Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Observations — 1959, The Year The Music Died

Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba.  Fidel Castro took over. The Dalai Lama escaped to India. Nikita Krushchev became the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Charles de Gaulle became President of France. Richard Nixon and Krushchev engaged in the historic “Kitchen Debate.” Louisiana Governor Earl Long was committed to a state mental hospital. Using the power of his office, Long fired the hospital director, and hired a new one who set him free.  American Japanese regained American citizenship. Alaska and Hawaii became states.  Texas Instruments developed the first integrated circuit. The first transatlantic jet flight (LA to NYC) cost $301. Ford stopped producing the Edsel model. The Supreme Court ruled that a ban on black-white boxing unconstitutional.  Ingemar Johannson TKO’d Floyd Patterson. Typhoons battered Japan, killing thousands. A 7.1 earthquake shook Yellowstone.  A hurricane killed 2,000 in Mexico. Contestant Charles Van Doren revealed the popular TV Quiz Show “21” was rigged.  “Twilight Zone” debuted. So did “Rawhide.”  Sweet Bird of Youth and Raisin in the Sun premiered on stage in NYC . Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash. The album of the year Emmy went to Songs from Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini. We also listened to “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton, “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin, “Personality“ by Lloyd Price, “Venus” by Frankie Avalon, “Lonely Boy” by Paul Anka, “Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin, “Put Your Ahead On My Shoulder” by Paul Anka and “Stagger Lee” by Lloyd Price.  The Nobel Prize for Literature went to poet Salvatore Quasimodo.  The Pulitzer went to the book The Travels of Jamie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor.  The Mystery Writers of America gave its best novel Edgar for The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin. We also read such controversial books as Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence as well as more accepted books such as Hawaii by James A. Michener, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and Goodbye Columbus by Philip Roth. We watched Some Like It Hot, Anatomy of a Murder, Ben Hur, and Room At The Top. Gigi picked up The Oscar for Best Picture during ceremonies for movies released in the previous year. Born in 1959 were Magic Johnson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Kevin Spacey, Val Kilmer, Michael Kors and Richie Sambora.  Many talented people departed: Frank Lloyd Wright, Billie Holiday, Mario Lanza, Mel Ott, Ethel Barrymore, Raymond Chandler, Lou Costello, Errol Flynn and George Reeves.  If you were around, what were you doing during this year of the earth pig?

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

This was indeed a year to remember for me, the year I graduated from high school and entered college. I love the movies, the music (okay, maybe not Frankie Avalon), and the cars. I remember coming home from school, turning on the TV to American Bandstand, and seeing Dick Clark announce that Holly, Richardson, and Valens had been killed in the plane crash. He was overcome for a few seconds.