The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation: Meet 1959's "Miss Beatnik" Of Greenwich Village

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22 September 1955: ITV’s inaugural broadcast

By Ben Judge

Viewers could now change the channel
Until 1955, there wasn’t much choice of what to watch on British TV. You got one channel – the BBC.
But the Television Act 1954 changed all that. It authorised the creation of the first commercial television network in the UK, overseen by the Independent Television Authority.
Many people were worried that ‘commercial’ broadcasting would lead to a dramatic fall in standards. So, a requirement to produce quality programmes was included.
Six franchises were put out to tender. And at 7.15pm on 22 September, Associated-Rediffusion – which had been awarded the London weekday franchise – began broadcasting.
The first thing to air was a five-minute introductory film (which you can see below); then it was off to London’s Guildhall, where viewers were treated to a gala evening of live variety entertainment.
Just under an hour later, Britain’s first TV advert was aired – for Gibbs SR toothpaste.
After ten years, the regional franchises came  up for renewal. Just one was not re-awarded to the existing franchisee – Wales West and North was taken over by Television Wales and West.
In 1968, there was a big reorganisation of the franchises, which saw Thames TV and London Weekend come into being.
In 1990, the requirement to produce quality TV was done away with in the franchising process, and franchises were effectively handed to the highest bidder. A year later, Thames TV was outbid by Carlton, which offered £43m for its licence.
Ownership regulations were relaxed in 1994, ushering in the first wave of consolidation in the industry. Three years later, a second wave of mergers left three major players – Carlton, United News and Media, and Granada.
By 2000, just Granada and Carlton remained. They merged in 2004 to form ITV plc in a £4bn deal, leaving one company in control of all the franchises in England and Wales.

19 September 1955: Military coup ousts Argentina’s Perón

By Matthew Partridge

Former Argentinian president Juan Perón is one of the best-known Latin American leaders in history.
His political career began in 1943 when, as an army colonel, he took part in a successful military coup. A year later he became minister of labour and vice-president.
His policies, which were generally seen as pro-worker, made him extremely popular with poorer Argentinians. He became president in 1946.
Over the next nine years, Perón’s government expanded public services, including social security and health insurance. His labour laws boosted wages. However, attempts to reduce imports, through subsidies and tariffs, backfired, hitting growth and leading to high inflation.
Over time his government became increasingly authoritarian, using media censorship and even outright violence against his opponents on both the right and left.
Eventually, after Perón’s supporters went on a rampage in response to a failed assassination attempt, the military intervened in September 1955.
Perón was forced to spend the next 18 years in exile. With growing fears of a civil war, he was allowed to take part in free elections in 1973, paving the way for him to return to office. However, he would die of a heart attack a year later.
Perón remains an iconic figure in Argentinian politics. Even today, Argentinian politicians claim him as their inspiration.

However, many economic historians claim that his protectionist policies played a key part in transforming Argentina from one of the richest countries in the world into an economic basket case.

Latest Summer Heat: September 17, 1955

by Karl Bohnak

The hottest temperatures relative to average in the summer of 1955 were in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes.
 It reached 90 degrees in Iron Mountain on September 18, 1955—the latest 90-degree temperature on record.  It’s not surprising that this record occurred in 1955.  The summer of 1955 was a hot, long one.  Weather historian David Ludlum in his “American Weather Book” states “Never did so many Americans swelter under such high temperatures through such a long summer as…in July and August 1955.”
For Iron Mountain, July 1955 was the hottest seventh month in 53 years of record keeping.  Chicago residents endured one of its hottest summers in a string of hot summers in the late 1940s and 1950s.  In early September, the locus of the heat shifted west.  Los Angeles recorded a killer heat wave early in the month.
In the Upper Peninsula, Marquette had temperatures well above average in June, July and August.  The heat of 1955 was known for its persistence and lack of extremely high temperatures.  Ironwood’s temperature record illustrates this lack of extreme heat.  While it was a very warm summer on the Gogebic range and throughout the Great Lakes, the summer of 1955 featured only one record high at Ironwood—a 92-degree high on August 18.
In Marquette, there was one last gasp of heat in September that coincided with Iron Mountain’s record-setter.  From the 16th to the 18th of September, the mean temperature was 17 degrees above average.  The high on September 18 in Marquette also topped out at 90 degrees.  The summer of 1955 was one of the warmest on record over the Upper Midwest and Northeast (Image 1 above).  September did cool back in relation to average (Image 2).  In fact, the U.S. Weather Bureau in Marquette measured near average temperatures for the month.
So far, September 2014 is running three degrees below average.  The month started with seven of nine days above average.  Then the big rainstorm blew in, and temperatures have been below average ever since.  We’ll stay below average through at least tomorrow, and then a warming trend should begin that will take us to average or a little above.  It will likely be a brief one as another cold front will sweep through late Saturday or Saturday night which means a drop in temperature late in the weekend.

1955 Dodge commercial asks “How many dreams can you shape in a minute?”

Kurt Ernst

In the days when model updates were expected from the Big Three automakers on a yearly basis, standing out above the competition was no easy task. For the 1955 commercial “I Built a Dodge,” Detroit’s Grant Advertising focused as much on the workmanship and manufacturing process as it did on the end product. And it employed the production value of a Broadway musical, just to ensure that period consumers would find it entertaining enough to watch.
Such a commercial would be impossible to replicate today, since robots don’t have names like Henry and Joe, and the idea of bringing a metallic (and plastic) object to life is lost on many of today’s car-buying consumers. In many automotive plants, stampings are brought in from off-site manufacturers, and most no longer pour and roll their own bulk steel either. It’s probably safe to assume that much of the steel in today’s new cars started life as another car (or as a refrigerator, stove, or other appliance), and not immediately as iron ore dug from the ground specifically to build a proud new automobile.
Cars were once seen as members of the family, viewed in an odd and anthropomorphic manner by many of their owners, but today are often thought of as disposable appliances, much the same as (an expensive) toaster oven or coffee maker. In that light, commercials such as this may no longer be relevant, but they certainly are charming.

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Seven Year Itch Released 1955

Seven Year Itch Released 1955, Most people also don’t know there were two separate shoots. One was a publicity event in New York where a large crowd of bystanders and the press were invited to create hype. The noise of the crowd rendered the film footage unusable and Billy Wilder reshot the scene on a closed soundstage in Los Angeles.  

Best Dodgers team ever poll, Round 2: 1955 Brooklyn vs. 1974 L.A.

1955 Dodgers

Brooklyn Dodgers fans and players celebrate 1955's World Series victory over the New York Yankees. (Associated Press)


Los Angeles DodgersJackie RobinsonCy Young AwardSteve Garvey
The Dodgers have had many great teams in their long history, but which was the best? On the heels of Times readers' picking the all-time best L.A. Dodgers at each position, we now ask you decide the best overall team, Brooklyn or Los Angeles, in Dodgers history.
The best 16 Dodgers teams of all time have been chosen and will match up in an NCAA-tournament-style bracket, with your votes deciding the winner. The six Dodgers World Series champions get the top six seeds, with 10 other Dodgers teams filling out the remainder of the field. Starting today, we move to the second round.
Today's second-round matchup pits the top-seeded 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers against the eighth-seeded 1974 L.A. Dodgers. Take a look at both teams below, then vote
No. 1: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers (98-55, won World Series, won first-round matchup over the 1985 Dodgers with 85% of the vote): The legendary Boys of Summer were led by Roy Campanella (.318, 32 HRs, 107 RBIs), Gil Hodges (.289, 27, 102), Pee Wee Reese (.282, 10, 61), Duke Snider (.309, 42, 136), Jackie Robinson (.256, 8, 36) and Don Newcombe (20-5, 3.20 ERA) and were the only Brooklyn team to win a World Series.
No. 8: 1974 L.A. Dodgers (102-60, lost in World Series, won first-round matchup over 1949 Dodgers with 54% of the vote): Steve Garvey (.312, 21, 111) was league MVP though you could argue that teammate Jimmy Wynn (.271, 32, 108) deserved it. On the mound, Mike Marshall (15-12, 21 saves) pitched in an astounding 106 games and won the Cy Young Award and Andy Messersmith was a 20-game winner.

Two All-Ireland semis finished level in 1955

While the debate on the choice of Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds as the venue for the Kerry/Mayo replay raged, a letter-writer to a daily paper asked why, in the event of the other semi-final ending in a draw, the two replays couldn’t be played together on the same day.
He went on to suggest it had never happened before, the two semis finishing level. Well, it did, in 1955, and, ironically, the letter-writer’s county, Mayo, was one of the teams involved. And, yes, the two replays took place on the same day.
Though almost six decades years have passed since then, I can remember the semi-final in which Mayo drew. They played Dublin, and although still to reach my teens, I was there, taken along with a sibling by my father.
Eamon Mongey stood out for Mayo more than any of his colleagues, perhaps because he was bald. And as my father’s next choice after Louth would have been the Dubs, we’d have been told to watch out for the likes of Heffernan, and Freaney, and ‘Snitchie’ Ferguson.
I can’t remember much about the game, but what’s still vivid in my memory are the conditions in which it was played. It poured out of the heavens from start to finish, and being among the many thousands on the Canal End, we couldn’t avoid getting soaked to the skin. I’m reminded of how we felt by the ice bucket challenges currently taking place. But at least the volunteers can get a quick drying off and a change of clothes; we had still a train journey to face when the game was over.
I researched the semi-finals and found that the game we were at ended Dublin 0-7, Mayo 1-4, the scoreline reflective, perhaps, of the conditions. The other game ended with Kerry on 2-10 and Cavan on 1-13.
A crowd of a little over 71,000 turned up for the replay fixture, and this time Kerry had it all their own way, winning by 4-7 to 0-5. But the other game was another tight affair, Dublin making it by just a point, 1-8 to 1-7. Jimmy Curran was outstanding for Mayo, accounting for all of his side’s scores.
The crowd for the All-Ireland final was a record at the time, 87,102, and they saw Kerry win by 0-12 to 1-6, the goal falling to Ollie Freaney, who somehow managed to find a way past through a crowded Kerry goal-line with a 14-yard free coming towards the end.

Parts of the city evacuated during a 1955 trial run to test Cold War readiness


The city was given but 30 minutes warning: a quartet of Soviet strategic heavy bombers, four-engines apiece, had been sighted on a direct flight course for Calgary, the hostile Myasishchev M-4’s presumably laden with hydrogen bombs.
Air-raid sirens across the city sounded, and the evacuation of Calgary was underway, each second of the clock ticking towards a series of mid-air explosions expected to decimate the entire city, leaving only craters, charred ruins and a lingering cloud of radioactive death.
It was time to go — and over the next half-hour, thousands of cars poured out of Calgary towards designated safe towns, as entire families left what would soon be a nuclear hell behind.
Across north Calgary sirens wailed, and smoke bombs were detonated to give the horizon a suitably war-like appearance, while the Civil Defense Authority took shelter in their specially built bunker, near today’s Shaganappi Golf Course.
And so the great test evacuation of Sept. 28, 1955 started — and by the time it was over, politicians and strategists alike were gushing over how swell the whole the whole exercise had gone, and Calgary would certainly survive the wrath of the Reds, when the day finally came.
Of course, it was pure propaganda, and ultimately, Operation Lifesaver was as useful against nuclear holocaust as telling school kids to duck under their desks.
Given the horrifying outcome of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, the likely goal was to soothe collective nerves as Cold War tension increased and the likelihood of doomsday crept ever closer.
Telling folks they’d easily survive an all out nuclear war was a fib no one would be around to answer for — and so Operation Lifesaver was planned by Canada as one of the first attempts by a Western government to evacuate a major metro population.
Scholars have speculated as to why Calgary was chosen for the largest civil defence evacuation in Canadian history — and though it’s true the city’s role as a hub for oil-and-gas production made it a Soviet target, it’s believed Calgary’s lack of natural obstacles like ocean meant people could easily escape into the open country.
With success pretty much ensured and communities around the city ready to feed and shelter the pretend atomic evacuees, organizers made a big deal of telling everyone all about the “surprise” Soviet attack on Sept. 1, and the planned evacuation of 40,000 citizens from northeast Calgary.
People booked time off work, and most looked forward to the day as an officially sanctioned picnic in the country.
Never before in the history of war has a sneak assault been so well advertised — but if the Soviet war machine wasn’t really creeping up on the hapless citizens of Calgary, the weather sure did.
Instead of nuclear winter, Calgary ended up with the real thing on Sept. 21, when one of the worst blizzards in memory paralyzed the city.
Operation Lifesaver was postponed — and when it did take place a week later, a deflated sense of occasion meant only 10,000 people officially took part (some said it was half that), with reports of empty shelters and stacks of uneaten sandwiches in refugee centres like Carstairs and Drumheller.
No matter. The great dash to safety was declared a resounding success, and the next day’s papers contained glowing reports about how Calgarians would quickly and easily escape their soon-to-be-glowing city, when the Pinkos did their worst.
“The scheme was a great success. I would recommend it to anyone,” one pleased official told reporters.
It all seems incredibly naive now — and yet with the Cold War a reality again as tension with Putin’s Russia grows, and emergency warning sirens currently being reinstalled at 40 firehalls (for floods and other disasters), it all hits close to home too.
Hopefully, Calgary never again has to live under the constant threat of being wiped off the map by a bomb, but it’s nice to know the city’s new sirens, worth $1.9 million, will be able to sound the alarm, just in case anyone wants to plan an Operation Lifesaver II.

After all, everyone appreciates a drive in the country.