1956 News and Interesting History Tidbits


Segregation Laws Upheld
The US Supreme Court upholds a ban on racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities, When the University of North Carolina appeals against an earlier ruling which ordered college officials to admit three black students to what was previously an all-white University









First Commercial Videotape Recorder
Ampex Corp. demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder the VR-1000, which was the first of Ampex's videotape recorders.

CBS was one of the early TV companies to adopt the technology which allowed a one hour long program to be recorded on one reel of tape.
One reel of tape cost $300, equivalent to $2,000 in 2000.
A recorder cost about $75,000 to $100,000, about a half a million dollars today.









Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan becomes an independent republic within the British Commonwealth. Following the fighting in Pakistan and India in 1947 during the first stages of Independence from Great Britain when Muslims moved to Pakistan, creating a country where 96% of the population are Muslim.


Currently Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population. Below is a table with the worlds top ten population estimates as of latest figures.




1 People's Republic of China 1,323,353,000


2 India 1,128,000,000


3 United States 303,232,774


4 Indonesia 231,627,000


5 Brazil 186,029,000


6 Pakistan 162,312,500


7 Bangladesh 158,665,000


8 Nigeria 148,093,000


9 Russia 141,849,000


10 Japan 127,790,000











Martin Luther King Jr Convicted
Martin Luther King Jr. was convicted for violating Alabama's anti-boycott law when he organized a boycott of all city buses in Montgomery .









Grace Kelly Marries Prince Rainier of Monaco
Academy Award winning American film and stage actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco











Packard Cars
The last 1956 Packard was produced, marking the end of production at Packard's Connor Avenue plant in Detroit, Michigan. Packard would continue to manufacture cars in South Bend, Indiana, until 1958, but for those familiar with Packard the last 1956 is considered the last true Packard car.












"In God We Trust"
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also required that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency.









British Health Minister Rejects Call for Smoking Bans
The British Health Minister RH Turton, rejects calls for a government campaign against smoking, saying no ill-effects have actually been proven from smoking and the link between smoking and lung Cancer has not been proved.








British Frogman Disappears
A British naval diver ( Commander Lionel "Buster" Crabb ) goes missing ( Later Found Dead ) during a Goodwill Visit by a Soviet cruiser carrying Soviet leaders Nikita Khruschev and Marshal Nikolai Bulganin.

At the time no one would admit that he was spying on the Russian Cruiser on a spying mission for MI6 and had dived under the cruiser to check out the hull and any other information he could find. And it still remains a mystery on how he died.









My Fair Lady Opens On Broadway
The musical "My Fair Lady" opened on Broadway. The play based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion from the mid 1930's and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The stars of the musical Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle help to make the production was a smash hit.









Olympic Games 1956
The Summer Olympic Games of the XVI Olympiad are held in Melbourne, Australia / Stockholm, Sweden (Equestrian events)

Due to quarantine regulations The equestrian events were not held in Australia but were held five months earlier in Stockholm, Sweden.

For the first time in Olympic History Athletes enter the closing ceremony mingling with each other not in teams to signal unity and peace in sports ( the tradition is still carried on today )

These are also the first Olympic Games to be held in the Southern Hemisphere and were nicknamed "The Friendly Games" due to the Australian Peoples friendliness.









Archbishop Makarios Deported
In a hope to ease tensions in Cyprus British authorities have ordered the deportation of the Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios.

Instead of easing tensions in Cyprus more violence broke out on the Island and Britain worked with him and other leaders over the next few years to achieve a peaceful settlement and in 1960 he became president when Cyprus gained its independence.








Premium Bonds Introduced In Britain
The British Chancellor Harold Macmillan has unveiled plans for a new state saving scheme ( Premium Bonds ) offering cash prizes of up to by £1,000 instead of interest.

The Bonds are introduced in November and Premium Bond winning numbers were generated by an Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment, a computer otherwise known as Ernie.
In Britain over 20 million people own premium bonds with the chance of winning two monthly jackpots of £1m.








St Lawrence Seaway
With the construction of The St. Lawrence Seaway Continuing at an intense pace the Canadian Authorities are now facing the relocation of 6,500 people who lived in 1 town, 8 villages and 225 farms who live in the area where the Long Sault Dam will flood over 20,000 acres. They are committed to creating complete new villages for all these people as part of the project which when finished will be a truly great feat of construction and engineering expertise.










Elvis Presley "Heartbreak Hotel"
Elvis Presley has his first number one on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart with "Heartbreak Hotel" staying number one for 8 weeks.










Love Me Tender
Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley's first movie, opens in New York.








Suez Crisis
The UK and U.S.A. withdraw offers of aid for creation of the Aswan high dam in response to President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt forming closer relationships with the Soviet Union.
President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced 5 days later he would nationalize the Suez Canal to provide revenue for the construction of the high Aswan dam leading to the Suez Crisis.
The Soviet Union stepped up in 1958 and funded the Aswan high dam project, the project was completed in 1970 and created the man made reservoir Lake Nasser.

Allied forces took control of the Suez Canal with British and French parachute troops holding the Mediterranean key to the Suez Canal at Port Said.









Petrol Rationing England
As a result of the Suez crisis, oil is not getting through from the middle east and petrol rationing is to be introduced in Britain from next month, and is expected to last for four months, and will be controlled through books of coupons.

Normal car users will be allowed enough petrol for 200 miles per month while business travellers will be allowed an additional 100 miles per month. Additional petrol allowance will be allowed for farmers, doctors, midwives and disabled drivers. Almost instantly drivers queued up at local garages before the rationing came in causing even more panic buying and as a result of shortages of supply petrol increased to six shillings a gallon ( 30p ).











Federal-Aid Highway Act
Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 bill into law. The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act was for the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways over a 20-year period and was the largest public works project ever undertaken. For each highway created 90 percent of construction costs were paid by the Federal budget and 10% from the local state.










The Hungarian October Revolution
The Hungarian October Revolution is now in it's third day with demonstrators fighting in the streets of Budapest with Soviet Troops. Estimates range from 3,000 to 5,000 dead and many lying in the streets where they have fallen. They are protesting for economic reforms and the withdrawal of Soviet troops and tanks. The new Prime Minister is appealing for calm.








Saarland Germany's Tenth State
Saarland had one million inhabitants and was rich in raw materials such as coal. It was to become Germany’s tenth state at midnight. France and Germany had fought over the area for 250 years.








Elvis Presley First TV Appearance
The young country rock singer Elvis Presley makes his first ever television appearance on Television in the musical variety program Stage Show singing his first number 1 hit "Heartbreak Hotel".








Elvis Presley "Hound Dog"
Elvis Presley introduces his new single, "Hound Dog," on The Milton Berle Show. and scandalized the audience with his suggestive hip gyrations.








Rocky Marciano Retires
Rocky Marciano retires as the only undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the world with a perfect record











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