1956 was a hugely important year for popular culture, and much of it revolved around the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley.
Elvis entered US music charts for the first time this year, with his recording of “Heartbreak Hotel.” This year was also when Elvis released his first gold album, titled “Elvis Presley.” Elvis famously caused a national stir in June of 1956 with his performance of “Hound Dog” on The Milton Berle Show with his, for the time, “suggestive” hip movements.
Presley would also take part in the “Million Dollar Quartet” near the end of 1956. On this occasion, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash played together at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, for this one and only time.
1956 was a notable year for female celebrities as well. Doris Day recorded her famous song, “Que, Sera, Sera” and Norma Jean Mortenson legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
For television history, 1956 was incredibly important. This was the year that legendary host, Bob Barker made his television debut, hosting a game show called Truth or Consequences. A very popular production of Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin, was restaged live on NBC this year, due to high demand. In another development, the American soap opera, As the World Turns, made its debut on CBS.
This was a big year for film and theatre as well. My Fair Lady opened on Broadway and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I was released in movie theatres. Also released in theatres this year was Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston. 1956 was also the year that the great comic duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, held their last comedy show together. Their last performance was at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
Discover how France looked like in 1956
Have a look at the old newspapers from 1956 and get them!
Which were the most popular movies released this year ?
Directed by: Eldar Ryazanov
Starring: Igor Ilyinsky, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Yuri Belov, Georgiy Kulikov
Directed by: Elia Kazan
Starring: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock
Country: United States
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone
Directed by: Robert Bresson
Starring: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod
Which were the top hits of 1956 ?
Which were the most popular books released in 1956 ?
By: John F. Kennedy
Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage served as a clarion call to every American.
By: John A. Schindler
One of the great self-help books of all time, How to Live 365 Days a Year has sold more than 1 million copies and has been translated into 13 languages.
By: Edwin O'Connor
O'Connor's 1956 account of big-city politics, inspired by the career of longtime Boston Mayor James M. Curley, portrays its Irish-American political boss as a demagogue and a rogue who nonetheless deeply understands his constituents.
By: Smiley Blanton
Love Or Perish [Paperback] [May 26, 2012] Blanton, Smiley
Which were the top popular names given to babies born in 1956 in the USA ?
Click on the dates below to find out what the world looked like in each day of 1956