Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley starring in I Love Lucy

Pop Culture In Review for the Year 1951

Pop culture is all around us – be it in music, television, radio, films, or technology. 1951 is known for taking the things up a notch; new roads were being built, the film industry was flourishing, the first-ever colored TV program was aired, and people had a lot of money to spend. Also, cars became more luxurious and had more powerful engines than ever.

Following are the highlights of the important events that took place in the year 1951:

Film

  • “American in Paris” Was Premiered

Poster for the American theatrical run of the 1951 musical film American in Paris

The classic musical film, American in Paris, was premiered in London. It featured music from George and Ira Gershwin, and the dance was choreographed by the famous American actor, who was also starring in the movie, Gene Kelly.

The film was directed by the famed filmmaker Vincente Minnelli and written by Alan Jay Lerner. It won a total of six Academy Awards, including the “Best Picture Award.”

  • Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (1951 film) poster

Who doesn’t remember the ever-famous story, Alice in Wonderland? The story’s first animated feature film was released during July in 1951. Disney was continuously trying its best to produce a film adaption to the classic Lewis Carroll novel since the 1930s but was unhappy with the results it was getting. However, the film was finally released in 1951, but was considered a flop and received negative reviews from film critics.

That being said, it soon became a cult favorite film and was re-released in the 1970s.

Music

  • Music Got Trendier

the cover art for the album Because of You

The average per year income of a family was $3,700 in 1951, which means people had a lot more money to buy things, including record players and records. The most famous musicians and the songs they sang in 1951 were “Too Young” by Nat King Cole, “Because of You” by Tony Bennett, “How High the Moon” by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Technology

  • The First Commercial Computer Was Created

UNIVAC 1103

The first commercial computer, called Universal Automatic Computer or UNIVAC, was created in the United States. It was dedicated for use at the United States Census Bureau during June. UNIVAC was designed by Presper Eckert and John Mauchly and created by the Remington Rand Company.

The first general-purpose computer, known as ENIAC, was created in 1946. UNIVAC was its improved version. It also became the first-ever commercial computer created for civilian use, which could perform about 1,000 calculations in a second.

  • The First Videotape Recorder Was Created

First videotape recorder

Charles Ginsburg created the first videotape recorder in the year 1951. Before this revolution, the film was the only source available at that time to record TV shows. This was marked as one of the best inventions of the century that opened many paths of recording pop culture favorites for future generations to see.

  • Power Steering was Invented

Francis W. Davis invented power steering in 1951, which made driving a lot easier and comfortable. This invention increased the function of a normal steering wheel and decreased the effort a driver had to apply while steering the steering wheel when the car was stopped.

Sports

  • First Pan American Games

poster for 1951 Pan American Games

February of 1951 was the first time when Pan American Games begin. The games were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and all of them took place over two weeks. Although the idea of Pan American Games was conceived during the X Olympiad in 1932, it was pulled off due to World War II.

The main purpose of creating this sports event was to create an Olympic-style regional competition for the Americans.

In the first games, 21 National Olympic Committees selected 2,513 athletes to play 18 different sports. In the end, the most medals and victories were secured by the United States, Chile, and Argentina.

  • Opening of the First Gold’s Gym

The first-ever Gold’s Gym was opened in New Orleans by Joe Gold. However, things didn’t work out as planned, and he had to shut it down. But he started again in 1965 in Venice, and this time, it was a charm.

Fashion

  • A Bikini Contest

A bikini contest was organized by Eric Morley as part of the Festival of Britain. The purpose of organizing this event was to promote recently introduced bikini to the market, which was extensively regarded as immodest. This event went on to become a popular annual event called the Miss World.

Television

  • “I Love Lucy” Debuted

Publicity photo of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy, the classic TV show, debuted on the CBS network on October 15th. The show, exclusively produced by Desi Arnaz, starred comedienne Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, and himself. The story revolved around Lucy’s comical antics.

The unique thing about this TV show is that it was filmed using three different cameras. Moreover, it was filmed in Hollywood using a live audience instead of that fake laugh track. The show was a huge success, and it secured many awards, including several Emmy awards.

  • First Baseball Game Televised in Color

1951 was the revolutionizing year for the fans of baseball as the game was televised in color. The fans loved watching the game, and their experience was out of this world. The match was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves.

News

  • Nevada Nuclear Test

The United States government started testing nuclear bombs at a test site in Nevada during January of 1951. After the development of the atomic bomb during the mid-1940s, the United States decided to move its test sites off of the country’s mainland. They started using islands in the Pacific. However, due to the safety concerns, the US government moved the testing back to the mainland, they chose a large portion of mountainous and desert land in Nevada.

The first series of tests held at this site was called Operation Ranger. Due to the adverse health hazards that were observed, all the tests were moved underground by 1962. In short, a total of 928 nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1992.

  • Operation Greenhouse

The US government performed the first-ever thermonuclear weapon test during May of 1951. It was a part of “Operation Greenhouse” and was conducted at the Enewetak Atoll. It was the first successful small-scale demonstration of a hydrogen bomb (non-weaponized).

The test resulted in their design foundation being a huge success. Hence, they concluded that it was now possible to create a large-scale hydrogen bomb. Therefore, the US went on to test the first full-scale hydrogen bomb during November of 1952, called Ivy Mike.

  • First Direct-Dial Coast to Coast Telephone Call

During November of 1951, the first-ever direct-dial coast to coast telephone call was made. The call took about 18 seconds to connect, and it was placed between the Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey, M. Leslie Denning, and the Mayor of Alameda, California, Frank Osborne. To place the call, AT&T’s direct distance dialing system was used. This new method used a ten-digit phone number, which included a three-digit area code.

  • Twenty-second Amendment

The Twenty-second Amendment was passed on February 27th, 1951. According to this amendment, the number of terms a president may serve in office was limited to two, making it for a total of eight years.

Dance

  • Couple Dancing

Dance has always been quite an important part of pop culture, and in the 1950s, couple dancing was very trendy. Different types of pop culture dances that symbolized the year of 1951 are The Stroll, Swing dancing, and The Cha Cha.

Related posts: