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World Events:
  • Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of USSR Communist Party, denounces Stalin's excesses (Feb. 24).

  • Morocco gains independence from France (March 1) and Spain (April 7).

  • Workers' uprising against Communist rule in Poland is crushed (June 28-30).

  • Egypt takes control of Suez Canal (July 26). Israel launches attack on Egypt's Sinai peninsula and drives toward Suez Canal (Oct. 29). British and French invade Egypt at Port Said (Nov. 5). Cease-fire forced by US pressure stops British, French, and Israeli advance (Nov. 6). Background: Arab-Israeli Wars

  • Soviet troops and tanks crush anti-Communist uprisings in Hungary (November).

  • Population: 2.833 billion

US Events:

  • first black student at the University of Alabama, is suspended after riots (March 1).

  • U.S. tests the first aerial hydrogen bomb over Namu islet, Bikini Atoll with the force of 10 million tons TNT (May 21). Background: nuclear weapons

  • U.S. Statistics

    President: Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Vice President: Richard M. Nixon

    Population: 168,903,031

    Life expectancy: 69.7 years

    Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.6


US GDP (1998 dollars):   $438 billion
Federal spending:   $70.64 billion
Federal debt:   $272.7 billion
Consumer Price Index:   27.2
Unemployment:   4.4%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.03


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

NBA Championship
Philadelphia Warriors d. Ft. Wayne Pistons (4-1)

Stanley Cup
Montreal d. Detroit (4-1)

Women: Shirley Fry d. A. Buxton (6-3 6-1)
Men: Lew Hoad d. K. Rosewall (6-2 4-6 7-5 6-4)

Kentucky Derby Champion

NCAA Basketball Championship
San Francisco d. Iowa (83-71)

NCAA Football Champions
Oklahoma (10-0-0)

1956 Summer Olympics, Melbourne

1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina d'Ampezzo



  • With many hit singles (including "Heartbreak Hotel"), Elvis Presley emerges as one of the world's first rock stars. The gyrating rocker enjoys fame on the stages of the Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows, as well as in the first of his many movies, Love Me Tender.

  • Kay Thompson's Eloise, the Plaza Hotel's most famous guest, is a bestseller.

  • Grace Metalious's steamy Peyton Place is a bestseller.

  • The Wizard of Oz has its first airing on TV.


  • The Seventh Seal, Giant, The Searchers, Around the World in 80 Days, The King and I, Friendly Persuasion


  • Woody Guthrie, "This Land is Your Land"


  • John Barth, The Floating Opera

  • James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

  • Allen Ginsburg, Howl

  • John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

  • Lewis Mumford, The Transformations of Man

  • William Styron, The Long March

Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: Andersonville, MacKinlay Kantor
Music: Symphony No. 3, Ernst Toch
Drama: The Diary of Anne Frank, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Oscars awarded in 1956
Academy Award, Best Picture: Marty, Harold Hecht, producer (United Artists)

Nobel Prize for Literature: Juan Ramón Jiménez (Spain)

1956 Emmy Awards

Best Dramatic Series Producers' Showcase (NBC)
Best Actor, Continuing Performance Phil Silvers, Phil Silvers Show, You'll Never Get Rich
Best Actress, Continuing Performance Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Art Carney, The Honeymooners
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nanette Fabray, Caesar's Hour
Best Single Program of the Year Producers' Showcase: Peter Pan (NBC)
Best Actor, Single Performance Lloyd Nolan, Ford Star Jubilee: Caine Mutiny Court Martial
Best Actress, Single Performance Mary Martin, Producers' Showcase: Peter Pan
Best Television Adaptation Paul Gregory and Franklin Schaffner, Caine Mutiny Court Martial by Herman Wouk
Best Director, Film Series Nat Hiken, Phil Silvers Show, You'll Never Get Rich
Best Director, Live Series Franklin Schaffner, Caine Mutiny Court Martial
Best Original Teleplay Writing Rod Serling, Kraft TV Theatre: Patterns
Best Comedy Series Phil Silvers Show, You'll Never Get Rich (CBS)
Best Comedian Phil Silvers
Best Comedienne Nanette Fabray
Best Comedy Writing Nat Hiken, Barry Blitser, Arnold Auerbach, Harvey Orkin, Vincent Bogert, Arnold Rosen, Coleman Jacoby, Tony Webster and Terry Ryan, Phil Silvers Show, You'll Never Get Rich
Best Variety Series Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
Best Music Series Your Hit Parade (NBC)
Best Action or Adventure Series Disneyland (ABC)
Best Documentary Program, Religious, Informational, Educational or Interview Omnibus (CBS)
Best News Commentator or Reporter Edward R. Murrow
Best Children's Series Lassie (CBS)
Best Audience Participation Series (Quiz, Panel, etc.) $64,000 Question (CBS)
Best Specialty Act, Single or Group Marcel Marceau
Best Mc or Program Host, Male or Female Perry Como

1956 Tony Awards

Play The Diary of Anne Frank
Musical Damn Yankees
Actor—Play Paul Muni, Inherit the Wind
Actress—Play Julie Harris, The Lark
Supporting or Featured Actor—Play Ed Begley, Inherit the Wind
Supporting or Featured Actress—Play Una Merkel, The Ponder Heart
Actor—Musical Ray Walston, Damn Yankees
Actress—Musical Gwen Verdon, Damn Yankees
Supporting or Featured Actor—Musical Russ Brown, Damn Yankees
Supporting or Featured Actress—Musical Lotte Lenya, The Threepenny Opera
Authors—Play Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, The Diary of Anne Frank
Authors—Musical George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, Damn Yankees
Director Tyrone Guthrie, The Matchmaker
Producer—Play Kermit Bloomgarden, The Diary of Anne Frank
Producers—Musical Frederick Brisson, Robert Griffith and Harold S. Prince in association with Albert B. Taylor, Damn Yankees
Composer and Lyricist Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, Damn Yankees
Scenic Designer Peter Larkin, Inherit the Wind and No Time for Sergeants
Costume Designer Alvin Colt, Pipe Dream
Choreographer Bob Fosse, Damn Yankees
Conductor and Musical Director Hal Hastings, Damn Yankees
Stage Technician Harry Green, Middle of the Night and Damn Yankees
Special Awards The Threepenny Opera
The Theatre Collection of the New York Public Library


Miss America: Sharon Ritchie (CO)


  • Felix Wankel (Germany) develops the rotary internal combustion engine.

  • The DNA molecule is first photographed. Background: genetic engineering

  • The neutrino is first observed at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

  • Nobel Prizes in Science

    Chemistry: Sir Cyril Hinshelwood (UK) and Nikolai N. Semenov (USSR), for parallel research on chemical reaction kinetics

    Physics: William Shockley, Walter H. Brattain, and John Bardeen (all US), for developing electronic transistor

    Physiology or Medicine: Dickinson W. Richards, Jr., André F. Cournand (both US), and Werner Forssmann (Germany), for new techniques in treating heart disease


  • Tommy Dorsey

  • Connie Mack

  • Jackson Pollock