Sept. 30th, 1955
I was born the day that James Dean died. My claim to fame! If you care to read about his untimely demise: James Dean dies in car accident — HISTORY
It has been a truly long and strange trip getting here. The things that I do on a daily basis, including and especially work, were not even envisioned in the year of my birth. Not even by the science fiction authors of the day. And I know that because I have read some of the best science fiction that came out that year. Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth were warning us of the dangers of capitalism in Gladiator-At-Law — Wikipedia; Leigh Brackett warned us about the perils of nuclear war in The Long Tomorrow (novel) — Wikipedia. Reading science fiction has been a lifelong theme for me.
It was a time of change and unrest. (The more things change…) Jim Crow was still the law of the land in the South. Dr. Martin Luther King led the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, a response to the arrest and fining of Rosa Parks. It would not be until 1956 (I think that I was crawling then) that integration would come to the Montgomery buses. It was 1955, however, that the Interstate Commerce Commision would order all interstate buses and trains to end segregation.
I don’t think most people recognize that these changes began while Eisenhower was our President. (And Richard Nixon was Vice President.)
1955 was a great year for entertainment. The kids were listening to Bill Haley & His Comets playing “Rock Around the Clock.” The grownups were listening to Mitch Miller’s “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Some smart guy at RCA paid $35,000 to Sun Records to buy the contract of Elvis Presley.
TV was about to change dramatically. The Johnny Carson Show was debuting on CBS-TV. He would later move to NBC. Other TV shows starting that year include The Honeymooners, Gunsmoke, the $64,000 Question, Lassie, and, of course, the Lawrence Welk Show. Clearly, they were just waiting for me.
The movie The Seven Year Itch, featuring one of the most iconic images of the 20th century — Marilyn Monroe standing on a NYC subway grate as her white dress is blown upwards by the wind from a passing train- premiered on June 1st, 1955. Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. A sweet movie, what I remember most about it was that it was set in the Bronx.
Albert Einstein died in 1955. And a theme park called Disneyland opened in Anaheim. And, in what seemed a minor political event in 1955, President Eisenhower pledged support for the new and strongly anti-communist administration of Ngo Dinh Diem in the Republic of Vietnam.
We didn’t know, couldn’t have known, how these events in the year of my birth would shape the future of America. A long, strange, trip indeed.