Return to home
1959 Jan 1,
Fidel Castro proclaimed the triumph of his revolution from the
balcony of Santiago's city hall. Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to
victory over Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.
American mafia scrambled to secure their cash and close casinos
ahead of crowds that took to the streets and trashed their
businesses. In 2008 T.J. English Morrow authored “Havana Nocturne:
How the Mob Owned Cuba …and Then Lost It to the Revolution.”
(AP, 1/1/98)(SFC, 1/28/00, p.A14)(WSJ, 8/5/06,
1959 Jan 3, President
Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as
the 49th state. Its area is 586,412 sq. mls. Capital: Juneau; bird:
willow ptarmigan; flower: forget-me-not; nickname: The Last
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)(THM, 4/27/97, p.L5)(AP,
1/3/98)(440 Int'l. 1/3/99)
1959 Jan 3, Castro took
command of the Cuban army.
1959 Jan 5, The "Bozo the
Clown" live children's show premiered on TV.
1959 Jan 7, The United States
recognized Fidel Castro’s new government in Cuba.
1959 Jan 8, Fidel Castro rolled
into Havana a week after Batista fled. In 2002 Julia E. Sweig
authored "Inside the Cuban Revolution."
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F3)(WSJ, 7/10/02, p.D8)
1959 Jan 8, Charles de Gaulle
was inaugurated as president of France’s Fifth Republic.
1959 Jan 9, The TV show
"Rawhide" with Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates premiered on CBS.
5/17/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jan 9, The American group
Reynolds and Tube Investments took over British Aluminium. In the
the first hostile takeover of a large British company.
(Econ, 6/26/10, p.87)(http://tinyurl.com/28c8c7h)
1959 Jan 11, Huber Matos
Benitez (1918-2014), Cuban revolutionary, was appointed by Fidel
Castro as governor of Camaguey province. In the Fall Huber Matos
resigned his posts. He was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in
prison for treason and sedition. After prison he settled in Florida.
1959 Jan 11, Mohammed Zakaria
Ghonein, discoverer of 6,000 year old pyramid, died.
1959 Jan 21, Cecil Blount de
Mille (Cecil B. DeMille), one of Hollywood’s most successful
filmmakers, died at age 77. He was also one of the toughest. He once
said to his staff, "You are here to please me. Nothing else on earth
matters." He produced the "The 10 Commandments." In 2004 Robert S.
Birchard authored “Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood.”
(HNPD, 8/12/98)(HNQ, 10/27/98)(MC, 1/21/02)(WSJ,
1959 Jan 22, USAF concluded
that less than 1% of UFO's are unknown objects.
1959 Jan 22, The Adolph Coors
Co. of Golden, Colombia, introduced the aluminum beer can.
1959 Jan 25, American Airlines
opened the jet age in the United States with the first
scheduled transcontinental flight of a Boeing 707 from LA to NY for
(AP, 1/25/98)(HN, 1/25/99)(MC, 1/25/02)
1959 Jan 25, Pope John XXIII
proclaimed the 2nd Vatican council.
1959 Jan 27, NASA selected 110
candidates for the first U.S. space flight.
1959 Jan 27, Aldous Huxley
(64), British author of Brave New World (1932), attended a
conference at the Univ. of California Medical school and warned that
manipulation of personality by drugs is already here.
(SSFC, 1/25/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jan 28, Joseph Sprinzak
(73), Speaker of Israel Knesset (1949-59), died.
1959 Jan 29, Walt Disney's
"Sleeping Beauty" was released.
1959 Jan, Huber Matos Benitez
(1918-2014), Cuban revolutionary, was appointed by Fidel Castro as
governor of Camaguey province. In the Fall Huber Matos resigned his
posts. He was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for
treason and sedition. After prison he settled in Florida.
(Econ, 3/15/14, p.86)
1959 Jan, In New Delhi, India,
the Int’l. Commission of Jurists held a congress with the theme “The
Rule of Law.” They drew up the “declaration of Delhi,” which
developed the principles and procedures underlying the Rule of Law
as well as defining and clarifying the concept itself.
1959 Feb 1, Texas Instruments
requested a patent for the IC (Integrated Circuit).
1959 Feb 2, Buddy Holly made
his last performance.
1959 Feb 2, Arlington and
Norfolk, Va., peacefully desegregated public schools.
1959 Feb 3, A plane crash
near Clear Lake, Iowa, claimed the lives of rock- and-roll stars
Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17) and J.P. "The Big Bopper"
Richardson (28). They had just finished performing at the Surf
Ballroom in Clear Lake. Buddy Holley and the Crickets had 2 hit
songs "Oh Boy" and "Maybe Baby," Valens had the 2-sided hit "Donna"
and "La Bamba," Richardson was popular for his song "Chantilly
(AP, 2/3/97)(WSJ, 2/25/99, p.A16)
1959 Feb 3, An American
Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into New York's East River while
approaching LaGuardia Airport, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.
1959 Feb 3, Vincent Astor
(b.1891), businessman and philanthropist, died. He left almost his
entire fortune to his wife, Brooke Astor (b.1902 as Roberta Brooke
Russell). In 2007 Frances Kiernan authored “The Last Mrs. Astor: A
New York Story.”
1959 Feb 4, In Fargo, N.D.,
Bobby Vee (15), aka Robert Veline, and the Shadows performed in
public for the first time. The audience had come to see Buddy Holly
and the Crickets. Rock-n-roll stars, including Dion and the
Belmonts, traveled by bus from Iowa to Fargo in order to perform in
nearby Moorhead, Minn.
(SFEC, 1/31/99, p.A24)(WSJ, 2/25/99, p.A16)
1959 Feb 6, The United States
successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental
ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
1959 Feb 6, Fidel Castro was
interviewed by Edward R. Murrow.
1959 Feb 7, Castro proclaimed a
new Cuban constitution.
1959 Feb 8, William J. "Wild
Bill" Donovan (76), Office Strategic Services, died.
1959 Feb 12, Harry S.
Truman was quoted in Newsweek Magazine: "Men make history and not
the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership,
society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful
leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
1959 Feb 13, Romulo Betancourt
began serving his 2nd term as president of Venezuela and continued
1959 Feb 14, A $3.6 million
heroin seizure was made in NYC.
1959 Feb 16, Leonard
Spigelgass' "Majority of One," premiered in NYC.
1959 Feb 16, The US House
Committee on Un-American Activities has charged that an “elite
corps” of Communist lawyers is promoting the party’s cause in the
courts, Congress and government agencies. A committee report dealt
with the activities of 39 lawyers, who were among more than 100
lawyers identified as Communists in sworn testimony before the
committee in the past decade.
(SSFC, 2/15/09, DB p.50)
1959 Feb 16, Fidel Castro took
the oath as Cuban premier in Havana after the overthrow of Fulgencio
(HN, 2/16/98)(AP, 2/16/98)
1959 Feb 17, The U.S. launched
its first weather station in space, Vanguard II weighing 9.8 kg.
(HN, 2/17/98)(MC, 2/17/02)
1959 Feb 19, A USAF
rocket-powered rail sled attained Mach 4.1 (4970 kph) in NM.
1959 Feb 19, An agreement was
signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its
1959 Feb 20, Joel Rifkind, NY
serial killer, was born.
1959 Feb 20, The FCC applied
the equal time rule to TV newscasts of political candidates.
1959 Feb 24, Khrushchev
rejected the Western plan for the Big Four meeting on Germany.
1959 Mar 1, Archbishop Makarios
returned to Cyprus after 3 years.
1959 Mar 2, Miles Davis began
recording "Kind of Blue" with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly,
Philley Joe Jones, Paul Chambers and Bill Evans. Modes rather than
chords formed the basis for improvisation on "So What" and "Flamenco
Sketches." In 2000 Ashley Kahn authored "Kind of Blue," The Making
of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. Eric Nisenson authored "The Making
of Kind of Blue: Miles Davis and His Masterpiece."
(SFC, 8/24/98, p.B1)(SFEC, 11/5/00, BR p.1)
1959 Mar 3, The new home of the
San Francisco Giants baseball team was officially named, Candlestick
Park. The name was chosen in a contest to name the newly-built
stadium. Al Dermody (1910-2004), the contest winner didn't have to
look far, as the windswept and chilly confines of the National
League's least favorite stadium are located just a few hundred feet
from Candlestick Point, on San Francisco Bay. In 1995, the venerable
name, Candlestick Park was changed to 3COMM Park, after a relatively
small area computer software developer bid a half-million dollars
for the rights to the stadium name – beating out such giants as
Apple Computer, IBM and others.
(HC, Internet, 3/3/98)(SFC, 9/24/04, p.B6)
1959 Mar 3, Pioneer 4, the 1st
US probe to enter solar orbit, was launched.
(SFC, 10/2/07, p.A6)
1959 Mar 3, British government
arrested Hastings Banda of Nyasaland (later Malawi), and ended an
1959 Mar 3, Lou Costello
(b.1906), American film comedian, died. He paired with Bud Abbott in
numerous films and the famous "Who's on First" routine.
(HN, 3/6/99)(MC, 3/6/02)(SC, 3/3/02)
1959 Mar 4, US Pioneer IV
missed the Moon and became a 2nd (US 1st) artificial planet.
1959 Mar 7, "Bells Are Ringing"
closed at Shubert Theater in NYC after 925 performances.
1959 Mar 7, Arthur Cecil Pigou
(b.1877), English economist, died. His major work, “Wealth and
Welfare” (1912, 1920), brought welfare economics into the scope of
economic analysis. He was known for his work in many fields
and particularly in welfare economics. Pigou advocated taxation as a
way to combat the side effects associated with certain activities.
Pigovian taxes, taxes used to correct negative externalities, are
named in his honor.
1959 Mar 7, Hinsdale Smith
(88), developer of roll-down auto windows, died.
1959 Mar 8, Groucho, Chico and
Harpo made their final TV appearance together.
1959 Mar 9, The Barbie doll was
unveiled at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The Barbie Doll
No. 1 was introduced by Mattel Toy Company for $3. Ruth Handler
(d.2002), co-founder of Mattel, had spotted the German Bild-Lilli
doll in 1956 and asked toy designer Jack Ryan (d.1991) to create a
version for American girls. The first dolls were produced by Mattel
Toy Co. in Hawthorne, Ca. In 1994 one sold for $4000 as a
(WSJ, 12/9/94, p.R-8)(SSFC, 4/28/02, p.A2)(SFC,
5/31/05, p.E1)(WSJ, 2/18/09, p.A15)
1959 Mar 9, The 1st known radar
contact was made with Venus.
1959 Mar 10, Tennessee
Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth," premiered in NYC.
1959 Mar 10, In Tibet an
uprising against Chinese occupation force took place in Lhasa. China
reacted harshly, arrested tens of thousands and held strict control
until the late 1970s. The Chinese forced the Dalai Lama, Tenzin
Gyatso, and many of his followers to flee to India. The Communists
destroyed 6,500 monasteries. About 250 monks of the Drepung Loseling
Monastery escaped to India and established a replica of their
(SFEC, 10/7/96, A12)(TMC, 1994, p.1959)(SFC,
10/10/96, p.E1)(WSJ, 9/4/97, p.A9)(MC, 3/10/02)
1959 Mar 11, The Lorraine
Hansberry drama "A Raisin in the Sun" opened at New York City’s
Ethel Barrymore Theater.
1959 Mar 12, The US House
joined the Senate in approving the statehood of Hawaii.
1959 Mar 16, Michael J.
Bloomfield, Major USAF, astronaut (STS 86), was born in Flint, Mich.
1959 Mar 16, John Sailling
(111), last documented Civil War vet, died.
1959 Mar 17, The USS Skate
became the 1st submarine to surface at the North Pole. The ships
crew held a funeral service and scattered the ashes of explorer
Hubert Wilkins (d.1958), who had attempted the feat in 1931.
(ON, 1/02, p.9)
1959 Mar 17, The Dalai Lama
fled Tibet and went to India.
1959 Mar 18, President
Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill. Hawaii became a state
on Aug. 21, 1959.
1959 Mar 18, The publisher of
Big Table Magazine deposited at the Chicago Post Office several
hundred copies of its first issue of Big Table Magazine. The
contents consisted of a novel by Jack Kerouac, "Old Angel Midnight,"
two poems by Edward Dahlberg, "Ten Episodes from Naked Lunch" by
William S. Burroughs and three poems by Gregory Corso. The Post
Office General Counsel later alleged that the first and third
articles were obscene and filthy. The magazine was published by
Roland Pitschel (1942-2009) and his sister.
1959 Mar 19, The Broadway show
“First Impressions,” a musical version of Jane Austen’s Pride and
Prejudice, premiered at the Alvin Theater. It featured the theater
debut of film star Farley Granger. The show continued for 84
1959 Mar 20, In SF Harry
Bridges spoke to a crowd at the Commonwealth Club luncheon regarding
his recent trip to Russia. The Longshore Union president gave his
audience the challenge he received in Russia: Within 10 years the
Soviet Union will give its workers the highest standard of living in
the world, the highest wages, the shortest work week, the best free
medical care, the best education, and no unemployment.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, DB p.50)
1959 Mar 24, Gen. Qasim pulled
Iraq out of the Baghdad Pact after the United States signed
bilateral cooperation agreements with Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. A
number of assassination attempts on Qasim failed including an
attempt that included Baath Socialist Party activist Saddam Hussein.
(HNQ, 7/28/98)(SFC, 9/24/02, p.A10)(MC, 3/24/02)
1959 Mar 26, Raymond Chandler
(71), American writer, best known for his Philip Marlowe detective
novels, died. He wrote seven Marlowe books that includes "Farewell
My Lovely," "The Long Goodbye" (1953) and "The Big Sleep" (1939). In
1976 Prof. Frank MacShane wrote "The Life of Raymond Chandler." In
1995 he was honored with a 2-volume issues of his works by the
Library of America. A CD-ROM was also made titled after a novel:
Trouble is My Business. In 1997 Tom Hiney wrote "Raymond Chandler: A
Biography." In 2001 Tom Hiney and Frank MacShane edited "The Raymond
Chandler Papers." In 2007 Judith Freeman authored “The Long Embrace:
Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved.”
(WSJ, 10/18/95, A-16)(SFC, 7/9/97, p.D5)(SFC,
3/14/98, p.B7)(SFC, 11/18/99, p.C8)(WSJ, 4/23/01, p.A20)(SS,
3/26/02)(SSFC, 11/4/07, p.M1)
1959 Mar 28, China announced
the dissolution of the Tibetan government. The State Council of the
People's Republic of China dissolved the Government of Tibet, which
according to official history, liberated Tibetans from feudalism and
theocracy. On January 19, 2009, this day was adopted as a holiday,
“Serf Emancipation Day,” by the Tibetan legislature.
1959 Mar 29, "Some Like it Hot"
with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon premiered.
1959 Mar 31, Dalai Lama fled
the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet and crossed
the border into India. India granted him political asylum.
1959 Mar, In California 22
college kids of St. Mary’s in Moraga stuffed themselves into a
telephone booth. Their effort was captured by a Life Magazine
photographer. A South African team had set the world record of 25
1958. In 2009 St. Mary’s students attempted to break the campus
record, but failed when a plexiglas wall popped.
(http://tinyurl.com/c9et4a)(SFC, 3/27/09, p.F2)
1959 Apr 3, David Hyde Pierce,
actor (Niles Crane-Fraiser), was born in NY.
1959 Apr 3, "Charlie Brown" by
The Coasters was banned by the BBC because it contained the word
1959 Apr 4, The French show
"Les Folies Bergere" was brought to the Tropicana Resort and Casino
in Las Vegas by Lou Walters, entertainment director and father of
(WSJ, 6/12/97, p.A19)
1959 Apr 6, In the 31st Academy
Awards "Gigi," Susan Hayward and David Niven won.
1959 Apr 7, Oklahoma ended
prohibition after 51 years.
1959 Apr 9, NASA announced the
selection of America’s first seven astronauts for the US first
orbital flight in 1962 under the Mercury program: Scott Carpenter,
Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard
and Donald Slayton.
(SFC, 3/10/97, p.A16)(AP, 4/9/97)
1959 Apr 9, Frank Lloyd Wright
(b.1869), American architect (Guggenheim Museum, NYC), died in
Arizona. In 1998 Ken Burns produced his video documentary "Frank
Lloyd Wright." An earlier British documentary of Wright was made
c1983. In 1987 Brendan Gill authored the Wright biography: "Many
Masks." In 2004 Ada Louise Huxtabel authored “Frank Lloyd Wright.”
(SFC, 9/25/97, p.B2)(SFEC, 11/8/98, DB
p.48)(SFEC, 2/20/00, p.T10)(WSJ, 11/9/04, p.D12)
1959 Apr 10, Japan’s Crown
Prince Akihito married a commoner, Michiko Shoda.
1959 Apr 11, "Jamaica" closed
at Imperial Theater in NYC after 558 performances.
1959 Apr 12, France Observator
reported torture practice by French army in Algeria.
1959 Apr 13, A Vatican edict
forbade Italian Roman Catholics from for voting for communists.
1959 Apr 13, Eduard A van
Beinum (57), Dutch musician, conductor, died.
1959 Apr 14, The Taft Memorial
Bell Tower was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
1959 Apr 15, Emma Thompson,
actress (Henry V, Howard's End, Oscar-1992), was born in England.
1959 Apr 15, John Foster
Dulles, US Sec. of State, resigned.
1959 Apr 15, Cuban leader Fidel
Castro arrived in Washington, D.C., to begin a goodwill tour of the
(AP, 4/15/97)(HN, 4/15/98)
1959 Apr 17, A nationwide US
air raid drill suspended most television and radio programs for a
(SSFC, 3/22/09, DB p.50)
1959 Apr 22, In SF dignitaries
opened the new 1.4 mile extension of the Central Freeway from 13th
and Mission to Golden Gate Ave. and Franklin St. In 1999 SF and the
California Dept. of Transportation agreed replace it with a
ground-level thoroughfare. Octavia Blvd. was dedicated in 2005.
(SFC, 8/21/96, p.A13)(SFC, 1/3/07, p.B1)
1959 Apr 25, St. Lawrence
Seaway linking Atlantic, Great Lakes opened to shipping.
(AP, 4/25/97)(HN, 4/25/98)
1959 Apr 26, The Panamanian
government reported 'suppression' of attempted guerilla invasion
1959 Apr 27, US State Dept.
announced small arms stored in Canal Zone will be provided to
Panamanian forces to repel Cuban invaders.
1959 Apr 27, Gordon Armstrong,
inventor of the baby incubator, died.
1959 Apr 27, Liu Shaoqi
(d.1969) was named president of China in the wake of the Great Leap
1959 Apr 28, The Organization
of American States (OAS) voted unanimously to send a commission to
1959 Apr 28, Charles de Gaulle
resigned as president of France.
1959 Apr 29, Premier Castro
denied any Cuban role, direct or indirect, in a Panamanian invasion.
1959 Apr, In San Francisco the
Crystal Palace Market at Eighth and Market and its 75
concessionaires were ordered to close shop within 90 days. A new $8
million, 800-room luxury motel was scheduled for the site.
(SSFC, 4/26/09, DB p.50)
1959 May 1, Some 87 guerillas,
mostly Cubans, surrendered without resistance to Panamanian troops
at the village of Nombre de Dios in response to appeals by Castro.
1959 May 1, West Germany
introduced a 5 day work week.
1959 May 4, Randy Travis,
country singer (Diggin' Up Bones), was born in Marshville, NC.
1959 May 4, Pulitzer prize was
awarded to Archibald Macleish (again) for his poetic drama, JB based
on the Book of Job.
1959 May 6, Iceland gunboats
shot at British fishing ships.
1959 May 7, In San Francisco
Albert C. Kogler, a SF State college student, died 2½ hours
following a shark attack while swimming off Baker Beach. Shirley
O’Neill (19), also a SF State College student, had risked her life
to pull her friend to the beach. In June she was awarded the
Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s silver medal.
(SSFC, 5/3/09, DB p.50)(SSFC, 6/14/09, DB p.50)
1959 May 8, A 3-deck Nile
excursion steamer sprang a leak panicking passengers who
capsized the ship. 200 drowned just yards from shore.
1959 May 10, Soviet forces
arrived in Afghanistan.
1959 May 14, Sidney Bechet,
clarinetist and pioneer jazz composer, died.
1959 May 19, Nicole Brown
Simpson, Mrs. OJ Simpson (murdered), was born in Frankfurt, Germany.
1959 May 19, The Peoples’ Army
of Vietnam’s Military Transportation Group 559 formed on the 69th
birthday of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. It
ultimately resulted in the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The
trail was intended to facilitate the infiltrating of troops and
transporting supplies from North Vietnam to support the revolution
in South Vietnam.
1959 May 20, Ford won a battle
with Chrysler to call its new car "Falcon."
1959 May 20, Japanese-Americans
regained their citizenship.
1959 May 21, The musical
"Gypsy," inspired by the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, opened on
1959 May 23, Presbyterian
church accepted women preachers.
1959 May 25, US Supreme Court
ruled that Louisiana’s prohibition of black-white boxing was
1959 May 25, In San Francisco
Walter S. Johnson, president of the Palace of Fine Arts League, said
he would save the monument if nobody else would. He soon pledged $2
million to save the plaster relic that dated back to the 1915 Panama
(SSFC, 5/24/09, DB p.39)
1959 May 25, Cathryn Harrison,
actress (Old Woman in Black Moon), was born in London,
1959 May 25, Khrushchev visited
1959 May 28, Johnson &
Bart's musical "Lock up your daughters," premiered in London.
1959 May 28, Monkeys Able &
Baker zoomed 300 mi (500 km) into space on Jupiter missile and
became the 1st animals retrieved from a space mission.
1959 May 29, Rupert Everett,
actor (My Best Friend's Wedding, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Next
Best Thing), was born in Norfolk, England.
1959 May 29, Mel Gaynor, rock
drummer (Simple Minds-Water Front), was born in Glasgow,
1959 May 29, Tamayo Otsuki,
actress (Mrs. Yamagami-Davis Rules), was born.
1959 May 29, Charles de Gaulle
formed a French Government.
1959 May 30,
President-Generalissimo Alfredo Stroessner disbanded Paraguay's
parliament and established a dictatorship. Josef Mengele became a
citizen of Paraguay.
1959 Jun 1, "Juke Box Jury"
began its long run on BBC-TV.
1959 Jun 1, R.C., "The Battle
Of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton peaked at #1 on the pop singles
chart and stayed there for six weeks.
1959 Jun 1, R.C., "Frankie
Man’s Johnny" by Johnny Cash peaked at #57 on the pop singles chart.
1959 Jun 1, American Smelting
& Refining, Corn Products Refining, National Steel and National
Distillers & Chemical Corp. were removed from the DJIA. Anaconda
Copper, Swift & Co., Aluminum Co. of America and Owens-Illinois
Glass were added as a components of the Dow Jones.
(WSJ, 5/28/96, p. R-45,46)(WSJ, 4/8/04, p.C4)
1959 Jun 2, Allen Ginsberg
wrote his poem "Lysergic Acid," in SF.
1959 Jun 4, The Soviet Union’s
Bolshoi Ballet company arrived in San Francisco following
performances in New York and Los Angeles. They were scheduled for 4
performances at the War Memorial House. In LA troupe members bought
furs, rugs, china and curtain rods.
(SSFC, 5/31/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jun 5, In the San
Francisco Bay Area 40 teachers were subpoenaed by the House
Un-American Activities Committee. Hearings were to open on June 17.
The ACLU said it would do everything it can to block the San
(SSFC, 5/31/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jun 8, The NASA rocket
powered X-15 made its first glide flight.
1959 Jun 9, The first ballistic
missile carrying submarine, the USS George Washington, was launched
at Groton, Ct.
(HN 6/9/98)(MC, 6/9/02)
1959 Jun 10, Eliot Spitzer,
later NY state governor (2007), was born in the Bronx. In 2008 he
faced the end of his political career amidst a sex scandal.
(WSJ, 3/11/08, p.A18)
1959 Jun 11, Postmaster General
banned D.H. Lawrence's book, "Lady Chatterley's Lover." Charles
Rembar (d.2000 at 85) began a 7-year fight against obscenity laws
when he contested the US postmaster general’s ban on Lady
Chatterley’s Lover. In 1968 Rembar authored "The End of Obscenity."
In 1980 he authored a history of American law: "The Law of the
(SFC, 10/28/00, p.A25)(SC, 6/11/02)
1959 Jun 16, George Reeves
(b.1914), American film and TV actor, died. Suicide was the
predominant presumed cause of death. Reeves starred as Superman on
TV from 1952-1958. In 1976 Gary Grossman authored “Superman:
Serial to Cereal.” The 1996 book “Hollywood Kryptonite,” by Sam
Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, discusses the doubts by friends and
relatives and the forensic evidence as to whether suicide was even
1959 Jun 17, Eamon de Valera
was elected president of Ireland.
1959 Jun 18, A Federal Court
annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent
1959 Jun 23, Klaus Fuchs was
released after nine years in British prison. Fuchs was a German-born
Los Alamos scientist whose espionage had helped the USSR build their
first atomic and hydrogen bombs.
1959 Jun 25, In San Francisco a
new Safeway grocery store opened on Marina Boulevard adjacent to Gas
House Cove. Murals by John Garth flanked the store’s two entrances.
(SSFC, 6/21/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jun 25, Charles
Starkweather, spree murderer, was executed.
1959 Jun 25, The Cuban
government seized 2.35 million acres under a new agrarian reform
1959 Jun 26, President
Eisenhower joined Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in ceremonies
officially opening the St. Lawrence Seaway.
(CFA, ‘96, p.48)(AP, 6/26/97)
1959 Jun 27, The play, "West
Side Story" closed at Winter Garden Theater in NYC after 732
1959 Jun, Supervisors of Prince
Edward County, Va., passed a $210,654 budget that provided no money
for public schools and cut the property tax in half rather than
comply with school desegregation. The public schools closed down for
5 years. The county whites opened a tuition-free, private academy
for white children.
(WSJ, 5/17/04, p.A1)
1959 Jun, Britain shipped 20
tons of heavy water to Israel. The information, made public in 2005,
revealed that the water was vital for the production of plutonium at
Israel's secret Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert. The
documents revealed that heavy water was transported from a British
port in Israeli ships in two shipments, half in June 1959 and half a
(AP, 8/4/05)(AP, 12/10/05)
1959 Jul 1, Israeli Knesset
agreed to weapon sales to West Germany.
1959 Jul 2, Wendy B. Lawrence,
USN Lt Commander, astronaut, was born in Jacksonville, Fla.
1959 Jul 4, A 49-star flag was
raised for the first time at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., in
honor of Alaska which had become the 49th state in the Union on July
(IB, Internet, 12/7/98)
1959 Jul 4, Cayman Islands
separated from Jamaica, made a crown colony.
1959 Jul 5, Ben-Gurion's
Israeli government resigned.
1959 Jul 6, Saar became part of
the German Federal Republic.
1959 Jul 13, In San Francisco
city barbers decided to increase the price of haircuts by 25 cents
to $2.00, following a meeting of some 300 of the city’s 700 barbers.
(SSFC, 7/12/09, DB p.42)
1959 Jul 17, The US
Congress approved a joint resolution establishing Captive Nations
Week to be observed on the 3rd week of July. Pres. Eisenhower
signed Public Law 86-90 establishing the week, aimed at raising
public awareness of the oppression of nations under the control of
Communist and other non-democratic governments, began in 1953.
1959 Jul 17, Dr. Leakey
discovered oldest human skull (600,000 years old) to date.
1959 Jul 17, Billie Holiday
(b.1915), jazz and blues singer, died in NYC at age 44. In 1956
William Dufty (d.2002) authored the biography "Lady Sings the
Blues." In 2000 Robert O’Meally authored "Lady Day: The Many Faces
of Billie Holiday."
(SFEM, 10/1/00, p.4)(SFC, 7/5/02, p.A24)(SSFC,
1959 Jul 17, Tibet abolished
1959 Jul 21, The 1st atomic
powered merchant ship, NS Savannah, was christened at Camden, NJ. In
1995 it was docked as part of the Navy’s James River Reserve Fleet
at Fort Eustis, Va. Soviets launched the world’s 1st operational
nuclear surface ship in 1958. The NS Savannah served until 1971.
(OGA, Internet, 11/24/98)(SFC, 3/12/05, p.B5)(AH,
1959 Jul 23, Vice President
Richard M. Nixon flew to Moscow to open the US Trade and Cultural
Fair in Sokolniki Park, organized as a goodwill gesture by the USSR.
1959 Jul 24, During a visit to
the Soviet Union, VP Richard M. Nixon got into a "kitchen debate"
with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a US exhibition. Nixon
correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch
house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker.
(AP, 7/24/97)(Econ, 5/26/07, p.33)
1959 Jul 25, Dr. Isaac Halevi
Herzog (71), chief rabbi of Israel (1936-59), died.
1959 Jul 25, King Mutara III
(b.~1912), monarch of Rwanda (1931 and 1959), died. Mutara was known
for being the first Mwami to convert to Catholicism.
1959 Jul 26, Kevin Spacey,
actor (Henry & June, Darrow), was born in South Orange, NJ.
1959 Jul 26, There was a
partial nuclear reactor meltdown at Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field
Laboratory 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. A report in
2006 said it may have caused hundreds of cases of cancer in the
community, and that chemicals threatened to contaminate ground and
1959 Jul 28, In preparation for
statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Hiram
L. Fong, to the Senate and the first Japanese-American, Daniel K.
Inouye, to the House of Representatives. Hiram Fong served 3 terms.
(AP, 7/28/97)(SFEC, 2/6/00, Rp.10)
1959 Jul 31, In Spain dissident
student members of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), inspired by
Marxist-Leninist teachings, formally founded ETA, which stands for
Euskadi ta Askatasuna, meaning Basque Fatherland and Liberty in the
Basque language. Its founders focused on Gen. Francisco Franco's
suppression of the Basque language and culture.
1959 Jul, Aristotle Onassis
took on board his ship, Christina, Maria Callas and her husband,
Battista Meneghini, as well as Sir Winston and Lady Churchill. The
cruise was later referred to as the "voyage of the damned." In 2000
the Onassis-Callas relationship was described in "Greek Fire" by
(WSJ, 10/13/00, p.W8)
1959 Jul, Film actress Yvette
Vickers (1928-2011) was featured as a Playboy magazine playmate.
(SFC, 5/4/11, p.C2)
1959 Aug 3, Victoria Jackson,
actress (Casual Sex, SNL), was born in Miami, Fla.
1959 Aug 6, Preston Sturges
(60), born as Edmund Biden, US director, screenwriter, died.
1959 Aug 7, The United States
launched Explorer 6, which sent back a picture of the Earth. The
satellite, popularly known as the "paddlewheel satellite," featured
a photocell scanner that transmitted a crude picture of the earth's
surface and cloud cover from a distance of 17,000 miles
(HFA, '96, p.36)(AP, 8/7/97)(MC, 8/7/02)
1959 Aug 10, Rosanna Arquette
(actress: Pulp Fiction, Silverado, Desperately Seeking Susan,
New York Stories, The Executioner's Song, After Hours), was
1959 Aug 12, The 1st ship
firing of a Polaris missile was from Observation Island.
1959 Aug 14, Magic (Earvin Jr.)
Johnson; basketball player (LA Lakers NBA MVP [1987, 89, 90];
Olympic Dream Team ), was born.
1959 Aug 16, William F. Halsey
(Bull Halsey), US vice-admiral (WW II Pacific), died.
1959 Aug 17, A 7.1 quake struck
at Yellowstone National Park.
1959 Aug 18, A magnitude 7.3
quake near Hebgen Lake, Montana, just west of Yellowstone National
Park triggered a landslide that killed 28 people.
1959 Aug 18, The Baghdad Pact
was officially changed to Central Treaty Organization (CENTO).
1959 Aug 19, Jacob Epstein
(78), US-English sculptor, painter, died.
1959 Aug 21, Hawaii became the
50th state as President Eisenhower signed an executive order, five
months after he'd signed the Hawaiian statehood bill.
1959 Aug 24, Three days after
Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first
Chinese-American U.S. Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as
the first Japanese-American U.S. Representative.
1959 Aug 28, Raphael Lemkin
(b.1900), a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent, died in NYC. In 1943 he
coined the word genocide and first used the word in print in “Axis
Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government
- Proposals for Redress” (1944).
1959 Aug 31, Australia defeated
the US for tennis' Davis Cup.
1959 Aug, In Britain the first
Mini Cooper automobile was built in response to the gas shortage. It
was called the Austin Mini Seven or the Morris Mini Minor. In 2002
an updated version was introduced.
(WSJ, 10/30/98, p.A17)(SSFC, 7/7/02, p.A21)
1959 Sep 4, "Mack the Knife"
was banned from WCBS Radio in New York City. The ban was due to
teenage stabbings in NYC.
1959 Sep 11, The US Congress
passed a bill authorizing food stamps for poor Americans.
1959 Sep 12, NBC launched
"Bonanza," the first color western on TV. 428 episodes were produced
and the show ran to 1973. 431 episodes were filmed at the 570-acre
site in Incline Village, Nevada. Michael Landon (d.1991) played
Little Joe, Lorne Greene (d.1987) played Ben Cartwright (d.1987 at
72), and Dan Blocker (d.1972) played Hoss.
(SFC, 9/3/98, p.A12)(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.A29)(SSFC,
8/8/04, p.D2)(SFC, 6/28/13, p.D8)
1959 Sep 12, The Luna 2, a
Soviet space probe, was launched for the moon.
(SFEC, 9/28/97, p.A14)
1959 Sep 14, The Soviet space
probe Luna 2 became the first man-made object to reach the moon as
it crashed onto the lunar surface.
1959 Sep 15, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev arrived in the United States to begin a 13-day
1959 Sep 17, The North American
Aviation X-15 rocket plane, piloted by Scott Crossfield, made its
first powered flight.
(HN, 9/17/98)(SFC, 4/21/06, p.B9)
1959 Sep 17, Typhoon Sara
killed 2,000 in Japan & Korea. 840 people were left dead or
missing in South Korea. [see Japan Sep 27]
(MC, 9/17/01)(SFC, 9/3/02, p.A3)
1959 Sep 19, Nature ran a paper
by Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison that said terrestrial radio
telescopes were sensitive enough to detect radio signals from other
stars. This was later seen as the beginning of SETI, the Search for
(SFEM, 8/22/99, p.10)
1959 Sep 19, Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev reacted angrily during a visit to Los Angeles upon
being told that, for security reasons, he wouldn’t be allowed to
1959 Sep 22, The first
telephone cable linking Europe and the United States was
1959 Sep 22, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev visited San Francisco and dropped in at the ILWU
union hall near Fisherman’s Wharf.
(SSFC, 9/20/09, DB p.50)
1959 Sep 25, President
Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev began Camp David talks.
1959 Sep 25, Cosmopolitan
editor Helen Gurley (37) & David Brown (43) wed.
1959 Sep 26, In San Francisco
the Pacific Festival held a Youth Parade up Market Street and
thousands of teenage girls mobbed Edd “Kookie” Byrnes (b.1933), star
of the TV series “77 Sunset Strip” (1958-1964).
(SSFC, 9/27/09, DB
1959 Sep 26, Vera, Japan, was
hit by a typhoon; about 5,000 died. [see Sep 17,27]
1959 Sep 27, Beth Heiden, 3000m
speed skater (Olympic-bronze-1980), was born in Madison, Wisc.
1959 Sep 27, Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev concluded his visit to the United States. During
the visit he debated with Richard Nixon. He also saw the filming of
Can Can and the found the dance immoral. Bassetts produced 50 tubs
of borscht sorbet in honor of Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)(SFEC, 9/15/96, C10)(WSJ,
8/1/00, p.A24)(AP, 9/27/00)
1959 Sep 27, Typhoon Vera
battered the main Japanese island of Honshu, killing nearly 5,000
people. [see Sep 17,26]
(AP, 9/27/97)(MC, 9/27/01)
1959 Sep 28, Explorer VI, the
U.S. satellite, took the first video pictures of earth.
1959 Sep 28, Edward Albee’s
play “The Zoo Story,” written in 1958, opened in Berlin. In 1960 it
opened in the US.
(SFC, 12/31/08, p.E2)
1959 Sep 28, Gerard Hoffnung,
artist, humorist, musician, died.
1959 Oct 2, Rod Serling's "The
Twilight Zone" made its debut on CBS-TV.
1959 Oct 5, Maya Lin, American
architect who designed the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., was
1959 Oct 7, Mario Lanza
(b.1921), undisciplined opera singer and temperamental movie star,
died of a heart attack in Rome. Born with a glorious Italian tenor,
Lanza resisted all professional urgings. He first came to light
while in the Army, then started singing publicly, first on radio,
then in movies. He signed a contract with MGM studios, where he made
such movies as "The Toast of New Orleans," and "The Great Caruso."
His heroic bellow sold records and filled concert halls. Lanza put
several teachers through hell because he would not learn to read
music, and he began to believe his hype as the century's greatest
talent since Enrico Caruso (a thought which made Mrs. Caruso gag and
Met Opera General Manger Rudolf Bing to ask: "Mario Who?"). He spent
money as fast as he earned it, pampering himself through his life.
He was fired by MGM because of his unpredictably in weight, ranging
from compactness to obesity, often within a month's time.
1959 Oct 7, Saddam Hussein
participated in a Baath team that ambushed Iraqi strongman
Abdel-Karim Kassem in Baghdad, wounding him. Saddam, wounded in leg,
1959 Oct 8, In Britain Harold
MacMillan (b.1894) won re-election as prime minister.
1959 Oct 10, Pan American
became the first to offer regular flights around world.
1959 Oct 13, K. Rudolf
Mengelberg, Dutch composer (Amsterdam Concertgebouw), died at
1959 Oct 14, Errol Flynn
(b.1909), Tasmania-born US actor, died of heart attack in Vancouver,
BC. His death ended a 2-year romance with Beverly Aadland (17). They
had appeared together in 3 films. His autobiography, “My Wicked,
Wicked Ways,” was published shortly after his death and contains
humorous anecdotes about Hollywood. According to one literary
critic, the book "remains one of the most compelling and appalling
autobiographies written by a Hollywood star.”
10/18/09, DB p.46)(SFC, 3/29/14, p.C4)
1959 Oct 15, Sarah Ferguson,
the Duchess of York, aka 'Fergie,' was born.
1959 Oct 15, The TV show "The
Untouchables" premiered with Robert Stack (d.2003) as Eliot Ness. It
was produced by Bert Granet (d.2002 at 92) and ran to 1963.
(SFC, 5/12/96, Par, p.14)(MC, 10/15/01)(SFC,
11/25/02, p.A15)(AP, 5/15/03)
1959 Oct 15, Stepan Bandera
(b.1909), a Ukrainian nationalist, was assassinated in Munich by a
KGB agent who used a spray gun to fire cyanide gas into his face. In
2010 Ukraine Pres. Yushchenko issued a decree posthumously awarding
the nation's highest award to Bandera weeks before his term ended in
February. Yushchenko called Bandera patriot, but the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish rights group, said Bandera's
followers were linked to the deaths of thousands of Jews. In April
2010 a court overturned the decree.
(WSJ, 11/21/96, p.A10)(AP,
1959 Oct 16, George C. Marshall
(b.1880), US army general and Nobel Prize winner (1953), died in
1959 Oct 19, William Gibson's
"Miracle Worker," premiered in NYC.
1959 Oct 21, The Guggenheim
Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), opened in NYC.
In 2009 the museum published “The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and
the Making of the Modern Museum.”
(AP, 10/21/97)(AH, 10/04, p.15)(SSFC, 7/26/09,
1959 Oct 21, Dr. Werner Von
Braun started work at NASA. By the late 1960s his rockets were
taking men to the moon. The Dr at age 25 had masterminded the V-2
rocket for Nazi Germany.
1959 Oct 21, Contra
revolutionaries bombed Havana.
1959 Oct 22, Bob Merrill's
musical "Take me Along," premiered in NYC.
1959 Oct 23, "Weird Al"
Yankovic, parody singer (Eat It, UHF, Naked Gun), was born in
1959 Oct 23, Chinese troops
moved into India and 17 died.
1959 Oct 31, A former U.S.
Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, announced in Moscow that he would
never return to the United States. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.
1959 Oct 31, The USSR and Egypt
signed contracts for building the Aswan Dam.
1959 Oct, The San Francisco
Board of Education invited parents, teachers and students to discuss
the issue of who should be allowed to apply corporal punishment in
schools, and whether spankings should be done by hand, strap or
(SSFC, 10/11/09, DB p.46)
1959 Nov 1, Patrice Lumumba was
arrested in the Belgian Congo.
1959 Nov 2, Charles Van Doren
admitted to a House subcommittee that he had the questions and
answers in advance of his appearances on the NBC-TV game show
(AP, 11/2/97)(HN, 11/2/98)
1959 Nov 2, Britain opened the
first section of the M1 motorway. The Watford Gap motorway service
station opened the same day.
1959 Nov 3, Pres. Eisenhower
laid the cornerstone for the CIA headquarters building in Langley,
(SFC, 9/17/97, p.A3)
1959 Nov 3, Ben-Gurion's
Mapai-party won Israeli parliamentary election.
1959 Nov 4, In San Francisco a
protest meeting was staged at Portsmouth Square to oppose plans for
an 800-car garage at a cost of $3.2 million. 100 foot trees in the
plaza were later felled for the underground parking structure.
(SSFC, 11/1/09, DB p.42)
1959 Nov 5, The Broadway play
“The 10th Man” by Paddy Chayefsky opened at the Booth Theater. In
1961 it moved to the Ambassador Theater.
1959 Nov 8, Tunisian Pres.
Habib Bourguiba's Nes Destour party won every chair.
1959 Nov 11, The 1st episode of
"Rocky & His Friends" aired on TV. Jay Ward (d.1989),
cartoonist, created the TV show "Rocky and His Friends," which
featured Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. It ran to 1961.
(SFEC, 12/15/96, DB p.63)(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB
1959 Nov 15, Richard Hickok and
Perry Smith savagely murdered the Clutter Family in Holcomb, Kansas.
The murders inspired Truman Capote’s book “In Cold Blood” (1966).
Hickok and Smith reportedly fled to Florida. Investigators later
linked them to the Dec 18, 1959, murders of Cliff Walker, his wife
and two children.
(www.crimelibrary.com)(SFC, 8/23/11, p.A5)(SFC,
1959 Nov 15, In Germany the Bad
Godesberg Program, designed to broaden support for the Social
Democratic Party, was ratified at an SPD party convention. For the
first time the SPD forswore all Marxist ideas.
1959 Nov 16, The Rodgers and
Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music" opened on Broadway at Lunt
Fontanne Theater, NYC, for 1443 performances. Theodore Bikel created
the role of Capt. Von Trapp in the original production.
(AP, 11/16/97)(SFC, 7/23/15, p.D4)
1959 Nov 17, William Shea
proposed a NYC stadium with transparent roof.
1959 Nov 17, Heitor Villa-Lobos
(b.1887), Brazilian composer, pianist and conductor, died.
1959 Nov 18, "Ben-Hur," the
Biblical-era movie spectacle starring Charlton Heston, had its world
premiere in New York.
1959 Nov 19, Ford Motor Co.
announced it was halting production of the unpopular Edsel. Ford
discontinued the Edsel after selling less than 110,000 cars.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)(AP, 11/19/97)
1959 Nov 20, The United Nations
issued its "Declaration of the Rights of the Child."
1959 Nov 20, Seven European
nations (Austria, Britain, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden,
Switzerland) signed the Stockholm Convention to form the European
Free Trade Association (EFTA). The organization becoming operative
on May 3 1960.
1959 Nov 21, Jack Benny on
violin and Richard Nixon on piano played their famed duet.
1959 Nov 21, Max Baer (b.1909),
US boxer, died. In 2005 Jeremy Schaap authored “Cinderella Man:
James J. Braddock, Max Baer and the Greatest Upset in Boxing
(SFC, 8/25/05, p.B1)(www.ibhof.com/baer.htm)
1959 Nov 23, The musical
"Fiorello!," with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick,
opened on Broadway.
1959 Nov 24, The new TV show
Twilight Zone ran "The Time Element" about a bartender returning to
Pearl Harbor Dec 6, 1941.
(SFC, 11/25/02, p.A15)
1959 Nov 26, Albert William
Ketelby (84), composer, died.
1959 Nov 27, Gerard Philipe
(36), actor and director (La Ronde, Gambler), died of cancer.
1959 Nov 27, Demonstrators
marched in Tokyo to protest a defense treaty with the US.
1959 Nov 28, Under a directive
by Archbishop John J. Mitty, Catholics were urged to pray for rain
as Northern California went through its 70th dry day. Beginning
today the special prayer “oratio ad petendum pluviam” would be
included in all Masses until the drought ends.
(SSFC, 11/22/09, DB p.50)
1959 Nov, Chubby Checker
introduced "The Twist" on the "Dick Clark Saturday Night Show."
(SFC, 9/5/00, p.D3)
1959 Dec 1, Representatives of
12 countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in Washington DC setting
aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military
activity (effective in 1961). It was adopted by the governments of
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the French Republic, Japan,
New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
and the USA [see 1961]. By 2007 45 signatories agreed to suspend
territorial claims and disputes, to forego all military and mining
activity, and to protect the continent as a natural reserve devoted
to peace and science.
12/1/97)(www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=1187)(Econ, 3/31/07, p.86)
1959 Dec 1, The 1st color
photograph of Earth was received from outer space.
1959 Dec 4, Peking pardoned Pu
Yi, ex-emperor of China and of the Japanese puppet state of
Manchukuo. Aisingyoro Henry Puyi, the last emperor, Xuantong, was
declared rehabilitated and released as "citizen" Puyi. He settled
down as a gardener and wrote the book "From Emperor to Citizen."
(SFC, 6/11/97, p.C16)(HN, 12/4/98)
1959 Dec 9, A Memorandum of
Understanding was signed in New York that established IRRI (Int’l.
Rice Research Institute) “as an organization to do basic research on
the rice plant and applied research on all phases of rice
production, management, distribution and utilization.”
1959 Dec 9-1959 Dec 14, Pres.
Eisenhower visited India and met with President Prasad and Prime
Minister Nehru. He addressed India’s Parliament and said: “ We
who are free, and who prize our freedom above all other gifts of God
and nature, must know each other better; trust each other more;
support each other.”
1959 Dec 15, Joseph Rogers
(1924-2005) set the single-engine jet world record of 1,525 miles
per hour in an F-106 Delta Dart over Edwards Air Force Base in
(SFC, 8/12/05, p.B9)
1959 Dec 18, In Florida Cliff
Walker, his wife and two children were murdered on a ranch in
Osprey. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, the killers of a family in
Kansas on Nov 15, were later linked to the murder of the Walker
family. In 2013 sheriff’s deputies failed to make a DNA link between
the family, Hickock and Smith.
(SFC, 12/5/12, p.A8)(SFC, 8/14/13, p.A6)
1959 Dec 18, Dorothy L. Sayers
(66), writer, died.
1959 Dec 19, Walter Williams
(117), officially recognized as the last survivor of the 4 million
who fought in the Civil War, died in Houston. He served as forage
master for a Confederate cavalry company. The last survivor of the
Union Army was Albert Woolson. He died on August 2, 1956 at the age
1959 Dec 21, Florence Griffith
Joyner, runner (Olympic-3 gold-1988), was born in LA, Calif.
1959 Dec 29, Saul Levitt's
"Andersonville Trial," premiered in NYC.
1959 Dec 30, Tracey Ullman,
singer and actress (Tracey Ullman Show), was born in Slough,
1959 Dec 31, Bebe Neuwirth,
actress (Lilith-Cheers, Damn Yankees), was born in Princeton, NJ.
1959 Dec 31, The DJIA closed
the decade at 679.36.
(WSJ, 4/8/04, p.C4)
1959 Joyce Ballantine Brand
(1918-2006), commercial artist, created the Coppertone Girl for
Coppertone suntan lotion. She used her 3-year-old daughter as the
(SFC, 5/18/06, p.B7)
1959 Alexander Calder
(1898-1976) made his "Arches," and "Big Red" mobile.
1959 William Christenberry,
American artist from Alabama, painted "Let the Dreadful Engines..."
(SFC, 3/31/97, p.E6)
1959 Jasper Johns painted
(SFEC, 11/24/96, C15)
1959 Rene Magritte painted
"Blood Will Tell."
(SFC, 5/4/00, p.B5)
1959 David Park (1911-1960),
American artist painted: "Torso."
(SFEC, 12/1/96, DB p.21)(SFC, 8/23/97, p.A20)
1959 The Surrealists gave their
(SFC, 2/7/02, p.D12)
1959 Edward Albee (30) wrote
"The Zoo Story and The Sandbox."
(SFC, 9/5/96, p.B2)(SFEC, 9/5/99, BR p.4)
1959 Norman O. Brown (d.2002),
philosopher, authored "Life Against Death." His 1966 book "Love’s
Body" was a follow-up.
(SFC, 10/7/02, p.A19)
1959 Lorraine Hansberry wrote
her play "A Raisin In the Sun."
(SFEC, 5/30/99, DB p.37)
1959 Anna Balakian (d.1997 at
82) wrote "Surrealism: The Road to the Absolute," an exposition of
surrealist literature and art.
(SFC, 8/16/97, p.A18)
1959 Rex Burch (d.1996),
microbiologist, and William Russell, a classics scholar, outlined
how the use of animals in scientific research could be made more
humane in their book: “The Principles of Humane Experimental
1959 Chardin’s work "The
Phenomenon of Man" was translated to English. It is here that he
developed the idea of the noosphere, or sphere of the mind.
1959 James Conant authored the
report: “The American High School Today.” It was paid for by the
(Econ, 6/11/11, p.65)
1959 Richard Condon (d.1996)
authored his novel "The Manchurian Candidate." It was made into a
film with Frank Sinatra in 1962. In 2003 it was revealed that
phrases and ideas were plagiarized from "I, Claudius," the 1934
historical novel by Robert Graves.
(SFC, 10/4/03, p.D1)
1959 Philip K. Dick wrote his
sci-fi novel "Time Out of Joint."
(WSJ, 4/27/99, p.A20)
1959 Allen Drury (d.1998 at 80)
published his novel "Advise and Consent." The book was made into a
1962 film. He wrote a total of 23 books.
(SFC, 9/3/98, p.C6)
1959 Robert Frank (b.1924), a
Swiss-born photographer, published “The Americans,” a collection of
83 powerful photographs taken during a driving trip around American
from 1955-1957. The published photos were selected from some 26,000
1959 Gunter Grass, German
author, published his novel "The Tin Drum." It criticized German
authorities for supplying arms to the Turkish government. An English
translation was published in 1963.
1959 Jack Kerouac published
"Doctor Sax" with Grove Press. He had begun the book while visiting
William Burroughs in Mexico City around 1951. In 2003 it was
released on CD based on a 1998 screenplay by Jim Sampas, Kerouac's
(SSFC, 11/2/03, p.M2)
1959 John Knowles (d.2001 at
75) authored "A Separate Peace." It was considered an enduring study
of an adolescent’s inner conflict.
(SFC, 11/30/01, p.A27)
1959 Arthur Koestler authored
"The Sleepwalkers," a history of early astronomy.
(WSJ, 3/5/04, p.W8)
1959 Laurie Lee (d.1997 at 82),
English author, wrote "Cider with Rosie," an autobiographical
classic of country life. His book, "As I Walked Out One Midsummer
Morning," described his experiences on a visit to Spain just before
the revolution of Jul, 1936. In 1993 he published the sequel "A
Moment of War: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War."
(SFC, 5/15/97, p.A26)
1959 Janet Lewis wrote her
historical novel "The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron."
(SFC, 12/5/98, p.C2)
1959 Leo Lionni (d.1999 at 89)
published his 1st children's book, " Little Blue and Little Yellow."
Lionni went on to write and illustrate another 30 children's books.
(SFC, 10/19/99, p.A23)
1959 Lawrence Lipton authored
"The Holy Barbarians," a guidebook to the beat scene in Venice,
(SFC, 4/13/02, p.A21)
1959 James Michener (d.1997 at
90) wrote "Japanese Prints," and his novel "Hawaii."
1959 Poet Frank O’Hara wrote
his mock manifesto "Personism."
(WSJ, 9/18/98, p.W8)
1959 Raymond Queneau (d.1976),
Parisian surrealist, published "Zazie dans le Metro."
(SFEC, 8/2/98, BR p.4)
1959 Mordecai Richler (d.2001
at 70) authored the novel ""The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz."
(SFC, 7/5/01, p.D3)
1959 J.I. Rodale published "The
Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening."
(WSJ, 8/5/97, p.A16)
1959 Philip Roth authored his
coming-of-age novella “Goodbye Columbus.” The initial publication
included 5 other short stories.
(WSJ, 12/15/07, p.W10)
1959 C.P. Snow, physicist and
novelist, published "The Two Cultures and the Scientific
Revolution." He articulated the growing dichotomy between the
sciences and the humanities. He suggested that "the scientific mind
was progressive and the literary mind was reactionary." This
produced a strong reaction from F.R. Leavis, literary critic.
(WSJ, 6/10/97, p.A16)(NH, 10/98, p.12)
1959 Paul Tabori wrote "The
Natural Science of Stupidity."
(WSJ, 10/10/96, p.A20)
1959 Hunter Thompson spent time
working in San Juan as a journalist and based his novel "The Rum
Diary," published in 1998, on the experience. Plans for a film based
on the book developed in 2003.
(SFC, 11/7/03, p.D11)
1959 Eugene Vale (d.1997) wrote
"The 13th Apostle." It was a bestseller for more than 30 weeks. Vale
spent 21 years writing the book.
(SFC, 5/9/97, p.E5)
1959 Dr. Allen Wheelis
(1916-2007, SF Bay Area psychologist, authored his 1st book: “The
Quest for Identity.” He went on to write 13 more books including
(SSFC, 6/24/07, p.B5)
1959 William Appleman Williams
(1921-1990), American historian, authored “The Tragedy of American
Democracy,” in which he blamed the Cold War on the US. Historian
Robert James Maddox provided a devastating critique of Williams’
shoddy in “the New Left and the Origins of the Cold War” (1973).
1959 Bernard Wolfe authored his
historic novel "The Great Prince Died," centered on the 1940
assassination of Trotsky.
(NW, 8/20/01, p.56)
1959 Tennessee Williams wrote
his play "Sweet Bird of Youth." It was about an aging movie queen
and a male gigolo visiting his Gulf Coast home town. It was made
into a 1962 film with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman who also
starred in the original play.
(WSJ, 6/10/98, p.A16)
1959 The Broadway show "Goodbye
Charlie" starred Lauren Bacall. It was written by George Axelrod.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Par p.6)
1959 The musical "Redhead" was
directed by Bob Fosse and composed by Albert Hague.
(WSJ, 11/11/98, p.A21)
1959 Jack Gelber's (d.2003 at
71) play "The Connection" opened off Broadway at the Living Theater.
It was a graphic depiction of the dead-end life of drug addicts.
(SSFC, 5/11/03, p.A26)
1959 Erich L. Lehmann
(1917-2009), French-born American statistics professor at UC
Berkeley, authored “Testing Statistical Hypothesis.” His last and
7th book, “Fisher, Neyman and the Creation of Classical Statistics,”
was published shortly after his death.
(SFC, 10/16/09, p.D8)
1959 Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010),
English writer, authored his novel “The Loneliness of a
1959 Live music began in
Branson, Missouri, about this time with the Baldknobbers Hillbilly
Jamboree, named for the local 19th century masked vigilantes.
(Econ, 10/29/11, p.78)
1959 Bob Merrill made the
Broadway hit "Take Me Along," which was based on O’Neills "Ah,
(SFC, 2/19/98, p.A22)
1959 The musical play "Once
Upon a Mattress" was produced. It was based on a Hans Christian
Anderson fable: "The Princess and the Pea." The lyrics were written
by Marshall Barer (d.1998 at 75). Barer also wrote the lyrics for
the "Mighty Mouse" song.
(WSJ, 12/24/96, p.A7)(SFC, 8/27/98, p.C4)
1949 Sid Caesar and Imogene
Coca (d.2001) starred on the "Admiral Broadway Revue" TV show
(Jan-Jun), a forerunner of "Your Show of Shows," which ran to 1954.
(SSFC, 6/3/01, p.A29)(SFC, 8/9/02, p.D17)
1959 The "Dennis the Menace"
show began on TV and ran for 146 episodes. it was based on the
cartoon strip by Hank Ketcham.
(SFC, 9/20/97, p.E1)
1959 The "Maverick" TV cowboy
show was written and produced by Coles Trapnell (d.1999) until 1962.
(SFC, 2/5/99, p.D4)
1959 "The Twilight Show" under
Rod Serling began on TV. It ran to 1965.
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.38)
1959 It was learned that most
TV quiz shows were fixed.
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)
1959 Paul Anka made a hit with
"Put Your head on My Shoulders."
(SFEC, 1/17/99, Par p.18)
1959 Jacques Brel (1929-1978),
French singer and composer, recorded “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (If you go
1959 Tom Butala began to
develop the Letterman vocal group sound. Their early songs included
"The Way You look Tonight" and "That’s My Desire."
(SFEC, 7/21/96, DB p.53)
1959 Ornette Coleman formed his
jazz quartet with drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Charlie Haden.
(WSJ, 7/16/97, p.A20)
1959 Herbie Mann (1930-2003)
formed his Afro-Jazz Sextet.
(SFC, 7/3/03, p.A2)
1959 Martin Denny recorded an
album that typified the Hawaiian Exotica style. Arthur Lyman (d.2002
at 70), vibraphonist, played in the combo.
(SFC, 3/8/02, p.A31)
1959 The band "The Blue
Velvets" made their debut performance at a sock hop at El Cerrito
High in Northern California. The John Fogerty band went on to become
the Golliwogs and then Credence Clearwater Revival.
(SSFC, 4/14/02, p.30)
1959 The Browns recorded their
hit song “The Three Bells,” sometimes known as “Little Jimmy Brown.”
The trio included Jim Ed Brown (1934-2015) and his sisters Maxine
(SSFC, 6/14/15, p.C11)
1959 Billy Mitchell (d.2002 at
71) and the Clovers made a hit with the Lieber and Stoller song
"Love Potion No. 9."
(SFC, 11/15/02, p.A25)
1959 Eldon Shamblin (d.1998 at
82), guitarist, left the Bob Wills and the Playboys band. He
contributed a jazz influence to the band and was called the world’s
greatest rhythm guitar player.
(SFC, 8/8/98, p.A21)
1959 The Skyliners recorded
"Since I Don’t Have You." Manager Joe Rock (d.2000 at 63) wrote the
lyrics and singer Jimmy Beaumont wrote the melody.
(SFC, 4/8/00, p.A23)
1959 The album "Frank Sinatra
with the Red Norvo Quintet, Live in Australia," was released on Blue
(SFEM, 7/13/97, p.6)
1959 Estonian Veljo Tormis
composed his 11-minute effusion "Overture No. 2."
1959 Johnny Cash shot a man in
(RNR, 7/19/95, p.10)
1959 Ray Charles made a hit
with "What’d I Say." His moaning and wailing suggested sexual play
and was banned on radio stations across America.
(SSFC, 7/28/02, Par p.20)(Econ, 6/19/04, p.84)
1959 Motown Records was
launched when Gwendolyn Gordy Fuqua (d.1999 at 71) and her sister
Anna talked the Gordy family into loaning Berry Gordon $800 to make
a master recording of singer Marv Johnson.
(SFC, 11/13/99, p.A22)
1959 The first Grammy Awards
(WSJ, 2/20/97, p.A18)
1959 The Newport Folk Festival
began. Joan Baez (18) sang at the festival and began her career as a
(WSJ, 7/28/98, p.A16)(SFEM, 11/1/98, p.12)
1959 Singer Eddie Fisher
divorced Debbie Reynolds to marry Elizabeth Taylor. He was best
known for his song "Oh! My Papa." Reynolds was pregnant with their
2nd child at the time.
(SFEC, 9/26/99, DB p.35)(WSJ, 10/8/99, p.W14)
1959 August A. Busch, president
of the Anheuser-Busch Beer Co., constructed his elaborate bird
sanctuary in Tampa, Fla.
(Hem., 3/97, p.61)
1959 The Central Artery freeway
was erected in Boston. It was scheduled to come down in 2004 the
completion of the "Big Dig" underground freeway.
(SFC, 12/20/02, p.J12)
1959 Americans bought 100
million Hula Hoops.
(SFC, 1/25/97, p.E4)
1959 References to
glue-sniffing first appeared in print.
(SFC, 1/25/97, p.E4)
1959 The Starkspur Golden
Delicious Apple was discovered in the Yakima Valley, Wash.
(T&L, 10/1980, p.42)
1959 The West End Brewing Co.,
producers of Utica Club Beer, began running TV commercials in the
Northeast US. The ad campaign included the Schultz and Dooley
ceramic mugs based on the ad characters.
(SFC, 2/1/06, p.G6)
1959 In Chicago Kikkoman first
introduced soy sauce to American consumers at an International Trade
(Econ, 4/11/09, p.68)
1959 Germain G. Glidden (d.1999
at 85) founded the National Art Museum of Sport.
(SFC, 2/17/99, p.C3)
1959 The NYC Atheneum
Publishers was co-founded by Alfred Knopf Jr. (1918-2009), editor
Simon Michael Bessie and editor Hiram Haydn.
(SFC, 3/15/99, p.A19)(SFC, 2/17/09, p.B4)
1959 The Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights was founded with headquarters in
Washington, DC, as an autonomous organ of the Organization of
American States (OAS).
(Econ, 6/9/12, p.42)
1959 Al Haber organized
“Students for a Democratic Society.” SDS held its first
organizational meeting in 1960 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Robert
Alan Haber was elected president. Its initial philosophy was
embodied in the 1962 Port Huron Statement, principally written by
Univ. of Michigan student Tom Hayden. In 2008 Harvey Pekar, Gary
Dumm and Paul Buhle wrote, illustrated and edited “Students for a
Democratic Society: A Graphic History.”
1959 Captains. Richard Munger
and Charles Dent founded the Business Council of the United Nations
(Hem., 12/96, p.19)
1959 Sam Marcy (1911-1998)
founded The Workers World Party, an independent Communist party, in
New York City. In 1990 he wrote a collection of articles titled:
"Perestroika: A Marxist Critique."
(SFC, 2/9/98, p.A19)
1959 Research Triangle Park in
North Carolina was created by universities, government and industry
leaders as an economic engine for the state.
(SFEC, 10/6/96, B6)
1959 Allan Calhamer, a Harvard
undergrad, published Diplomacy, a war strategy board game about
pre-World War I Europe.
(WSJ, 7/2/10, p.W9)
1959 Owen Chamberlain
(1920-2006) and Emilio Segre of UC Berkeley received the Nobel Prize
in Physics for their 1955 discovery of the anti-proton. Oreste
Piccioni (d.2002 at 86) did many of the landmark experiments that
led to the discoveries.
(SFC, 10/10/96, p.A1)(SFC, 5/1/02, p.A22)(SFC,
1959 Arthur Kornberg
(1918-2007) of Stanford Univ. won the Nobel Prize for physiology of
medicine. He shared the prize with Severo Ochoa for their research
on how genetic information is transferred from one DNA molecule to
(SFC, 10/8/01, p.A17)(SFC, 10/27/07, p.A2)
1959 In boxing American Floyd
Patterson was knocked out by Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson.
(SFC, 6/28/97, p.B1)
1959 In football the Baltimore
Colts under Johnny Unitas won the "world title."
(SFEM, 1/4/98, p.15)
1959 The first US Open in
Surfing was held at Huntington Beach, Ca. Jack Haley (d.2000 at 65)
(SFC, 3/29/00, p.A23)
1959 The US sent advisors to
(SFEC, 4/23/00, p.A19)
1959 The first American
advisors were killed in Vietnam during a communist attack near Bien
Hoa Air Base. That triggered the transition that by 1968 led to more
than 500,000 American combatants in Southeast Asia.
1959 Ronald Reagan delivered
over 200 speeches as a "Democrat for Nixon."
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F3)
1959 The FAA established its
age-60 rule that called for commercial airline pilots to retire at
age 60 to promote safety.
(SFEC, 5/17/98, p.A26)
1959 S. Ernest Vandiver began
serving as governor of Georgia (1959-1963). His campaign motto was
“No, not one,” meaning not one black child in a white school.
(SSFC, 12/22/02, p.A3)
1959 Gus Hall (d.2000 at 90)
was elected as US Communist Chairman.
(SFC, 10/17/00, p.A28)
1959 A 116-day strike opened
the doors to foreign imports as 519,000 US workers demanded better
(WSJ, 5/12/03, p.A6)
1959 The Lincoln Memorial was
added to the reverse side of the Lincoln penny to mark Lincoln’s
(USAT, 7/19/01, p.3A)
1959 The Rev. Willie James
launched a lawsuit that led to the desegregation of Willingboro
(Econ, 5/31/08, p.29)
1959 Wisconsin became the 1st
US state to enact a comprehensive collective bargaining law.
(SFC, 2/17/11, p.A8)
1959 Jet air travel was
introduced to Hawaii.
(SFC, 3/8/96, p.A21)
1959 The name Amway, an
abbreviation for "American Way," was coined by founders Jay Van
Andel (1924-2004) and Richard DeVos. They had begun their business
in the 1950s using direct selling to market NUTRILITE TM
Dietary Supplements. In 1959 they incorporated in Michigan and
introduced a multi-purpose cleaner.
1959 The first civilian
hovercraft, prototype SR-N2 with 68 seats, crossed the English
Channel in 20 minutes. The craft was invented by Christopher
Cockerell (d.1999 at 88), who was knighted in 1969.
(SFC, 6/4/99, p.D4)
1959 Honda began to sell
motorcycles in the US.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1959 DDB Worldwide Marketing
created the Juan Valdez character for advertising Colombian coffee.
(SFC, 2/3/00, p.A14)
1959 Guarantee Trust merged
with J.P. Morgan.
(WSJ, 6/11/99, p.A1)
1959 In San Francisco the
barrel-vaulted Marina Safeway grocery store, designed by Wurster
Bernardi & Emmons, was built.
(SSFC, 3/31/13, p.C4)
1959 The Old Spaghetti Factory
in San Francisco’s North Beach, backed by Fred Kuh, began to feature
flamenco dancing. The venue continued until it closed in 1985.
(SFEC,10/26/97, DB p.41)
1959 In San Francisco the
13-story building at 100 California was built to house the West
Coast headquarters of Bethlehem Steel Corp. It was designed by
(SSFC, 1/26/14, p.C3)
1959 In San Francisco the
20-story glass-skinned high-rise at One Bush St. was built. It was
designed by architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Hertzka
(SSFC, 7/31/11, p.C3)
1959 The Crown Zellerbach
building was constructed in San Francisco. It was restored in 1988.
(SFEM, 2/22/98, p.24)
1959 The double-decker
Embarcadero Freeway was erected and separated San Francisco from the
(SFC, 5/19/96,Mag, p.11)
1959 The city of Half Moon Bay,
(SSFC, 4/3/11, p.A12)
1959 Hewitt Crane (d.2008 at
81), inventor and bioengineering pioneer, co-founded Ridge
Vineyards, resurrecting a 19th century winery in Cupertino, Ca.
(SFC, 6/26/08, p.B5)
1959 William Wurster
(1895-1973), American architect and teacher, co-founded the College
of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, Ca.
1959 William Emerson Ayer
(d.1998 at 76) founded Applied Technology Inc. of Palo Alto, Ca. He
established success with a device that warned combat pilots when
they were under enemy radar surveillance.
(SFC, 2/14/98, p.A21)
1959 Moe Moskowitz opened Moe’s
Books on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, Ca.
(SFC, 10/3/08, p.C3)
1959 In San Francisco St.
Ignatius College and St. Ignatius High School formally split
into two separate corporations. The high school moved to the Sunset
district in 1969 and became known as St. Ignatius College
(GenIV, Winter 04/05)
1959 Hobie Alter and his Hobie
Surfboard company in Orange County, Ca., began to mass produce
surfboards made of polyurethane foam.
(SFC, 4/1/14, p.A6)
1959 In San Francisco Dorothy
and Art Adams, a black couple, purchased a house in the Westwood
Park area of San Francisco, but were not allowed to move in for six
months due to Article XIII of the neighborhood’s declaration of
Covenants, Codes and Restrictions, despite the 1948 Supreme Court
ruling declaring them unenforceable.
(SFC, 1/14/15, p.A11)
1959 Harold Geneen (d.1997 at
87) was named CEO of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp.
He remained CEO until 1977.
1959 Becton Dickinson acquired
Falcon Plastics, a pioneer in the manufacture of disposable plastic
(Echo, 6/2009, p.7)
1959 Johnson & Johnson
acquired McNeill Laboratories, the maker of Children’s Tylenol.
(SFC, 11/1/05, p.D7)
1959 Parker Brothers launched
the board game Risk.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.81)
1959 The Eveready Battery
division of Union Carbide introduced the alkaline battery developed
by researcher Lew Urry.
(WSJ, 8/27/99, p.B7A)
1959 The 3-point seat belt,
invented by Nils Bohlin (d.2002 at 82), was introduced by Volvo.
(SFC, 9/27/02, p.A25)
1959 Pantyhose first came out.
(SFC, 1/25/97, p.E4)
1959 Canadian Joseph-Armand
Bombardier introduced the Ski-Doo snowmobile.
(ON, 4/03, p.6)
1959 Robert Noyce (1927-1990)
of Fairchild Semiconductor constructed an integrated circuit. Both
Texas Instruments and Fairchild claimed independent discovery of the
IC. Noyce went on to found Intel Corp. Jack Kilby of Texas
Instruments had made a working prototype in 1958.
(WSJ, 9/22/98, p.B3)(SFC, 10/11/00, p.A6)
1959 Devol and Engelberger [see
1956] created Unimate, the world’s first industrial robot.
(Hem., 2/96, p.93)
1959 William W. Meyer (d.2001
at 82) was selected to captain the Savannah, the world’s 1st
nuclear-powered merchant ship.
(SFC, 8/18/01, p.E3)
1959 The Xerox model 914 copier
had a single green button and a fire extinguisher, "scorch
eliminator," in case paper caught fire.
(WSJ, 10/26/99, p.A1)
1959 Physicists Philip Morrison
and Giuseppe Cocconi laid out the rationale for searching the skies
for extraterrestrial life with radio telescopes in a Nature article.
(Wired, 1/97, p.141)
1959 Edward G. Zubler (d.2004),
GE research chemist, developed the halogen lamp.
(SFC, 3/24/04, p.B7)
1959 Researchers in 1998 found
the HIV virus of AIDS in a 1959 blood specimen (ZR59) from a Bantu
man who died in Leopoldville, Belgian Congo (later Kinshasa, Congo).
This became the oldest known case and researchers believed that
incidents could go back to the 1940s.
1959 Gene Smith and Henry
Beecher of Harvard Univ. showed that short distance swimmers who
were given amphetamines swam faster than those who received a
placebo. This was the first study to show that drugs had any real
(Econ, 3/3/12, TQ p.17)
1959 Dr. Norman E. Shumway
(1923-2006) and Dr. Richard Lower of Stanford Univ. made the 1st
successful transplant of a dog’s heart.
(SFC, 2/11/06, p.B5)
1959 Reinhold Rasmussen,
geologist, abandoned his job in a Utah potash mine and went to St.
Louis to study botany with the author of an article on the "blue
mist" that forms over forested areas. He later discovered that trees
produced significant amounts of isoprene, a natural hydrocarbon that
is a key ingredient in chemical interactions that create smog.
(WSJ, 3/16/99, p.A1)
1959 Mary Leakey found a
hominid fossil skull of about 1,750,00 years old. It was named
(Enc. of Africa, 1976, p.164)(NH, 4/97, p.23)
1959 It was estimated that the
average US family spent 42 hrs per week watching TV.
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)
1959 The US Fish and Wildlife
Service recommended that the northern California Iron Mountain mine
owners seal mine tunnels or collect mine drainage in a reservoir to
halt the killing of salmon.
1959 In New York City Salvador
Agron (16), A Puerto Rican gang member, stabbed to death 2 white
teenagers whom he mistakenly took to be members of a rival gang. In
1998 Paul Simon wrote a musical titled "The Capeman" based on
Agron’s life story.
(WSJ, 1/30/98, p.A12)
1959 In Kansas Herb and Bonnie
Clutter and their 2 children were murdered by Dick Hickock and Perry
Smith. The event was the basis for the 1966 Truman Capote novel "In
Cold Blood," and a 1967 film.
(WSJ, 11/18/96, p.A10)
1959 Beatrix Farrand (b.1872),
landscape architect, died in Bar Harbor, Maine.
(WSJ, 7/22/04, p.D10)
1959 Alfred Kubin (b.1877),
eccentric visionary artist, died.
(SFC, 11/13/01, p.D1)
1959 Mario Lanza died in Italy
at age 38. He was born as Freddy Cocozza in South Philly. A museum
dedicated to the Italian singer is tucked inside of the Settlement
Music School of Philadelphia.
(Smith., 4/1995, p.95)(SFEC, 3/21/99, DB p.9)
1959 Bert Rupp Jr., "a handsome
wastrel with access to the Chrysler fortune," committed suicide.
(SFC, 11/4/96, p.A21)
1959 Sir Stanley Spencer,
British painter (b.1891), died. His life was later depicted in the
musical play by Pam Gem, "Stanley." he also completed a
self-portrait this year.
(SFC, 2/17/97, p.D6)(WSJ, 2/21/97, p.A12)(SFC,
1959 Lester Young, tenor
saxophonist and aka the "Prez", died at 49. He was nicknamed Prez by
Billie Holiday. His recordings include "The Complete Lester Young"
(Mercury), "Prez and Sweets" (Verve), "The Jazz Giants" (Verve),
"Prez and Teddy Wilson" (Verve), "The President Plays with the Oscar
Peterson Trio" (Verve) and "The Lester Young Trio" (Verve). Emile
Rogier Heier (d.1997 at 55) later wrote "Lester Leaps In, " a
biography of the jazz saxophonist Lester Young. David Meltzer later
authored ""No Eyes: Lester Young."
(WSJ, 8/21/96, p.A12)(SFC, 9/18/97, p.C2)(SFC,
1959 In Afghanistan the Purdah
was made optional under King Zahir Shah. Women began to enroll in
the university, which had become co-educational, and they began to
enter the workforce, as well as the government.
1959 In the Belgian Congo a
50-kilowatt Triga Mark I nuclear reactor made by Gen’l. Atomic of
San Diego went on line.
(WSJ, 5/30/97, p.A1)
1959 The British Parliament
revoked a 300-year-old law that made it a crime, punishable by
burning at the stake, to forecast the weather.
(SFEC, 8/3/97, Z1 p.2)
1959 In Britain John Connell
founded the Noise Abatement Society. In 2012 His granddaughter,
Poppy Elliott, launched Quiet Mark, a not-for-profit company
encouraging manufacturers to make quieter products.
(Econ, 9/7/13, TQ p.9)
1959 Steven Truscott (14) was
convicted for the rape and strangling death of 12-year-old school
friend Lynne Harper, becoming Canada's youngest death-row inmate.
His sentence was commuted to life in prison, and he was quietly
released after 10 years behind bars. Truscott always insisted he was
innocent and sought complete exoneration in 2007. On Aug 28, 2007 he
was acquitted by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
(Reuters, 1/31/07)(Reuters, 8/28/07)
1959 The Central African
Republic adopted a Constitution.
(SFC, 5/22/96, p.A9)
1959 China’s Great Hall of the
People was completed in Beijing.
(WSJ, 3/13/06, p.A14)
1959 In China defense minister
Peng Dehuai was sacked for criticizing Mao’s “Great leap Forward”
economic experiment. Lin Biao replaced Defense Minister Peng Dehuai.
(Econ, 1/14/06, p.84)(AP, 7/16/07)
1959 China discovered huge oil
reserves in the northern basin of the Songhua and Liao Rivers. This
ended dependence on Soviet supplies. The area was named Daqing
(WSJ, 3/1/00, p.A8)(Econ, 5/1/04, p.41)
1959 Fidel Castro visited
Argentina following his revolution in Cuba.
1959 The Dominican dictator
Trujillo broke relations with Cuba soon after Castro took power.
(WSJ, 4/9/98, p.A1)
1959 Ecuador turned 97% of the
Galapagos Islands into a national park.
(SSFC, 12/22/02, p.M6)
1959 The Grand Sheikh of
Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the foremost seat of Sunni scholarship,
issued a fatwa that officially recognized mainstream Shiism as a
legitimate school of thought.
(Econ, 3/4/06, p.22)
1959 A water agreement between
Egypt and Sudan was based on an annual net yield of 96.2 billion
cubic yards of water and gave Egypt 72.15 billion and Sudan 20.04.
Ethiopia got no allocation and never recognized the treaty.
(WSJ, 8/22/97, p.A1)
1959 Catherine Hamlin (35)
moved to Ethiopia from Australia to work as an obstetrician and
gynecologist. Hamlin and her husband later founded a hospital where
women can seek free treatment for obstetric fistulas, which are
holes that develop between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum
that can develop during long and difficult births.
1959 Jacques Brel (1929-1978),
French singer and composer, recorded “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (If you go
1959 Albert Uderzo and René
Goscinny introduced their comic characters Asterix and Obelix in the
magazine Pilote. A book followed in 1961. Comic books in France are
known as bandes dessinees (BD).
(Hem., 4/97, p.103)(Econ, 12/23/06, p.72)
1959 Charels de Gaulle
commissioned a report on how to “remove the obstacles to economic
(Econ, 12/20/14, p.80)
1959 French railroad officials
introduced the Eurailpass. It allowed North American tourists in
Europe to travel through 13 countries on one pass.
(SFC, 8/11/05, p.B7)
1959 The process of
“investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) first appeared in a
bilateral trade agreement between Germany and Pakistan.
(Econ, 10/11/14, p.78)
1959 In Hong Kong the Ming Pao
newspaper was launched under editor Louis Cha, who doubled as
popular novelist of martial arts epics.
(WSJ, 4/21/97, p.A1)
1959 India kicked out Gilette
Co. in order to protect its domestic blade makers.
(WSJ, 3/13/97, p.A1)
1959 Indonesia’s constitution
of 1950 was rescinded.
(SFC, 5/20/98, p.A12)
c1959 In the later 50s the
Permesta and PRRI rebellions engulfed several islands from Sulawesi
to Sumatra and some 30,000 troops were killed.
(SFEC, 11/6/99, p.A30)
1959 The Muslim region of Aceh
on the northwest end of Sumatra, Indonesia, became a special
territory with considerable autonomy. It had been an independent
sultanate until the late 19th century when it was conquered by the
(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A17)
1959 In Indonesia Bank Tabungan
Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) was founded to serve retired bureaucrats.
It went public in 2008 following a buyout by Texas Pacific Group, a
(Econ, 4/23/11, p.82)
1959 Sean Lemass became prime
minister of Ireland.
1959 In Ireland the first
modern special economic zone (SEZ) was set up at Shannon Airport.
The idea took off in the 1980s as China embraced them.
(Econ., 4/4/15, p.65)
1959 In Italy Steno Marcegaglia
founded the Marcegaglia steel works.
1959 The Japanese film “Odd
Obsession” starred Tatsuya Nakadai and was directed by Kon Ichikawa.
(WSJ, 7/2/08, p.B13)
1959 Japan’s Tokyo Trust Bank
was founded. In 2001 it joined with Sanwa Bank and Tokai Bank to
form UFJ Holdings. In 2005 it became part of the Mitsubishi UFJ
(WSJ, 9/23/08, p.C1)
1959 Malaysia adopted a
Banishment Act allowing the government to expel non-citizens.
(Econ, 9/24/11, p.53)
1959 Hifikepunye Pohamba and
Sam Nujoma of Namibia founded the South West Africa People’s
(Econ, 11/20/04, p.50)
1959 King Mahendra promulgated
Nepal's first constitution based on a multiparty democratic polity
under which the first general elections were held later this year to
elect a House of Representatives.
1959 The massive Groningen gas
field was discovered in the Netherlands.
(WSJ, 6/26/08, p.B1)
1959 Norway’s Stolt-Nielsen
shipping group was founded and grew to become one of the biggest
players in Norway's large shipping industry.
1959 A group of Palestinians
met in Kuwait and formed Fatah. Yasser Arafat became the group’s
(SFC, 11/11/04, p.A18)
1959 In Portugal the first
stations of Lisbon’s underground were opened. They were all
decorated by contemporary artists working in tiles.
(Econ, 6/12/10, p.96)
1959 The first International
Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), a World Championship Mathematics
Competition for High School students, was held in Romania, with 7
countries participating. In 1978 Dr. George Lenchner (1917-2006
created the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools
(MOEMS, originally LIMOES).
1959 In Russia Alexander I.
Ginzburg (1936-2002), poet, attracted the attention of the
authorities with a typewritten magazine called Syntax, that
reflected anger and disillusionment with the Soviet Union. It became
the 1st samizdat (self-published journal). After 3 issues Ginzburg
was put into Lubyanka Prison.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.A27)
1959 Russia’s unmanned
spacecraft, Lunik II, hit the moon.
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)
1959 In Rwanda the Tutsi rulers
were overthrown by the Hutu majority. Some 20,000 Tutsis were killed
and the Tutsi king was forced into exile. The Tutsis had been the
feudal rulers of Rwanda for centuries up to this time.
(WSJ, 11/15/96, p.A16)(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A10)(SSFC,
1959 Lee Kuan Yew (b.1923) was
elected as prime minister of Singapore and continued serving until
(SFC, 8/6/01, p.A8)
1959 In South Africa the Pan
African Congress was founded.
(SFC, 8/21/96, p.A8)
1959 Colin Eglin (1925-2013)
founded South Africa's Progressive Party and later became leader of
the opposition in the white-controlled parliament for part of the
1970s and 1980s. Helen Suzman, a liberal MP with the United Party,
broke away with other liberal colleagues to form the Progressive
(AP, 11/30/13)(Econ, 1/18/14, p.82)
1959 The Usutu virus, a life
threat to birds, was 1st observed in South African mosquitoes. By
2004 it had spread to Europe and ravaged the blackbird population.
(SFC, 8/21/04, p.B10)
1959 In Sri Lanka Wijayananda
Dahanayake (d.1997 at 94) became the Prime Minister after the
assassination of Solomon Bandaranaike. He handed power over to the
widow of Bandaranaike’s after 6 months.
(SFC, 5/5/97, p.A20)
1959 Lavalua Tomasi Kulimoetoke
(41) became king of Wallis and Futuna Islands. The 2 Pacific islands
between Hawaii and New Zealand, are about 2,800 miles southwest of
Honolulu. The islands have a total area about 1 1/2 times the size
of Washington D.C. and a population of about 15,000.
1959-1960 Francis Poulenc, composer, wrote his
(SFC, 9/21/96, p.E3)
1959-1961 In China mass starvation followed Mao’s
"Great Leap Forward." The famine killed millions of people. The
famine of this period is described by Jasper Becker in his book:
"Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine" (1997).
(WSJ, 2/7/97, p.A14)(Econ, 5/8/10, p.28)(SFEC,
8/17/97, BR p.8)
1959-1961 The Japanese tripartite film “The Human
Condition” starred Tatsuya Nakadai and was directed by Masaki
(WSJ, 7/2/08, p.B13)
1959-1963 The TV series "The Many Loves of Dobbie
Gillis" featured Sheila Kuehl as Zelda Gilroy. She was elected to
the California Assembly in 1994. From 1959-1960 the show featured
Tuesday Weld as Thalia Menninger.
(SFC, 9/22/96, Zone 1 p.3)(SFC, 9/22/96, DB p.55)
1959-1963 The Limelighters, with Lou Gottlieb
(1924-1996), Glenn Yarborough and Alex Hassilev, made popular such
songs as "A Dollar Down," "John Henry," "There’s a Meeting Here
Tonight," and "Those Were the Days."
1959-1969 In 1998 the Library of Congress issued a
2-volume collection of American journalism from the Vietnam War,
"Reporting Vietnam." This period was covered in Vol. 1. The 2nd
volume covered the war to 1975.
(WSJ, 10/5/98, p.A21)(SFEC, 10/18/98, BR p.1)
Go to 1960