Can You Pass This 1953 Trivia Quiz?

Jennifer Post

Image: Sturti / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The year 1953 saw not only major advancements in the United States, but pretty much all over the world. Baby Boomers were still being born, Lucille Ball was taking over the silver screen and international relations were as tense as ever. The British royal family was changing hands as was the Soviet Union. Wars were coming to an end and the color television was finally being sold for over one thousand dollars. This particular year of the 1950s saw no shortage of fun slang, fun TV and even more fun and creative food. It wasn't all serious peace talks and testing of hydrogen bombs. 

Need some examples? We got you! Maybe you'd be interested to know that Tim Allen, Woody from "Toy Story" himself, was born in this year. You know who else was born this year? Pierce Brosnan, who would go on to play James Bond. While that may not seem that interesting on its own, his birth happened in the same year the first James Bond book was released. What a fun coincidence! With all that said, it may seem like we gave away a lot about this year, but there's so much more to know about the pop culture and politics of the year. Can you pass this 1953 trivia quiz? Take it now to find out!

Your remote control and television do this for you now, but back in 1953, which magazine debuted allowing people to see what was on TV and when?

Lucille Ball was on a roll in 1953, so it's no surprise that she graced the cover of the first ever TV Guide along with her son, Desi Arnaz IV. Nowadays, you can talk to your TV remote and find out when things are on, but TV Guide was revolutionary for the time.

On May 29, 1953, which adventurous feat did Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay accomplish?

There was another attempt to ascent the summit of Mount Everest in 1924, but it could not be confirmed because the two climbers died on descent. That makes Hillary and Norgay the official first successful ascent in 1953.

Major medical advances were also being made in 1953. Which vaccine was announced?

In 1953, Jonas Salk began testing his polio vaccine on himself and his family members. While it wasn't available for the public until 1955, his sample tests on adults and children proved successful.

For those born in 1953, which generation are they a member of?

The Baby Boomer generation is still going strong today. They remain active in the workforce and are even going back to school. Many generations have multiple names, but there has only ever been one for those born between 1946 and 1964. Baby Boomers.

In this pivotal year in history, what did the brand Swanson do with all of their leftover turkey from Thanksgiving?

Leftovers aren't a new thing now and they weren't new in 1953, but what was done with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers that year changed dinner forever. Swanson asked employees for suggestions for what to do with them, and one said to package it individually and freeze it. The rest is history!

Across the pond, what major event was happening to the British royal family?

After Queen Mary's death in 1953, Elizabeth II was coronated as the new monarch in that same year, and is now the longest reigning one. After Her Majesty, Charles, Prince of Wales will take over the throne as king.

That's the blues, baby! 1953 marked the first song recordings of which smooth talking and hip swirling icon?

You didn't have to be alive in 1953 to know who Elvis is. A new fan is born every day, but 1953 is the year that his career started in the recording studio of Sun Records. There, he recorded "My Happiness," among many other hits.

1953 saw the first civilians to be executed for espionage in the United States. Who were they?

The two Americans who spied on America for the Soviet Union were the first of their kind to be executed for the crime of espionage. Other family members were also sentenced to prison, including Ethel's brother, David Greenglass.

What big scientific discovery was made in 1953 at the University of Cambridge?

The discovery was made at the Cavendish Laboratory by Rosalind Franklin. She is said to be the one to spot the double helix structure of DNA through X-ray. However, there was a whole team of scientists whose work made this discovery possible.

Starting in 1953, American radios featured a white triangle on the dial at 640 AM. What did that signify?

It was primarily used during the Cold War to announce an enemy attack. The white triangle was actually the logo of CONELRAD, a method of emergency broadcasting. It stands for Control of Electromagnetic Radiation.

If you know anything about baseball, you know the World Series is the most important series to win. Who won it in 1953?

The Yankees are the winningest team when it comes to the World Series at 27 wins. The next closest team is at 11 wins. 1953 marked the Yankees fifth consecutive win, and 16th overall.

Do you remember which major war ended in 1953?

After three years and one month, the Korean war came to an end in July of 1953 due to an armistice at Panmunjom. The war saw over 33,000 US casualties and many more from other nations and organizations.

Who was considered the funniest lady on TV this year?

Lucille Ball was in the prime of her career in 1953 and she was widely considered the funniest lady on television. Her role in "I Love Lucy" and her emerging success as a female comedian led to many shows and accolades throughout her career.

It didn't hit the number one spot until two days after Christmas in 1952, but which holiday tune was number one until January 9, 1953?

Hitting the number one spot on December 27, 1952, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" hung around until January 9, 1953. That just goes to show that people like to keep the Christmas holiday going for as long as possible. Hallmark really capitalizes on this now.

It's hard to believe, but which board game did people not play prior to 1953 because it hadn't been invented yet?

One of the most iconic word games of all time wasn't even brought to market until 1953. What games were people playing before then? Mrs. Potato Head was also introduced in 1953. What a good year for playing around!

The Nobel Prize isn't just for peace! Who won for literature in 1953?

Ernest Hemingway was a journalist, novelist and short story writer. Most known for novels like "A Farewell to Arms," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature less than ten years before his death.

Not everything that happened in 1953 was all fun and games. Which popular star passed away?

Hank Williams was a country pop star with dozens of hits. His given name is Hiram King Williams, but went by Hank. He had problems in life that ultimately caused his death, but he is considered one of the most influential musicians in history.

Who designed the speed bump that you know and probably find annoying today?

It's funny, really. He designed the speed bump because he was irritated by how fast people were driving around the Washington University campus, but now, people are annoyed that they have to slow down to go over a speed bump.

The Soviet Union was still standing in 1953, and what notable moment in history happened that year?

After many years of war, famine and accused genocide, Joseph Stalin finally met the beginning of the end when his staff found him barely conscious on March 1, 1953. He died four days later.

Taking leftovers from their French fries, Ore-Ida introduced which beloved side dish to grocery stores in 1953?

Ore-Ida took the leftovers from their French fry line, pressed them to form the little nuggets, fried them, froze them and sent them off to you nearest grocery store. Waste not want not!

The Cincinnati Reds team name was temporarily changed in 1953. What was it changed to?

The name changed back to just the Reds in 1958 but it was originally changed in 1953 because they were afraid the name was too closely related to communism and The Red Scare. The Redlegs didn't have the same ring to it.

June 18, 1953 marked a big anniversary for which activist/singer couple who married in front of 350 guests?

Coretta Scott was a famous singer in her own right when she married MLK Jr. Did you know that she didn't say yes to his proposal for six months? They were eventually wed in her parents' garden.

Isaac Asimov may have predicted the future in his book, "Sally," by claiming the first what would be released around 2015?

There has been much trial and error when it comes to self driving, or autonomous, cars. Some can only go a few miles and some are most of the way there. 2020 will likely be the earliest we will see a fully autonomous car.

Another wedding for the history books! Which couple, known for their picturesque and sought after lifestyle, were married in September of 1953?

The preppy New England lifestyle portrayed by JFK and Jackie was one people strived for. Of course it had its ups and downs, but they were the couple people looked to for inspiration and envy.

This might sound totally fake, but which state was finally added to the Union after a forgetful Congress neglected to vote it in formally as the 17th state?

Ohio is technically the 17th state added to the Union, but because Congress forgot to formally vote for its admittance, it wasn't added until 1953, actually making it the 47th state added to the Union.

The James Bond franchise is still going strong today, but which Bond book came out in 1953?

Daniel Craig's recent reign as the famous spy might have come to an end, but Casino Royale was the first book in the Bond series. There have been over five actors playing the suave spy, but there's only ever one real James Bond.

Can you choose the name that was not in the top ten baby names of 1953?

Each year there is a list of the most popular names, and while a few stay on the list year after year, Donna was not in the top ten for 1953. Other names on the list were Susan, Michael and David.

The beloved awards show, The Oscars, was in full swing in 1953. Do you know which movie won Best Film?

Guess you can really call it the greatest show on earth after winning Best Film at the Oscars! Starring Charlton Heston and Betty Hutton, the film centered on the inner workings and relationships of the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.

There were a lot of name changes in 1953! The Pennsylvania town of Mauch Chunk changed its name to what in that year, and has remained that ever since?

What is now known as a popular winter destination near the Poconos, Jim Thorpe wasn't always named so. It wasn't until the town of Mauch Chunk got the rights to the remains of the athlete, at the behest of his wife, that they changed the town's name in his honor.

Which Disney animated movie made its debut in 1953?

Walt Disney produced this film based on the play and original character. It was the last Disney animated film that all nine of the original animators worked on together. The sequel, "Return to Neverland" wasn't released until 2002.

Pageants were in their heyday in the '50s! Who was Miss America in 1953?

Neva got into the pageant circuit when she was in college in Macon, Georgia. She started out as Miss Macon and worked her way up to Miss America. The newly crowned beauty queen made many TV appearances as Miss America, including "What's My Line."

Which of the below notable and controversial books came out in 1953?

In the book about books being banned and burned, one of those books is the Bible. That is the main reason Fahrenheit 451 was banned in schools and many libraries. Definitely an ironic situation!

Which slang word, that's still used today, was first used in 1953?

It may seem like the term frenemy was coined much more recently than 1953, but it first appeared in a gossip column from that year suggesting we should refer to the Soviet Union as a frenemy of the United States.

This was a big year for sports! In 1953, who was finally credited for inventing the modern game of baseball?

Abner Doubleday had long been known for inventing baseball, but in 1953, Cartwright was officially credited with the first happening of what is now known as America's pastime. He founded the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club and the rest is history.

Who was Time Magazine's Man of the Year 1953?

Adenauer was the First Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was responsible for taking the country from World War II and turning it into a country with strong relations with France, the UK and the United States.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes