President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower is President. In the news, it is the age of Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev, Charles de Gaulle, Harold Macmillan and Pope Pius XII. We are deep into the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution is raging. There are still 48 states.
Elvis Presley is called to join the Army, Edsel Automobiles are introduced, NASA is created by Congress, it's the very first days of the space age. The first trans Atlantic passenger jet service begins by BOAC. The U.S. answers with the Boeing 707, the Bossa Nova is the new dance craze, Americans buy 100 million Hula Hoops.
Hollywood offered us: The Bridge on the River Kwai , Vertigo, Gigi, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, Auntie Mame, South Pacific and King Creole.
The median U.S. family income is $5,087. A family size Chevrolet sells for $2,081, a gallon of gasoline is 30.4¢, a pair of blue jeans sells for $3.75, a pound of round steak costs $1.04, a pound of chicken costs 46.5¢, a Nathan's hot dog costs 25¢, a ticket to a Broadway musical costs $8.05. a roundtrip flight to London from New York costs $453.60,
Most important of all was the music. Music is what feelings sound like. Anyone who wants to know what it felt like to be a young teenager in 1958, listen to our music, it tells you everything. Here is a cross-section of music originating in that year.
At the Hop Danny and the Juniors, Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis, All the Way Frank Sinatra, Stood Up Ricky Nelson, Don't Elvis Presley, Short Shorts Royal Teens, Sugartime The McGuire Sisters, Get a Job The Silhouettes, 26 Miles (Santa Catalina) The Four Preps, A Wonderful Time Up There Pat Boone, Tequila The Champs, Sweet Little Sixteen Chuck Berry, Catch a Falling Star Perry Como, Are You Sincere Andy Williams, Lollipop The Chordettes, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands Laurie London, Twilight Time Platters, Witch Doctor David Seville, Wear My Ring Around Your Neck Elvis Presley, All I Have to Do is Dream The Everly Brothers, Purple People Eater Sheb Wooley, Big Man The Four Preps, Secretly Jimmie Rodgers, Hard Headed Woman Elvis Presley, Yakety Yak Coasters, Patricia Perez Prado, Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson, Splish Splash Bobby Darin, Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Blu) Dominico Modugno, My True Love Jack Scott, Little Star The Elegants, Bird Dog The Everly Brothers, It's All in the Game Tommy Edwards, Rockin Robin Bobby Day, Topsy II Cozy Cole, It's Only Make Believe Conway Twitty, Tom Dooley The Kingston Trio, To Know Him Is To Love Him Teddy Bears, Problems The Everly Brothers, The Chipmunk Song David Seville, Don't/I Beg You Elvis Presley, Born Too Late Poni-Tails, Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry, Rebel Rouser Duane Eddy, Chantilly Lace J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Book of Love The Monotones, Summertime Blues Eddie Cochran, Breathless Jerry Lee Lewis, Good Golly Miss Molly Little Richard, La Bamba Ritchie Valens, Fever Peggy Lee, Do You Wanna Dance? Bobby Freeman, Maybe Chantels, The Stroll The Diamonds, Who's Sorry Now? Connie Francis, Tears on My Pillow Little Anthony and The Imperials, Oh Boy Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Maybe Baby Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Rave On Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Jingle Bell Rock Bobby Helms, Deedee Dinah Frankie Avalon, Lonesome Town Ricky Nelson
And then there was television. We are the generation who was present at the birth of popular television. Most of us can remember the first time we ever saw one of these things, probably around 1950 or so. Television tried to influence our lives, maybe it did to some extent, but not nearly as much as the music. Perhaps you remember some of these shows. This was the prime time, network schedule for 1958 -
You Asked For It, Maverick, Lawman, Colt .45, Encounter, Lassie, Jack Benny, Bachelor Father, Ed Sullivan, General Electric Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, $64,000 Question, What's My Line? Saber of London, Northwest Passage, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, Loretta Young.
Polka-Go-Round, Bold Journey, Voice of Firestone, Anybody Can Play, This is Music, Name That Tune, The Texan, Father Knows Best, Danny Thomas, Ann Sothern, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, Tic Tac Dough, Restless Gun, Tales of Wells Fargo, Peter Gunn, Alcoa Theatre/Goodyear Television Playhouse, Arthur Murray Party.
Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco, Wyatt Earp, The Rifleman, Naked City, Confession, Stars in Action, Keep Talking, To Tell the Truth, Arthur Godfrey, Red Skelton, Garry Moore, Dragnet, George Gobel, Eddie Fisher, George Burns, Bob Cummings, The Californians.
Lawrence Welk, Ozzie and Harriet, Donna Reed, Patti Page, Wednesday Night Fights, Twilight Theater, Pursuit, The Millionaire, I've Got a Secret, Armstrong Circle Theatre, United States Steel Hour, Wagon Train, The Price is Right, Milton Berle, Bat Masterson, This is Your Life.
Leave It to Beaver, Zorro, The Real McCoys, Pat Boone, The Rough Riders, Traffic Court, I Love Lucy, December Bride, Yancy Derringer, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Playhouse 90, Jefferson Drum, Ed Wynn, Twenty One, Behind Closed Doors, Tennessee Ernie Ford, You Bet Your Life, Masquerade Party
Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Walt Disney Presents, Man with a Camera, Tombstone Territory, 77 Sunset Strip, Your Hit Parade, Trackdown, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Schlitz Playhouse, Lux Playhouse, The Lineup, Person to Person, Buckskin, Adventures of Ellery Queen, M Squad, The Thin Man, Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, Man Without a Gun This is Alice, How to Marry a Millionaire, Premiere Performance (20th Century Fox movies)
Dick Clark Saturday Night, Jubilee USA, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Kaye's Music from Manhattan, Perry Mason, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Gale Storm, Have Gun – Will Travel, Gunsmoke, People are Funny, Perry Como, Steve Canyon, Cimarron City, Brains & Brawn
It was 1958 and we were on our way. We never looked back. With brave hearts, perhaps just a touch of trepidation, we entered the halls and homerooms of Belleville High School. The Class of 1962 was rolling.
Visit our Facebook page for 8th grade class pictures of the classes of 1958 !