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 SeriesU.S. Steel Hour (ABC)
Best Actor Starring in a Regular SeriesDanny Thomas, Make Room for Daddy
Best Actress Starring in a Regular SeriesLoretta Young, Loretta Young Show
Best Supporting Actor in a Regular SeriesArt Carney, Jackie Gleason Show
Best Supporting Actress in a Regular SeriesAudrey Meadows, Jackie Gleason Show
Best Individual Program of the YearOperation Undersea (ABC)
Best Actor in a Single PerformanceRobert Cummings, Studio One: Twelve Angry Men
Best Actress in a Single PerformanceJudith Anderson, Hallmark Hall of Fame: Macbeth
Best DirectionFranklin Schaffner, Studio One: Twelve Angry Men
Best Written Dramatic MaterialReginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men
Most Outstanding New PersonalityGeorge Gobel
Best Situation Comedy SeriesMake Room for Daddy (ABC)
Best Written Comedy MaterialJames Allardice, Jack Douglas, Hal Kanter and Harry Winkler, George Gobel Show
Best Variety Series, Including Musical VarietiesDisneyland (ABC)
Best Mystery or Intrigue SeriesDragnet (NBC)
Best Western or Adventure SeriesStories of the Century (Syndicated)
Best Cultural, Religious or Educational ProgramOmnibus (CBS)
Best News Reporter or CommentatorJohn Daly
Best Sports ProgramGillette Cavalcade of Sports (NBC)
Best Children’s ProgramLassie (CBS)
Best Audience, Guest Participation or Panel ProgramThis Is Your Life (NBC)

1955 Tony Awards

PlayThe Desperate Hours
MusicalThe Pajama Game
Actor—PlayAlfred Lunt, Quadrille
Actress—PlayNancy Kelly, The Bad Seed
Supporting or Featured Actor—PlayFrancis L. Sullivan, Witness for the Prosecution
Supporting or Featured Actress—PlayPatricia Jessel, Witness for the Prosecution
Actor—MusicalWalter Slezak, Fanny
Actress—MusicalMary Martin, Peter Pan
Supporting or Featured Actor—MusicalCyril Ritchard, Peter Pan
Supporting or Featured Actress—MusicalCarol Haney, The Pajama Game
Author—PlayJoseph Hayes, The Desperate Hours
Authors—MusicalGeorge Abbott and Richard Bissell, The Pajama Game
DirectorRobert Montgomery, The Desperate Hours
Producers—PlayHoward Erskine and Joseph Hayes, The Desperate Hours
Producers—MusicalFrederick Brisson, Robert Griffith and Harold S. Prince, The Pajama Game
Composer and LyricistRichard Adler and Jerry Ross, The Pajama Game
Scenic DesignerOliver Messel, House of Flowers
Costume DesignerCecil Beaton, Quadrille
ChoreographerBob Fosse, The Pajama Game
Conductor and Musical DirectorThomas Schippers, The Saint of Bleecker Street
Stage TechnicianRichard Rodda, Peter Pan
Special AwardProscenium 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


(34th US President)