Significant Events of 1959
Fulgencio Batista, President of the Republic of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces.
Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
Luna 1 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.
The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro
Sleeping Beauty, the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney to be based upon a fairy tale, was first released.
At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after President Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.
The United Kingdom grants Cyprus its independence, which is then on formally proclaimed on August 16, 1960.
The Avro Arrow programme to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate.
Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
Last television appearance of The Marx Brothers, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery
The Barbie doll debuts.
In Cannes, France, Teddy Scholten wins the fourth Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands singing "Een beetje" (A little bit).
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, flees Tibet and travels to India.
American President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law allowing for Hawaiian statehood, which would become official on August 21.
Mercury program: NASA announces the selection of the United States' first seven astronauts which the news media quickly dub the "Mercury Seven".
David Carr, a 25-year-old Briton, enters Royal Manchester Infirmary in England. His death later that year was in 1990 attributed to AIDS by a director at the infirmary, Gerald Corbitt; a 1995 by Corbitt cowrote an update noting that the virus was from 1990.
The first Grammy Awards are announced.
Launching of the National Liberation Committee of Côte d'Ivoire in Conakry, Guinea.
The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempt the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.
The USS George Washington is launched as the first submarine to carry ballistic missiles.
A group of left-leaning Dominican exiles in Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of assassinating Trujillo. They would later be known as the J14 or "Catorce de Junio" (14th of June) group.
A fire in a resort hotel in Stalheim, Norway kills 34 people.
Eamon de Valera is elected the third President of Ireland.
The Party of the African Federation (PFA) holds its constitutive conference.
With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
14:28 UT Venus occults the star Regulus. This rare event was used to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere.
Elias Tsirimokos becomes Prime Minister of Greece.
At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, US vice-president Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev have a "kitchen debate."
Explorer program: The United States launches Explorer 6 from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
President Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union.
Bonanza premiers. First regularly-scheduled TV program presented in color.
The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.
Nikita Khrushchev is barred from visiting Disneyland.
Solomon Bandaranaike, prime minister of Sri Lanka is assassinated by a Buddhist monk,Talduwe Somarama, and dies the next day.
The Twilight Zone pilot premieres.
Far side of the Moon seen for first time, compliments of U.S.S.R.'s Luna 3.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.
Ice Hockey: After being struck in the face with a puck, goalkeeper Jacques Plante returns to play wearing a protective mask for the first time in professional play.
Four members of the Herbert Clutter Family murdered at their farm outside Holcomb, Kansas.
William Wyler's film Ben-Hur premieres at Loew's Theater in New York City.
Ford Motor Company announces the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel.
Cold War: Antarctic Treaty signed , which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on that continent.
Archbishop Makarios becomes the first President of Cyprus
Motown record label is founded in Detroit, Michigan.
Significant Movies of 1959
The Diary of Anne Frank
Anatomy of a Murder
Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint
Some Like It Hot
Music of 1959
'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' - Buddy Holly
'Raining In My Heart' - Buddy Holly
'Peggy Sue Got Married' - Buddy Holly
'Crying, Waiting, Hoping' - Buddy Holly
'Sweet Nothin's' - Brenda Lee
'A Teenager In Love' - Dion & the Belmonts
'El Paso' - Marty Robbins
'M.T.A' - The Kingston Trio
'A Worried Man' - The Kingston Trio
'Kansas City' - Wilbur Harrison
'What'd I Say' - Ray Charles
'Lonely Boy' - Paul Anka
'Love Potion Number Nine' - The Clovers
'La Bamba' - Ritchie Valens
'Mack The Knife' - Bobby Darin
'Poison Ivy' - The Coasters
'Sleepwalk' - Santo & Johnny
'Stagger Lee' - Lloyd Price
'Tall Oak Tree' - Dorsey Burnette
'Venus' - Frankie Avalon
'Why' - Frankie Avalon
'Where the Boys Are' - Connie Francis
'Lipstick On Your Collar' - Connie Francis
'The Twist' - Hank Ballard
'All For The Love Of A Girl' - Johnny Horton
'The Battle Of New Orleans' - Johnny Horton
Come Dance With Me - Frank Sinatra
Connie's Greatest Hits - Connie Francis
from the Hungry i - The Kingston Trio
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
The Kingston Trio At Large - The Kingston Trio
Look To Your Heart - Frank Sinatra
No One Cares - Frank Sinatra
Popular Television Shows in 1959
Bonanza premieres (1959-1973)
Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone debuts (1959-1965)
The Ed Sullivan Show (1948-1971)
The Tonight Show (1954-present)
Lawrence Welk Show (1955-1982)
Walt Disney Presents (1954-1983)
Sports in 1959
Stock car racing:
Lee Petty won the inaugural Daytona 500
NASCAR Championship - Lee Petty
Indianapolis 500 - Rodger Ward
USAC Racing - Rodger Ward
Formula One Champion - Jack Brabham of Australia
24 hours of Le Mans: Carroll Shelby / Roy Salvadori won driving an Aston Martin DBR1
Rally racing - Paul Coltelloni / P Alexandre won the Monte Carlo Rally driving a Citroen ID
Chris the 'Greek' Karamesines won the AHRA 'Top Fuel'
Rodney Singer won Top Eliminator at the NHRA Nationals
World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers win 4 games to 2 over the Chicago White Sox. The Series MVP is Larry Sherry, Los Angeles
NCAA Men's Basketball Championship:
California wins 71-70 over West Virginia
Boston Celtics win 4 games to 0 over the Minneapolis Lakers
June 26 - in New York City, Ingemar Johansson scored a 3rd round TKO over Floyd Patterson to win the World Heavyweight Championship
Tour de France - Federico Bahamontes of Spain
World Figure Skating Championships:
Men's champion: David Jenkins, United States
Women's champion: Carol Heiss, United States
Pairs champions: Barbara Wagner & Robert Paul, Canada
England - FA Cup: Nottingham Forest won 2-1 over Luton Town
NFL Championship: Baltimore Colts won 31-16 over the New York Giants
Grand Slam of golf results:
May - The Masters golf tournament - Art Wall, Jr.
June - US Open - Billy Casper
July - British Open - Gary Player
August - PGA Championship - Bob Rosburg
PGA tour's leading money winner for the year: Art Wall - $53,168
Ryder Cup: United States 8 1/2 to 3 1/2 over Britain in world team golf
US Women's Open - Mickey Wright
LPGA Championship - Betsy Rawls
Betsy Rawls: leading money winner on the LPGA tour, earning $26,774.
Thoroughbred Horse Racing
United States Triple Crown Races:
Kentucky Derby - Tomy Lee
Preakness Stakes - Royal Orbit
Belmont Stakes - Sword Dancer
Stanley Cup: Montreal Canadiens win 4 games to 1 over the Toronto Maple Leafs
Grand Slam in tennis men's results:
Australian Open - Alex Olmedo
French Open - Nicola Pietrangeli
Wimbledon championships - Alex Olmedo
US Open - Neale Fraser
Grand Slam in tennis women's results:
Australian Open - Mary Carter-Reitano
French Open - Christine Truman
Wimbledon championships - Maria Bueno
US Open - Maria Bueno
Davis Cup: Australia wins 3-2 over the United States in world tennis.
-Danny's Coffee Shops are renamed Dennys
-Pantyhose, which give women the look of stockings without garters, garter-belts, or corsets, are introduced
-The Nikon F35mm single-lens reflex camera is introduced by Nippon Kogaku K.K.
-On the Air! You'd find 3,287 AM radio, 578 FM radio and 509 TV stations
-Lady Chatterly's Lover banned by the U.S. Postal Service
-Swimmer Esther Williams gets her own Wheaties box
-'Think Small' campaign from Volkwagon. VW will sell 120,000 cars in the U.S. in 1959, four times the number sold in 1955
-Maxwell House inaugurates the 'Good to the last drop' ad campaign
-The BIC ballpoint pen is introduced to America
-One billionth can of SPAM sold
-Space monkeys Able and Baker boldly go where no monkey (or human) has gone before
-NASA picks the Mercury Astronauts, 7 guys with the 'right stuff'
-Aluminum beer can introduced by Coors of Golden, Colorado
-Alaska is admitted to statehood on Feb 3, and Hawaii on August 21
-The microchip is invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce of the U.S.
-The Guggenheim opens in New York City
-The Sound of Music staring Mary Martin opens on Broadway
-Metrecal is introduced by the 59-year-old Mead Johnson Company as a weight reducing aid
-Presbyterian church accepts women preachers
-Vince Lombardi signs on to coach Green Bay Packers
-Walt Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty' is released
-Giants Stadium is renamed Candlestick Park
-Fidel Castro gets control of Cuba
A Few 1959 Statistics
-America will import 430,808 passenger cars.
-There are 36,981 motor vehicle related deaths. While in the air, there were 8 accidents resulting in 125 fatalities.
-Unemployment is 6.8%.
-U.S. Gross National Product is $503.5 billion.
-There is a 51.8% business failure rate.
-31.7% of all advertising dollars are spent on newspapers - 13.7% on TV.
-Americans will spend $1.2 billion on books in a year in which 14,876 new ones are published.
-The average American worker earns $91.53 a week.
Fashion and Hair Styles in 1959
In women's fashion women wore a full knee-length skirt and there was a brief fling with the sack dress, which was much as it sounds, and expertly parodied on the 'I Love Lucy' show, the television hit of the decade. The bobbysoxers flourished for a brief time, characterized by a large collared blouse, poodle skirt, scarf-tied ponytail and saddle shoes. For the boys it was the James Dean and Marlon Brando look of rebels without causes and motorcycle gang members. In the more out of the way places, the trendy coffee shops, held morose Beatniks, all dressed in black, with matching berets, with an audible spritzing of 'man' and 'like' in every sentence. Hair was generally soft and curly, often short and imaginative. The oddball woman's cut of the decade was the poodle cut, most notably used by Lucille Ball, and for men it was the ducktail, with the hair combed back and a duck's butt made out of a center part. Men also had the crewcut and the flattop, both of which were inspired by the military and were eradicated by the British invasion of the sixties.