There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo.
In 1951, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Quo Vadis. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.
Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.
Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to An American in Paris. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Rashomon. The top actor was Humphrey Bogart for his role as Charlie Allnut in The African Queen. The top actress was Vivien Leigh for her role as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. The best director? George Stevens for A Place in the Sun.
In the year 1951, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was From Here to Eternity by James Jones. Oh, that's many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?
- The new United Nations headquarters officially opens in New York City.
- Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a 1-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat, northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Hank Ketcham's best-selling comic strip Dennis the Menace, appeared in U.S. newspapers for the first time.
- The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins.
- The United Kingdom begins an economic boycott of Iran.
- I Love Lucy made its television debut on CBS.
- Judy Garland begins her legendary concerts in New York's Palace Theatre.
- The National Ballet of Canada performs for the first time in Eaton Auditorium.
- John Huston's drama film, The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, premieres in Hollywood.
- The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Pär Lagerkvist. The Nobel Peace prize went to Léon Jouhaux. The Nobel prize for physics went to John Douglas Cockcroft and Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton from the United Kingdom and Ireland for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles. The sensation this created was big. But it didn't stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn't it?
The 1950s were indeed a special decade. The American economy is on the upswing. The cold war between the US and the Soviet Union is playing out throughout the whole decade. Anti-communism prevails in the United States and leads to the Red Scare and accompanying Congressional hearings. Africa begins to become decolonized. The Korean war takes place. The Vietnam War starts. The Suez Crisis war is fought on Egyptian territory. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others overthrow authorities to create a communist government on Cuba. Funded by the US, reconstructions in Japan continue. In Japan, film maker Akira Kurosawa creates the movies Rashomon and Seven Samurai. The FIFA World Cups are won by Uruguay, then West Germany, then Brazil.
Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Madame X. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?
In 1951, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song The Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.
I was dancin' with my darlin'
To the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
I introduced her to my loved one
And while they were dancin'
My friend stole my sweetheart from me
There's a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn't care about time. It doesn't know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.
When you were 9, the movie The Absent Minded Professor was playing. When you were 8, there was The Shaggy Dog.
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... it's 1951. There's TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is The Roy Rogers Show. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There's Truth or Consequences on now. That's the world you were born in.
Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1951. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born?
He was born on a summer day, 1951
And with a slap of a hand, he had landed as an only son
His mother and father said what a lovely boy
We'll teach him what we learned, ah yes just what we learned
That's from the song Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold.
In 1951, a new character entered the world of comic books: Schroeder from the Peanuts. Bang! Boom! But that's just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1951, Gordon Brown was born. And Jane Seymour. Charles De Lint, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
The world is a different place.
What path have you taken?
Click here: What happened in your birth year?