This was probably not the best year of my life but my decisions would have an impact for a very long time. It was the era of the Rock and Roll explosion, the Teenager, Cars and good times.
Unfortunately, I would be in a serious car mishap that would place me in the hospital for 4 months, jeopardize my life and further schooling. I did survive, spent 4 months in hospital and another year wearing a back brace due to a broken back. Even with all this, 1955 was a great year and a great time to be a teenager.
Some great trends and a couple of disturbing ones would start for me in 1955:
1. I would date some of the best looking girls in school, but with the exception of one none would last more that a month. This trend would carry on for the next 12 years; disturbing, it would encompass, one steady girl friend 57/58, and two engagements. I think about it and I do not think it was the commitment thing, it was the challenge with me, but who really knows.
2. I was very average looking, so how could I date the “hot” good looking girls. Well, I could talk and I was learning to dance, and I loved it. Most of the guys did not like dancing, so I believe that was one of the greatest assets I had, definitely not my looks.
3. I had rhythm; it came from my Dad and it would serve me well to this day.
4. I was not a great student; too much social and not enough Academic. That would haunt me too and force me back to night school in the 60’s. I loved High School for the wrong reasons.
5. My biggest regret would stay with me to this day; when I was very young I took guitar lessons but never followed up – I did not like practicing. I took lessons again in the 70’s, but business got in the way; too bad. Now with Arthritis in my hands, those days are gone forever.
6. Cars started to have two colours, or two toning; pink and charcoal grey where THE colours.
7. Clothes: I had to have custom tailored pants (we called them strides or drapes) that had the cuff taken from 18″ to 14″.
8. The word “Cool” was born; NO, it does not belong to today’s generation. It is, was, and always will be a 50’s word.
There was even a cigarette called “Kool” which had a menthol flavor and Ads featured Willie the Penguin.
9. Guy’s Haircuts: would either be a Duck Tail, Flat Top with optional long sideburns, or just a plain Crew Cut.
Some of the things I remember from 1955:
1. The worst auto racing accident happened in France, when 84 spectators die at the Le Mans Racetrack, North of Paris.
2. The Mickey Mouse club and Annette sky rocketed to fame; M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E .
3. Eddie Fisher married Debbie Reynolds
4. Sam Phillips sold Elvis to RCA.
5. The Movie “Blackboard Jungle” had its debut and all the teenagers flocked to see it. It’s haunting theme song, “Rock around the Clock” was a hit for the second year and became Number 1.
6. In January Alan Freed held his first ever concert with all black R&B performers. They only expected to draw a few hundred fans, but over 15,000 tickets where sold!
Rock and Roll was coming of age.
7. Elvis, Bill Haley, Fats, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard all had a good year. The music business changed fast.
Movies of 1955:
Best Picture: Marty
Best Actor: Ernest Borgnine for Marty
Best Actress: Anna Magnani for The Rose Tatoo
Best Song: Love is a many splendored Thing.
My Favourite movies:
East of Eden
New TV shows in 1955:
I’ve got a Secret
The $64,000 Dollar Question
Baseball: The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees and win the World Series
Football: The Cleveland Browns beat the LA Rams 34 to 14
Hockey: Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Canadiens and win the Stanley Cup
This was the first year I really started to get into cars and these where my favourites.
1. 1955 Chevrolet (my Dad had a 55 Chevy)
2. 1955 Ford Crown Victoria
3. 1955 Ford Thunderbird – They should have kept this design.
5. 1955 Plymouth
6. 1955 Oldsmobile Super 88
THE MUSIC OF 1955:
The great R&B and Rock and Roll music was just starting to creep into our white, affluent society, in Toronto. The music we wanted was difficult to find but all of the teenagers knew how to do it: get a Small AM Radio, take a wire and connect to a stove-pipe or something to act like an antenna, or in the car, find the correct area, and you could get the R&B Stations from the US.
My influence came from WKBW in Buffalo, New York and the man was called “The Hound”, Mr. George Lorenz.
If we wanted to hear Rock and Roll by the originators, usually on Race records, that’s how we did it.
The Hound’s Big Heavy theme:
6. The House of Blue Lights/Chuck Miller/
8. Maybelline & Thirty Days/Chuck Berry
11. Sixteen Tons/Tennessee Ernie Ford
12. Tutti Frutti/Little Richard
13. Memories are made of this/Dean Martin and the Easy Riders
14. Hearts of Stone/ The Fontaine Sisters
15. Unchained Melody/ Al Hibbler
16. Speedo/ the Cadillacs