corvettes in
1953 and moved production to St. Louis for 1954.
1953 Jun, In response to
Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s tactics against alleged
Communists and un-American activities, Republican President
Eisenhower spoke out against "book burners" in June 1953 and
"demagogues thirsty for personal power and public notice" in May
1954. Eisenhower also asserted the right of everybody to meet his
"accuser face to face." [see Nov 23]
(HNQ, 6/18/98)(HNQ, 11/2/99)
1953 Jul 4, Imre Nagy succeeded
Matyas Rkosi as premier of Hungary.
1953 Jul 8, Anna Quindlen,
novelist, was born.
1953 Jul 8, Neill Sheridan
(31), a baseball player for the Pacific Coast League Sacramento
Solons, hit a home run against the SF Seals at Sacramento’s Edmond’s
Field. The ball reportedly flew a record 613.8 feet.
(SSFC, 1/26/14, p.B1)
1953 Jul 9, The 1st helicopter
passenger service began in NYC.
1953 Jul 10, American forces
withdrew from Pork Chop Hill in Korea after heavy fighting.
1953 Jul 10, In San Francisco
The Chronicle newspaper began calling itself “The Voice of the West"
on its editorial pages. It adopted the name for Page One on August
(SSFC, 6/7/09, p.W3)
1953 Jul 10, Pravda reported
that Lavrenti P. Beria, Stalin's ruthless chief of intelligence and
member of the Soviet Presidium (1899-1953), had been ousted and
arrested. [see Jun 26]
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(MC, 7/10/02)
1953 Jul 11, Leon Spinks, world
heavyweight boxing champ (1978) , was born.
1953 Jul 11, "Amos 'n Andy," TV
Comedy, also radio from '29; last aired on CBS.
1953 Jul 13, The 1st
Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, organized by Tom
Patterson, opened with Alec Guiness in Richard III.
(WSJ, 7/18/02, p.D10)
1953 Jul 14, The freighter
Jacob Luckenbach from SF rammed the Matson freighter Hawaiian Pilot
near Point Montara, 17 miles from the Golden Gate. The Luckenbach
sank while the Hawaiian Pilot limped to SF. Oil leaked from the
Luckenback later killed numerous birds. In 2002 a $3.5 million plan
for cleanup was begun. A $19 million cleanup ended in Sep.
(Ind, 3/31/01, 5A)(SFC, 2/5/02, p.A15)(SFC,
5/8/02, p.A22)(SFC, 10/1/02, p.A13)
1953 Jul 14, There was a
Communist offensive in Korea.
1953 Jul 15, Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, president of Haiti (1991, 1994-1995 ), was born.
1953 Jul 15, Eugenio Balzan
(b.1874), Italian journalist, died in Lugano. In 1933 he moved to
Switzerland, living in Zurich and Lugano, where he invested his
fortune with success. He left a substantial inheritance to his
daughter Angela Lina Balzan (1892–1956), who at the time was
suffering an incurable disease. Before her death, she left
instructions for a foundation, the Balzan Prize Foundation. Since
then it has two headquarters, the Prize administered from Milan, the
Fund from Zurich.
1953 Jul 16, Joseph Hilaire
Pierre Belloc (82), author (Path to Rome), died.
1953 Jul 17, Pres.
Eisenhower proclaimed Captive Nations Week following US Senate
resolution on July 6 and US House resolution on July 8. It aimed at
raising public awareness of the oppression of nations under the
control of Communist and other non-democratic governments. It became
public law in 1959.
1953 Jul 20, USSR and Israel
recovered diplomatic relations.
1953 Jul 25, A truce ended the
Korean War. S.L.A. Marshall later authored "The River and the
Gauntlet," a description of the slaughter the war brought to both
sides. Clay Blair later authored "Forgotten War," and Roy Appelman
wrote "East of Chosin" and "Disaster in Korea."
(SFEC, 5/16/99, Z1 p.4)(WSJ, 8/6/99, p.W7)
1953 Jul 25, NYC transit fare
rose from 10 to 15 cents and 1st use of subway tokens began.
1953 Jul 26, A band of
anti-Batistas revolted against Pres. Fulgencio Batista with an
unsuccessful attack on the Moncada army barracks in eastern Cuba.
Castro was among the moncadistas and ousted Batista six years later.
Castro was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines after the attack at
(AP, 7/26/97)(SFEC, 8/23/98, BR p.5)(WSJ,
1953 Jul 27,
An armistice ending fighting in the three-year Korean War was signed
by representatives of the United Nations, Korea and China in
Panmunjom. Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison represented the UN and Gen.
Nam Il represented North Korea. General Mark Clark, commander of the
UN forces, added his signature to the armistice agreement. Armistice
negotiations had begun in July 1951, when the outlook for reunifying
North and South Korea became bleak, and fighting continued. The
cease-fire provided for an exchange of prisoners of war and
established a 2 ½ mile wide demilitarized zone and a demarcation
line at the 38th parallel. Not all aspects of the agreement,
however, were finalized—the UN Commission for the Unification and
Rehabilitation of Korea was not suspended until 1977. N. Korea
measures 46,540 sq. miles, its population in 1974 was ~15 million
people. 33,651 Americans had died and 8,000 were still missing in
(NG, 8/74, p.255)(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(WSJ,
6/24/96, C1)(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(HNPD, 7/27/98)(HN, 7/27/98)(SFEC,
5/9/99, p.T10)(SFEC, 6/25/00, Par p.5)(SFC, 7/25/03, p.E6)
1953 Jul 27, Vatican disallowed
priests holiday work in factories.
1953 Jul 29, Ken Burns, epic
documentary maker (Civil War, Baseball), was born.
1953 Jul 31, Sen. Robert A.
Taft of Ohio (63), known as "Mr. Republican," died in New York. His
successor was named by a Democratic governor.
(AP, 7/31/97)(WSJ, 5/25/01, p.A14)
1953 Aug 1, Fidel Castro was
arrested in Cuba. [see Jul 26]
1953 Aug 3, Ian Bairnson,
guitarist (Alan Parsons Project, Pilot), was born in Shetland Isles,
1953 Aug 3, Pres. Eisenhower
created the US Information Agency to communicate with foreign
nations and counter Soviet propaganda. "The USIA explains and
supports American foreign policy and promotes US national interests
through a wide range of overseas information programs." Theodore
Streibert served as its first director. The agency was dissolved in
1999. In 2008 Nicholas J. Cull authored “The Cold War and the United
States Information Agency."
1953 Aug 3, Frank Blair became
the news anchor of the Today Show.
1953 Aug 4, Black families
moved into the Trumbull Park housing project in Chicago.
1953 Aug 5, Operation "Big
Switch" was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict
were exchanged at Panmunjom.
1953 Aug 7, Eastern Airlines
entered the jet age with the Electra prop-jet.
1953 Aug 8, The song “Vaya con
Dios" recorded by Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford reached number one
on the Billboard magazine Best Seller Chart and stayed there for 9
(SFC, 8/14/09, p.D6)
1953 Aug 8, The United States
and South Korea initialed a mutual security pact.
1953 Aug 8, In Russia Georgi
Malenkov reported the possession of hydrogen bomb.
1953 Aug 10, American mountain
climber Art Gilkey (b.1926) was swept away by an avalanche on
Pakistan’s K2. In 1993 his remains were brought down by mountaineer
Roger Payne (1956-2012).
1953 Aug 12, Ann Davidson, the
1st woman to sail solo across Atlantic, arrived Miami.
1953 Aug 12, The Soviet Union
conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
(TL, 1988, p.114)(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(AP, 8/12/97)
1953 Aug 13, 4-5 million French
went on strike against economizations.
1953 Aug 15, In Iran a CIA plot
to unseat PM Mossadeq failed. It was masterminded by Kermit
Roosevelt. A 2nd attempt succeeded on August 19. In preparation for
the coup the CIA “stockpiled enough arms and demolition material to
support a 10,000-man guerrilla organization for six months," and
paid out $5.3 million for bribes and other costs. An initial US
State Dept. 1989 release, outlining the years surrounding the coup,
whitewashed the US role.
(Econ, 5/15/10, p.92)(AP, 6/12/20)
1953 Aug 16, Shah Pahlavi of
Persia and princess Soraya fled to Baghdad and then Rome.
1953 Aug 17, Kevin Rowlands,
rocker (Dexy's Midnight Runners-Come on Eileen), was born.
1953 Aug 19, Gen'l. Zahedi
ousted PM Mossadegh and became the Premier of Iran in a bloody coup
that left 300 dead. Britain and the US CIA under Allen Dulles
planned a secret mission to overthrow the government. PM Mossadeq
had sought to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. The US
government made a formal apology for the coup in 2000. A 1954 CIA
description of the coup was made public in 2000. In 1979 Kermit
Roosevelt (d.2000) published “Countercoup: The Struggle for the
Control of Iran," an account of his role in the coup. In 2010
Darioush Bayandor authored “Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mossadeq
(SFC, 11/20/53, p.A1)(SFC, 11/15/99, p.E6)(SFC,
5/29/97, p.A4)(WSJ, 3/20/00, p.A1)(SFEC, 4/16/00, p.A18)(SFEC,
6/11/00, p.D6)(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)(Econ, 5/15/10, p.91)
1953 Aug 20, Iran’s PM Mossadeq
was arrested. He was soon tried for treason, and sentenced to three
years in prison.
1953 Aug 20, The Soviet Union
publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
1953 Aug 21, Joe Strummer [John
Mellor], rocker (Clash-Rock the Casbah), was born.
1953 Aug 21, Marion Carl in
Douglas Skyrocket reached a record 25,370 m.
1953 Aug 21, US CIA officials
funneled $5 million to Iran to help the coup leaders consolidate
(SFEC, 4/16/00, p.A18)
1953 Aug 22, France closed the
penal colony on Devil's Island.
1953 Aug 22, Shah of Persia
returned to Teheran.
1953 Aug 25, The government of
India exercised its option to purchase a majority stake in Tata
Airlines and Air India International Limited was born as one of the
fruits of the Air Corporations Act that nationalized the air
1953 Aug 30, The first
publicly announced experimental TV broadcast of a network program in
compatible color was presented by NBC: St. George and the Dragon,
starring Burr Tillstrom's Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
1953 Aug, Canadian officials
took 34 Inuit from Port Harrison (later known as Inukjuak) in Hudson
Bay and put them on a boat north. One month and 1,390 miles later,
the group was split in two and deposited on two remote islands,
Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord. The Inuit later said the government
used them to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic at a time
when Ottawa was worried about excessive US influence in the region.
1953 Sep 1, Henry Molaison
(1926-2008) of Connecticut, suffering from severe epilepsy,
underwent surgery in which most of his brain’s medial temporal lobes
were removed. The procedure failed to cure him, but from that point
on he was unable to form a new long-term memory. In 2016 Luke
Dittrich authored “Patient H.M.: A Story of memory, Madness, and
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Molaison)(Econ, 8/20/16, p.71)
1953 Sep 5, The 1st privately
operated atomic reactor opened in Raleigh NC.
1953 Sep 5, US gave Persian
premier Zahedi $45 million aid.
1953 Sep 6, The last American
and Korean prisoners were exchanged in Operation Big Switch, the
last official act of the Korean War.
1953 Sep 6, Adenauer's CDU won
elections in German FR.
1953 Sep 12, Senator John
Fitzgerald Kennedy (36) of Massachusetts married Jacqueline Lee
1953 Sep 12, Nikita Khrushchev
became the 1st Secretary of USSR Communist Party. His glass and
marble Palace of Congresses obliterated the last vestiges of the
17th century palace of Tsarina Natalie Kirilovna Naryshkina, the
mother of Peter the Great. [see Sep 13]
(MC, 9/12/01)(AM, Jul/Aug ‘97 p.33)
1953 Sep 13, Nikita Khrushchev
(b.1894) was elected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s
Central Committee. [see Sep 12]
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1953 Sep 15, Eric Mendelsohn
(b.1887), German-born Jewish expressionist architect, died. From
1941 he lived in the US and established himself in San Francisco.
The Russell at 3778 Washington St. in SF is the only house he
designed in SF.
(SSFC, 3/8/09, p.B2)
1953 Sep 16, "The Robe," the
first movie filmed in the widescreen process CinemaScope, had its
world premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York.
1953 Sep 17, The 1st successful
separation of Siamese twins was performed.
1953 Sep 20, Jimmy Stewart
debuted in "The Six Shooter" on NBC.
1953 Sep 20, The "Loretta Young
Show" (A Letter to Loretta) premiered on NBC TV and ran for 8 years.
(SFEC, 8/13/00, p.B10)
1953 Sep 21, North Korean pilot
Lieutenant No Kum Sok defected and landed his aircraft at Kimpo
airfield outside Seoul. He collected a reward while denying any
knowledge of a bounty. American scientists were able to examine the
Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, powered by a jet engine superior to
those then used in American fighter planes. It first saw combat in
Korea during November 1950, where its performance shifted the
balance of air power to Russian-backed North Korea.
1953 Sep 22, An Islamic
uprising took place in Atjeh, Indonesia.
1953 Sep 23, The 20th-Century
Fox film "The Robe," the first movie filmed in the CinemaScope
widescreen process, premiered in Hollywood, a week after opening in
1953 Sep 26, US and Spain
signed a defense treaty with 4 US bases to be set in Spain.
1953 Sep 26, Polish government
fired and imprisoned Cardinal Wyszynski.
1953 Sep 27, A typhoon
destroyed 1/3 of Nagoya, Japan.
1953 Sep 28, The "Bob & Ray
Show," TV Variety, last aired on NBC.
1953 Sep 28, Edwin P. Hubble
(b.1889), astronomer, died at age 63. He discovered that the more
distant a galaxy seemed to be, the more its light was shifted toward
the lower frequencies. This is know as the Doppler redshift, named
after C.J. Doppler, an Austrian Physicist (1803-1853).
1953 Sep 29, The family comedy
"Make Room for Daddy," starring Danny Thomas, premiered on ABC.
1953 Sep 30, Robert Anderson's
"Tea & Sympathy," premiered in NYC.
1953 Sep 30, Pres. Eisenhower
named California Gov. Earl Warren (62) as Chief Justice of the US
Supreme Court. Lt. Gov. Goodwin J. Knight succeeded Warren.
(SFC, 9/26/03, p.E8)
1953 Sep 30, Auguste and
Jacques Piccard dove with their bathosphere to a record 3150 m.
1953 Oct 2, Victor Borge
(d.2000 at 91), musical humorist, opened his "Comedy in Music" at
the Golden Theater on Broadway. It ran for 849 performances .
(SSFC, 12/24/00, p.B5)
1953 Oct 3, Arnold Edward
Trevor Bax, British composer (Coronation March), died at 69.
1953 Oct 5, California Gov.
Earl Warren (1891-1974) was sworn in as the 14th chief justice of
the United States, succeeding Fred M. Vinson. He was named by Pres.
Eisenhower as chief justice of the US. Warren retired in 1969. In
2000 Lucas A. Powe, Jr., authored "The Warren Court and American
(SFEC, 6/8/97, BR p.1)(AP,
1953 Oct 5, South Africa’s
Bantu Education Act, later renamed the Black Education Act, was
passed to become effective Jan 1, 1954. It set out to ensure that
whites received a better education than blacks. The segregation law
legalized several aspects of the apartheid system.
1953 Oct 8, Birmingham,
Alabama, barred Jackie Robinson's Negro-White All-Stars from playing
there. Robinson gave in and dropped white players from his group.
1953 Oct 9, British troops in
Guyana deposed Dr. Jagan and charged that he and his party "were
under the complete control of a communist clique." Dr. Jagan
responded with a civil disobedience campaign and was quickly jailed
for 6 months. In 2011 declassified documents revealed that the UK
under PM Winston Churchill overthrew the elected government of
British Guiana, later Guyana, because he feared its left-wing
leader, Cheddi Jagan, and his American wife, Janet Jagan, were
leading the British colony into the arms of the Soviet Union.
(SFC, 3/7/96, p.A24)(AP, 8/25/11)
1953 Oct 9, Conrad Adenauer was
elected West German chancellor.
1953 Oct 12, US and Greece
signed a peace treaty that included US bases.
1953 Oct 13, A burglar alarm
using ultrasonic or radio waves was patented by Samuel Bagno.
1953 Oct 14, Ike promised to
fire as communists any federal workers taking the 5th amendment.
1953 Oct 14, Ariel Sharon, who
had formed the elite Israeli commando unit "101" to fight
Palestinian guerrillas, led it in a raid against the Jordanian
village of Qibya killing some 70 civilians.
(SFC, 10/10/98, p.A8)(Econ, 12/16/06,
1953 Oct 15, John Patrick's
"Teahouse of the August Moon," premiered in NYC.
1953 Oct 16, Fidel Castro in
Havana was sentenced to 15 years.
1953 Oct 19, Singer Julius
LaRosa, a regular on the CBS program "Arthur Godfrey Time," was
fired on the air by Godfrey, who accused him of lacking humility.
1953 Oct 19, America's
first ever non-stop transcontinental service began with flights by
American Airlines using DC-7 aircraft.
1953 Oct 20, Edward R. Murrow
on his TV show “See It Now" brought public attention to the abuses
of power in the era of Sen. McCarthy’s anti-communist crusade. Milo
Radulovich (1926-2007), a US Air Force Reserve officer, had been
stripped of his commission for refusing to denounce his family,
which subscribed to several Serbian newspapers. His commission was
later restored. Murrow took up the case and set the turning point to
(SFC, 11/26/07, p.D3)(Econ, 12/1/07, p.102)
1953 Oct 22, Laos gained full
independence from France. [see Oct 23]
1953 Oct 23, France granted
sovereignty to Laos. [see Oct 22]
1953 Oct 28, Red Barber
resigned as Dodger sportscaster to join Yankees.
1953 Oct 29, Harry Clement
Stubbs (d.2003), science fiction writer, authored "Mission of
Gravity." It was serialized in Astounding Science Fiction magazine.
(SFC, 11/1/03, p.A21)
1953 Oct 29, A British airliner
with 11 passengers and 8 crew crashed into Kings Mountain, 10 miles
west of Redwood City, Ca., and all aboard were killed. William
Kapell (b.1922), genius pianist, died in the crash. He was returning
from a tour in Australia when his airplane crashed into a mountain
outside San Francisco. A set of his 1944-1953 recordings was
released in 1998 by RCA. In 1999 BMG released "The William Kapell
Edition," a nine-disk set.
(SFC, 10/24/03, p.E10)(SFEC, 11/29/98, DB
p.44)(WSJ, 2/1/99, p.A19)(WSJ, 5/24/08, p.W12)
1953 Oct 30, Gen. George C.
Marshall (1880-1959) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Albert
Schweitzer received his 1952 Peace Prize.
1953 Oct 31, Alice Eastwood
(94), curator of botany at the California Academy of Sciences in SF,
(SFC, 10/31/03, p.E2)
1953 Oct, In the US a landmark
antitrust complaint, filed against Morgan Stanley and 16 other
investment banking houses, was dismissed.
(WSJ, 10/9/97, p.A16)
1953 Oct, Universal Children’s
Day was first observed in India. It was adopted by the UN General
Assembly in 1954. It became observed on different days in different
ways in more than 120 nations. In India, Children’s Day is
celebrated on 14th November, the birth anniversary of PM Jawaharlal
1953 Nov 2, Pakistan became an
1953 Nov 4, Elizabeth Sprague
Coolidge (89), composer, died.
1953 Nov 8, Salazar's party won
all parliament seats in Portugal.
1953 Nov 9, The Supreme Court
upheld a 1922 ruling that major league baseball did not come within
the scope of federal antitrust laws. President Clinton later signed
a bill overturning the labor relations aspect of the antitrust
1953 Nov 9, Welsh author-poet
Dylan Thomas died in New York at age 39 during his poetry-reading
blitz of the US. In 1955 John Malcolm Brinnin (d.1998 at 81), the
man who brought Thomas to America, published "Dylan Thomas in
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.T5)(AP, 11/9/97)(SFC, 6/29/98,
1953 Nov 11, The Polio virus
was identified and photographed for the first time in Cambridge,
1953 Nov 12, US district Judge
Grim ruled the NFL can black out TV home games.
1953 Nov 12, David Ben-Gurion,
resigned as premier of Israel.
1953 Nov 16, The US joined in
the condemnation of Israel for its raid on Jordan.
1953 Nov 19, US Supreme Court
rules (7-2) that baseball is a sport not a business.
1953 Nov 19, US VP Richard
Nixon visited Hanoi in Vietnam.
1953 Nov 20, Scott Crossfield
(1921-2006), test pilot for the National Advisory Committee for
Aeronautics (NACA), flew a D-558-II Skyrocket to a record speed of
over 1,320 mph.
(SFC, 4/21/06, p.B9)
1953 Nov 21, The "Piltdown
Man," discovered in 1912, was proved to be a hoax. Paleontologist
Kenneth Oakley and anatomists Joseph S. Weiner and Wilfred Le Gros
Clark reexamined the bones from the 1912 Piltdown man and found
unmistakable signs of forgery.
(MC, 11/21/01)(PacDisc. Spring/’96, p.16)
1953 Nov 23, While receiving an
award for his contributions to civil rights from the B’Nai Brith’s
Anti-Defamation League, President Dwight Eisenhower spontaneously
denounced the tactics of fellow Republican Joseph McCarthy,
asserting the right of everyone to meet his "accuser face to face."
A vehement anti-Communist, Senator McCarthy led a long series of
secret and public hearings on the role of Communism in the American
government and society, frequently making unsubstantiated charges
against individual citizens.
1953 Nov 25, "Guys & Dolls"
closed at 46th St Theater NYC after 1200 performances.
1953 Nov 27, Playwright Eugene
O’Neill died in Boston at age 65. Prof. John H. Raleigh (d.2001 at
81) later authored "The Plays of Eugene O’Neill."
(AP, 11/27/97)(SFC, 1/11/02, p.A20)
1953 Nov 28, "Wish You Were
Here" closed at Imperial Theater NYC after 597 performances.
1953 Nov 28, New York City
began 11 days without newspapers when a strike of photoengravers
shut down publication. Sales increased for magazines and paperback
1953 Nov 29, American Airlines
began 1st regular commercial NY-LA air service.
1953 Nov 30, French
parachutists under Col. De Castries attacked Dien Bien Phu. The
French expeditionary force was under the direction of Gen. Henri
Navarre. In 2004 martin windrow authored “The Last Valley: Dien Bien
Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam."
(Econ, 4/3/04, p.86)
1953 Nov, In Italy the Iso
Isetta microcar was introduced in Turin. The car originated with the
Italian firm of Iso SpA. In the early 1950s the company was building
refrigerators, motor scooters and small three-wheeled trucks. Iso's
owner, Renzo Rivolta, decided he would like to build a small car for
mass distribution. By 1952 the engineers Ermenegildo Preti and
Pierluigi Raggi had designed a small car that used the scooter
engine and named it Isetta—an Italian diminutive meaning little ISO.
1953 Dec 3, The musical
"Kismet" opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theater for 583
(AP, 12/3/99)(MC, 12/3/01)
1953 Dec 3, Eisenhower
criticized McCarthy for saying communists are in Republican party.
1953 Dec 5, Italy and
Yugoslavia agreed to pull troops out of the disputed Trieste border.
1953 Dec 6, Thomas Hulce, actor
(Amadeus, Equus, Echo Park), was born Plymouth, Mi.
1953 Dec 7, Audrey Hepburn was
featured on the cover of Life Magazine.
(SFC, 11/8/96, p.C6)
1953 Dec 7, Israel's PM
1953 Dec 8, Pres. Eisenhower
delivered his "Atoms for Peace" address to the UN. He called on both
the US and Soviet Union to abandon their nuclear arsenals. The
"Atoms for Peace" program spread nuclear technology to nations that
agreed not to use it for military purposes.
(SFC, 5/28/98, p.A9)(SFC, 12/9/03, p.A10)
1953 Dec 9, John Malkovich,
actor and director (Killing Fields), was born in Christopher, Ill.
1953 Dec 9, General Electric
announced all Communist employees would be fired.
1953 Dec 12, Chuck Yeager, test
pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA),
reached Mach 2.43 in Bell X-1A rocket plane.
(SFC, 4/21/06, p.B9)
1953 Dec 13, Ben Bernanke,
later head of the US Federal Reserve (2006), was born in Augusta,
(SSFC, 1/29/06, p.J1)
1953 Dec 16, Pres. Eisenhower
held the 1st White House Press Conference before 161 reporters.
1953 Dec 16, Charles E. Yeager
flew 2,575 kph in Bell X-1A.
1953 Dec 17, FCC approved RCA's
black & white-compatible color TV specifications. Temporary
approval of the mechanical CBS color model was rescinded.
(MC, 12/17/01)(SFC, 3/18/04, p.E1)
1953 Dec 19, Robert A. Millikan
(85), US physicist (Nobel 1923), died.
1953 Dec 23, Lavrenti P. Beria
(1899-1953), Soviet minister of internal security, was executed.
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(MC, 12/23/01)
1953 Dec 24, Pierre Salinger,
SF Chronicle reporter, won the 1953 McQuade Memorial Award for his
articles on poor conditions in California county jails. He had
himself arrested under an alias in Bakersfield and Stockton for an
(SFC, 12/19/03, p.E3)
1953 Dec 24, 2 speeding express
trains crashed head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovakia.
1953 Dec 26, U.S. was to
withdraw two divisions from Korea.
1953 Dec 30, The first color TV
sets went on sale. An Admiral color set was priced about $1,175 in
1953 dollars! Color TV sets did not become affordable to the masses
until the late 1960s.
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(MC, 12/30/01)
1953 Dec, Playboy Magazine,
founded in Chicago by Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) and Eldon sellers,
featured Marilyn Monroe as its first cover girl and nude centerfold
in the premier issue. Hefner had hired freelance illustrator Art
Paul (1925-20178) as Playboy Magazine's first employee. It was Paul
who created Playboy's bunny head logo.
p.E12)(SFC, 9/28/17, p.A5)(SFC, 5/2/18, p.D7)
1953 Dec, In 1996 it was
revealed that the Pentagon knew that more than 900 American troops
were alive but not released by the North Koreans.
(SFC, 9/17/96, p.A10)
1953 Dec, Swanson and Sons
introduced the TV Dinner. The turkey, sweet potatoes and peas
package was priced at 98 cents and could be cooked in 25 minutes. It
was invented by Gerry Thomas (d.2005), a salesman for Nebraska based
C.A. Swanson, following an oversupply of turkey from the 1953
Thanksgiving holiday season. Campbell Soup acquired control of
Swanson’s in 1955.
(PC, 1992 ed, p.943,952)(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.B1)(SFC,
1953 Dec, Ornithologist E.
Thomas Gilliard (d.1965 at age 52) and his wife, Margaret, arrived
in New Guinea to study birds in the Viktor Emanuel Range. Police
activities forced them to remake plans and they proceeded to survey
the Sepik River and to photograph the Latmul and Sawos people who
lived along its banks.
(NH, 10/98, p.92)
1953 George Braque created his
painting “La Treille." In 2010 it sold for $10.2 million.
(Econ, 5/8/10, p.85)
1953 Ralph Fasanella, American
artist, created his painting “Welcome Home Boys." In 1990 it was
acquired by the city of Oakland, Ca., as a gift from union workers
(SFC, 3/4/11, p.C7)
1953 Don G. Kelley, the first
editor of Pacific Discovery magazine, drew the sketch of the grizzly
bear that was used for the California State flag.
(Pac. Disc., summer, ‘96, p.17)
1953 W. de Kooning (1904-1997)
completed his "Woman V" painting. In 1974 it was acquired by the
Austria National Gallery for $850,000.
1953 Artists such as Robert
Rauschenberg, John Cage, Peter Voulkos and others gathered at Black
Mountain College in North Carolina. Voulkos went on to become the
"guru of clay." From 1954-1959 he headed the ceramics dept. at the
Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. In 1959 he joined the
faculty of UC Berkeley and taught until 1985. The colors in his
wood-fired work derive from the fusion of wood ash and clay produced
in an oxygen-reduction atmosphere after the heat has reached 2300’
(WSJ, 5/10/96, p.A-8)
1953 Rene Magritte painted
"Golconde,’ which depicted men raining from the sky in front of a
2-3 story row-house with crossed windows.
(WSJ, 8/4/00, p.W2)
1953 David Park painted his
(SFC, 10/22/98, p.E6)
1953 Robert Rauschenberg
painted his 22-foot-long "Automobile Tire Print" in collaboration
with John Cage. Cage drove a car with a wheel inked by Rauschenberg.
He also did "Erased de Kooning Drawing" this year, based on a
crayon-and-ink drawing by de Kooning.
(WSJ, 9/25/97, p.A20)(SFC, 8/20/98, p.E1)
1953 Ben Shahn painted his
"Second Allegory" and "Bookshop."
(WSJ, 12/1/98, p.A20)
1953 Folk artist Grandma Moses
(1860-1961) achieved global fame for her paintings. Her real name
was Anna Mary Robertson. Plates with her scenes were given out as
gas station premiums in 4 limited editions: "Out for the Christmas
Tree," "Checkered House," "Jack and Jill," and "Catching the
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(SFC, 3/26/97, Z1 p.7)
1953 Robert Duncan (d.1988), SF
poet, and his partner Jess (Burgess Collins, d.2004) along with
Harry Jacobus founded the King Ubu Gallery at 3119 Fillmore St. In
1954 a group of artists took it over and it became the Six Gallery.
(SFC, 5/26/96, Z1 p.3)(SFC, 1/7/04, p.A19)(SSFC,
1953 William Inge’s play,
"Picnic," opened on Broadway. It won a Pulitzer Prize and was made
into a 1955 film. It was about a drifter who shakes up life in a
small Kansas town.
(SFEC, 5/30/99, DB p.37)(WSJ, 4/14/00, p.W14)
1953 The play "Sabrina Fair" by
Samuel Taylor featured Joseph Cotton and Margaret Sullivan. It was
made into a 1954 film.
(SFC, 5/27/00, p.A26)
1953 Eric Ambler wrote his spy
thriller "The Schirmer Inheritance."
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.A22)
1953 Poul Anderson (d.2001 at
74), authored 2 science fiction novels: "Three Hearts and Three
Lions" and "Brain Wave."
(SFC, 8/3/01, p.A24)
1953 Lars Valerian Ahlfors
(1907-1996), mathematician, published his mathematics textbook
"Complex Analysis. "
(SFC, 10/21/96, p.A17)
1953 The Associated Press
Stylebook in English first came out. It became the gold standard of
style reference books in the journalism industry.
1953 Michael Avallone (d.1999
at 74) published "The Tall Dolores," the first of 36 novels
featuring detective Ed Moon.
(SFC, 3/2/99, p.A20)
1953 James Baldwin published
his autobiographical novel "Go Tell It on the Mountain."
(SFC, 12/30/98, p.A2)
1953 Samuel Beckett translated
his "En Attendant Godot" into English as "Waiting for Godot."
(WSJ, 8/5/96, p.A10)
1953 Sybille Bedford (b.1911),
German-born English novelist, published her 1st book, “A Visit to
Don Otavio," a travelogue of Mexico.
(WSJ, 5/12/05, p.D8)
1953 Saul Bellow authored his
novel "The Adventures of Augie March," in which he defined the
immigrant experience in US literature.
(SFC, 9/15/03, p.D1)
1953 Isaiah Berlin wrote his
essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox." He ruminated on the words of the
Greek poet Archilochus who said: "The fox knows many things, but the
hedgehog knows one big thing.
1953 Simone de Bouvier
(Beauvoir) published a British edition of "America Day by Day," a
journal of her travels in America from 1947. Her trip also began a
relationship with Nelson Algren. In 1999 the book "A Transatlantic
Love Affair" Letters to Nelson Algren" was published.
(WSJ, 1/18/98, p.A16)(SFEC, 2/28/99, BR p.4)
1953 Ray Bradbury wrote his
novel "Fahrenheit 451." It was made into a film in 1967 and another
version was planned in 1997.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.D3)
1953 "Junkie" the first novel
by William Burroughs was published. In it appeared the character
Herbert who was the poet Herbert Huncke (1915-1996), who introduced
Burroughs to heroin.
(SFC, 8/9/96, p.A19)
1953 Herb Caen, SF newspaper
columnist, wrote his 4th book "Don’t Call It Frisco."
(SFEC, 2/2/97, p.A13)
1953 Raymond Chandler wrote the
detective novel "The Long Goodbye." He appears to have been the
first writer to put into print the phrase "You can’t win them all."
(SFC, 3/14/98, p.B7)
1953 Arthur C. Clarke authored
his sci-fi novel “"The Nine Billion Names of God."
(Econ, 10/24/15, p.65)
1953 Katherine Esau (1898-1997)
published her classic "Plant Anatomy," a leading text on plant
(SFC, 6/19/97, p.A22)
1953 British writer Ian Fleming
published his first James Bond book, "Casino Royale."
(WSJ, 4/24/98, p.W1)
1953 Rev Billy Graham published
"Peace With God," the first of his 18 books.
(SFEC, 9/21/97, Z1 p.3)
1953 Heinrich Harrer wrote his
memoir "Seven Years in Tibet."
(SFEC,12/14/97, BR p.4)
1953 Robert Heilbroner
(1919-2005) authored the 1st edition of his economics classic
(WSJ, 1/11/05, p.A1)
1953 Joseph Heller began
writing "Catch-22." The book was initially titled Catch 18 and
contracted to Simon & Schuster in 1957. The agent, Candida
Donadio, chose 22, her birthday was Oct 22, to avoid conflict with
Mila 18, a novel by Leon Uris. Catch 22 was published in 1961. [see
Louis Fallstein, 1951, "Face of a Hero."]
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A2)(SFC, 1/26/01, p.A21)
1953 Jack Kerouac wrote his
book "The Subterraneans." Though set in San Francisco it was
actually about characters from Fugazi’s Bar of Greenwich Village.
Anton Rosenberg (d.1998 at 71), a hipster painter and musician, was
portrayed as Julian Alexander. The book was not published until
(SFC, 2/23/98, p.A21)
1953 Alfred Kinsey published
"Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," the 1st major US survey on
women's sexual habits. He found that attitudes did not match
(NW, 6/30/03, p.44)
1953 "The Conservative Mind" by
Russel Kirk, Michigan-born writer, was first published by Henry
Regnery (1912-1996), the godfather of modern conservatism. "The book
recovers a legacy of conservative ideas and also trumpets a
conservative future." In the book is described an "inclination to
cherish the permanent things in human existence." Kirk believed that
"political problems are, at bottom, religious and moral problems."
He lists six canons of conservatism the first of which is the
conviction that "there exists a transcendent order, or body of
natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. The book was
re-issued in 1995 in a 40th anniversary ed. by Regnery Publ.
(WSJ, 9/28/95, p.A-16)(SFC, 6/24/96, p.A15)
1953 Wolf Mankowitz published
"Wedgewood," the definitive handbook on the subject.
(SFC, 5/29/98, p.D7)
1953 James Michener (d.1997 at
90) wrote his novel "The Bridges at Toko-Ri."
1953 Czeslaw Milosz, émigré
Polish poet, published “The Captive Mind," in which he unpicked the
mangling effects of communist thought.
(Econ, 8/1/09, p.76)
1953 Iris Murdoch published
"Sartre: Romantic Rationalist."
(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A20)
1953 Robert Musil (d.1942),
Austrian author, got published in short form in English his
unfinished book "The Man Without Qualities" set in Vienna around
1913. A full 2 volume set ($60) was published in 1995.
(WSJ, 4/12/95, A-12)
1953 Eugene (b.1913) and Howard
Odum published "Fundamentals of Ecology," the first textbook on the
(NH, 10/98, p.8)
1953 Alain Robbe-Grillet
authored "Les Gommes" (The Erasers), a novel about a detective
investigating an apparent murder who ends up killing the victim. It
was seen in France as the debut of the "new novel."
1953 Eleanor O’Leary
(1916-2008) authored “The Prince of Players: the Life of Edwin
Booth" (1833-1893). Edwin was the founder of the NYC club called The
Player’s (1888) and the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin
of Pres. Lincoln.
1953 Jim Thompson authored the
classic noir thriller “The Killer Inside Me."
(SSFC, 9/17/06, p.D7)
1953 Leon Uris (d.2003)
authored the novel "Battle Cry."
(AP, 6/24/03)(SFC, 6/25/03, p.A25)
1953 UC Berkeley Prof. Harold
F. Weaver authored “Statistical Astronomy."
(SSFC, 5/7/17, p.C10)
1953 John Werthan authored
"Seduction of the Innocent," which linked comic books to juvenile
delinquency. This led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority.
EC Comics withdrew "Tales From the crypt" and many other titles.
(SFC, 1/21/04, p.D2)
1953 Richard Wright (d.1960)
authored the novel: "The Outsider."
(WSJ, 9/4/01, p.A20)
1953 Thomas Guinzburg, Donald
Hall, Harold Humes, Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014) and George
Plimpton founded the Paris Review. William Styron (1925-2006) helped
establish the Paris Review. Matthiessen later admitted that he was a
CIA recruit and used his work with the Review as a cover.
(SFC, 9/27/03, p.A2)(Econ, 11/11/06, p.95)(SSFC,
1953 Speedy Gonzalez, a cartoon
mouse with a Mexican accent, debuted in the US.
1953 Merce Cunningham, dance
group leader, created the Septet. He set steps to the "Trois
Morceaux en forme de poire" music of Eric Satie.
(WSJ, 4/10/96, p.A-14)
1953 The Broadway musical
"Kismet" was produced. It starred Alfred Drake and featured the
music of Russian composer Borodin. The songs "Stranger in Paradise"
and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" were written by George Forrest
(d.1999 at 84) and Robert Wright.
(SFEC, 8/11/96, DB, p.45)(SFEC, 4/6/97, DB
p.7)(SFC, 10/13/99, p.C2)
1953 The Broadway play "The
Teahouse of the August Moon" was directed by Robert Lewis.
1953 Bud Browne (1912-2008),
completed his first surf film, “Hawaiian Surfing Movies," in Santa
Monica, Ca. He was later considered the father of surf films.
1953 Peter Graves starred in
the TV series "Stalag 17."
(SFC, 5/19/96, BR, p.30)
1953 The weekly "General
Electric Theater" began on TV.
(SFC, 11/24/00, p.D11)
1953 "The Life of Riley"
featured William Bendix and Marjorie Reynolds (1917-1997) as Peg
Riley. It ran until 1958.
(SFC, 2/13/97, p.C4)
1953 Soupy Sales (1926-2009)
began his “Soupy’s On" 5-day-a-week variety show in Detroit on
WXYZ-TV. The theme song was Charlie Parker’s "Yardbird Suite." Many
jazz giants played on his show but very little film footage
survived. His “Lunch with Soupy Sales" went national in October
1959, on the ABC television network.
7/28/96, p.F1,8)(AP, 10/23/09)(SFC, 10/22/09, p.A8)
1953 Vito Scotti (1918-1996)
replaced J. Carrol Naish as the Italian immigrant Luigi Basco in the
TV show "Life with Luigi."
(SFC, 6/12/96, p.C2)
1953 The Romper Room TV show
for children began in Baltimore on station WBAL. It featured Nancy
Claster (d.1997 at 82) as Miss Nancy who stayed on until 1964 when
her daughter, Sally, took over for the next 16 years. Locally
produced shows aired in 150 cities. Her "magic mirror" gave the
names of children watching at home, names that parents had sent in.
(SFC, 4/26/97, p.A22)
1953 Steve Allen (d.2000)
created and hosted the Tonight Show in NYC. It went national in
1954. Allen remained host until 1957.
(SFC, 11/1/00, p.A19)(SSFC, 5/2/04, Par. p.4)
1953 The CBS musical series
“Summertime USA" was set in various resorts from Havana to Atlantic
City. It featured Teresa Brewer and Mel Torme.
(SFC, 10/19/07, p.A11)
1953 The TV show "Winky Dink
and You" premiered as the 1st interactive kids’ show.
(NW, 11/11/02, p.54)
1953 Jon Hendricks (1921-2017),
Jazz singer and songwriter, began collaborating with fellow jazz
singer Dave Lambert. They later joined with Annie Ross, a
British-born jazz singer and in 1958 recorded the hit album “Sing a
Song of Basie."
(SFC, 11/24/17, p.D3)
1953 Nat Hentoff became the NYC
editor of Down Beat. Willie "the Lion" Smith, Harlem stride pianist,
soon became his mentor.
(WSJ, 12/30/03, p.D8)
1953 Jimmy Boyd sang "Santa Got
Stuck in the Chimney." It was written by Hy Heath and Fred Rose, who
also wrote "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." It raised a ruckus in the
96-97 holiday season when another version was contested between a
51-year-old composer and 5-year-old singer.
(WSJ, 1/8/97, p.A6)
1953 Eddie Fisher (1928-2010),
American singer, made a hit with the song “Oh, My Pa-Pa."
1953 Jimmy Forrest composed the
jazz tune "Night Train."
1953 James Myers (d.2001) and
Max Freedman wrote the song "Rock Around the Clock." It was first
recorded by Sunny Dae and His Knights. Bill Haley and the Comets
recorded it in 1954. It became popular in 1955 following its use in
the film "Blackboard Jungle."
(SSFC, 5/13/01, p.A27)
1953 The Platters singing group
was formed with Joe Jefferson, Cornell Gunther, Alex Hodge and Herb
Reed on lead vocals. The group went on to appear in 27 movies.
(SFEC, 5/23/99, DB p.67)
1953 In Los Angeles The
Hi-Lo’s, a vocal quartet, formed with Gene Puerling (1929-2008)
singing bass-baritone. The group became the most popular jazz-based
vocal group of the period.
(SFC, 4/3/08, p.B5)
1953 The Wagner opera “Tristan
und Isolde" was recorded for the 1st time on 33-rpm long-playing
record. The performance was conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler with
Kirsten Flagstad of Norway as Isolde. In 2005 a new recording was
completed featuring Placido Domingo.
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.67)
1953 The Batsheva de Rothschild
Foundation, founded by Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild (d.1999 at
84), sponsored a 2-week festival of American modern dance on
(SFC, 4/23/99, p.D8)
1953 The Milwaukee County
Baseball Stadium was built.
(SFC, 7/21/96, zone 1 p.6)
1953 J.F. Kennedy married
Jacqueline Bouvier, a society girl turned reporter.
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)
1953 Elizabeth Bottomley
(1931-1996) married Robert Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated
circuit chip and founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor. After
her divorce in 1975, she donated millions of dollars to the Portland
Museum of Art, Maine maritime Museum and the Univ. of Maine.
(SFC, 9/19/96, p.A17)
1953 The American Museum of
Natural History created Discovery Tours, the first museum
educational travel program in the US.
1953 John F. Kennedy was seeing
Audrey Hepburn while dating Jackie Onassis. So it says in the 1996
book "Jack and Jackie" by Christopher Anderson
(USAT, 6/19/96, p.2D)
1953 Lawrence Ferlinghetti and
Peter D. Martin opened City Lights Bookstore, the 1st all-paperback
bookstore in the US, opened in San Francisco's North Beach. In 1993
it was designated a national literary landmark.
(SFEC, 4/6/97, p.C4)(SFC, 6/5/03, p.F11)
1953 Publishers Clearinghouse
was founded by Harold and LuEsther Mertz and their daughter Joyce.
In 1997 it received more than $100 million in annual sales.
(SFEC, 2/23/97, Par p.2)
1953 Toni Stone (1921-1996),
female 2nd baseman for the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns, batted
.243. She was one of the first women in professional baseball.
(SFC, 11/6/96, p.B3)
1953 Helenor Foerster (d.1998
at 103) was named "Woman of the Year for Science" by the Women’s
National Press Club. She co-authored the "Atlas and Textbook of
Ophthalmic Pathology," and discovered that toxoplasma was the cause
of a widely spread eye disease that led to blindness.
(SFC, 9/23/98, p.C2)
1953 Pres. Eisenhower issued an
executive order that required the dismissal of all homosexual
employees in the government.
(SFC, 9/7/96, p.A2)
1953 Eisenhower appointed the
staunch anti-Communist John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State.
(TL, 1988, p.114)
1953 Eisenhower appointed Ezra
Taft Benson, a prominent Mormon from Idaho, as his agricultural sec.
(WSJ, 10/22/96, p.A20)
1953 Pres. Eisenhower suspended
the security clearance of physicist Robert Oppenheimer.
(SSFC, 4/10/05, p.B2)
1953 Project Solarium was an
American national-level exercise in strategy and foreign policy
design convened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was intended
to produce consensus among senior officials in the national security
community on the most effective strategy for responding to Soviet
expansionism in the wake of the early Cold War.
1953 The Eisenhower
administration established the Small Business Administration to work
with private lenders to make loans for various entrepreneurial uses.
(WSJ, 11/29/04, p.R8)
1953 The House Committee on
Un-American Activities (HUAC) held hearings in the Bay Area. Paul
Sidney Chown (d.1997 at 80), a supporter of the old Independent
Progressive Party, defied the committee and described its witnesses
as "paid, professional, hopped-up informers."
(SFC, 6/23/97, p.A22)
1953 Federal regulators forced
the Bank of America under S.H. Amacost into a cost cutting campaign
that included the sale of the BofA headquarters, the closure of 187
branches and the company’s first layoffs.
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.B4)
1953 Congress formally ratified
Ohio statehood. Congress had initially voted to accept Ohio’s
borders and constitution on Feb 19, 1803.
1953 The first issue of the US
CIA sponsored British magazine "Encounter" was published under
Irving Kristol and Stephen Spender. It became the West's most
important vehicle for highbrow anti-Marxist commentary. The funding
source did not become known until 1966/7.
(WSJ, 3/27/00, p.A46)(Econ, 6/19/04, p.81)
1953 The US military opened the
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, its largest medical facility
outside the US, in Landstuhl, Germany.
(SFC, 1/9/04, p.A14)
1953 The Washington National
Cathedral installed stained-glass windows that paid tribute to Gen.
Stonewall Jackson and Gen. Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army.
The Confederate flags depicted in the windows were scheduled for
removal in 2016.
(SFC, 6/10/16, p.A10)
1953 The California Legislature
rewrote a 1919 wage law to require overtime pay for women and minors
who work extra days or hours.
(SFC, 5/10/17, p.D3)
1953 San Francisco’s used car
salesman Edward Shapiro (1900-1976), aka Horsetrader Ed, was
indicted and convicted of income tax evasion and sent to San Quentin
prison for 8 months. His Kar Korral at Eddy and Van Ness was later
taken over by former 49er player Ed Balatti, who also called himself
Horsetrader Ed. In 1987 Balatti was convicted of fencing stolen
merchandise and sentenced to 6 years in San Quentin.
(SFC, 9/28/13, p.C3)
1953 Leo Krikorian (1922-2004),
artist and photographer, and fellow Black Mountain student Knute
Stiles purchased a bar at 1546 Grant St. in North Beach they called
The Place. It became a center for Beats and oddballs in SF until it
closed in 1960.
(SFC, 1/18/05, p.B4)(SFC, 3/18/17, p.C1)
1953 In Colorado City, Arizona,
a mass police raid against members of the Fundamentalist Church of
the Latter Day Saints (FLDS) led to the arrest of scores of men and
the separation of children from their families. FLDS members were
(Econ, 10/15/05, p.33)
1953 Rev. T.J. Jemison
organized a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was the 1st of
its kind and became a model for the 1955 Martin Luther King
rebellion in Montgomery, Ala.
(NW, 6/9/03, p/14)
1953 Augie Hiebert (1916-2007)
opened Alaska’s first television station in Anchorage.
(WSJ, 9/22/07, p.A8)
1953 The Colgate-Palmolive-Peet
Co. became Colgate-Palmolive Co.
(SFC, 5/24/06, p.G3)
1953 Dow Jones & Co. ceased
the publication of its Saturday Wall Street Journal after the NYSE
ended Saturday trading.
(WSJ, 8/1/07, p.B6)
1953 Leonard H. Goldenson
(d.1999 at 94), chief executive of United Paramount Theaters, bought
the near-bankrupt ABC broadcasting network. ABC had 14 stations and
trailed behind CBS, NBC and DuMont Network. In 1986 Goldenson
oversaw the ABC merger with Capital Cities Broadcasting, which was
bought by Disney in 1996 for $19 billion.
(SFC, 12/28/99, p.B3)
1953 General Foods acquired the
Perkins Products Co. which included "Kool-Aid."
(SFC, 4/9/96, z1 p.5)
1953 Jim Beam began selling
special decanters filled with Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Political
bottles were produced from 1956 to 1988.
(SFC, 4/5/06, p.G8)
1953 John Mitchell (d.2007 at
89), his younger brother Larry, and brother-in-law Bob Davis turned
an old liquor store in the SF Mission District into Mitchell’s Ice
Cream parlor, which became a Bay Area tradition.
(SFC, 6/16/07, p.B6)
1953 Air conditioning units
became widely available on American cars.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl.)
1953 Naugahyde, an imitation
leather made from plastic, was sold by Uniroyal Technology to the
auto industry for upholstery. It soon came to be used for office
seating units and for some residential furniture.
(SFC, 3/5/08, p.G4)
1953 Industry experts in 1996
picked the 1953 Studebaker Starlight as the number 4 favorite car.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1953 Howard Hughes launched the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Md. The sale
of Hughes Aircraft to General Motors in 1985 added $5 billion to the
coffers of the institute.
(WSJ, 9/22/06, p.B1)
1953 Thomas Watson Jr., the son
of IBM chief Thomas Watson, threatened to cancel plans for plants in
Kentucky and North Carolina if they could not be fully racially
integrated. State governors backed down and the plants opened 3
(Econ, 6/11/11, p.66)
1953 John von Neumann and a
band of engineers at Princeton Univ. created a computer that
simulated nuclear explosions by day and modeled artificial life
forms, the creations of Nils Barricelli (1912-1993), by night.
Barricelli, a Norwegian-Italian mathematician, was wealthy and held
an unpaid residency at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at
Princeton, NJ, in 1953, 1954. and 1956. His early computer-assisted
experiments in symbiogenesis and evolution are considered pioneering
in artificial life research.
(Econ, 3/10/12, p.97)
1953 Remington-Rand developed
the 1st high-speed printer for use on the Univac mainframe computer.
(SFC, 7/26/04, p.F4)
1953 Thompson Products
developed the first automotive ball joint suspension systems.
(F, 10/7/96, p.69)
1953 WD-40 was created by three
technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. The company
sold the product to coat missiles and prevent rust. Consumers later
discovered its use as a lubricant. In 1969 John Barry (1925-2000)
became head of the company and soon renamed the firm after the
7/14/99, p.8)(SFC, 7/22/09, p.D5)
1953 Doctors attributed lung
cancer for the first time to cigarette smoking.
(TL, 1988, p.114)
1953 The first human
transplant, a kidney from mother to son, was performed in Paris.
(TL, 1988, p.114)
1953 Dr. Maurice M. Black
(1918-1996) predicted that "the use of ultra-radical surgical
attempts to cure breast cancer are not consistent with the biology
of the disease."
(SFC, 9/16/96, p.A15)
1953 Donald Ewen Cameron
(1901-1967), professor of neurology and psychology at Albany State
Medical School, developed what he called "psychic driving". He
developed the theory that mental patients could be cured by
treatment that erased existing memories and by rebuilding the psyche
1953 At the Univ. of Chicago
Nathaniel Kleitman and his students at the world’s first sleep
laboratory first observed and studied rapid eye movement, aka REM.
(PacDis, Summer ’97, p.2)
1953 Robert F. Borkenstein
(d.2002) invented a Breathalyzer to test drivers for alcohol
content. It stemmed from his work with Dr. R.N. Harger of the
Indiana School of Medicine to make the Drunkometer.
(SFC, 8/19/02, p.B6)
1953 While researching silicon
for its possible applications in electronics, Gerald Pearson, an
empirical physicist at Bell Laboratories, inadvertently made a solar
cell that was far more efficient than solar cells made from
selenium. Two other Bell scientists, Daryl Chapin and Calvin Fuller,
refined Pearson's discovery came up with the first solar cell
capable of converting enough of the sun's energy into power to run
everyday electrical equipment.
1953 Dr. Daniel Fox, a chemist
at GE, invented Lexan polycarbonate resin, a hard plastic.
(WSJ, 1/10/07, p.B2)
1953 Stanley L. Miller
(1930-2007), a chemist at the Univ. of Chicago, conducted an
experiment that showed a whole range of organic compounds
synthesized when an electric spark was passed through a mixture of
methane, ammonia, and water vapor. These compounds combined to
produce urea and several amino-acids. His resulting paper was titled
“Production of amino acids under possible primitive Earth
(Econ, 2/18/06, p.75)(Econ, 6/2/07, p.95)
1953 A chemist working for J.R.
Simplot, Idaho potato mogul, perfected a technique of freezing
chipped potatoes. By the late 1960s Jack Simplot was the largest
supplier of French fries to McDonald’s.
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.105)
1953 Meta Neumann (1896-1996),
neuropathologist, established that Alzheimer’s disease is a
metabolic disorder rather than a function of old age. In the mid
1960s she uncovered the rare degenerative brain condition known as
(SFC, 12/2/96, p.D2)
1953 McGeorge Bundy at 34
became the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Harvard.
(SFC, 9/17/96, p.A22)
1953 This was the peak year for
accordion imports to the US. 200,000 instruments were imported from
Italy, and another 200,000 come in from Germany.
1953 Mt. Everest was climbed by
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkay, a Sherpa.
(TL, 1988, p.114)(TMC, 1994, p.1953)
1953 The first attempt to scale
K2, the world’s 2nd tallest mountain, was made by 7 Americans led by
Charles Houston and Robert Bates. The mountain straddled China and
Pakistan. In 1954 they authored “K2: The Savage Mountain.
(WSJ, 4/28/07, p.P8)
1953 In Pakistan Nanga Parbat,
an 8,126-meter (26,660-foot) peak in the Himalayas, was scaled for
the first time. It was nicknamed Killer Mountain" because thirty
climbers had died trying to scale it prior to this.
1953 Revitalized grasslands of
the US western plains were transferred to various federal and state
(NH, 5/96, p.64)
1953 In California Roberts
Regional Recreation Area opened in the Oakland Hills.
(SFC, 6/1/07, p.B9)
1953 The Khapra beetle, one of
the world's most tenacious and destructive stored-produce pests,
first invaded California. It originated in South Asia. The
California infestation was not eradicated until 1966, at a cost of
1953 W.W. Dixon (b.1883),
storybook home architect, died. Most of his homes were built in the
East Bay of the SF Bay Area.
(SFC, 8/20/05, p.F1)
1953 Florida Gov. Daniel
McCarty died while in office.
(SFEC, 12/13/98, p.C14)
1953 Project MKUltra, sometimes
referred to as the CIA's mind control program, was officially
sanctioned. The code name given to an illegal program of experiments
on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the United States
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had begun in the early 1950s.
Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the
Church Committee of the US Congress, and a Gerald Ford commission to
investigate CIA activities within the United States. Investigative
efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms
ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973. South Boston gangster
James Bulgar was among prison inmates who had time shaved off their
sentences in exchange for LSD injections in MKUltra.
1953 Frank Olson, US Army
chemist, jumped to his death from a hotel window while under the
influence of LSD. He was an unwitting subject in the CIA MKULTRA
mind-control project. In 1976 Congress approved a $760,000 payment
to his widow.
(SSFC, 7/14/02, p.A4)
1953 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
(b.1896), author of “The Yearling," died. In 2005 Rodger L. Tarr
edited a collection of her letters to her husband, Norton S. Baskin:
“The Private Marjorie."
(WSJ, 2/25/05, p.W8)
1953 Jim Thorpe, star athlete,
died. He was the first president of the National Football League.
(HT, 4/97, p.18)(SFC, 7/11/98, p.B3)
1953 Bolivia’s agrarian reform
of 1953, born of the1952 revolution, was adversely affected by
corruption and pressure groups. By 1996, 55 million hectares had
been handed over to large landholders, and 45 million hectares to
1953 In Brazil Darcy Ribeiro,
anthropologist (1923-1997), founded the Museum of the Indian in Rio
(SFC, 2/20/96, p.A20)
1953 Brazil’s Petrobras was
founded under the slogan “o petroleo e nosso" (the oil is ours) as
the country produced 2,700 barrels of oil per day and consumed
137,000 per day. In 2006 Brazil became independent from foreign oil.
(AP, 4/22/06)(Econ, 2/14/15, p.33)
1953 In Brazil JBS Friboi began
as a butchers founded by Jose Sobrinho in Anapolis, Goias state. By
2011 it was the world’s largest meat producer.
(Econ, 9/24/11, SR p.22)
1953 Volkswagen began
manufacturing cars in Brazil.
(Econ, 11/15/08, SR p.6)
1953 The British comedy film
“Trouble in Store" starred comedian Norman Wisdom (d.2010 at 95) and
was directed by John Paddy Carstairs.
1953 In Britain the Royal Yacht
Britannia was put into service. The yacht was retired in 1997.
1953 Britain signed the
European convention, which set out a range of individual rights.
(SFC, 10/2/00, p.A13)
1953 Poppit beads, small
plastic ball-and-socket units, were first created in England. They
were later sold under the names Poppit, Snapit or Lockit and sold as
beads for necklaces.
(SFC, 4/16/08, p.G3)
1953 Greece was among 22
countries that agreed to halve Germany's foreign debt at a
conference in London.
1953 Canada established the
village of Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic by
transplanting Inuit families from the Hudson Bay area.
(NG, 6/1988, 762)
1953 Marilyn Monroe stayed at
the Tekarra Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, Canada, while filming “River
of No Return" (1954). She had been asked to leave the Jasper Park
Lodge for dressing inappropriately.
(SSFC, 5/19/13, p.N7)
1953 King Norodom Sihanouk
gained independence for Cambodia from France. Pol Pot helped set up
the Communist Party.
(SFC, 6/14/97, p.A15)(SFEC, 3/7/99, p.A17)
1953 China’s first 5-year plan,
formulated with Soviet help, called for the manufacture of 6 million
tons of cement, 5m tons of pig iron, and 4.12m tons of steel. All of
these targets were surpassed by 1957.
1953 In Colombia a domestic spy
agency was created during the government of Gen. Gustavo Rojas
Pinilla. In 1960 it reconstructed as the DAS by President Alberto
1953 In Costa Rica Jose
Figueres Ferrer gained power.
(WSJ, 12/12/97, p.A19)
1953 Ibrahim Ferrer Planas
(d.2005), singer, joined a group called Los Bocucos, led by vocalist
Pacho Alonso in Santiago, Cuba. In 1996 he recorded with Ry Cooder
for the "Buena Vista Social Club" which was followed by his own solo
(SFEC, 9/19/99, DB p.37)(SFEM, 10/3/99, p.31)
1953 Klement Gottwald (b.1896),
leader of the Czech Communist Party, died. His embalmed body was
placed in a mausoleum in Prague until 1962, when it was buried.
(SFC, 9/10/08, p.A5)
1953 Yasser Arafat (d.2004), as
a student in Egypt, authored “Don’t Forget Palestine."
(Econ, 11/13/04, p.95)
1953 In West Germany a
restitution law included compensation for seized life, illness and
retirement policies of Jewish Holocaust victims.
(SFEC, 4/6/97, p.A13)
1953 In West Germany Werner
Hoefer (d.1997 at 84) began his TV roundtable discussion "Der
Internationale Freuschoppen." He led the show until 1987.
Revelations of his work as a Nazi forced the end of his career as
the show’s host.
1953 In Greenland Inuit
inhabitants were forcibly relocated for the American Thule air base.
650 later sued and won a $71,400 settlement.
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C1)
1953 In Haiti Felix
Morisseau-Leroy (d.1998 at 86) premiered his play "Antigone" in
Port-au-Prince. It was the first serious play in the native Creole
(SFC, 9/7/98, p.A21)
1953 The last 21 residents of
Ireland’s Great Blasket Island were repatriated to the mainland.
(SSFC, 3/11/12, p.F5)
1953 In Israel Shimon Peres
(b.1923) became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry
of Defense. He was involved in arms purchases and establishing
strategic alliances that were important for the State of Israel.
1953 Israeli forces demolished
Kufr Birim, a Maronite village just south of the Lebanese border,
five years after persuading hundreds of residents to leave with the
promise of a speedy return that never materialized.
1953 Italy founded ENIPower, a
state attempt to break the oligopoly of the “Seven Sister," the
major oil companies of the day.
(Econ, 8/21/04, p.53)(Econ, 7/22/06, p.64)
1953 In Japan a Leprosy
Prevention Law banished lepers to small islands and remote areas. It
was repealed in 1996.
(SFC, 5/24/01, p.C3)(WSJ, 5/24/01, p.A1)
1953 The Kuwait Investment
Authority (KIA) was founded as the world’s first sovereign wealth
fund. In 2008 its assets were estimated at $200 billion.
(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.A10)(Econ, 1/19/08, p.80)
1953 Mexico allowed women the
right to vote.
(SFC, 12/4/97, p.C6)
1953 A group of 1,200 North
Korean orphans arrived at the small, forested village of Plakowice,
where they lived in a former hospital building for six years under
the care of Polish teachers. In 2018 the documentary film "The
Children Gone to Poland" premiered at the Busan International Film
Festival in South Korea.
1953 Hizb ut-Tahir was founded
in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar and appeals
court judge from the Palestinian village of Ijzim. It seeks the
return of the caliphate, based on Islamic sharia law, by political
means. By 2012 it had members and sympathizers in more than 50
1953 Sarao Motors was begun in
the Philippines and later became popular for the manufacture of the
popular jeepney passenger vehicles.
1953 The Polish government,
under pressure from the Soviet Union, renounced any claim to
reparations from East Germany.
(Econ, 8/19/17, p.44)
1953 In Poland Brig. Gen.
August Emil Fieldorf, a top clandestine Home Army commander who once
served as emissary to the country's government-in-exile, was accused
of ordering killings of Soviet soldiers and hanged. Poland's
communist authorities later admitted the charges were fabricated.
1953 Ilya Ehrenburg
(1891-1967), Russian writer won the Stalin Peace Prize. He was the
Paris correspondent for Izvestia at the outset of Stalin’s purges in
1932. His books include: "The Ninth Wave" (1951), "The Thaw," and
"People, Years and Life," his memoirs that began coming out it Novy
Mir in 1960. Joshua Rubenstein wrote his biography in 1996 titled:
"Tangled Loyalties: The Life and Times of Ilya Rubenstein."
(WSJ, 4/2/96, p.A-12)
1953 In Russia Nikita
Khrushchev came to power. His glass and marble Palace of Congresses
obliterated the last vestiges of the 17th century palace of Tsarina
Natalie Kirilovna Naryshkina, the mother of Peter the Great.
(AM, Jul/Aug ‘97 p.33)
1953 USSR Lt. Gen’l. Pavel
Sudoplatov, spy, was arrested after the death of Stalin and sent to
(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A21)
1953 South Korea passed a law
against abortion to counter a Confucian preference for sons, but it
was rarely enforced.
(Econ, 5/23/15, p.32)
1953 King Abdul Aziz died. He
was the founder of modern Saudi Arabia and fathered a total of 44
sons before his death. Aziz was succeeded by King Saud who ruled
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)(WSJ, 10/22/01, p.A18)
1953 A freedom charter in the
struggle against apartheid was framed in Soweto, South Africa.
1953 The Spanish film
“Bienvenido Mister Marshall!" was directed by Luis Garcia Berlanga.
(Econ, 8/10/13, p.71)
1953-1954 When G. David Schine, assistant to
Joseph McCarthy, was drafted into the Army, their lawyer, Roy Cohn,
tried to get special privileges to stay out and threatened the Army
with an investigation. This prompted an independent investigation
and the Army-McCarthy hearings. The Wisconsin Republican’s abuse of
Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens during the hearings prompted
McCarthy’s condemnation by the Senate.
(SFC, 6/21/96, p.E2)
1953-1954 Members of the Estonian Forest Brothers
resistance movement were killed by Stalin's NKVD secret police.
(SFC, 4/3/04, p.A10)
1953-1955 Bolivia’s President Paz Estenssoro
established universal suffrage. The government reduced the size and
budget of the armed forces. The three major tin companies were
nationalized, to be run by the Mining Corporation of Bolivia
(Comibol). Strongly influenced by peasants, the government enacted
sweeping agrarian reform. Miners organized the Bolivian Labor
1953-1955 Fidel Castro, a prospective major league
baseball player, was jailed in Cuba.
(EnRoute, 11/’95, p.111)
1953-1956 Gen’l. Alfred M. Gruenther took over a
Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. He succeeded Gen’l. Ridgeway.
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)
1953-1956 Sir Roger Makins (1904-1996) served as
the British ambassador to the US. His wife, Alice Davis, was the
daughter of Dwight Davis, for whom the tennis Davis Cup was named.
(SFC, 11/11/96, p.A26)
1953-1958 The Stanley Brothers, Ralph and Carter,
recorded some of their best songs on the Mercury label.
(WSJ, 10/8/98, p.A16)
1953-1958 In Kenya 1,090 Kikuyu were hanged by
British authorities due to the Mau Mau rebellion.
(Econ, 1/1/05, p.66)
1953-1958 Sir Garfield Todd (d.2002) served as
prime minister of Southern Rhodesia.
1953-1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower (b.1890) was the
34th President of the US.
(A&IP, ESM, p.96b, photo)
1953-1961 Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden served as the
Secretary-General of the UN.
(SFC, 12/14/96, p.A1)
1953-1970 Albert Gore Sr. (d.1998 at 90) served as
US Senator from Tennessee. He opposed the war in Vietnam while his
son served there as an Army journalist.
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.C14)
1953-1971 "The Danny Thomas Show" ran on TV.
(SFEC, 1/12/97, p.C10)
1953-1971 Nathan Marsh Pusey (1907-2001), served
as president of Harvard Univ.
(SFC, 11/22/01, p.A29)
1953-1986 Markus Wolf was the head of East
Germany’s int’l. spy network. He planted some 4,000 agents in the
West during the Cold War and managed to steal NATO secrets for the
Soviet bloc. In 1997 he published "Man Without a Face," an account
of his experiences.
(SFC, 5/28/97, p.A10)(WSJ, 6/02/97, p.A20)