Sunday, September 7, 2014

Observations — 1953, Eisenhower, Lucy and Good Reading

First Issue of Playboy Features Marilyn Monroe
Korean armistice was signed. Dwight D. Eisenhower assumed U.S. Presidency. He nominee Earl Warren, became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He formed a government contract oversight committee. He condemned Joseph McCarthy’s book-banning proposal, while Georgia approved the country’s first literature censorship board. East Berlin failed in their attempt at insurrection. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed as spies. Charlie Chaplin left the U.S. amidst claims he was a communist.  Fidel Castro began his rebellion against Cuban leader Juan Batista. Winston Churchill was knighted by recently crowned Queen Elizabeth II. The hydrogen bomb was developed. Lucille Ball gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr., for real while TV Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky. Hollywood developed wide-screen cinemascope in an attempt to separate Americans from their TVs. TV Guide debuted. Samuel Beckett’s En Attendant Godot opened in Paris.  Arthur Miller’s The Crucible opened in New York. First successful open-heart surgery was performed.  Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first climbers to reach the crest of Mount Everest.  Bill Vukovich won the Indianapolis 500.  Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Mystery Writers of America didn’t award an Edgar for “Best Novel” until 1954. However they did give an award for a “Best First Novel” in ’53.  It went to William Campbell Gault for Don’t Cry For Me. Other books of note included Junkie by William Burroughs, Plexus by Henry Miller, Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin and The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow.  Best sellers that year included The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas, The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain, and From Here To Eternity by James Jones. On the big screen we watched Roman Holiday, Peter Pan, How To Marry A millionaire, Pickup on South Street, Titanic, From Here To Eternity, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Shane, War of the Worlds, and The Wild Ones. We listened to “Song From Moulin Rouge” by Percy Faith, “Vaya Con Dios” by Les Paul and Mary Ford,” I’m Waking Behind You” by Eddie Fisher, “You, You, You” by the Ames Brothers,  “I’ll Waltz Again With You” by Theresa Brewer, “April in Portugal” by Les Baxter, “No Other Love” by Perry Como, and “I Believe” by Frankie Laine. Among those born in 1953 were Tony Blair, Kim Basinger, Pierce Brosnan and John Malkovich. Taking their leave were Joseph Stalin, Eugene O’Neil, Queen Mary, Dylan Thomas, Sergei Prokofiev, and Hank Williams.  If you were around, what were you doing during this year of the water snake?

1953 Nash


Bill Crider said...

I was still a kid in 1953, but I remember a lot of that stuff very well. I think I saw just about very movie you mentioned, and I can still hum most of those songs. As I remember, The Old Man and the Sea first appeared in Life Magazine, to which my grandmother subscribed. Probably the year before it won the Pulitzer. I would've been 10 or 11, but I must already have had a literary bent because I remember reading it in the magazine. Probably didn't understand it, though.

Ronald Tierney said...

I was eleven. I'm pretty sure I didn't see that see that first issue of Playboy. Like you though, I remember a lot of the rest, especially all the Lucy stuff. I also saw the Indy 500.