The Year was 1956

President Dwight D Eisenhower (R) 1953-1961

There was a crisis in the Suez and the Highway Act provided for more than 41 thousand miles of highway construction.  Castro landed in Cuba and Elvis shows up on the Ed Sullivan Show and breaks into the music charts with his hit single, Heartbreak Hotel.

The standard of living increased so that nearly one in four Americans who graduated High School were heading to college.

United States President – Dwight D. Eisenhower

The US population was about 168,900,000 and our life expectancy  in 1956 was about 67.5 years.

The murder rate was just 4.5 murders per 100,000 .

The Median Household Income was about 4450 dollars for the average laborer.

Play-Doh in 1956. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Federal Minimum Wage in 1956 was $1.00 per hour, or $9.23 per hour in 2018 dollars.

A brand new home would cost you about 11 thousand dollars or a bit more.

Groceries were  much lower in price. Bacon was 50 cents a pound and eggs 22 for a dozen. A gallon of milk cost about $.91 and a loaf of bread was approximately 20 cents.

Sending a letter across the country would cost you  $.03 in postage.

A gallon of gas cost about 22 cents.


The top selling car in 1956 was the Studebaker Golden Hawk and it had a base price of $3,061.

We were wearing Ankle pants and club collar sweaters along with boxy coats and high sheen gabardine trousers. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but the second hat shown in this video just might be where DEVO got their inspiration.

1956 News

Moms could now use disposable diapers and not have to wash the cotton ones and Tefal non stick pans were all the rage.

Four young, up-and-coming musicians, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins came together for one informal jam session during December . Called the “Million Dollar Quartet”

Grace Kelly, a budding movie star became a  princess with her marriage to Prince Rainier.

Products introduced in 1956

Certs – Two, two, two mints in one!

  • Certs
  • Comet Cleanser
  • Dove chocolate
  • Dove Bar
  • Flav-R-Straws
  • Glade brand
  • Play-Doh
  • Raid insecticide
  • Scotchgard
  • Secret deodorant
  • Tefal non-stick pans
  • Wisk laundry detergent
  • Yahtzee game

1956 Music, Television and Movies

Music – The Top 5 Songs of 1961

1. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)

2. Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)

3. Lisbon Antigua – Nelson Riddle (Capitol)

4. My Prayer – The Platters (Mercury)

Although My Prayer was originally recorded by Glenn Miller and the Ink Spots in 1939, this version by The Platters became the classic that we all know.

5. The Wayward Wind – Gogi Grant (Era)


1956 Television

CBS was the dominant TV network in 1956 with more top-rated shows than ABC and NBC combined.

The top 5 TV shows of 1956

1. I Love Lucy

2. The Ed Sullivan Show, with Elvis Presley

3. General Electric Theater with Ronald Reagan and James Dean

4. The $64,000 Question

5. December Bride

Top-Grossing Movies of 1956

The Ten Commandments

Around the World in 80 Days


Seven Wonders of the World

The King and I