JoLynn Hamblin Hoyt
I was born in October of 1951. The Second World War had been over for 6 years and the Korean war was in full force. In San Francisco, Japan, the United States and 48 other countries signed the final peace treaty of World War II. The Best Picture of the Year was An American in Paris, staring Gene Kelley and Leslie Caron. More importantly it was the year that the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was released. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of passing US atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and sentenced to death. (They were executed in 1953 but the controversy lives on.) Winston Churchill was elected for a second term as Prime Minister of England and General Douglas McArthur was replaced as US commander in Korea. Harry S. Truman was President of the United States, which had a population 155,000,000.
A First Class Stamp cost three cents, a loaf of bread cost 14 cents and a car cost around $1,800.00 The minimum wage was 75 cents an hour and the average anual salary was $4,200.00. A pound of butter went for 78 cents, a dozen eggs, 57 cents, and a quart of milk cost 22 cents. A gallon of gas cost 27 cents.
The New York Yankees beat the New York Giants to win the world series, and Count Turf won the Kentucky Derby. It was the year that Yul Bryner made his debut as the King of Siam in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. Color television, the first coast to coast TV broadcast, Cinarama and Rock n Roll took their first baby steps into the national conscience.
September 4, saw the first transcontinental television broadcast. It featured a speech by President Harry Truman. On Monday, October 15, I Love Lucy opened on the CBS television network. It proved to be the first episode of a very long run of shows. Also making its first regular appearance on T.V., "The Red Skelton Show" aired for the on September 30, 1951. There were 10, 300,000 TV sets in the US. 23.5% of all homes had one. Two years latter in 1953, 50% of all American homes had a TV.
Marianne Moore won the Pulitzer prize for her volumn of poems, Collected Poems and J.D. Salinger publised what would be come one of the most notorius novels of the modern age, Catcher in the Rye. It was also the first year of the business computer, UNIVAC, and the first year of the "pill." Popular songs that year were "Jezebel" by Frankie Layne and "Too Young" by Nat King Cole. On May 12, the United States detonated a hydrogen bomb on an island in the Pacific and nuclear testing began at the Neveda test site with the drop of a one kiliton bomb in December. The "Dennis the Menace" comic strip appeared in newspapers across the country, and direct dial coast to coast telephone service began in the US.
Closer to home, David O. McKay became the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1951 and remained so through all my growing years until 1970. My father and Mother had been married for just over a year and were living in the little town of Kanab in Southern Utah where television signals from the two stations in Salt Lake City, Utah KSL TV 5 and KDYL TV 4 failed to reach. Only part of the streets of our little town were paved. Yard goods, groceries, seed and tack were sold from the same stores and a coconut in the window of the Kanab Merc was a reason for awe.