Best of the Decade: 1950s

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features lists of books, movies and music. We’re heading into a new decade with a new focus…the past. Each month, we’ll share a list of events, inventions and, of course, books, movies and music, from every decade since the 1900s right here on the blog. Enjoy!

Charlie Brown causes a cute commotion in newspapers nationwide and Rosa Parks’ choice to remain seated makes a major statement. This month, we share a few important events as well as the books, music and movies that shaped society in the 1950s.


Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss
Peyton Place – Grace Metalious


Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
West Side Story – Original Broadway Cast
Here’s Little Richard – Little Richard
In the Wee Small Hours – Frank Sinatra
Chuck Berry is On Top – Chuck Berry
The “Chirping” Crickets – Buddy Holly
The Shape of Jazz to Come – Ornette Coleman


Sunset Boulevard
Singin’ in the Rain
The Seventh Seal
Rebel Without a Cause
A Streetcar Named Desire
On the Waterfront
Some Like it Hot


1950 Peanuts comic strip debuts
1953 First James Bond book published
1954 Army-McCarthy hearings begin
1954 Supreme Court rules on Brown v. Board of Education
1955 Rosa Parks’ arrest sparks bus boycott
1956 Elvis performs on Ed Sullivan show
1957 Civil Rights Act
1958 NASA founded
1959 Hawaii becomes 50th US state

Just like that, we’re halfway through our dedication to the decades. While we’ve covered a lot of ground, we’re sure there are some great books, tunes and films we forgot to mention. Let us know which books, music and movies you would add to our list for the ‘50s.