Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sci-Fi On Film & The World Of 1955

We now bid farewell to 1954, a very diverse year for sci-fi on film. We have now arrived at the midpoint in our journey through the golden decade of classic sci-fi movies. The door is about to open wide to let in the modern era and helping to usher it in we have…..

1955 promises to offer up a smorgasbord of sci-fi classics, low-budget B grade films and movies containing largely tried and true sci-fi plot formulas. Here are some of the films from 1955 that will be featured in this blog.....

Conquest of Space: George Pal's masterpiece about a space station and a future voyage to and landing on Mars with some serious consequences for those involved.

Revenge of the Creature: a respectable sequel to "Creature from the Black Lagoon" set this time in Florida and featuring the stunning Lori Nelson.

This Island Earth: A true sci-fi classic ahead of its time. Aliens try to use earth's nuclear scientists to help them avoid defeat in an interplanetary war.

King Dinosaur: an expedition from Earth finds "dinosaurs" on a rogue planet.

The Quatermass Xperiment: A British film about a formless alien space creature that comes to earth in an astronaut.

Beast With a Million Eyes: A film about an alien that feeds on fear.

It Came From Beneath The Sea: A giant octopus causes havoc in San Francisco. It features the magic of special effects genius, Ray Harryhausen.

Creature with the Atom Brain: A mobster exacts revenge from others by means of electronically re-animated dead people.

Tarantula: Another classic sci-fi film about a scientist’s quest for developing synthetic food resulting in the creation of giant creatures, among them being one very large tarantula. This film carries on the big-bug themed movies started by Them! the previous year and is still a treat to watch.

Day the World Ended: a post-apocalyptic film directed by Roger Corman and starring Richard Denning is about a group of people who survive in a sheltered valley after an atomic war destroys human civilization.

Phantom from 10,000 Leagues: Ocean life is mutated into a horrible monster by a strange radioactive rock on the sea bottom, and as radioactive bodies come ashore a scientist and government agent investigate.

Before we launch into this year’s sci-fi film feast, let’s pause and take a look at the significant people and events that helped to shape the world of 1955 and beyond even to the present day….

Military Developments

USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, puts to sea for the first time, from Groton, Connecticut.

The Pentagon announces a plan to develop ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) armed with nuclear weapons.

International Affairs & Relations

United States Congress authorizes Eisenhower to use force to protect Formosa (Taiwan) from the People's Republic of China.

The Seventh Fleet of the United States Navy assists the Republic of China evacuate Chinese Nationalist army and residents from the Tachen Islands to Taiwan.

U.S. President Eisenhower sends the first U.S. advisors to South Vietnam.

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (S.E.A.T.O) is established.

Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom due to ill-health at the age of 80. Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Warsaw Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance is signed (Warsaw Treaty Organization)

Eight Communist Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defence treaty (Warsaw Pact) in Warsaw, Poland.

West Germany becomes a sovereign country recognized by important Western countries, such as France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. West Germany joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The President of Argentina, Juan Peron, is overthrown in a military coup.

Ngo Dinh Diem declares Vietnam to be a republic with himself as its President and forms the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

US begins sending $216 million in aid to Vietnam.

US intervenes militarily in Iran

U.S. installs powerful radar system in Turkey to spy on the Soviet Union

Political & Human Rights Struggle & Protest

Claudette Colvin (a fifteen-year-old African-American girl) refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white woman after the driver demands it. She is forcibly carried off the bus backwards and then kicked, handcuffed and harassed on the way to the police station.

A few months later In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger and is arrested, leading to the Montgomery bus boycott.

The Montgomery Improvement Association is formed in Montgomery, Alabama, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other Black ministers to coordinate a Black people's boycott of all city buses.

Racial segregation is outlawed on trains and buses in interstate commerce in the United States.

Entertainment & Popular Culture

Disneyland opens to the public in Anaheim, California.

Actor James Dean is killed at age 24 when his automobile, a Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed "Little Bastard," collides with another car at a highway junction near Cholame, California

The first footage of Elvis Presley is filmed as part of a film short about the Cleveland, Ohio, disc jockey Bill Randle.

Bo Diddley makes his television debut on Ed Sullivan's Toast Of The Town show for the CBS-TV network.


      The Seven Year Itch         Rebel Without A Cause

Blackboard Jungle

Evan Hunter's movie adaptation of the novel Blackboard Jungle premieres featuring the song, "Rock Around the Clock", by Bill Haley and His Comets. Teenagers dance to the song during the film’s showing.

Academy Award, Best Picture: On the Waterfront, Sam Spiegel, producer (Columbia), Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Maria Saint), and Best Director (Elia Kazan).


Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel, Lolita

First edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published, in London


Rock and Roll music continues to grow in popularity with such idols as, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters.

Number One Songs: Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes; Let Me Go, Lover - Joan Weber; Hearts of Stone - Fontane Sisters; Sincerely - McGuire Sisters; The Ballad Of Davy Crockett - Bill Hayes; Unchained Melody - Les Baxter; Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets; Yellow Rose Of Texas - Mitch Miller; Love Is a Many - Splendored Thing - The Four Aces; Autumn Leaves - Roger Williams; Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford


The long-running program Gunsmoke debuts on the CBS-TV network in the United States.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents debuts on the CBS-TV network in the United States.

The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on the ABC-TV network in the United States.

Most Popular TV shows: 

1. The $64,000 Question (CBS)
2. I Love Lucy (CBS)
3. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
4. Disneyland (ABC)
5. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)
6. December Bride (CBS)
7. You Bet Your Life (NBC)
8. Dragnet (NBC)
9. The Millionaire (CBS)
10. I've Got A Secret (CBS)


For young men: pink shirts and charcoal grey suits.

For ladies…..

For youngsters….


"Sugar" Ray Robinson wins world boxing championship

Scientific & Technological Advances

The race is on for real…

First pocket transistor radios available

The Salk polio vaccine receives full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

The first nuclear-generated electrical power is sold commercially, partially powering the town of Arco, Idaho.

American cytogeneticist Joe Hin Tjio discovers the correct number of human chromosomes, forty-six.

Narinder Kapany (England) develops fibre optics.

Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segrè discover the antiproton, a form of antimatter.

Severo Ochoa at NYU synthesizes DNA- and RNA-like molecules.

TV remote control becomes public

Microwave oven invented

Felker and Harris program TRADIC, the first fully transistorized computer. It contained nearly 800 transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Transistors enabled the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts, or one-twentieth the power required by comparable vacuum tube computers.

UHF television developed

Disasters & Tragedies

Hurricane Diane hits the northeastern United States, killing over 200 people, and causing over $1.0 billion in damage.

Hurricane Hilda kills about 200 people in Mexico.

Soviet battleship Novorossiysk explodes at moorings in Sevastopol Bay, killing 608, the Soviet Union's worst naval disaster.

A time bomb explodes in the cargo hold of United Airlines Flight 629, a Douglas DC-6B airliner flying above Longmont, Colorado, killing all 39 passengers and 5 crew members on board.


World Population: 2.780 billion 

Ray Kroc opens his first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois.

US President: Dwight D. Eisenhower

US Vice President: Richard M. Nixon

US Population: 165,931,202

US Life expectancy: 69.6 years

US Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.5

Albert Einstein dies

In the US, 7 out of 10 families own a motor car often with this result…

The average wage (US) $3,851 per year and the minimum wage raised to $1.00 per hour

Yearly Inflation Rate USA: 0.28%

Average cost of new house: $10.950.00

Average cost of a new car $1,900.00 

Cost of a gallon of gas: 23 cents

Black and White TV would set you back $99.95

The first cans of Coca-Cola sold

Still, some things never change all that much!

Then again........ 

Oct 15, 2015 ... 
Playboy magazine plans to eliminate nudity!

A lot can happen in 60 years....

©Chris Christopoulos 2014