Monday, April 6, 2009

APRIL 1958

April 1 - The BBC Radiophonic Workshop is established.
April 3 - Castro's revolutionary army begins its attacks on Havana.
April 4 - April 7 - In the first protest march for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament from Hyde Park, London to Aldermaston, Berkshire, demonstrators demand the banning of nuclear weapons.
April 4 - Cheryl Crane, daughter of actress Lana Turner, fatally stabs her mother's gangster lover Johnny Stompanato (the stabbing is eventually ruled as self-defense).
April 6 - Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari divorces the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after she is unable to produce any children.
April 14 - The satellite Sputnik 2 disintegrates in space after several orbits.
April 14 - Van Cliburn wins the Tchaikovsky International Competition for pianists in Moscow, breaking Cold War tensions.
April 15 - The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 at San Francisco's Seals Stadium, in the first Major League Baseball regular season game ever played in California.
April 17 - King Baudouin of Belgium officially opens the World Fair in Brussels, also known as Expo '58.

Hula Hoops Make American debut April 1958

In April 1958, Americans were lining up outside department stores waiting for the latest delivery of Hula-Hoops. The craze lasted only a few months. By September the manufacturer, Wham-O, was stuck with millions of unsold hoops. Wham-O soon came back, marketing the Frisbee, to which they had bought rights in 1957. Other Wham-O products were less successful. Who now remembers the Wham-O Do-it-Yourself Bomb Shelter Kit, or the Wham-O Instant Fish (consisting of dried fish eggs and some mud to grow them in)? But in the annals of entrepreneurship, and for their contributions to the world's stock of harmless pleasure, the men who brought us the Hula-Hoop and the Frisbee deserve high honors. Wham-O was founded by Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr. Melin died in 2002; Knerr, just this past January 14. R.I.P., and thanks for the fun.