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World Events:
  • Nikolai A. Bulganin becomes Soviet premier, replacing Malenkov (Feb. 8). Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533

  • Churchill resigns (April 5); Anthony Eden succeeds him (April 6).

  • Federal Republic of West Germany becomes a sovereign state (May 5).

  • The Soviet Union and seven East European countries sign the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense treaty (May 14).

  • Argentina ousts dictator Juan Perón (Sept. 19).

  • US starts sending $216 million in aid to Vietnam.

  • The US, UK, USSR, and France meet at a summit in Geneva.
  • World Statistics

    Population: 2.780 billion

US Events:

  • President Eisenhower suffers coronary thrombosis in Denver (Sept. 24).

  • Rosa Parks refuses to sit at the back of the bus, breaking Montgomery, Ala., segregated seating law (Dec. 1). Martin Luther King, Jr., leads 381-day black boycott of Montgomery bus system; desegregated service begins Dec. 21, 1956. Background: Civil Rights

  • AFL and CIO merge to become the AFL-CIO (Dec. 5).
  • U.S. Statistics

    President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Vice President: Richard M. Nixon
    Population: 165,931,202
    Life expectancy: 69.6 years
    Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.5


US GDP (1998 dollars):   $415.1 billion
Federal spending:   $68.44 billion
Federal debt:   $274.4 billion
Consumer Price Index:   26.8
Unemployment:   5.5%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.03


World Series
Brooklyn Dodgers d. NY Yankees (4-3)

NBA Championship
Syracuse d. Ft. Wayne Pistons (4-3)

Stanley Cup
Detroit d. Montreal (4-3)

Women: Louise Brough d. B. Fleitz (7-5 8-6)
Men: Tony Trabert d. K. Nielsen (6-3 7-5 6-1)

Kentucky Derby Champion

NCAA Basketball Championship
San Francisco d. La Salle (77-63)

NCAA Football Champions
Oklahoma (11-0-0)



  • On the Waterfront nearly sweeps the 1954 Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Maria Saint), and Best Director (Elia Kazan).

  • Gunsmoke debuts on CBS, and will go on to be television's longest-running western.

  • 70mm film is introduced with Oklahoma!

  • James Dean dies in a car accident at age 26.


  • Rebel without a Cause, Marty, East of Eden, Bad Day at Black Rock, Picnic


  • James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Pictures of a Gone World

  • William Gaddis, The Recognitions

  • Mary McCarthy, A Charmed Life

  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

  • Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

  • Isaac Bashevis Singer, Satan in Goray

Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes

Fiction: A Fable, William Faulkner

Music: The Saint of Bleecker Street, Gian Carlo Menotti

Drama: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams

Oscars awarded in 1955

Academy Award, Best Picture: On the Waterfront, Sam Spiegel, producer (Columbia)

Nobel Prize for Literature: Halldór Kiljan Laxness (Iceland)

Miss America: Lee Meriwether (CA)

1955 Emmy Awards

Best Dramatic Series U.S. Steel Hour (ABC)
Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series Danny Thomas, Make Room for Daddy
Best Actress Starring in a Regular Series Loretta Young, Loretta Young Show
Best Supporting Actor in a Regular Series Art Carney, Jackie Gleason Show
Best Supporting Actress in a Regular Series Audrey Meadows, Jackie Gleason Show
Best Individual Program of the Year Operation Undersea (ABC)
Best Actor in a Single Performance Robert Cummings, Studio One: Twelve Angry Men
Best Actress in a Single Performance Judith Anderson, Hallmark Hall of Fame: Macbeth
Best Direction Franklin Schaffner, Studio One: Twelve Angry Men
Best Written Dramatic Material Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men
Most Outstanding New Personality George Gobel
Best Situation Comedy Series Make Room for Daddy (ABC)
Best Written Comedy Material James Allardice, Jack Douglas, Hal Kanter and Harry Winkler, George Gobel Show
Best Variety Series, Including Musical Varieties Disneyland (ABC)
Best Mystery or Intrigue Series Dragnet (NBC)
Best Western or Adventure Series Stories of the Century (Syndicated)
Best Cultural, Religious or Educational Program Omnibus (CBS)
Best News Reporter or Commentator John Daly
Best Sports Program Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (NBC)
Best Children's Program Lassie (CBS)
Best Audience, Guest Participation or Panel Program This Is Your Life (NBC)

1955 Tony Awards

Play The Desperate Hours
Musical The Pajama Game
Actor—Play Alfred Lunt, Quadrille
Actress—Play Nancy Kelly, The Bad Seed
Supporting or Featured Actor—Play Francis L. Sullivan, Witness for the Prosecution
Supporting or Featured Actress—Play Patricia Jessel, Witness for the Prosecution
Actor—Musical Walter Slezak, Fanny
Actress—Musical Mary Martin, Peter Pan
Supporting or Featured Actor—Musical Cyril Ritchard, Peter Pan
Supporting or Featured Actress—Musical Carol Haney, The Pajama Game
Author—Play Joseph Hayes, The Desperate Hours
Authors—Musical George Abbott and Richard Bissell, The Pajama Game
Director Robert Montgomery, The Desperate Hours
Producers—Play Howard Erskine and Joseph Hayes, The Desperate Hours
Producers—Musical Frederick Brisson, Robert Griffith and Harold S. Prince, The Pajama Game
Composer and Lyricist Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, The Pajama Game
Scenic Designer Oliver Messel, House of Flowers
Costume Designer Cecil Beaton, Quadrille
Choreographer Bob Fosse, The Pajama Game
Conductor and Musical Director Thomas Schippers, The Saint of Bleecker Street
Stage Technician Richard Rodda, Peter Pan
Special Award Proscenium Productions


  • Narinder Kapany (England) develops fiber optics.

  • Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segrè discover the antiproton, a form of antimatter.

  • The corticosteroid prednisone is developed.

  • Severo Ochoa at NYU synthesizes DNA- and RNA-like molecules. Background: genetic engineering
Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Vincent du Vigneaud (US), for work on pituitary hormones

Physics: Polykarp Kusch and Willis E. Lamb, Jr. (US), for atomic measurements

Physiology or Medicine: Hugo Theorell (Sweden), for work on oxidation enzymes


  • Albert Einstein

  • Alexander Fleming

  • Thomas Mann

  • Carmen Miranda

  • Charlie Parker