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Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) School Fire, December 1, 1958
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Other Events Occurring On December 1, 1958
  • Three nuns lead thirty children in night clothes to safety from the burning Our Lady of Grace orphanage in Hoboken, New Jersey, at 5:30 a.m. There are no injuries. The fire was attributed to “defects in the boiler room.”
  • The funeral is held for two young boys, Jaroslaw Melnyk and Roman Klowatyj, who drowned on Thanksgiving day at Humboldt Park in Chicago, not far from OLA. And like John Jajkowski at OLA, Jaroslaw had wanted to become a priest.
  • Hubert Humphrey meets with Khrushchev in Moscow.
  • The Central African Republic is established from French colonial territory.
  • On the TV show “Peter Gunn”, the episode “Death House Testament” airs.
  • On the “Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour”, the episode “Lucy Makes Room for Danny” airs.
  • On “Father Knows Best”, the episode “Margaret Wins a Car” airs.
  • “Flower Drum Song” opens at St James Theater NYC for 602 performances.

  • In Popular Culture On December 1, 1958
  • Edsels are on automobile dealer's showroom floors (but not selling very well).
  • The Hula-Hoop is in - big!
  • The following Prime-Time TV Programs are part of the new fall lineup:
  •   The Andy Williams Show
      The Garry Moore Show
      77 Sunset Strip (starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, Edd Byrnes)
      The Donna Reed Show (starring Donna Reed, Carl Betz, Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen)
      Peter Gunn (starring Craig Stevens, Lola Albright, Herschel Bernardi)
      The Rifleman (starring Chuch Connors, Johnny Crawford, Paul Fix)
      Wanted: Dead or Alive (starring Steve McQueen)
  • In Sunday newspapers, the following 'funnies' can be found:
  •   Prince Valiant
      Dick Tracy
      Mickey Mouse
      Our New Age
      Smokey The Bear
      Brenda Star
      Judge Parker
      Al Capp's Corner
      They'll Do It Every Time
      Dennis the Menace
      Life's Like That
      The Little Woman
      Little Orphan Annie
      Gasoline Alley
      Terry and the Pirates
      Uncle Remus
      Little Iodine
      Donald Duck
      Grin and Bear It
      Snuffy Smith
      Rex Morgan, M.D.
      The Little King
      Steve Canyon
      The Heart of Joliet Jones

    WMGM Top 40 Survey for the week of December 1, 1958
    Rank Song Artist Weeks On Chart
    1 Tom Dooley The Kingston Trio 7
    2 To Know Him, Is To Love Him The Teddy Bears 9
    3 Queen Of The Hop Bobby Darin 6
    4 It’s Only Make Believe Conway Twitty 8
    5 Beep Beep The Playmates 6
    6 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters 3
    7 One Night Elvis Presley 6
    8 Come Prima Tony Dallara 4
    9 Topsy (pt. 2) Cozy Cole 13
    10 Lonesome Town Ricky Nelson 7
    11 The Chipmunk Song The Chipmunks With David Seville 1
    12 Problems The Everly Brothers 4
    13 Tea For Two Cha Cha The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Starring Warren Covington 15
    14 I’ll Wait For You Frankie Avalon 4
    15 Walking Along The Diamonds 6
    16 That Old Black Magic Louis Prima & Keely Smith 3
    17 Chantilly Lace The Big Bopper 11
    18 16 Candles The Crests 2
    19 It’s All In The Game Tommy Edwards 15
    20 I Got Stung Elvis Presley 4
    21 Cannonball Duane Eddy & The Rebels 6
    22 There Goes My Heart Joni James 10
    23 A Lover’s Question Clyde Mcphatter 3
    24 Jeannie The Unique Teens 7
    25 Whole Lotta Loving Fats Domino 3
    26 I Got A Feeling Ricky Nelson 5
    27 The World Outside The Four Coins 5
    28 Call Me Johnny Mathis 10
    29 (At) The End (of A Rainbow) Earl Grant 13
    30 Goodbye Baby Jack Scott 1
    31 Non Dimenticar (Don’t Forget) Nat “king” Cole 9
    32 I Talk To The Trees Edmundo Ros & His Orchestra 1
    33 So Much Little Anthony & The Imperials 2
    34 O’ Falling Star The Four Knights 2
    35 Rock-in Robin Bobby Day 16
    36 My Happiness Connie Francis 1
    37 I Want To Be Happy Cha Cha Enoch Light & The Light Brigade 5
    38 Bimbombey Jimmie Rodgers 1
    39 Love Is All We Need Tommy Edwards 2
    40 Peek-a-Boo The Cadillacs 1

    Other Events of 1958
  • Pope Pius XII dies at age 82. Angelo Guiseppe Cardinal Roncalli is elected the new pope and takes the name Pope John XXIII.
  • A fire at the Museum of Modern Art in New York kills one worker and destroys two Monets. The Museum is accused of safety violations because workers smoke near sawdust.
  • Columnist Herb Caen coins a new name for members of the “beat” generation - beatnik. Said Caen, “I coined the word 'beatnik' simply because Russia's Sputnik was aloft at the time and the word popped out.”
  • “Bridge on the River Kwai” wins the Academy Award for Best Picture (of 1957). It beats out “12 Angry Men”, “Peyton Place”, “Sayonara”, and “Witness for the Prosecution”.
  • “Gunsmoke” (CBS) wins the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series. “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” (NBC) wins for Best Musical, Variety or Quiz Series. “Phil Silvers Show” (CBS) wins for Best Comedy Series.
  • The New York Yankees win the World Series, beating the Milwaukee Braves 4 games to 3.
  • The Baltimore Colts win the NFL Championship over the New York Giants 23-17.
  • The St. Louis Hawks win the NBA Championship over the Boston Celtics 4 games to 2.
  • The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, beating the Boston Bruins 4 games to 2.
  • The USA and Canada formalize the joint North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), headquartered in Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs.
  • President Eisenhower signs legislation creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a non-military agency.
  • The US, Britain and USSR begin talks on establishing a formal nuclear test ban treaty.
  • The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) responds to the 1957 Soviet launching of Sputnik. The act encourages the study of science, mathematics and languages, but leaves management and implementation to state and local government.
  • The American nuclear submarine Nautilus makes a successful trip under the North Pole.
  • The first regularly-scheduled transatlantic jet passenger service is inaugurated between New York and London.
  • The first regularly-scheduled jet passenger service within the US, daily service from New York to Miami, is inaugurated.
  • The Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy” is written by Henry Onerati, Katherine Davis and Harry Simeone.
  • Rod Serling writes “The Time Element” as a pilot for his proposed sci-fi series, “The Twilight Zone.” CBS wanted a half-hour format for the series, and rejected the pilot as too long. Desilu purchased the show and ran it on their “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” on November 24, 1958. It's unexpected popularity encouraged the network to proceed with “The Twilight Zone.”

  • New products and businesses in 1958
  • American Express
  • Pizza Hut
  • Sweet 'n Low

  • On December 1 In History
    1794 The first half-dollar coins were placed into circulation.
    1879 Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, “H.M.S. Pinafore”, opens. Arthur Sullivan conducts the orchestra while William Gilbert plays the role of a sailor.
    1887 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes first appears in print in “A Study in Scarlet”.
    1913 The first drive-in automobile service station in the US opened at Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh.
    1917 Father Edward Flanagan opens “Boys Town” near Omaha, Nebraska as a home for wayward boys.
    1918 Iceland Achieves Independence from Denmark.
    1924 “Lady Be Good” opens in New York City.
    1939 The epic film “Gone With The Wind” premiers in New York.
    1941 The Civil Air Patrol is created.
    1942 Nationwide gasoline rationing goes into effect.
    1954 The US signs a mutual defence treaty with Taiwan.
    1955 Rosa Parks, a black woman, is arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus.
    1957 Sam Cooke and Buddy Holly and The Crickets debut on Ed Sullivan Show.
    1959 The first color photograph of the earth from outer space was taken from the nose of a Thor missile launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The capsule containing the camera was recovered Feb. 16, 1960.
    1964 The “Houston Colt .45s” officially change their nickname to The “Astros”. The change coincides with the team's impending move from Colt Stadium to the Harris County Domed Stadium, known as the “Astrodome”.
    1969 The U.S. government holds the first draft lottery since World War II.
    1989 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits the Vatican in Rome and meets with Pope John Paul II. He is the first Soviet leader to ever meet with a pope, and signals the end of the Soviet government's official commitment to atheism.
    1990 Engineers digging a railway tunnel under the Channel break through the last rock, joining Britain to mainland Europe for the first time since the Ice Age.

    Notable December 1 Birthdays
    1913 Actress-singer Mary Martin
    1922 Former CIA director Stansfield Turner
    1925 Nobel Prize winning biochemist Martin Rodbell
    1934 Singer Billy Paul
    1935 Actor-director Woody Allen; Singer Lou Rawls
    1939 Golfer Lee Trevino; Singer Dianne Lennon (of The Lennon Sisters)
    1940 Comedian-actor Richard Pryor
    1943 Television producer David Salzman
    1944 Rock musician John Densmore (of The Doors)
    1945 Actress-singer Bette Midler
    1946 Singer Gilbert O'Sullivan
    1951 Actor Treat Williams
    1956 Country singer Kim Richey
    1958 Actress Charlene Tilton
    1961 Actor Jeremy Northam
    1975 Singer Sarah Masen

    Do You Remember When...
  • All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
  • It took five minutes for the TV warm up?
  • Nearly everyone's mom was at home when kids got home from school?
  • Nobody owned a purebred dog?
  • A quarter was a pretty good allowance?
  • You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
  • Your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
  • All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
  • You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?
  • You didn't pay for air? And you got trading stamps to boot?
  • It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
  • They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed ... and they followed through?
  • A 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car ... to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
  • Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, “That cloud looks like a ...”
  • Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
  • Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
  • Being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited you at home?
  • Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
  • Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs and gangs ... our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
  • Summers were filled with bike rides, baseball games, Hula Hoops, bowling and visits to the pool
  • Eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
  • The perfect age was somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.
  • How many of these do you remember?
  •   15 cent McDonald hamburgers
      35 cents per gallon gasoline
      45 RPM records
      5 cent packs of baseball cards with a pink slab of bubble gum
      Beanie and Cecil
      Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum
      Candy cigarettes
      Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
      Cork pop guns
      Drive ins
      Erector Sets
      Green Stamps
      Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
      Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery
      Howdy Doody
      Jiffy Pop popcorn
      Laurel and Hardy
      Lincoln Logs
      Metal ice cubes trays with levers
      Mimeograph paper
      Nancy Drew
      Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk
      Newsreels before the movie
      P.F. Fliers
      Party lines
      Penny candy
      Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
      Roller-skate keys
      Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
      Telephone numbers with a word prefix....(Hillside 2-345).
      The Fort Apache Play Set
      The Fuller Brush Man
      The Hardy Boys
      The Lone Ranger
      The Shadow Knows
      Washtub wringers
      Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
  • Do you remember a time when...
  •   A foot of snow was a dream come true?
      Baseball cards in the spokes turned any bike into a motorcycle?
      Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
      Decisions were made by going “Eeny-meeny-miney-moe”?
      Having a weapon at school meant being caught with a slingshot?
      It wasn't odd to have two or three “Best Friends”?
      Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “Do Over!”?
      “Race issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
      Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
      Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
      Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
      The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
      The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was “cooties”?
      War was a card game?
      Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?
  • If you can remember most or all of these, then you probably lived through the 1950s!
  •   - Contributed by Mike Guzaldo & Patti Neri