Return to home
1954 Jan 1,
Duff Cooper (b.1890), British cabinet minister and envoy, died. In
1953 he authored his autobiography “Old Men Forget.” In 2005 John
Julius Norwich edited “The Duff Cooper Diaries.”
1954 Jan 2, The "Caine Mutiny"
by Herman Wouk premiered in NYC.
1954 Jan 3, Albert Einstein
wrote a letter to the philosopher Eric Gutkind describing belief in
God as "childish superstition" and saying Jews were not the chosen
people. In 2008 the letter was put up for auction and sold for
(AFP, 5/13/08)(AP, 5/16/08)
1954 Jan 4, Elvis Presley
recorded a 10 minute demo in Nashville.
1954 Jan 5, Walter Edward Scott
(b.1872), Death Valley con man, died. He was supported for much of
his life by millionaire Albert Johnson (d.1948).
(ON, 3/04, p.8)(
1954 Jan 8, President Dwight
Eisenhower proposed stripping convicted Communists of their U.S.
1954 Jan 9, Former Hawaii Gov.
Ingram Steinbeck said this is no time to admit the territory of
Hawaii to the Union, because left wing labor unions had an economic
stranglehold on the islands.
(SFC, 1/9/04, p.E2)
1954 Jan 11, Oscar Straus (83),
Austrian composer (The Chocolate Soldier), died.
1954 Jan 12, Howard Stern,
"Radio's Bad Boy," was born in Roosevelt, NY.
1954 Jan 12, Austria's worst
avalanche killed 200. 9hrs later a 2nd one killed 115.
1954 Jan 14, NY Yankee Joe
DiMaggio married actress Marilyn Monroe in SF City Hall. They were
divorced in Oct.
(SFC, 1/1/99, p.A13)(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A21)(MC,
1954 Jan 16, "South Pacific"
closed at Majestic Theater, NYC, after 1928 performances.
1954 Jan 16, Mexico closed its
borders to all farm laborers heading for the US following a
breakdown in negotiations with the US over renewal of an annual
agreement on labor flow.
(SFC, 1/16/04, p.E5)
1954 Jan 20, "The Caine Mutiny
Court-Martial," a play by Herman Wouk based on part of his 1951
novel "The Caine Mutiny," opened on Broadway.
1954 Jan 20, Over 22,000
anti-Communist prisoners were turned over to the UN forces in Korea.
1954 Jan 20, The CIA built a
tunnel from west Berlin to East Berlin to tap Soviet and East German
(SFC, 9/17/97, p.A3)
1954 Jan 21, The first atomic
submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Conn. However,
the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly
a year later.
1954 Jan 21, In Czechoslovakia
Frantisek Stransky died when a test prototype of the Oskar 54
microcar crashed. In 1956, the vehicle's name was changed to
"Velorex - Oskar" and then just to "Velorex". In 1959 the company
produced 120 vehicles per month. Beginning in 1936, the brothers
Frantisek (1914 - 1954) and Mojmír (1924) Stransky, owners of a
bicycle repair shop in village Parnik near Česká Třebová, started
with the design of a small, cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by
three-wheelers from Morgan Motor Company.
1954 Jan 29, Oprah Winfrey,
actress, TV host (Color Purple, Oprah), was born in Mississippi.
1954 Jan 31, Edwin H. Armstrong
(b.1890), US radio inventor of frequency modulation (FM), committed
(www.britannica.com)(SSFC, 10/24/04, Par p.5)
1954 Jan, Leonard Moskowitz
(1917-2008), whose father was the founder of Rochester Big &
Tall, was kidnapped in San Francisco. He was freed when the
kidnappers, who had demanded $500,000, were captured 3 days after
(SFC, 7/3/08, p.B5)
1954 Feb 1, A television
classic was born this day on CBS-TV, as the serial, "The Secret
Storm", was shown for the first day of what would become a 20-year
run on the network.
(440 Int'l, 2/1/1999)
1954 Feb 1, Abbe Pierre
(1912-2007) told French listeners on Radio Luxembourg that a woman
had frozen to death on the boulevard Sebastopol, clutching an
eviction notice issued the day before. His appeal sparked an
(Econ, 2/3/07, p.87)
1954 Feb 2, President
Eisenhower reported the 1952 detonation of 1st Hydrogen bomb.
1954 Feb 3, Millions greeted
Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on her first royal trip to Australia.
1954 Feb 5, A US Air Force C-47
enroute from Fairbanks to Anchorage crashed on Kesugi Ridge near
Byers Lake in Alaska. 10 people were killed and 6 survived.
1954 Feb 8, Caryl Whittier
Chessman (34), on death row at San Quentin for kidnapping and
attempted rape, had his 1st book accepted for publication: "Cell
2455, Death Row." He was executed May 2, 1960.
(SFC, 2/6/04, p.E12)
1954 Feb 10, Eisenhower warned
against US intervention in Vietnam.
1954 Feb 14, Sen. John Kennedy
appeared on "Meet the Press."
1954 Feb 15, Matt Groening,
cartoonist (The Simpsons), was born.
1954 Feb 15, The 1st bevatron
went into operation in Berkeley, California.
(440 Int’l., 2/15/99)
1954 Feb 18, East and West
Berlin dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets on each other after
the end of a month long truce.
1954 Feb 20, Patty Hearst,
famous kidnap hostage (Tanya), was born in SF.
1954 Feb 20, The Ford
Foundation gave a $25 million grant to the Fund for Advancement of
1954 Feb 22, U.S. was to
install 60 Thor nuclear missiles in Britain.
1954 Feb 23, The first mass
inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in
Pittsburgh. Jonas Salk created the Salk vaccine against polio. It
used a killed virus to induce immunization. Poliomyelitis is a viral
attack of the central nervous system and can cause paralysis and
death by asphyxiation. [see Apr 26] In 2005 David M. Oshinsky
authored “Polio: An American Story – The Crusade That Mobilized the
Nation Against the 20th Century’s Most Feared Disease.”
(SFC, 6/21/96, p.A10)(HN, 2/23/98)(AP,
2/23/98)(Econ, 6/18/05, p.79)
1954 Feb 23, In Egypt Pres.
Naguib resigned. The popular outcry was so great that Naguib was
reinstated as president. Nasser, however, took the position of prime
minister, previously held by Naguib, and remained president of the
Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).
1954 Feb 26, Michigan
Representative Ruth Thompson (R) introduced legislation to ban
mailing "obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy" phonograph (rock and
1954 Feb 26, 1st typesetting
machine (photo engraving) used at Quincy, MA.
1954 Feb 26, William R. Inge
(93), English theologist, philosopher, died.
1954 Mar 1, The US Senate
confirmed the Earl Warren for Chief Justice of the US. He had been
serving as the Interim chief Justice since Oct 5, 1953.
1954 Mar 1, Puerto Rican
nationalists opened fire from the gallery of the U.S. House of
Representatives, wounding five congressmen. In 1998 the
granddaughter of one of the nationalists published a family memoir.
Lolita Lebron (1919-2010), Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and
Andres Figueroa Cordero all received lengthy prison sentences.
President Jimmy Carter granted them clemency in 1979 and they were
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(AP, 3/1/98)(NPR, 2/28/98)(AP,
1954 Mar 1, The Bravo hydrogen
bomb test exploded across Bikini atoll (Marshall Islands) with the
force of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. A Nuclear Claims Tribunal,
established in 1986, later awarded Bikini and Enewetak 500 million
dollars but only a fraction of the amount was received. A Nov 30,
2004, deadline limited further suits.
1954 Mar 1, The No. 5
Fukuryu-maru was trolling for tuna off the Bikini atoll in the
Pacific during the Bravo hydrogen bomb test. 11 crew members died in
the half-century since the exposure, at least six of them from liver
cancer. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States conducted 66
nuclear tests at Bikini as part of "Operation Crossroads."
1954 Mar 1, Ted Williams
fractured a collarbone in 1st game of spring training after flying
39 combat missions without injury in Korean War.
1954 Mar 1, Rebellion during
visit of President Naguib in Khartoum Sudan, 30 die.
1954 Mar 4, JE Wilkins was
appointed 1st Black US sub-cabinet member.
1954 Mar 4, In Bulgaria
Communist ruler Todor Zhivkov began a 35-year dictatorship.
During his rule he authorized a forced assimilation drive against
the 1 million ethnic Turks. Over 100 were killed and some 310,000
1954 Mar 5, "Girl in Pink
Tights" opened at Mark Hellinger in NYC for 115 performances.
1954 Mar 6, The TV show "See It
Now" broadcast its "Report on Senator McCarthy," and examined the
senator and his red-baiting tactics. [see Mar 9]
(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A24)
1954 Mar 8, The U.S. signed a
mutual defense pact with Japan, offering them $100 million in aid
within the next three months.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(HN, 3/8/98)
1954 Mar 9, CBS newsman Edward
R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s
anti-Communism campaign on "See It Now." [see Mar 6]
1954 Mar 10, Pres. Eisenhower
called Sen. Joseph McCarthy a peril to the Republican Party.
1954 Mar 11, The U.S. Army
charged that Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and his
subcommittee's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, had exerted pressure to
obtain favored treatment for Pvt. G. David Schine, a former
consultant to the subcommittee. The confrontation culminated in the
famous Senate Army-McCarthy hearings.
1954 Mar 13, Viet Minh General
Giap opened an assault on French forces at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam.
In 2010 Ted Morgan (aka Sanche Armand Gabriel de Gramont) authored
“Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into
the Vietnam War.”
(HN, 3/14/98)(Econ, 4/3/04, p.86)(Econ, 2/20/10,
Mar 15, The "CBS Morning Show" premiered with Walter Cronkite
(1916-2009) and Jack Paar (1918-2004).
1954 Mar 18, Howard Hughes paid
$23.5 million for the RKO motion picture company.
(SFC, 4/18/98, p.C3)
1954 Mar 19, The 1st
rocket-driven sled on rails was tested in Alamogordo, NM.
1954 Mar 20, "King and I"
closed at St. James Theater in NYC after 1246 performances.
1954 Mar 21, Paul Selenyi
(b.1884), Hungarian physicist, died in Budapest. He was the first to
record images with an electrostatic marking process. This was the
foundation for Chester Carlson’s Xerox copiers.
1954 Mar 22, The 1st shopping
mall opened in Southfield, Mich.
1954 Mar 22, The London gold
market reopened for the first time since 1939.
1954 Mar 24, Britain opened
trade talks with Hungary.
1954 Mar 25, RCA manufactured
its first color TV set and began mass production. The 1953 RCA
design for color TV was adopted as the national standard. The 12"
screen TV was priced at $1000. Westinghouse had introduced a color
model a few weeks earlier, but only 1 set was sold in the 1st month.
(HN, 3/24/98)(WSJ, 11/4/99, p.B6)(MC,
3/25/02)(SFC, 3/18/04, p.E1)
1954 Mar 25, At the Academy
Awards, "From Here to Eternity" won eight Oscars, including best
picture, best director (Fred Zinnemann), best supporting actor
(Frank Sinatra) and best supporting actress (Donna Reed). Audrey
Hepburn won best actress for "Roman Holiday" and William Holden best
actor for "Stalag 17."
1954 Mar 26, The U.S. set off
the second H-bomb blast in four weeks in the Marshall Islands at
Bikini Island. The 15-megaton device was 750 times more powerful
than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast contaminated
the neighboring island of Rongelap and nearly 100 people on the
island and other downwind atolls.
(HN, 3/25/98)(SFC, 12/7/99, p.A10)(SS, 3/26/02)
1954 Mar 28, In the 8th Tony
Awards: Teahouse of the August Moon and Kismet won
1954 Mar 29, Karen Anne
Quinlan, famous comatose patient (right to die case), was born in
1954 Mar 30, Canada’s first
subway line opened in Toronto.
(CFA, ‘96, p.42)(HN, 3/30/98)
1954 Mar 31, Moscow offered to
join NATO on the condition that the West join the Soviet European
1954 Mar 31, The siege of Dien
Bien Phu, the last French outpost in Vietnam, began after the Viet
Minh realized it could not be taken by direct assault.
1954 Mar, US CIA official
Donald N. Wilber wrote a history of the CIA sponsored 1953 coup in
(SFEC, 4/16/00, p.A18)
1954 Mar, Dorothy Gay Howard
(18) of Phoenix, Arizona, was reported missing. Her nude and
battered body was found on April 8 along a creek in Boulder,
Colorado. She was buried as Jane Doe until her identity was
established by DNA testing in 2009.
1954 Apr 1, U.S. Air Force
Academy was founded in Colorado. President Dwight Eisenhower signed
a bill authorizing the establishment of an Air Force Academy,
similar to West Point and Annapolis. On July 11, 1955, the first
class was sworn in at Lowry Air Force Base. The academy moved to a
permanent site near Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1958.
(HN, 4/1/98)(HNQ, 2/22/99)(MC, 4/1/02)
1954 Apr 3, Aristides de Sousa
Mendes (b.1885), former Portuguese consul general in Bordeaux,
France, died in poverty. He is credited with defying his
government’s orders and saving 10,000 European Jews and some 20,000
other nationals by issuing transit visas to “undesirables” fleeing
the Nazis during WW II.
1954 Apr 6, Four weeks after
being attacked on the air by Edward R. Murrow, Sen. Joseph R.
McCarthy, R-Wis., delivered a filmed response on CBS' "See It Now"
in which he charged that Murrow had, in the past, "engaged in
propaganda for Communist causes."
1954 Apr 7, Jackie Chan,
martial art actor (Rumble in the Bronx), was born.
1954 Apr 7, Pres. Eisenhower
spoke at a press conference about why we needed to protect Vietnam
and mentioned his fear of a "domino-effect" in Indochina.
1954 Apr 7, The West German
government refused to recognize DDR (East Germany).
1954 Apr 9, Dennis Quaid, actor
(Big Easy, Dreamscape, Right Stuff), was born in Houston, TX.
1954 Apr 12, Bill Haley &
the Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock" at NYC's Pythian Temple.
It was written by Max C. Freedman and Jimmy de Knight. Haley's "Rock
Around the Clock," was originally released as the B side of
“Thirteen Women.” Haley died in 1981.
(www.rockabillyhall.com/RockClockTribute.html)(WSJ, 4/8/04, p.D8)
1954 Apr 12, Joe Turner
released "Shake, Rattle & Roll."
1954 Apr 12, AEC hearings began
on Robert Oppenheimer. Lewis Strauss, head of the AEC, had accused
Oppenheimer on Dec 21, 1953, of disloyalty and presented a list of
the charges against him. Oppenheimer refused to resign, demanded a
hearing, and hired a lawyer.
1954 Apr 18, The US held a
nationwide test of its disaster radio system known as Conelrad. In
SF a simulated 10-megaton bomb, exploding over Hunters Point, was
estimated to kill 500,000 Bay Area citizens.
(SSFC, 4/12/09, DB p.43)
1954 Apr 18, Colonel Nasser
seized power in Egypt.
1954 Apr 21, USAF flew a French
battalion to Vietnam.
1954 Apr 21, Gyorgy Malenkov
became premier of USSR.
1954 Apr 22, The publicly
televised US Senate Army-McCarthy hearings began.
1954 Apr 23, The Army-McCarthy
hearings began. [see Apr 22]
1954 Apr 23, Hank Aaron of the
Milwaukee Braves hit the first of his record 755 major-league home
runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves won, 7-5.
1954 Apr 25, Bell Labs in NYC
announced the 1st solar battery.
(SFC, 2/16/04, p.E1)
1954 Apr 26, Nationwide test of
Salk anti-polio vaccine began. [see Feb 23]
1954 Apr 29, Jerry Seinfeld,
actor, was born in Brooklyn, NY.
(SFEC, 4/19/98, DB p.36)
1954 Apr 29, India and
Communist China entered an 8-year pact for peaceful coexistence.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Apr 30, Jane Campion, New
Zealand film director (The Piano, A Portrait of a Lady), was born.
1954 Apr 30, KQED, SF-based
public television, began broadcasting.
(SFC, 4/28/04, p.E1)
1954 Apr, In Pakistan the
government issued the Munir Report, an eloquent expression of the
state’s position on religion. This was made in response to Muslim
leaders in the Punjab who agitated in 1953 to have a rival
group declassified as Muslims.
1954 May 1, Ray York rode
Determine to victory in the Kentucky Derby.
1954 May 1, Legos, founded by
Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, became a registered
trademark in Denmark.
1954 May 2, Walt Disney and
associates announced plans to build a $9 million Disneyland on a
160-acre tract, once part of the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana,
in Orange County.
(SFC, 4/30/04, p.F5)
1954 May 3, Pulitzer prize was
awarded to Charles A. Lindbergh and John Patrick.
1954 May 5, There was a
military coup by General Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay. Thomas
Romero Pereira came to power in a military coup that lasted for
three days. He is best known for giving up power three months later
to Alfredo Stroessner who then became the dictator of Paraguay for
1954 May 6, Medical student
Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile during a track meet in
Oxford, England, finishing in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. In 2004 Neal
Bascomb authored "The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and
Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It."
(TMC, 1994, p.1954)(AP, 5/6/97)(SSFC, 4/18/04,
1954 May 7, A San Francisco
jury decided that Harold Jackson and Joseph Lear should be executed
for the January kidnapping of Leonard Moskovitz. Their sentences
were later changed to life in prison and both men died in San
(SFC, 5/7/04, p.F2)(SFC, 7/3/08, p.B5)
1954 May 7, US, Great Britain
and France rejected Russian membership in NATO.
1954 May 7, The Battle of Dien
Bien Phu in Vietnam ended after 55 days with Vietnamese insurgents
overrunning French forces and the US began to get involved. French
Gen. Marcel Bigeard (1916-2010) and some 12,000 defenders were
captured. Vietnamese insurgents expelled the French but the country
was divided into a communist north and a pro-US south. In the 8
years of the French Indochina War some 52,000 French soldiers were
killed. Vietnam was soon partitioned between a regime in Hanoi led
by Ho Chi Minh and an anti-communist regime in Saigon under Ngo Dinh
Diem. Howard Simpson later wrote: "Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle
America Forgot." In 2004 Martin Windrow authored “The Last Valley:
Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam.”
(TL, 1988, p.114)(SFC, 12/27/96, p.A24)(SFC,
2/22/96, p.B3)(AP, 5/7/97)(SFC, 5/24/99, p.C4)(Econ, 11/27/04,
1954 May 13, The musical play
"The Pajama Game" opened on Broadway for 1063 performances.
1954 May 13, Robin Roberts gave
up a HR then retired the next 27 men in a row.
(SS, Internet, 5/13/97)
1954 May 13, President
Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.
1954 May 13, Labour Party won
British municipal elections.
1954 May 14, The US military
unveiled a Nike guided missile at the SF Presidio. Plans were to
ring 13 critical areas in the US with such missiles.
(SFC, 5/14/04, p.F5)
1954 May 17, The US Supreme
Court unanimously ruled for school integration in the landmark
initiative of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. It helped
abolish de facto and de jure segregation that persisted throughout
the US. The Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public
schools is unconstitutional. The 12-page historic opinion was
written by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The case was Brown vs. Board
of Education and the result overturned the 1896 decision of Plessy
vs. Ferguson that proclaimed a doctrine of separate but equal. The
Plessy vs. Ferguson decision had allowed that as long as
accommodation existed, segregation did not constitute
discrimination, establishing the doctrine of "separate but equal."
In the Brown case, which involved elementary education, the Court
ruled unanimously that segregation in public education was a denial
of the equal protection of the laws.
p.A-6)(SFEC, 6/8/97, BR p.8)
1954 May 17, Blacks hailed the
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka decision. Whites in the Deep
South called the day "Black Monday." A movement called Citizens’
Councils, led by Mississippi Circuit Court Judge Tom P. Brady, grew
to encompass virtually the state's entire white business class.
Council members published a book entitled “Black Monday” which
outlined their simple beliefs: African Americans were inferior to
whites and the races must remain separate. "If in one mighty voice
we do not protest this travesty on justice, we might as well
surrender," Brady wrote.
1954 May 17, In Romania
Monsignor Vladimir Ghika (b.1873) died in Jilava Communist prison.
He had been born into a family of Moldovan nobles in Constantinople
and spent decades traveling around the world helping the sick and
the poor. On Aug 31, 2013, he was beatified.
1954 May 18, European
Convention on Human Rights went into effect.
1954 May 19, Postmaster General
Summerfield approved a CIA mail-opening project.
1954 May 19, American composer
Charles Ives died in New York.
1954 May 20, Generalissimo
Chiang Kai-shek became president of Nationalist China.
1954 May 25, Robert Capa (40),
war photographer for Life Mag., was accidentally killed in Vietnam
when he stepped on a land mine. Capa authored a memoir in 1947:
"Slightly Out of Focus." A collection of his work was published in
1997: "Robert Capa, Photographs," with an introduction by Richard
Whelan. Capa was born Endre Friedman in Budapest. In 2003 Alex
Kershaw authored "Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert
(SFEM, 1/12/97, BR p.9)(SFEM,12/21/97, p.7)(WSJ,
1954 May 27, The security board
of the Atomic Energy Commission affirmed Robert Oppenheimer's
loyalty but denied him security clearance. The AEC canceled his
(SSFC, 7/31/05, p.F2)(http://tinyurl.com/8e8lf)
1954 May 28, George E.
Mahlberg, Astrophysicist, Mt Palomar, Mt Wilson CA (1974-78), was
1954 May 28, Achille Longo
(54), composer, died.
1954 May 29, Pope Pius XII,
born as Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Pacelli (1876-1958), canonized Pope
Pius X, born as Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (1835-1914). It was the
first canonization of a Pope since 1712.
1954 May, The US Coast Guard
began around the clock patrols outside the San Francisco’s Golden
Gate to guard against ships that might smuggle nuclear bombs into SF
Bay. The patrols were made public in Feb 2, 1955.
(SFC, 1/28/05, p.F7)
1954 Jun 2, Senator Joseph
McCarthy charged that there are communists working in the CIA and
atomic weapons plants.
1954 Jun 4, French Premier
Joseph Laniel and Vietnamese Premier Buu Loc initialed treaties in
Paris according "complete independence" to Vietnam.
1954 Jun 7, Louise Erdrich,
American author, was born.
1954 Jun 7, The 1st
microbiology laboratory was dedicated in New Brunswick, NJ.
1954 Jun 7, Alan Turing
(b.1912), English mathematician, died of suicide. Turing, a
homosexual, was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and forced to
take estrogen injections. In 2006 David Leavitt authored ”The Man
Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer. In
2009 British PM Gordon Brown apologized for the "inhumane" treatment
of Alan Turing.
1954 Jun 9, Army counsel Joseph
N. Welch confronted Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy during the Senate-Army
Hearings over McCarthy’s attack on a member of Welch’s law firm,
Frederick G. Fisher. Said Welch: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?
At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
(AP, 6/9/97)(HN 6/9/98)
1954 Jun 12, Bill Haley's "Rock
Around the Clock," was originally released.
1954 Jun 14, Americans took
part in the first nation-wide civil defense test against atomic
1954 Jun 14, President
Eisenhower signed an order adding the words "under God" to the
Pledge of Allegiance. On Feb 7 Eisenhower had attended a service
where Rev. George M. Docherty (d.2008 at 97), a Scotland-born pastor
of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, DC,
repeated his 1952 sermon saying the pledge should acknowledge God.
(AP, 6/14/97)(SFC, 6/29/98, p.A4)(AP, 11/30/08)
1954 Jun 16, In San Francisco
the 13-foot neon schooner atop the new Hamm’s Brewery building at
1550 Bryant St. was turned on. Brewing at the facility ended in
(SFC, 4/10/12, p.E2)
1954 Jun 17, The Army-McCarthy
hearings ended. In 1964 a film of the hearings was made by Daniel
Talbot and Emile de Antonio and titled "Point of Order."
(SFC, 2/15/99, p.E2)
1954 Jun 18, Albert Patterson
was assassinated in Phenix, Ala. He had recently been elected as
attorney general on a platform to crack down on vice. His murder led
the governor to call in the National Guard to replace local law
enforcement and cleanup the vice. Patterson’s son John filled the
attorney general position and soon became the subject of the movie
“The Phenix City Story.” He was elected governor in 1958.
(USAT, 6/29/04, p.7A)
1954 Jun 18, Pierre
Mendes-France (1907-1982) became Premier of France. His political
signature was a glass of milk. After the war, some French leaders
were concerned that French people were drinking too much wine and
starting to drink at too early an age. When Mendes-France would
appear in public, there invariably was a glass of milk on the
lectern, which he made a point of sipping some time during the
1954 Jun 19, Kathleen Turner
(actress: Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone,
voice of Jessica Rabbit in Roger Rabbit), was born.
1954 Jun 19, The Tasmanian
Devil, a Cartoon Character, made its debut in ‘Devil May Hare’ by
1954 Jun 20, Ilan Ramon,
Israeli pilot and astronaut, was born in Tel Aviv. He was among the
7 astronauts killed in the US Columbia space shuttle tragedy Feb 1,
(SSFC, 2/2/03, p.A8)
1954 Jun 27, CIA-sponsored
rebels overthrew the elected government of Guatemala. A US supported
force of Guatemalan mercenaries invaded from Honduras. Sam Zemurray,
head of United Fruit, helped fund the rebels. Pres. Arbenz was
toppled and replaced by 30 years of military rule. He spent much of
his exile in Cuba. Arbenz died in 1971 in Mexico City. It was
disclosed in 1997 to have been motivated by US economic interests
with 58 Guatemalan politicians put on a list of potential targets
for political killing. In 1982 “Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of
the American Coup in Guatemala” by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen
Kinzer, was published by Doubleday. In 2011 Guatemalan President
Alvaro Colom acknowledged the state's responsibility in overthrowing
Arbenz and apologized to his family.
(NG, 6/1988, p.783)(SFC, 5/24/97, p.A1)(WSJ,
3/3/99, p.A18)(AP, 10/21/11)(SSFC, 7/8/12, p.F5)
1954 Jun 27, The 1st atomic
power station opened near Moscow at Obninsk, Russia.
1954 Jun 28, US Sen. John F.
Kennedy wrote a letter to Gunilla von Post, a Swedish woman he had
met on the French Riviera in August 1953, and suggested sailing with
her for 2 weeks around the Mediterranean. Kennedy was 36 when he met
Post (21). In 1997 Post authored a book, “Love, Jack,” that detailed
her long-distance affair with Kennedy. In 2010 an auction house put
11 letters and 3 telegrams of their correspondence up for sale.
(SFC, 2/17/10, p.A9)
1954 Jun 28, French troops
began to pull out of Vietnam’s Tonkin Province.
1954 Jun, India’s Jawaharla
Nehru and China’s Zhou Enlai devised and embraced “five principles
of peaceful coexistence.”
(Econ, 7/31/04, p.36)
1954 Jul 2, Wendy Schaal,
actress (It's a Living, Julie-Fantasy Is), was born in Chicago, Ill.
1954 Jul 3, In Salem Mass.,
champion female athlete Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
(1911-1956) won the US Women's Open. She had just come back from a
battle with cancer, yet won the event by 12 strokes.
1954 Jul 3, Food rationing
ended in Great Britain almost 9 years after the end of World War II.
1954 Jul 4, WMSL (WYUR, now
WAFF) TV channel 48 in Huntsville, AL (ABC) began.
1954 Jul 4, West Germany beat
Hungary 3-2 to win the 5th World Cup soccer match in Bern, Switz.
1954 Jul 4, Marilyn Sheppard
(31 and pregnant) was killed at her home near Cleveland and her
husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard (d.1970), was later accused, tried and
jailed for the murder. Sam was released from jail in 1964. His story
inspired the TV series "The Fugitive" and a film in 1993. DNA
evidence in 1997 indicated a third person was involved. Cleveland’s
chief prosecutor ruled in 1998 that the DNA samples were too old. A
civil trial in Cleveland in 2000 rejected the claim of Sam Reese
Sheppard that his father was innocent. [see Dec 21]
(SFC, 2/5/97, p.A6)(SFC, 3/5/98, p.A3)(SFC,
3/6/98, p.A3)(SFC, 4/13/00, p.A2)
1954 Jul 5, Elvis Presley’s
first commercial recording session took place at Sun Records in
Memphis, Tenn.; the song he recorded was "That’s All Right (Mama)."
1954 Jul 5, The B-52A bomber
made its maiden flight. As of 2012 nearly 100 B-52s remained in
(MC, 7/5/02)(AP, 11/5/12)
1954 Jul 7, Elvis Presley made
his radio debut as Memphis, Tennessee, station WHBQ played his first
recording for Sun Records, "That’s All Right (Mama)."
1954 Jul 8, The raft Lehi with
5 amateur sailors was towed out of SF Bay to attempt a 2,200
drifting voyage to Hawaii. Mormon elder DeVere Baker (38) led the
expedition. The freighter Metapan rescued the crew on July 14.
(SFC, 7/9/04, p.F5)
1954 Jul 8, Carlos Castillo
Armas of Guatemala became president. He was assassinated in 1957.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Jul 10, Pres. Eisenhower
signed Public Law 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and
Assistance Act of 1954, which later became known as the “Food for
1954 Jul 12, President Dwight
D. Eisenhower proposed a highway modernization program, with costs
to be shared by federal and state governments.
1954 Jul 13, In Geneva, the
United States, Great Britain and France reached an accord on
Indochina, dividing Vietnam into two countries, North and South,
along the 17th parallel.
1954 Jul 13, Frida Kahlo
(b.1907), artist, died in Mexico City. Her final painting was an
incomplete portrait of Joseph Stalin. Hayden Herrera authored her
biography in 1983. Raquel Tibol later authored "Frido Kahlo: An Open
(SFC, 4/22/01, p.D3)(WSJ, 7/6/01,
1954 Jul 15, The Boeing “Dash
80,” a prototype of the 707, made its first test flight.
(NPub, 2002, p.17)
1954 Jul 17, The 1st major
league baseball game was played where a majority of a team was black
1954 Jul 17, Gen. Joseph Swing,
appointed by Pres. Eisenhower to head the INS, began "Operation
Wetback." Because political resistance was lower in California and
Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept
northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000
apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were
caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled
1954 Jul 18, Coded messages
were delivered to Israeli agents via Israel Radio to blow up a
number of buildings in Egypt in order to delay Britain’s departure
from the Suez Canal. They planned to blame the acts on Muslim
radicals but the plan was uncovered. This came to be known as the
Lavan Affair after Pinhas Lavan, leader of Unit 13, refused to
accept responsibility on the grounds that the operation was
conducted without his knowledge. The events are documented in "Ben
Gurion’s Spy" (1996) by Shabtai Teveth.
(WSJ, 8/9/96, p.A5c)
1954 Jul 20, An armistice for
Indo-China was signed and Vietnam separated into North & South.
[see Jul 21]
1954 Jul 20, West German secret
service head Otto John defected to German DR.
1954 Jul 21, France surrendered
North Vietnam to the Communists at Geneva. The French signed an
armistice, the Geneva Accords, with the Viet Minh that ended the war
but divided Vietnam into two countries. This led to almost a million
anti-Communists in the north to flee to the south.
(AP, 7/21/97)(HN, 7/21/98)(OGA, 11/24/98)(SFEC,
1954 Jul 25, Walter Payton,
Chicago Bear football running back, was born in Columbia, Miss.
1954 Jul 25, Lynn Frederick,
actress (Schizophrenia), was born in Middlesex, England.
1954 Jul 28, Hugo Chavez, later
president of Venezuela, was born in Sabaneta, Venezuela.
1954 Jul 31, Italians Lino
Lacedelli (1925-2009) and Achille Compagnoni (1915-2009) first
scaled Pakistan’s K-2, the world's second-highest mountain. In 2004
Lacedelli authored “K2: The Price of Conquest.”
(AP, 7/27/04)(SSFC, 11/29/09, p.C8)
1954 Aug 1, The Geneva Accords
divided Vietnam into two countries at the 17th parallel. U.S.
complicity in the overthrow of South Vietnam's president made it
impossible to stay uninvolved in the war. The Geneva Accords called
for elections by July, 1956, and put a limit on the presence of
foreign advisors. US military advisors were limited to 685. While
the Geneva Agreements ended the war and established the 17th
parallel as a temporary military demarcation between the
Vietminh-administered North and the Bao Dai government in the South,
the reunification elections were never held and within a few years
there was a large-scale infusion of foreign assistance in men and
arms. The signatories were France, the Vietminh, China, Great
Britain, Cambodia, Laos and the Soviet Union. The United States and
the government of Bao Dai in the South did not sign the agreement.
(WSJ, 11/30/95, p.A-23)(HN, 8/1/98)(HNQ, 2/23/00)
1954 Aug 3, The 1st VTOL
(Vertical Take-off & Land) aircraft was flown.
1954 Aug 3, Sidonie Gabrielle
Colette (b.1873), French actress, librettist, novelist (Claudine)
and critic, died. Her novels included "Le Ble en herbe" (The
Ripening Seed) and "Julie de Carneilhan (1941). In 1999 Judith
Thurman authored "Secrets of the Flesh," a biography of Colette.
(WSJ, 10/14/99, p.A24)(SC, 8/3/02)
1954 Aug 4, A uranium rush
began in Saskatchewan, Canada.
1954 Aug 9, Turkey, Greece and
Yugoslavia signed a 20-year treaty of military and political
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Aug 11, After Chinese
Nationalists placed 58,000 troops on Quemoy and 15,000 troops on
Matsu the ROC began building defensive structures and the PRC began
shelling ROC installations on Quemoy. Zhou Enlai, Premier of the
People's Republic of China responded with a declaration that Taiwan
must be "liberated." He dispatched the People's Liberation Army
(PLA) and began shelling both Quemoy and Matsu.
1954 Aug 11, A formal peace
took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting
between the French and Communist Vietminh.
1954 Aug 12, Sam J. Jones,
actor (Chris-Code Red, The Highway Man), was born in Chicago, Ill.
1954 Aug 12, Pat Metheny, jazz
guitarist (As Wichita Falls), was born.
1954 Aug 15, Alfredo Stroessner
(b.1912) named himself president of Paraguay. This ended a 27-year
chaotic period in which 22 presidents came and went.
(SFC, 8/17/06, p.A10)
1954 Aug 16, Sports Illustrated
was first published by Time Inc.
1954 Aug 18, Assistant
Secretary of Labor James E. Wilkins became the first black to attend
a meeting of a president’s Cabinet as he sat in for Labor Secretary
James P. Mitchell.
1954 Aug 19, Ralph J. Bunche
was named undersecretary of UN.
1954 Aug 23, The small
community of Charleston, Arkansas, became the first in the South to
end segregation in its schools. This was in response to the May 17
US Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education.
1954 Aug 24, President Dwight
D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, virtually outlawing
the Communist Party in the United States.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(AP, 8/24/07)
1954 Aug 24, In Brazil Pres.
Getulio Vargas killed himself in the midst of a scandal.
1954 Aug 29, The SF
International Airport’s (SFO) Terminal 2 opened with a ceremony led
by Mayor Robinson. Mills Field became SF Airport.
(SFEC, 5/16/99, Z1 p.4)(SSFC, 8/22/04, p.F8)
1954 Aug 31, Hurricane Carol
hit the northeastern United States, resulting in nearly 70 deaths
and millions of dollars in damage.
1954 Sep 1, Martin Luther King
Jr. (1929-1968) became pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in
(SFEM, 2/2/97, p.8)(ON, 4/2011, p.2)
1954 Sep 3, The US Espionage
& Sabotage Act of 1954 signed.
1954 Sep 3, China began
artillery bombing on Quemoy. Despite warnings from the US against
any attacks on the Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army
unleashed a heavy artillery bombardment of Quemoy, and intensified
its actions in November by bombing the Tachen Islands.
1954 Sep 4, The 1st passage of
McClure Strait, fabled Northwest Passage, completed.
1954 Sep 6, Carly Fiorina,
later CEO of Hewlett Packard (199-2005), was born.
(WSJ, 2/10/05, p.)
1954 Sep 6, A US plane was shot
down above Siberia.
1954 Sep 7-8, Integration of
public schools began in Washington DC and Maryland.
1954 Sep 8, SEATO (Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization), a sister organization to NATO, was
created under the Manila Pact by the Southeast Asia Collective
Defense Treaty, to stop communist spread in Southeast Asia (Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos). The United States, Australia, France, Great
Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand signed
the mutual defense treaty. SEATO dissolved in 1977.
1954 Sep 8, Andre Derain
(b.1880), French painter, died. He and Henri Matisse co-founded the
Fauvist movement, marked by vivid, unnatural colors.
1954 Sep 10, A 12 second
earthquake killed 1,460 in Orleansville, Algeria.
1954 Sep 10, Peter Anders,
German opera singer, died.
1954 Sep 11, The Miss America
pageant made its network TV debut on ABC; Miss California, Lee Ann
Meriwether of San Francisco, was crowned the winner.
(AP, 9/11/97)(SFC, 11/16/99, p.G9)
1954 Sep 12, Lassie premiered
1954 Sep 11, Category 3
Hurricane Edna made landfall at Martha’s Vineyard. This 2nd storm of
1954 hit NYC with $50 million damage and caused 21 deaths in the
1954 Sep 17, Rocky Marciano
retained possession of the world heavyweight boxing title. He
knocked out Ezzard Charles in the 8th round of their championship
1954 Sep 20, The live TV drama
"Twelve Angry Men" was presented as an episode of CBS' "Studio One"
1954 Sep 20, The 1st FORTRAN
computer program was executed.
1954 Sep 20, Roger Bannister
was awarded Britain’s Silver Pears Trophy for cracking the 4-minute
1954 Sep 21, The 1st nuclear
submarine, USS Nautilus, commissioned. [see Sep 30]
1954 Sep 23, East German police
arrested 400 citizens as U.S. spies.
1954 Sep 25, Francois "Doc"
Duvalier won the Haitian presidential election.
1954 Sep 26, Ronald Reagan made
his 1st appearance as host of the "General Electric Theater," and
continued on for 8 years.
(SSFC, 6/6/04, A14)
1954 Sep 26, A typhoon hit
Japan. 5 ferryboats sank killing about 1,600. The Japanese ferry
boat Toya Maru sank in the Strait of Tsugaru and 1172 died.
1954 Sep 27, "Tonight!" hosted
by Steve Allen, made its debut on NBC-TV.
1954 Sep 28, Patrick McCarran
(b.1876), Nevada US Senator since 1932, died in Hawthorne, Nevada.
In 2004 Michael J. Ybarra authored “Washington Gone Crazy: Senator
Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt.”
1954 Sep 29, The movie musical
"A Star Is Born," starring Judy Garland and James Mason, had its
world premiere at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
1954 Sep 29, The New York
Giants beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1st game of this year’s
World Series. NY went on to win 4 games in a row. Willie Mays made a
spectacular catch and throw in the 8th inning. In 1955 Arnold Hano
authored “A Day in the Bleachers,” a classic account of this game.
(www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1954ws.shtml)(SSFC, 9/17/06, p.D1)
1954 Sep 30, "Boy Friend"
opened at the Royale Theater NYC for 483 performances.
1954 Sep 30, The first
atomic-powered vessel, the submarine Nautilus, was commissioned by
the Navy in Groton, Connecticut. It was launched Jan 21. [see Sep
(AP, 9/30/97)(AP, 1/21/98)(HN, 9/30/98)
1954 Sep 30, NATO nations
agreed to arm and admit West Germany.
1954 Oct 2, Elvis Presley sang
his upbeat version of the Bill Monroe tune "Blue Moon of Kentucky"
at the Grand Ole Opry.
(WSJ, 9/16/96, p.A14)
1954 Oct 3, Al Sharpton, 2004
Democrat presidential candidate, was born in Brooklyn, NY.
(SSFC, 2/29/04, p.D2)
1954 Oct 4, Marilyn Monroe and
Joe DiMaggio separated after 9 months of marriage.
(SFC, 10/1/04, p.F5)
1954 Oct 5, Italy and
Yugoslavia ended their dispute over Trieste. Zone A was given to
Italy, Zone B to Yugoslavia.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Oct 7, Marian Anderson
became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera in New
1954 Oct 7, Marilyn Monroe
divorced Joe DiMaggio. They had just married Jan 14 in SF City Hall.
(WSJ, 11/6/97, p.A20)(SFC, 1/1/99, p.A13)
1954 Oct 10, Ho Chi Minh
entered Hanoi in Vietnam after French troops withdraw.
1954 Oct 13, R.P. Smith's and
M. Shulman's "Tender Trap," premiered in NYC.
1954 Oct 14, American Samoa
Government's vessel Manu'atele sighted William Willis's raft The
Seven Little Sisters, and towed it into Pago Pago Harbor. William
Willis (1893-1968) sailed a raft from Peru to Samoa. In 2006 T.R.
Pearson authored “Seaworthy: Adrift With William Willis in the
Golden Age of Rafting.”
1954 Oct 14, An Israeli act of
revenge in Qibiya, Jordan, killed 53.
1954 Oct 15, Hurricane Hazel
struck US and Canada and 348 people died. 81 people were killed in
Ontario where damages were estimated at $24 million.
1954 Oct 18, Hurricane Hazel,
the 3rd of 1954, became the most severe to hit US. [see Oct 15]
1954 Oct 19, Egypt and Britain
concluded a pact on the Suez Canal, ending 72 years of British
military occupation. Britain agreed to withdraw its 80,000-man force
within 20 months, and Egypt agreed to maintain freedom of canal
1954 Oct 21, Dorothy Parker's
Arnaud d'Usseau's "Ladies of the Corridor," premiered.
1954 Oct 22, As a result of the
Geneva accords granting Communist control over North Vietnam, U.S.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized a crash program to train
the South Vietnamese Army. (about this time) President Dwight D.
Eisenhower was the first to publicly state the Domino Theory while
discussing the need to defend South Vietnam from North Vietnamese
Communists. The analogy of a row of dominos, arranged so that when
one falls it causes the rest to fall one after the other, was used
to express the notion that when one country in a region becomes
Communist, neighboring nations will then begin to fall under
Communist rule. This was an operative theory that guided U.S.
policy in Southeast Asia during the 1950s and ‘60s.
(HN, 10/22/98)(HNQ, 12/31/99)
1954 Oct 22, West Germany
joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The country
had no standing army.
(AP, 10/22/97)(SFC, 4/22/98, p.A8)
1954 Oct 23, In Paris, an
agreement was signed providing for West German sovereignty and
permitting West Germany to rearm and enter NATO and the Western
European Union. Britain, England, France and USSR agreed to end
occupation of Germany. [see Oct 22]
(HN, 10/23/98)(MC, 10/23/01)
1954 Oct 25, President
Eisenhower conducted the first televised Cabinet meeting.
1954 Oct 26, Chevrolet
introduced the V-8 engine.
1954 Oct 26, In Egypt a member
of the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to kill PM Nasser.
1954 Oct 27, Walt Disney's
first television program, titled "Disneyland" after his yet-to-be
completed theme park, premiered on ABC.
10/27/97)(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046593/)(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB
1954 Oct 27, Pres. Eisenhower
offered aid to S. Vietnam Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem.
1954 Oct 28, Ernest Hemingway
received news that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
Poor health prevented him from going to Stockholm to receive it.
(TMC, 1994, p.1954)(AH, 10/04, p.15)
1954 Oct 29, In Egypt Colonel
Nasser disbanded the Moslem Brothership.
1954 Oct 30, Linus Pauling won
the Nobel prize in chemistry.
(SFC, 10/8/01, p.A17)(MC, 10/30/01)
1954 Oct 30, US Armed Forces
ended segregation of races.
1954 Oct 31, Harry Lunderberg’s
AFL Sailors refused to report to work to unload freighters at a
number of West Coast ports.
(SFC, 10/29/04, p.F11)
1954 Oct 31, The Algerian
Revolution against the French began. [see Nov 1]
1954 Nov 1, The US Senate
admonished Joseph McCarthy for his slander campaign.
1954 Nov 1, Algerian
nationalists began their successful eight-year rebellion against
French rule. [see Oct 31]
1954 Nov 1, General Fulgencio
Batista was elected president of Cuba.
1954 Nov 2, Strom Thurmond
(1902-2003) of South Carolina became the 1st US senator elected by
1954 Nov 2, Andrei Y. Vishinsky
(b. 1883) died. Jacob A. Malik succeeded him as the chief Soviet
delegate to the UN and as First Deputy Foreign Minister of the USSR.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Nov 3, The film "Godzilla,
King of the Monsters" was released. It was produced by Japan’s Toho
Co., headed by Tomoyuki Tanaka (d.1997). Godzilla went on to star in
(SFC, 4/3/97, p.C2)(MC, 11/3/01)
1954 Nov 3, Henri E.B. Matisse
(b.1869), French painter and sculptor (Dance II), died. In 1998
Hilary Spurling published "The Unknown Matisse," a work that covered
the years 1869-1908. A end volume was planned. In 1999 John Russell
published "Matisse: Father and Son" and John O'Brian published
"Ruthless Hedonism: The American Reception of Matisse." In 2005
Hilary Spurling authored “Matisse the Master: A Life of Henry
Matisse, Volume Two.
(WSJ, 7/5/96, p.A5)(WSJ, 10/27/98, p.A20)(SFEC,
8/8/99, BR p.6)(Econ, 3/12/05, p.79)
1954 Nov 4, The Broadway show
"Fanny" opened at the Majestic Theater for 888 performances. It was
produced by David Merrick (d.2000 at 88).
(SFC, 4/27/00, p.A25)(MC, 11/4/01)
1954 Nov 7, A US spy plane was
shot down North of Japan.
1954 Nov 10, The US Marine
Corps Memorial, depicting the raising of the American flag on Iwo
Jima in 1945, was dedicated by President Eisenhower in Arlington,
1954 Nov 10, Lt. Col. John
Strapp traveled 632 MPH in a rocket sled.
1954 Nov 12, Ellis Island
closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since
opening in New York Harbor in 1892.
1954 Nov 14, Egyptian Pres.
Naguib was fired and a state of emergency declared. Lt. Col. Gamal
Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), chairman of the RCC, took command.
1954 Nov 15, 1st regularly
scheduled commercial flights over North Pole began.
1954 Nov 15, Lionel Barrymore
(76), [Blythe], actor (Dr Kildare, Key Largo), died.
1954 Nov 22, Humane Society
1954 Nov 24, France sent 20,000
soldiers to Algeria.
1954 Nov 25, Police in Concord,
Ca., captured John Waitkunas (38) following a 7-year national
manhunt. He admitted cashing $150,000 worth of forged checks across
(SFC, 11/26/04, p.F4)
1954 Nov 26, Velupillai
Prabhakaran (d.2009), founder of the Tamil New Tigers (TNT later
renamed to LTTE), was born in Velvettithurai Sri Lanka.
1954 Nov 26, Jonas
Zemaitis (b.1909), a founder of the Lithuanian independence movement
and presidium head, was shot to death in Moscow.
1954 Nov 27, Alger Hiss,
convicted of being a Soviet spy, was freed after 44 months in
1954 Nov 28, Enrico Fermi (53),
Italian-US physicist (Nobel 1938), died. Fermi led the team of
international scientists to produce the first nuclear chain
reaction, giving birth to the atomic bomb.
1954 Nov 30, A meteorite struck
Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges of Alabama as she was sleeping on a couch. The
space rock was a sulfide meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring
seven inches in length. Mrs. Hodges was not permanently injured but
suffered a nasty bruise along her hip and leg. This was the
1st modern report of a Meteorite striking a human.
1954 Nov 30, Wilhelm
Furtwangler (68), German conductor and composer, died. He was
Hitler’s favorite conductor but was never a card carrying Nazi.
(SFC, 1/3/97, p.C6)(MC, 11/30/01)
Dec 2, The US Senate voted 67-22 to censure Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy,
R-Wis., for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor
and disrepute." This followed the McCarthy investigation of the
Army. Roy Cohn was McCarthy’s aide and Joseph Welch was the attorney
for the army. Army general counsel John G. Adams (d.2003) later
authored "Without Precedent: The story of the Death of McCarthyism."
In 1999 Arthur Herman published "Joseph McCarthy," a reexamination
of McCarthy's accusations.
(NYT, 12/3/54, p.1)(WSJ, 8/5/96, p.A10)(AP, 12/2/97)(WSJ, 12/6/99,
p.A32)(SFC, 6/28/03, p.A1)
1954 Dec 3, Samuel Barber's
"Prayers of Kierkegaard," premiered.
1954 Dec 3, William Walton's
opera "Troilus & Cressida," premiered in London.
1954 Dec 8, Maxwell Anderson's
"Bad Seed," premiered in NYC.
1954 Dec 10, In Japan PM
Shigeru Yoshida (1868-1967), post-reconstruction statesman and
2-time prime minister, was unseated by Ichiro Hatoyama.
1954 Dec 15, Fess Parker
(1924-2010) starred as "Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter" in its
premier as part of the new Disneyland TV show. It was possibly the
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.38)(SFC, 3/19/10,
1954 Dec 15, With the
proclamation of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the
Netherlands Antilles attained equal status with the Netherlands
proper and Suriname in the overarching Kingdom of the Netherlands.
1954 Dec 16, Lee Morse
(b.1897), US jazz and blues singer and songwriter, died. Her most
popular years were in the 1920s and early 1930s, although her career
began around 1917 and continued until her death. Her hit songs
included “Ukulele Lady” (1925).
1954 Dec 20, James Hilton (54),
English author (Lost Horizon), died.
1954 Dec 21, Dr. Sam Sheppard,
an osteopathic surgeon, was convicted of murdering his pregnant
wife, Marilyn, and was sentenced to life in prison. Sheppard spent
10 years in prison before the Supreme Court overturned the verdict;
he was acquitted at retrial in 1966 and died four years later. [see
1954 Dec 23, Dr. Joseph Murray
led a team of surgeons at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in
the 1st successful organ transplant. Ronald Herrick donated a kidney
to his twin brother, Richard. In 1990 Dr. Murray was warded a Nobel
Prize for his work.
(SFEC, 1/30/00, p.A14)(SFC, 12/3/01, p.A17)(SSFC,
12/19/04, Par p.7)
1954 Dec 26, "The Shadow,"
aired for last time on radio.
1954 Dec 27, Gian Carlo
Menotti's opera "Saint of Bleecker Street" premiered in NYC.
1954 Dec 27, UC scientist
Daniel I. Arnon reported that, after 6 years of research, he had
succeeded in isolating chloroplasts in a test tube.
(SFC, 12/24/04, p.F2)
1954 Dec 29, The Dow Jones
cleared the 400 barrier for the first time. It took 25 years for the
Dow to return to pre-crash levels.
(WSJ, 5/20/96, p.C-1)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1954 A World War II memorial to
US Marines was dedicated next to Arlington National Cemetery. It was
based on the Iwo Jima flag raising by 6 Marines, which was captured
by AP photographer Joseph Rosenthal. The photo inspired the
sculpture by Felix de Weldon (d.2003).
(AP, 2/23/98)(SFC, 9/21/00, p.C6)(SFC, 6/14/03,
1954 Georgia O’Keeffe painted
"My Last Door."
(SFC, 2/19/00, p.B1)
c1954 Carleton Putnam
(d.1998), dropped his position as chairman of Delta Airlines and
wrote the biography: "Theodore Roosevelt", that covered the first 28
years of Roosevelt’s life.
(SFC, 3/17/98, p.A20)
1954 The 1997 film Going "All
the Way" with Lesley Ann Warren was based on the 1970 novel by Dan
Wakefield set in 1954.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, Par p.C14)(SFEM, 9/14/97, p.18)
1954 Celebrities Ron Howard,
Denzel Washington, Christie Brinkley, Dennis Quaid and Catherine
Bach were born this year.
(SFEC, 4/20/97, Z1 p.5)
1954 Alberto Giacometti made
his sculpture "Diego in a Cloak."
(SFEM, 11/24/96, p.8)
1954 Elizabeth Catlett made her
linotype "Bread for All." It was an example of Mexican muralists
influence on Black American artists.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.B1)
1954 Jasper Johns began his
painting "Flag," completed in 1955.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.F1)
1954 Barnett Newman painted his
"The Word II." In 1995 it was sold by Christie’s for $3 mil.
(WSJ, 11/21/95, p.A-12)
1954 Robert Rauschenberg
(SFC, 8/20/98, p.E1)
1954 Jason Schoener (1919-1997)
showed his WW II landscape paintings of Eniwatok Atoll in the
Marshall Islands at Gumps in SF.
(SFC, 3/15/97, p.A19)
1954 Nicolas de Stael painted
his "Beach at Calais."
(WSJ, 2/8/96, p.A-12)
1954 John Wilson made his
painting "The worker." It was an example of Mexican muralists
influence on Black American artists.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.B1)
1954 Harriette Arnow authored
“The Dollmaker.” The novel documented the move by Gertie Nevel from
self-sufficient poverty in Kentucky to urban poverty in Detroit. It
was made into a movie in 1984.
1954 Simone de Beauvoir
authored "The Mandarins," a thinly veiled account of her
relationship with Nelson Algren and Jean-Paul Sartre. In 2000 the
play "Nelson & Simone" was created by John Susman and staged in
(WSJ, 12/5/00, p.A24)
1954 "Half Magic" by Edward
Eager was published. It was illustrated by N.M. Bodecker.
(SFEC, 2/27/00, BR p.12)
1954 L. Brent Bozell and
William F. Buckley Jr. wrote "McCarthy and His Enemies," a guarded
defense of Senator Joe McCarthy.
(WSJ, 7/22/99, p.A24)
1954 Peter Drucker
(b.1909-2005) authored his seminal work "The Practice of
Management." In 1943 he had began a 2 year study of GM from the
(WSJ, 11/19/99, p.A20)(Econ, 11/19/05, p.72)
1954 Aldous Huxley authored
"The Doors of Perception," a book about hallucinogenic drugs. Jim
Morrison later named his band "The Doors" after this book.
(SSFC, 4/11/04, Par p.2)
1954 Iris Murdoch published her
first novel "Under the Net."
(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A20)
1954 Romanian poet Marin
Sorescu published his "Alone Among Poets."
(SFC, 12/11/96, p.A24)
1954 Le Corbusier, French
architect, published his "The Modular."
1954 Gordon Allport,
psychologist, supported the position that we can under-stand
discrimination through social scientific inquiry. This belief was
developed in his book: "The Nature of Prejudice." In 1996 Prof.
Elizabeth Young-Bruehl wrote a work "The Anatomy of Prejudices" that
analyzes why Allport’s view has been inadequate.
(SFC, 5/12/96, p.BR-9)
1954 Cecil Beaton authored “The
Glass of Fashion,” a history of style.
(WSJ, 9/15/07, p.W10)
1954 Harrison Brown wrote "The
Challenge of Man’s Future" in which he noted the world’s population
to be 2.6 billion.
(NOHY, 3/1990, p.222)
1954 Ernest Griffith wrote his
textbook "The American System of Government."
(SFC, 2/10/97, p.A20)
1954 Werner Haftmann (d.1999 at
87), German art historian, published "Painting of the 20th Century."
(SFC, 7/30/99, p.D8)
1954 Kingsley Amis authored
“Lucky Jim,” his comic novel of academic life.
(WSJ, 2/16/08, p.W10)
1954 Alger Hiss was released
from prison and wrote "In the Court of Public Opinion." His accuser
Whittaker Chambers (d.1961) his account "Witness" in 1952. In 1978
Allen Weinstein wrote an account of the Hiss-Chambers case. In 1997
Sam Tannenhaus wrote a biography of Chambers. In 1999 Hilton Kramer
wrote "The Twilight of the Intellectuals," a portrayal of the
influence of the political left on the cultural life of Cold War
(SFC, 11/16/96, p.A3)(WSJ, 4/20/99, A20)
1954 Carl G. Jung (1875-1961),
Swiss-born psychoanalyst, published his work “Archetypes and the
1954 Louis L’Amour wrote his
western novel "Lance Kilkenny."
(USAT, 6/10/98, p.1D)
1954 Alan Le May (1899-1964)
authored his novel “The Searchers” (1954). The story was based on
Brit Johnson, a black Texas ranch foreman, who was killed by Kiowa
raiders in 1871.
1954 Robert Lindner published
"The 50-Minute Hour," a landmark book on the inner workings of
(SFEC, 5/2/99, BR p.8)
1954 Leslie Lipson, UC Berkeley
prof. of political science, authored "Great Issues of Politics."
(SFC, 8/15/00, p.A23)
1954 Cora Partridge (d.1999 at
82) wrote her first book "Skeleton Cave" about a boy who finds
Indian relics near his home. She wrote 15 children's novels and in
1977 "Vermont, the State with the Storybook Past."
(SFC, 3/2/99, p.A20)
1954 Arnold Toynbee published
the last 4 volumes of his "Study of History."
(WSJ, 1/8/97, p.A16)
1954 Norbert Wiener, MIT
mathematician, wrote Invention: "The Care and Feeding of Ideas." It
was published in 1995 by MIT Press (800-356-0343). "Wiener gave the
world the theory and practice of Cybernetics..."
(Wired, 8/95, p.146)
1954 Eleanor Butler Cameron
wrote the children’s book: "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom
(SFC, 10/15/96, p.A19)
1954 Kenneth Dodson (d.1999 at
91) published his WW II novel "Away All Boats."
(SFC, 6/2/99, p.C7)
1954 Jean Giono wrote his
novel: "The Horseman on the Roof." In 1996 it was made into a film
directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau and set in plague-stricken Provence
1954 William Golding published
his "Lord of the Flies." It is about a group of schoolboys who get
marooned on an island and quickly degenerate to a state of savagery.
(WSJ, 10/5/95, p.A-12)
1954 Aldous Huxley authored
"The Doors of Perception," a book about hallucinogenic drugs. Jim
Morrison later named his band "The Doors" after this book.
(SSFC, 4/11/04, Par p.2)
1954 M.E. Clifton James
authored “I Was Monty’s Double,” an account of how he served as an
impersonator of British Gen. Bernard Montgomery during WWII. A movie
of the same title was released in 1958.
1954 Arthur Loesser authored
“Men, Women and Pianos.”
(WSJ, 7/15/06, p.P8)
1954 W.W. "Pudge" Heffelfinger
wrote his autobiography "This Was Football." He was the 1st
All-American selected by Walter Camp, and the 1st to receive a
(WSJ, 12/16/03, p.D10)
1954 Randall Jarrell authored
"Pictures From an Institution," a hilarious portrait of campus life.
(NW, 8/20/01, p.56)
1954 James Michener (d.1997 at
90) wrote his novel "Sayanora."
1954 Sam Moskowitz (d.1997 at
76) published his first book: "Immortal Storm," a collection of
magazine articles that the development of the science-fiction fan
(SFC, 4/26/97, p.A22)
1954 The “Story of O” by
Pauline Reage was first published. She had written it at age 47 out
of fear that her married lover would leave her. He never left her
and saw to it that the novel got published.
(SSFC, 6/26/11, p.F3)
1954 Bud Schulberg wrote the
classic "On the Waterfront," a novel of labor and corruption in New
(SFC, 5/13/97, p.E5)
1954 John Steinbeck wrote his
novel "Sweet Thursday."
(SFEC, 6/21/98, DB p.35)
1954 JRR Tolkien (1892-1973)
introduced a new mythological world in "The Lord of the Rings."
(TL, 1988, p.114)(WSJ,2/11/97, p.A18)
1954 Alice B. Toklas
(1877-1967) published her own literary memoir, a book that mixed
reminiscences and recipes under the title “The Alice B. Toklas
1954 Rayner Unwin (d.2000 at
74), publisher of the Tolkien books, authored a biography of poet
(SSFC, 12/10/00, p.C17)
1954 Gore Vidal published his
satirical fantasy "Messiah."
(WSJ, 2/27/98, p.A12)
1954 Modern Library published
"Selected Stories" by Eudora Welty.
(SFEC, 12/6/98, BR p.12)
1954 "Under Milk Wood," a play
for voices by Dylan Thomas, was broadcast in its final version by
(TL, 1988, p.114)
1954 The Rodgers and
Hammerstein Broadway musical "Oklahoma" was made into a film. It was
directed by Fred Zinnemann.
(WSJ, 2/5/96, p.A-16)(SFC, 3/15/97, p.A19)
1954 The Richard Nash play
"Rainmaker" became a Broadway hit.
(USAT, 11/12/99, p.1E)
1954 The Broadway play "Witness
for the Prosecution" was directed by Robert Lewis.
1954 The children’s radio show
"Let’s Pretend" with Sybil Trent (d.2000 at 73) ended after running
for 2 decades.
(SFC, 6/8/00, p.C7)
1954 Samuel Z. Arkoff (d.2001
at 83) and James H. Nicholson established American International
Pictures (AIP). They soon began producing films for the teen market
such as "I Was a Teenage Werewolf."
(SFC, 9/18/01, p.B2)
1954 Director Sam Fuller
trekked to the rainforest with a 16mm Bolex, 75 boxes of cigars and
2 cases of vodka hoping to make a film. Producer Darryl Zanuck
called it off. The 1995 documentary film "Tigrero" was made by
Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki. It covered Fuller’s trek into the
1954 Kemp R. Niver (1912-1996),
cinematographer and film historian, received an Oscar for his
restoration of 3,600 movies made between 1894 and 1912. He converted
frame-by-frame paper photographs back into film using his own
designed Renovare Process over a period of 15 years. During this
time he wrote 11 books that included a cross-reference for the early
movies and the book: "The First Twenty Years: A Segment of Film
(SFC, 10/28/96, p.A24)
1954 Audrey Hepburn received an
Oscar for "Roman Holiday" (1953) and a Tony for her role in the
Broadway play "Ondine."
(SFC, 11/8/96, p.C6)
1954 Hal Roach, Jr. produced a
30-minute "Bozo the Clown" television pilot for Capitol Records
starring Gil Lamb as Bozo. This film can be viewed at the Museum of
Television and Radio in New York and Beverly Hills, California.
1954 "Four Star Playhouse" was
a TV dramatic series that starred Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino, Dick
Powell and David Niven. It was edited by Coles Trapnell (d.1999 at
88). The show closed in 1956.
(SFC, 2/5/99, p.D4)
1954 The TV Omnibus series
showed the first under water films by Jacques Cousteau.
(SFC, 6/26/97, p.A7)
1954 "Your Show of Shows" and
"Caesar’s Hour" were hit TV programs. Their comedy writers included
Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart and Neil Simon.
"Your Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca ended.
(WSJ, 8/19/96, p.A11)(SSFC, 6/3/01, p.A29)
1954 "The Tonight Show" with
Steve Allen began on TV.
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.38)
1954 Louis Armstrong recorded
"Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy" on Columbia.
(SFC, 7/4/97, p.D9)
1954 British composer Benjamin
Britten (1913-1976 created his chamber opera “The Turn of the Screw”
based on the 1898 novella by Henry James.
(SFC, 7/22/13, p.E1)
1954 Ray Charles (1930-2004)
recorded “I’ve Got a Woman.” It was based on the hymn “My Jesus is
All the World to Me.”
(USAT, 6/11/04, p.7A)(Econ, 6/19/04, p.84)
1954 The Collins Kids of
Oklahoma, Lawrencine (b.1942) and Lawrence (b.1944), began
performing as a musical act on national TV.
1954 Misty, written by pianist
Errol Garner, was released on his Verve album “Contrasts.” Wyatt
“Bull” Ruther (1923-1999) played the bass lines.
(SFC, 2/25/08, p.E13)
1954 Bart Howard (1916-2004),
born in Iowa as Howard Joseph Gustafson, wrote the hit song "Fly Me
To the Moon." His initial title was "In Other Words."
(SFC, 2/28/04, p.A16)
1954 The Mambo became the
hottest dance since the Lindy Hop in 1936.
(TMC, 1994, p.1954)
1954 Web Pierce made a country
hit with "Slowly." The tune boosted the pedal steel guitar to
(WSJ, 7/13/01, p.W10)
1954 Cole Porter's lyric "Some
get a kick from cocaine" was changed to "Some get perfume from
Spain" in order to get radio airplay.
(SFC, 1/21/04, p.D2)
1954 Elvis Presley was climbing
the music charts in the US.
(WSJ, 5/20/96, p.C-1)
1954 The Medallions recorded
"The Letter." The song contained the phrase "the pompatus of love."
1954 The first Newport Jazz
Festival was organized by George Wein and held on the lawn of the
Lorrilard estate in Newport, R.I.
(SFC, 6/30/96, B9)
1954 The Robins signed with
Leiber and Stoller and recorded such hits as "Riot in Cell Block 9,"
"Framed" and "Smokey Joe’s Café."
(SFC, 11/20/02, p.A21)
1954 The Lyric Opera Chorus of
Chicago was founded.
(WSJ, 9/23/96, p.A18)
1954 In Louisville, Ky., the
Satterwhite Wing was added to the Speed Museum. Preston Pope
Satterwhite had donated an entire 17th century English paneled room,
some 500 pieces of art along with cash to house it all.
(WSJ, 12/18/97, p.A20)
1954 The Fontainebleu Hotel in
Miami Beach, designed by Morris Lapidus (1902-2001), was completed.
(SFC, 1/20/01, p.A24)(WSJ, 12/26/07, p.D6)
1954 Haldor E. Rosvold (d.1997
at 81), neuroscientist, founded a unit to study animal behavior at
the National Institute of Mental Health. He studied mental processes
like short-term memory and discovered the first of several complex
networks in the brain. He was one of the first to reveal a
functional connection between the cerebral cortex and the basal
(SFC, 10/6/97, p.)
1954 The Korbel property in
Guerneville, California, was acquired by the Heck family who began
producing sparkling wines.
(SFC, 4/9/96, zz1 p.3)
1954 The town of Mauch Chunk
(Indian for Sleeping Bear) was renamed Jim Thorpe after the athlete,
in an effort to revitalize the town and bring in the Pro Football
Hall of Fame. The hall of Fame went to Canton, Ohio, but Thorpe’s
mausoleum was erected there.
(HT, 4/97, p.18)
1954 At the Texas State Fair
Harry Winston premiered the flawless 62.05 carat Winston diamond. It
had just been cut from a 154.5-carot rough stone.
(SFEM, 1/26/97, p.48)
1954 The Church of Scientology
was begun by L. Ron Hubbard (d.1986), science fiction writer, in Los
(SFC, 9/7/96, p.A9)(SFC, 10/22/96, p.A12)
1954 In San Francisco a new
9-story downtown garage, designed by architect George A. Applegarth,
was built at 325 Mason.
(SSFC, 6/28/09, p.C2)
1954 Chinese-born civil
engineer Tung-Yen Lin (1912-2003) founded the San Francisco-based
T.Y. Lin engineering firm.
1954 The Unarius, the Universal
Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science, organization
was founded by Ernest and Ruth Norman. In 1997 the group claimed to
have 5,000 members worldwide. The group expected to make contact
with extraterrestrials in 2001.
(SFC, 4/14/97, p.A3)
1954 "Winston tastes good, like
a cigarette should," began to be advertised.
(WSJ, 11/4/97, p.B1)
1954 The WSJ described the new
fish sticks as "boneless oblongs roughly four inches long."
(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.B1)
1954 The National Basketball
Association (NBA) introduced the 24-second clock.
(SFEC, 4/6/97, Z1 p.5)
1954 Lefty O’Doul led the San
Diego Padres to a baseball pennant victory.
(SFEC, 3/30/97, BR. p.6)
1954 Max Born won the Nobel
Prize in Physics for his contributions to quantum theory.
(WSJ, 12/8/00, p.W11)
1954 Thomas Weller (1915-2008),
John Enders (1897-1985) and Frederick Robbins (1916-2003) won the
Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the ability of
poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of
Spring, 2009, p.56)
1954 American CIA director
Allen Dulles hired Richard M. Bissell Jr. to take charge of the U-2
spy plane program. He later directed the Bay of Pigs invasion. He
tells his own story in "Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to
the Bay of Pigs published in 1996."
(WSJ, 5/8/96, p.A-12)
1954 US Congress passed the
Revised Organic Act, a document that established the governing
structure of the Virgin Islands. Residents cannot vote on national
elections and their governor is appointed by the president.
(NG, Jan, 1968, C. Mitchell, p. 95)
1954 Charles Diggs (d.1998 at
75) was elected to the House of Representatives from the 13th
district (around Detroit) and stayed in congress for 25 years. In
1978 he was convicted of 29 counts of operating a payroll kickback
scheme and was censured by the House. He was the first chairman of
the Congressional Black Caucus and served from 1969-1971 and
(SFC, 8/27/98, p.C4)
1954 A Federal Highway Act was
1954 The US Treasury began
keeping daily records on Treasury Bills.
(Econ, 9/20/08, p.86)
1954 The Atomic Energy Act made
the leaking of confidential information punishable by a $1000 fine.
(SFC, 7/6/98, p.A11)
1954 US missile silos were
built in the Marin, Ca., headlands. They were decommissioned in
1974. In 1975 the area became home to the non-profit Marine Mammal
(SFC, 9/2/08, p.E1)
1954 The FBI "Security Index,"
begun in 1940, peaked with the names of 26,174 people.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F3)
1954 The 600-square-mile
Garrison Dam in North Dakota, authorized by Congress in 1949, was
completed. It covered the ancestral lands of Mandan, Hidatsa and
(SSFC, 8/29/04, p.M5)
1954 US Congress voted to
withdraw support to Wisconsin Indians guaranteed in 1854. The
Menomonee (people of the wild rice) Chiefs Oshkosh and Keshena met
with federal Indian agents in Keshena Falls, Wisconsin, in 1854 and
agreed to retain only 275,000 acres from their original 9 1/2
million acres. As part of the settlement the chiefs and their
followers were promised eternal government protection.
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.235)
1954 The US Supreme Court in
Berman v Parker approved a slum clearance plan of the government of
Washington DC over the objections of a local department store owner.
(Econ, 2/19/05, p.32)
1954 The US Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) restriction led to the prohibition against pastors
endorsing candidates at the risk of losing their churches’ tax
(SFC, 9/9/08, p.A12)
1954 In the US
employer-provided health insurance was made tax-free.
(Econ, 1/26/13, p.59)
1954 Stan Getz, tenor sax
player, was arrested for trying to rob a drugstore in Seattle and
served a 6-month sentence.
(SFC, 8/8/96, p.E5)
1954 Abraham Ribicoff was
elected Governor of Connecticut and served two terms (1955-61).
1954 The Alaska town of North
Pole began Operation Santa, a volunteer program to respond to
children’s letters sent to Santa Claus. The US Postal Service
dropped the program in 2009.
(SFC, 11/20/09, p.A9)
1954 In San Francisco George’s
Place opened at 2629 Bayshore Blvd. The log cabin structure had been
built on the SF-San Mateo county line and was known earlier as Sam’s
Lodge. In 1958 it became George’s Log Cabin. The Silvestri family
bought it in the 1970s and used the former nightclub for storage.
(SFC, 5/18/13, p.C1)
1954 The Plum Island Animal
Disease Center opened off of New York’s Long Island. Congress voted
to close it in 2009.
(SFC, 8/27/13, p.A8)
1954 On the US-Mexican border
the 100,000 acre Falcon Lake, near Zapata, Texas, was created on the
Rio Grande's old river bed. It was managed by the bi-national
International Water Boundary Commission.
1954 The tobacco industry faced
its 1st liability lawsuit by a lung cancer victim. The suit was
dropped after 13 years.
(WSJ, 7/17/00, p.A8)
1954 US labor union membership
reached an all time high of 35% of the work force.
(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.B1)
1954 Hyman P. Minsky
(1919-1996), professor of economics, received his doctorate from
Harvard. He went on to develop ideas on how lending patterns and
mood swings can push the economy into speculative booms and
declines. He showed how high cash flow in prosperous times can cause
lending to get beyond control that can lead to a pullback and
(SFC, 10/26/96, p.A20)
1954 Boothe Leasing was founded
by Dyas Power Boothe Jr. He launched the company with a $10 million
loan from the Ford Foundation. The firm leased trucks, dredging
equipment, and automobile manufacturing equipment. By 1961 the
company was leasing airplanes to TWA.
(SFC, 9/12/96, p.A26)
1954 GM transferred production
of the Corvette to St. Louis and 3,000 were produced in this year.
(WSJ, 7/12/02, p.W12)
1954 B.F. Goodrich developed
the tubeless tire. It was introduced by Packard. [see 1948]
(F, 10/7/96, p.70)
1954 The last Indian motorcycle
was manufactured in the US. The last Indian motorcycle was
manufactured in 1953. (2 of 3 for 1953)
(SFC, 6/10/96, p.D3)(SFEC, 1/3/99, BR p.4)(WSJ,
1954 William Jovanovich
(1920-2001) was elected president of Harcourt, Brace and Co. The
firm had 125 employees and sales of some $8 million. At his
retirement in 1990 Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich Inc. had 12,000
employees and sales of $1.7 billion.
(SFC, 12/6/01, p.A24)
1954 Leonard and Bernice Lavin
(1925-2007) purchased a West Coast cosmetics company from Blaine
Culver for nearly half a million dollars. They moved the operation
to Chicago, renamed the company Alberto-Culver and dumped all the
products except VO5. In 1965 the company went public on the NYSE.
(WSJ, 11/10/07, p.A8)
1954 Brownie Wise (1913-1992),
lead sales woman for Tupperware, became the first woman to appear on
the cover of Business Week magazine.
1954 A subscription to the WSJ
cost $20 a year.
(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.B1)
1954 Lennar Corp., a
residential home builder, was founded.
(WSJ, 7/27/01, p.A1)
1954 In Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
brothers Martin and Matthew Bucksbaum started what later became
General Growth Properties Inc. by building a shopping center to
house one of their family’s grocery stores in Cedar Rapids. General
Growth Properties went public in 1972. In 2008 the company stock
fell below $1 as it struggled under $27 billion in debt. In 2009 the
company filed for bankruptcy.
(WSJ, 12/9/08, p.A12)(SFC, 4/17/09, p.C2)
1954 Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson
Motor combined to form the American Motors Co.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl.)
1954 The Nash Metropolitan went
on sale for $1,445. The small car got up to 40 miles per gallon.
American Motors discontinued production of the British-built car in
1961. Total sales reached nearly 95,000.
(SFC, 12/19/06, p.B1)
1954 The Studebaker Co. merged
with Packard Motor Car Co.
(WSJ, 6/13/96, p.A12)
1954 Sherwood Johnson (d.1998
at 73) opened the first pizza parlor in Sacramento. It grew into the
int’l. chain known as Shakey’s.
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.C7)
1954 James Whitman McLamore
(1926-1996) and Dave Edgarton opened Insta Burger King in Miami, the
forerunner to the international Burger King chain.
(SFC, 8/10/96, p.A20)
1954 John Templeton (1912-2008)
set up his Templeton Growth Fund. A $10,000 investment in this Class
A portfolio would have grown to $2 million by 1992, when he sold his
(Econ, 7/19/08, p.95)
1954 The 1st major neon sign in
Las Vegas was the Young Electric sign Co.’s project for the Boulder
(SSFC, 11/17/02, p.C12)
1954 AT&T Bell Labs
scientists invented the solar cell.
(WSJ, 9/22/95, p.A-7)
1954 Con-Tact paper premiered
at 59 cents a yard.
(SFC, 7/14/99, p.8)
1954 A team of scientists at
General Electric that included Robert Wentorf Jr. (d.1997 at 70)
perfected a process for converting graphite to diamond using high
pressures and temperatures. Wentorf also developed Borazon, a cubic
form of boron, second only to diamond in hardness but more resistant
to high temperatures.
(SFC, 4/7/97, p.A20)
1954 IBM rolled out its models
704 and 705 computers.
1954 The Semiautomatic Ground
Environment (SAGE) program was established by the US Air Force. It
was an air defense network of the time using the largest computer
ever built. SAGE machines contained 55,000 vacuum tubes, weighed 275
tons and occupied half an acre of floorspace.
(WSJ, 10/15/01, p.R23)(Econ, 6/10/06, Survey
1954 The Rand corp. built the
Johnniac computer. Bill Gunning (1916-2006), computing pioneer,
helped build the device, one of 17 designed around the computing
architecture suggested by John von Neumann. Gunning went on to help
develop Ethernet (1972) at Xerox’s PARC.
(SFC, 11/8/06, p.B13)
1954 T.D. Lee and C.N. Yang of
Columbia Univ. published a paper pointing out that although most
interactions in nature seem to occur in such a way as to keep parity
unbroken, there is no reason why this must always be so. It was
completely within the realm of possibility that nature was not
invariant under the parity operation. All that was necessary was
that if it were not, then charge conjugation, time reversal, or both
would have to be violated as well. For this they received the Nobel
prize in 1957.
1954 Marc Gregoire, a French
engineer, bonded aluminum with polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and
created the 1st nonstick pan.
1954 The American Cancer
Society and the British Medical Research Council, in independent
reports, found higher death rates among smokers than nonsmokers.
1954 Dr. George Moore and
colleagues at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute at Buffalo, NY,
published a pioneering study of male patients with cancer of the
mouth showing that a majority of them had been tobacco chewers for
significant periods of time.
(SFC, 6/16/08, p.B3)
1954 General Electric
introduced highly structured coursework centering on leadership and
development. This introduced the concept of the corporate
(Hem, 9/04, p.66)
1954 Maurice Allais, French
economist, recorded the movement of a pendulum for 30 days during
which the moon eclipsed the sun and caused the pendulum to move a
bit faster. The “Allais effect” confounded physicists and indicated
a possible flaw in General Relativity.
(Econ, 8/21/04, p.65)
1954 A US middle-class home of
800 square feet cost $7,000.
(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.B1)
1954 Col. John Paul Stapp, an
Air Force medical researcher, accelerated to 632 mph on a rocket
powered sled in 5 sec. The sled then decelerated to a dead stop in
1.4 sec. with 40 times the pull of gravity.
(SFC, 11/18/99, p.C7)
1954 A major flood along the
Tennessee River took away a third of Pittsburg Landing, held by
Union troops during the 1862 Confederate attack at Shiloh.
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.27)
1954 Labib Habachi, Egyptian
archeologist, unearthed at Karnak a ‘victory stela’ in which the
Theban king Kamose (successor to Sekenre) commemorated incidents in
his successful struggle with the Hyksos king, Aweserre Apopi.
1954 Charles Belden (b.1904),
writer, died. His 1933 play “The Mystery of the Wax Museum” was
turned into the 1953 film "House of Wax," the first 3-D movie,
starring Vincent Price and Charles Bronson.
1954 Strickland Gillilan
(b.1869), American poet, died. His poems included "The Reading
Mother." "...Richer than I your can never be / I had a mother who
read to me."
(SSFC, 4/25/04, p.M6)
1954 Charles Ives (b.1874),
insurance agent and composer, died. His work included symphonies,
songs, and "Three Places in New England." He was pioneer of
dissonance as flavoring. Jan Swafford later authored the biography
"Charles Ives: A Life With Music." Helen R. Sive authored the
biography "Music's Connecticut Yankee."
(WSJ, 8/15/96, p.A10)(HN, 10/20/00)(WSJ, 1/20/04,
1954 Robert H. Jackson, US
Supreme Court Justice (1941-1954), died. His incomplete memoir of
FDR, begun in the early 1950s, was published in 2003 as "That Man:
An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt."
(WSJ, 9/19/03, p.W11)
1954 The Organization of
American States (OAS) put forth its convention on diplomatic asylum.
(Economist, 9/15/12, p.16)
1954 In Australia Evdokia
Petrov (d.2002), Soviet Union spy, was abducted by Soviet agents
after she and her husband Vladimir Petrov (d.1991), the third
secretary at the Soviet embassy in Australia, defected. Australian
police snatched her back as her plane stopped for fuel in
c1954 Anti-witchcraft laws were repealed in
(SFEC, 10/31/99, p.A6)
1954 Quebec, Canada, celebrated
its first Winter Carnaval.
(SFEC, 1/10/99, p.T5)
1954 Deng Xiaoping condemned
the "Gao Gang-Rao Shushi anti-Party clique."
(WSJ, 2/20/97, p.A20)
1954 In China the bingtuan was
founded in Xinjiang province. It consisted mainly of demobilized Han
soldiers and were ordered to turn desert areas into farmland while
keeping their guns to fend off potential Soviet incursions. Mao
Zedong abolished the corps in 1975. Deng Xiaoping re-established it
(Econ, 5/25/13, p.46)
1954 In China a flood on the
Yangtze killed 30,000 people.
(NH, 7/96, p.2)
1954 The IMF expelled
Czechoslovakia, ostensibly for failing to provide adequate
statistics, though the cold war probably had more to do with it.
(Econ, 2/9/13, p.38)
1954 In Egypt Youssef Chahine
(1926-2008), filmmaker, directed “The Blazing Sun” with Omar Sharif.
(SFC, 7/29/08, p.B5)
1954 Colonel Nasser took over
in Egypt and the British pulled out of the Suez.
(TMC, 1994, p.1954)
1954 In Egypt the statue of
Ramses II was moved from Memphis to Cairo. It was divided into 3
pieces and loaded onto trucks for the move.
(WSJ, 8/21/97, p.A12)
1954 Otto John, the first head
of West Germany’s Federal Bureau for the Protection of the
Constitution - an intelligence agency, crossed over to East Berlin.
He said he was kidnapped.
(SFEC, 3/30/97, p.D5)
1954 Elizabeth Dewey Johns
Drake (1915-1996) and her husband St. Clair Drake received a Ford
Foundation grant to study the impact of western media in the Gold
(SFC, 8/10/96, p.A20)
1954 The French National
Assembly rejected the European Defense Community.
(Econ, 4/23/05, p.53)
1954 A French military court
sentenced Alois Brunner to death in absentia for war crimes. He had
sent 23,000 French Jews to death camps. Brunner fled from Germany to
(SFC, 3/3/01, p.A10)
1954 Jacques Courtin
(1921-2007) opened his first beauty salon, the Institut Clarins, on
Paris’ Rue Tronchet. His beauty lines were among the first to tap
into natural ingredients. Clarins went public in 1984.
(WSJ, 4/7/07, p.A6)
1954 French engineer Marc
Gregoire sprayed his wife’s pans with teflon and created his own
marketable invention: nonstick cookware. [see 1956]
(Sm, 2/06, p.38)
1954 In Honduras a three month
strike was held by some 60,000 workers against the US-based United
Fruit Co. and other land holders. They won improved labor conditions
and influenced union movements throughout Latin America.
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.A22)
1954 Israel established an
enemy infiltrators law. It allowed the government to hold people
without judicial revue if they were deemed to be security threats.
(SFC, 6/9/06, p.A14)
1954 The Uzi machine gun was
first made by Israel Military Industries. Uzi Gal, the inventor of
Israel's Uzi submachine gun, died in Philadelphia after a long
illness in 2002. The Netherlands was the 1st country outside Israel
to buy Uzis in 1958.
(AP, 9/9/02)(SFC, 9/10/02, p.A16)
1954 Italy regained Trieste,
which had been held by the United Nations. In 2001 Jan Morris
authored "Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere."
(SSFC, 10/28/01, p.R2)(SSFC, 10/28/01, p.R2)
1954 Ardito Desio (d.2001 at
104) of Italy organized the 1st expedition to reach the top of K2 in
Kashmir, the world’s 2nd highest peak. In 1962 Desio became the 1st
Italian to reach the South Pole.
(SFC, 12/14/01, p.A33)
1954 Japan’s “self-defense”
forces were formed.
(Econ, 6/1/13, p.43)
1954 In Kenya the British
government began making preparations for the country’s Independence.
(SFC, 9/4/97, p.A10)
1954 In Kenya British forces
allegedly used pliers to castrate Paulo Nzili, a Mau Mau rebel. He
survived the severe beatings which killed many other Mau Mau and in
2009 launched a bid with 4 others to win compensation from Britain
over claims they were tortured and unlawfully imprisoned during
Britain’s colonial rule.
1954 In Lebanon Beirut Int’l.
Airport opened. In 1998 a new $460 million airport was under
(WSJ, 4/6/98, p.A1)
1954 Mexico’s Dept. of Tourism
made the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico founded by Amalia Hernandez the
nation’s official cultural ambassador.
(SFEC, 9/8/96, DB p.47)
1954 The Bilderberg Group was
set up in to support military and economic co-operation between
Europe and North America during the Cold War. Its first meeting was
at the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland.
1954 The Hague Convention of
this year forbade the taking of war booty. The Hague cultural
Property Convention recognized the protection of cultural, religious
and historical monuments including national parks.
(WSJ, 5/29/96, p.A6)(SFC, 8/11/00, p.A15)
1954 The 5 islands of the
Netherlands Antilles were federated. These included Bonaire,
Curacao, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius.
(Econ, 5/26/07, p.38)
1954 Areogun (b.1880), Yoruba
sculptor, died. He was a native of the Ekiti region of Nigeria.
1954 Russian conducted the
Totsk nuclear test involving ground troops.
(SFEC, 10/27/96, p.A17)
1954 The Crimea was ceded to
Ukraine as a gift from Russia by Nikita Khrushchev. In 2004 ethnic
Russian made up a majority of the population.
(SFEC, 6/1/97, p.A8)(WSJ, 12/21/04, p.A14)
1954 Gen. Franco closed the
Spanish consulate on Gibraltar in a fit of rage over a visit by
Queen Elizabeth II.
1954 The Muslim Brotherhood,
founded in Egypt (1928), formed in Sudan.
(Econ, 2/18/12, p.50)
1954 British colonial
authorities opened a deepwater port at Mtwara, Tanzania.
(Econ, 4/20/13, p.53)
1954 Albert Pickerell (d.1999
at 86) served in Thailand as a Fulbright lecturer and helped
establish a School of Journalism at Thammasatt Univ. Later at UC
Berkeley he published "The Courts and the New Media."
(SFC, 2/19/99, p.A19)
1954 In Uganda Owen Falls Dam
was built at the source of the Nile River. It used Lake Victoria’s
waters to generate power for Ugandan residents and export to
(SFC, 6/24/08, p.A14)
1954 Venezuela’s Radio Caracas
Television Station (RCTV) began operations.
(Econ, 6/2/07, p.38)
1954 The Caracas Convention
established ground rules for political sanctuary in Latin America.
(SFC, 7/12/97, p.A13)
1954-1955 Charles David Keeling, a geochemist at
Cal Tech, conducts his experiments to measure the concentration of
carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. He finds out that the
concentration of carbon dioxide varies throughout the night and day
and settles at a daily balance of 315 parts per million every
(NOHY, Weiner, 3/90, p.23)
1954-1955 The Univ. of Michigan fired professors
Chandler Davis, Clement Markert, and Mark Nickerson because they
refused on Constitutional grounds to answer questions of the
Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities on their
relationships with the US Communist Party. An annual lecture on
academic freedom was established in their honor in 1990.
(MT, Win. ‘96, p.7)
1954-1956 Drummer Max Roach and trumpet player
Clifford Brown led an influential jazz quintet over this period.
(DFP, 7/28/96, p.F8)
1954-1959 The names of 77,297 Czech Jews were put
on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. The memorial was
closed in 1968. It was renovated after the collapse of the Communist
regime and re-opened in 1996.
1954-1960 Robert Young (d.1998 at 91) played the
loving father Jim Anderson on TV in "Father Knows Best." Jane Wyatt
(1910-2006) played his wife. The show had started as a radio sitcom
(SFC, 7/23/98, p.C4)(SFC, 10/23/06, p.B3)
1954-1962 During the Algerian war of independence
French generals approved torture and the disappearance of the 3,000
suspected guerrillas. In 2000 former Gen. Paul Aussaresse testified
on French military behavior and the approval of Gen. Jacques Massu.
In 2001 a mass grave of 290 people was found at the site of the
former headquarters of the French army.
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B9)(SFC, 4/24/01, p.A12)
1954-1963 This period of the civil rights era was
covered in Taylor Branch’s book: "Parting the Waters: American in
the King Years, 1954-1963."
(SFC, 3/26/02, p.A24)
1954-1965 This period of the Vietnam War was
covered by Mark Moyar in his book “Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War
(WSJ, 9/28/06, p.D8)
Go to 1955