02 January 2011

of 1959 and 2011

Got this from the internet and found it interesting.  Those of you born in the same year may enjoy it!  I highlighted the parts I liked in "red" and/or "bold".

In 1959, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo.

In 1959, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Ben-Hur. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.

Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Ben-Hur. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Black Orpheus. The top actor was Charlton Heston for his role as Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur. The top actress was Simone Signoret for her role as Alice Aisgill in Room at the Top. The best director? William Wyler for Ben-Hur.

In the year 1959, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was Exodus by Leon Uris. Oh, that's many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?

In 1959... Cultivars of plants named after this date must be named in a modern language, not in Latin. Castro's troops approach Havana. The island of Addu in the Maldives declares independence. Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state. Women in Nepal vote for the first time. The Marx Brothers make their last TV appearance, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery. Import tariffs are lifted in the United Kingdom. Two monkeys, Able and Miss Baker are the first living beings to successfully return to Earth from space aboard the flight Jupiter AM-18. Singapore becomes a self-governing crown colony of Britain with Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister. The Central Treaty Organization CENTO is established. The original Mini designed by Sir Alec Issigonis is launched. The first section of England's M1 motorway opens between the present junctions 5 and 18. Three years after its first telecast, MGM's The Wizard of Oz is shown on television for only the second time, but it gains an even larger viewing audience than its first television outing, spurring CBS to make it an annual tradition.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Salvatore Quasimodo. The Nobel Peace prize went to Philip J. Noel-Baker. The Nobel prize for physics went to Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Gino Segrè from the United States for their discovery of the antiproton. The sensation this created was big. But it didn't stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn't it?

The 1950s were indeed a special decade. The American economy is on the upswing. The cold war betwen the US and the Soviet Union is playing out throughout the whole decade. Anti-communism prevails in the United States and leads to the Red Scare and accompanying Congressional hearings. Africa begins to become decolonized. The Korean war takes place. The Vietnam War starts. The Suez Crisis war is fought on Egyptian territory. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others overthrow authorities to create a communist government on Cuba. Funded by the US, reconstructions in Japan continue. In Japan, film maker Akira Kurosawa creates the movies Rashomon and Seven Samurai. The FIFA World Cups are won by Uruguay, then West Germany, then Brazil.

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15?  Murder on the Orient Express. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Rock Me Gently by Andy Kim. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember? 

In 1959, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

They asked me how I knew

My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside cannot be denied 

There's a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn't care about time. It doesn't know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie Blackbeard's Ghost was playing. When you were 8, there was Doctor Dolittle.
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... it's 1959. There's TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is Bonanza. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There's The Bell Telephone Hour on now. That's the world you were born in.

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1959. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The Bullet Train.

1959 was a very strange time

A bad year for labor and a good year for wine
Uncle Ike was our American Pal
And nobody talked about the Suez Canal

That's from the song Post World War Two Blues by Al Stewart.

In 1959, a new character entered the world of comic books: Fritz the Cat. Bang! Boom! But that's just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1959, Bryan Adams was born. And Rosanna Arquette. Nastassja Kinski, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life. 

It's 2011 now.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?


Jared said...

very well written =]

Antares said...

Ben Hur was a big turn-on to 9-year-old me. I remember Black Orpheus too, very evocative soundtrack... the first black&white TV set my dad brought home.... I had a dream in which I was in New York's Times Square, gawking at the first color TVs on display in showroom windows... nostalgia is natural, Lita, but I have nostalgia for the future... when soul-destroying astral parasites no longer infest planet Earth!

KS Cheah said...

A vintage year it was...1959 ;o)

aida said...

ooh..i have to look for 1978 the year i was born..oops..gave away how old i am..ha..ha

STEEST said...

Jared, Very well chosen, you mean. :D

STEEST said...


I remember the time we had our first TV too. It's really incredible to think of all that we have been privy to in the last 5 decades.


STEEST said...

Cheah, That's so kind of you!!!! Hugs!!!

STEEST said...


Now you make me feel old! hahahaha

You are a baby!!!! I was 19 years old when you were born! *rolls eyes upwards* LOL