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Highlights of Gay History During the 1950s

Mattachine-society-men-christmas-1951

 

May 5, 1952 - The "Vitavitavegamin" episode airs on I Love Lucy

Sept 15, 1952 - Lucy and Ethel run into trouble on the assembly line at the candy factory on tonight's episode of I Love Lucy.

 

Lucy_ethel_candyfactory

 

Dec 15, 1952 - George Jorgenseon has a sex change operation and becomes Christine.

June 7, 1954 - Brilliant British mathematician, Alan Turing, who was responsible for breaking the Nazi's secret code during WWII and was a pioneer in the development of artificial intelligence, takes his life by swallowing cyanide.  In 1952 he had been convicted of gross indecency for being a homosexual and was forced to be castrated chemically.  He was 42 at the time of his death.  

Sept 30, 1955 - Actor James Dean is killed in a car crash at the age of 24, one month before Rebel Withough a Cause is released.

Oct. 7, 1955 - The first public reading of Allen Ginsberg's seminal poem Howl takes place in San Francisco.  

Nov 9, 1955 - Rock Hudson marries his agent's secretary to squelch "rumors" about his sexual orientation.

 

Rockhudson_marries 

 

May 12, 1956 - Actor Montgomery Clift is seriously injured in a car accident after leaving a party at Elizabeth Taylor's Hollywood home.

Nov 3, 1956 - The Wizard of Oz airs on TV for the first time.

May 29, 1957 - Openly gay movie director James Whale commits suicide by drowning himself in his swimming pool in Hollywood.  He was 67.  The acclaimed 1998 movie Gods & Monsters, starring Ian McKellen (who received an Oscar nomination for his role), was about the later years of Whale's life.

Sept 26, 1957 - West Side Story opens on Broadway, with quite the gay pedigree: Leonard Bernstein (Music); Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics); Arthur Laurents (Book); and Jerome Robbins (Choreography).

Oct 9, 1957 - 22-year-old Johnny Mathis sings Chances Are on American Bandstand.

 

Johnny_mathis_young

 

Dec 3, 1957 - Tallulah Bankhead makes a guest appearance on the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

Jan 13, 1958 - The U.S. Supreme Court issues its first pro-gay decision, ruling that homosexuals have a First Amendment right to send magazines published for them through the U.S. mail.

 

Mailman   

Jan 30, 1958 - 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent introduces his first collection as head designer for Christian Dior.

May 30, 1958 - 23-year-old Van Cliburn makes his Carnegie Hall debut.

 

Time.mag.vanclliburn

 

Oct 20, 1958 - Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's is published in the November issue of Esquire Magazine.

Dec 27, 1958 - The movie Auntie Mame, starring Rosalind Russell, opens in theaters.

 

Mame

 

May 31, 1959 - A fire destroys the original "Botel" in the harbor of Fire Island Pines.

June 9, 1959 - Headline of a story in the NY Daily News: "I'm No Homo, Says Suing Liberace."

Oct 7, 1959 - Pillow Talk, starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, opens in theaters and becomes the 2nd highest grossing film of the 1950's.

 

(To read about LGBT history from other years double click here.)

 

 

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