The Headline Stories in 1959

CASTRO BEGINS REIGN
On New Year's Day, 1959, a fiery young lawyer named Fidel Castro and his "Fidelistas" took Havana. Fulgencio Batista, Cuba's dictator, had fled the previous day, after pocketing most of the national treasury. Assuming total power in 1959, Castro lead aggressive agrarian and industrial reform measures, eventually expropriating a billion dollars in American properties. Castro inked a five million- ton sugar deal with the Soviet Union; later, when U.S. refineries in Cuba refused Soviet oil, Castro seized them. Eisenhower responded with a trade embargo; a year later he severed diplomatic relations. Inevitably, Castro moved closer to the Soviets. And after an attempted U.S. invasion, he declared his revolution was Communist - the first in the Western Hemisphere.

BARBIE
In March 1959, Mattel Toys unveiled what would become the most successful doll in history: Barbie Teenage Fashion Model. A curvaceous eleven and a half inches tall, Barbie retailed for $3.00.
THE KITCHEN DEBATE
The 1959 meeting of Vice President Nixon and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow turned into a verbal slugfest. The highlight of the running battle came in the kitchen of a model American house. Khrushchev belittled the gadgetry- lemon juicers, built- in- washing machines: It evoked "the capitalist attitude toward women." He doubted American workers could afford such useless finery anyway. Nixon, jabbing his finger at Khrushchev's chest, defended the $14,000 house: Any American steel worker could buy one. In modern times, two world leaders have rarely, if ever, spoken face to face so sharply or candidly.
UNITAS NAMED MVP
Third year quarterback of the Baltimore Colts, Johnny Unitas was voted MVP after leading the Colts to the 1959 NFL Championship over the New York Giants.

LOMBARDI HIRED
Vince Lombardi became head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 1959. He quickly shaped a team that had won only one game in 1958 into one of professional football's most powerful teams of all time.
PLANE CRASH KILLS ROCK LEGENDS
Mason City, Iowa, February 3, 1959 a tour plane crashed immortalizing Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. The tragedy marked the end of rock 'n' roll's first wave of creativity.
OTHER DEATHS IN 1959
Lou Costello, Errol Flynn, Billie Holiday, Frank Lloyd Wright
FADS OF THE FIFTIES
Hard on the heels of the panty raid, a zany new craze infected American college campuses in 1959: phone- booth packing. The idea was to stuff as many bodies as possible into a standard seven foot tall pay phone. Students in California claimed a record 34 persons.

The Movies of 1959

OTHER FILMS IN 1959:

Sleeping Beauty, Rio Bravo,
Anatomy of A Murder,
Diary of Anne Frank,
Imitation of Life,
Pillow Talk, Room At the Top, Suddenly Last Summer
The three films pictured here are now on the list of
"Top 100 Films of All Time."

BEN HUR was "Best Picture" and won 11 total awards, the first film to do so.
 


WHAT WAS "NEW" IN 1959?

Panty hose, Alaska as the 49th State, Hawaii as the 50th, a submarine with a ballistic missile






--= ACHS Class of 1959 © , 1996 - 2004   All rights reserved. =--