In 1957, Leave It To Beaver premiered on CBS portraying the ideal family to 171 million Americans glued to 47 million televisions in 39 million homes. A few months later, American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, goes national when it moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and Studio “B”. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. The Pink Flamingo was created by Union Products worker, Don Featherstone. The Gyrating rocker, Elvis Presley, emerges as one of the world’s first rock stars. The most popular toys? Slinkys, Hula Hoops and Frisbees. The children’s book, “Cat in the Hat” is written by Theodore Geisel as Dr. Suess and Mr. Whipple begins selling us Squeezably Soft Charmin. Eveready markets the first AA alkaline batteries for use in portable transistor radios – cutting edge technology on both counts.
Prices were much different: The average car sold for $2749 while the average production worker made $82.32 per week. The cost of a first rate postage stamp was only 3 cents. The average cost of a new house was $12,200 while the cost of renting a like home was $90 a month. Gasoline was 24 cents a gallon. Bacon was 60 cents a pound. Eggs 28 cents a dozen.
A decade before my birth, 1957 was also the last year a child born in America was permitted to openly pray at the beginning of a school day in the nation’s public school system.