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The 1950s Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Eisenhower's nickname, "Ike," was a shortening of his last name, not his first. When he was a child he was called "Little Ike," since his brother Edgar was "Big Ike."48

America's birth rate in the 1950s was higher than India's. During the decade, the American population increased by 30 million.49

The first 3-D movie opened in Los Angeles in November 1953. It was titled Bwana Devil.50

Elvis Presley's first number-one hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," was inspired by a real-life suicide note. In 1955 a well-dressed man Miami man destroyed his identity papers and killed himself, leaving behind a note that said, I walk a lonely street. Guitarist Tommy Durden and his friend Mae Axton wrote the song on the theme in half an hour, incorporating the line from the suicide note into the first verse.51

Eisenhower spent most of his career as a professional soldier, but his parents were pacifist Mennonites.52

U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers had been given a silver dollar that split open to reveal a pin charged with a powerful toxin, allowing him to commit suicide if captured. Powers chose not to use the pin after being shot down and parachuting to the ground. His Soviet captors tried it on a dog, which died in ninety seconds.53

Eisenhower renamed the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains "Camp David" in honor of his grandson. When it was first built for Franklin Roosevelt, it was originally called "Shangri-La."54

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