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Wystan // Flickr 1953: 3D movies
Beginning with the release of “Bwana Devil” in 1952, the popularity of 3D movies spread far and wide in 1953, when there were more than 5,000 theaters nationwide equipped to show them. The movies “House of Wax” and “It Came From Outer Space” were released in 3D this year. Moviegoers complained of eyestrain a few years later, but new technology fueled a comeback with IMAX films.
Warner Bros. 1955: ‘Mickey Mouse Club’
One of the 1950s’ most beloved variety TV shows for kids, the “Mickey Mouse Club” show (featuring the Mouseketeers) kicked off in 1955 on ABC, which dropped the series just four years later in 1959. But edited reruns and evolving programming kept versions of it on the air through 1996. Later cast members included Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and other household names.
Walt Disney Productions 1956: Elvis
Still one of America’s all-time favorite singers, Elvis Presley’s fame skyrocketed in 1956, with his first #1 single, “Heartbreak Hotel” and first #1 album, “Elvis Presley.” His fame continued to spread across America, with TV appearances and chart-topping records, plus his first movie contract with Paramount Pictures for “Love Me Tender.”
Public Domain 1957: Frisbee
Released to the public in January, Frisbees took off this year after toy company Wham-O bought the initial flying disk concept (dubbed the Pluto Platter) from inventor Walter Frederick Morrison in the late 1940s. Considered a fad that would soon die out, more than 100 million Frisbees have been sold so far, and sports such as Frisbee golf have evolved to keep the hovering disc popular.
Public Domain 1958: Hula hoop
Invented by Arthur K. Melin and Richard P. Knerr of the Wham-O toy company, the hula hoop was inspired by Australian wood rings. More than 100 million of the multi-colored plastic hoops sold in the first year on the market. Although the fad slowed in the 1960s, the toy is still popular, and has had resurgence as an effective exercise routine.
GeorgeLouis // Wikimedia Commons 1959: Barbie
Born Barbie Millicent Roberts on March 9, 1959, to Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler, the Barbie doll and her fashions, accessories, and friends swept America’s little girls off their feet. The ever-evolving fashionista and her entourage continue to be some of America’s favorite toy selections, with more than 1 billion sold since its release.