What Happened in May 1956

Historical Events

  • May 1 A doctor in Japan reports an "epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system", marking the official discovery of Minamata disease
  • May 2 US Lab detects high-temperature microwave radiation from Venus
  • May 2 US Methodist church disallows racial separation
  • May 3 A new range of mountains discovered in Antarctica (2 over 13,000')
  • May 3 Frank Loesser's musical "Most Happy Fella" opens at Imperial Theater, NYC; runs for 678 performances
  • May 4 Queen Juliana unveils National Monument to Dams in Amsterdam
  • May 4 US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak
  • May 5 82nd Kentucky Derby: David Erb aboard Needles wins in 2:03.4
  • May 5 Broekster Boys soccer team forms in Damwoude
  • May 5 Jim Bailey (US) runs mile a record 3:58.6 in LA Calif
  • May 5 World championships of judo are 1st held in Tokyo
  • May 6 Gus Bell (Reds) homers off Bob Miller in both ends of a double header
  • May 6 WRCB TV channel 3 in Chattanooga, TN (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • May 7 Battle at Oran, Algeria, kills 300
  • May 7 NY Giant Bill White, homers in his 1st at bat

Historic Event

May 7 Pulitzer Prize for Drama awarded to Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett for their play "The Diary of Anne Frank"

  • May 8 John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" premieres in London
  • May 9 First ascent of Manaslu, the world's eighth-highest mountain in the Nepalese Himalayas by Japanese climbers Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu

Historic Event

May 9 War Reparations and Peace Settlement between Philippines and Japan was finally signed at Malacañang Palace under Magsaysay administration

Cannes Film Festival

May 10 9th Cannes Film Festival: "The Silent World" directed by Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle wins the Palme d'Or

  • May 10 French government sends 50,000 reservists to Algeria
  • May 10 KFSN TV channel 30 in Fresno, CA (ABC/CBS) begins broadcasting

Music History

May 11 Elvis Presley's 1st entry on UK charts with "Heartbreak Hotel"

  • May 11 Pinky Lee Show last airs on NBC-TV
  • May 12 Brooklyn Dodger Carl Erskine's 2nd no-hitter, beats NY Giants, 3-0
  • May 12 East Pakistan struck by cyclone and tidal waves
  • May 13 Pachyderm Building at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opens (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • May 16 Egypt recognizes People's Republic of China
  • May 16 England cricket spin bowler Jim Laker takes 10-88 for Surrey v Australia in tour match at The Oval, London
  • May 16 Great Britain performs nuclear Test at Monte Bello Is Australia
  • May 16 Kraft Theater presents an act from "Profiles in Courage"
  • May 18 Hungarian party leader Matyas Rákosi enforces his own policy

Baseball Record

May 18 Mickey Mantle hits HR from both sides of plate for record 3rd time

  • May 18 Queen Juliana opens Rembrandt fairs in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • May 19 81st Preakness: Bill Hartack aboard Fabius wins in 1:58.4
  • May 19 Pirate Dale Long hits 9th-inning HR, 1st HR in 8 straight games
  • May 20 Atomic fusion (thermonuclear) bomb dropped from plane at Bikini Atoll
  • May 20 Jordan government of Samir resigns
  • May 21 Jordan government of Said el-Mufti forms
  • May 21 US explodes 1st airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll
  • May 21 WITI TV channel 6 in Milwaukee, WI (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting

Television Finale

May 22 "Bob Hope Show" last airs on NBC-TV

  • May 22 KRIS TV channel 6 in Corpus Christi, TX (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • May 23 World Trade Center dedicated in Ferry Building, San Francisco
  • May 24 1st Eurovision Song Contest: Lys Assia for Switzerland wins singing "Refrain" in Lugano
  • May 24 Conclusion of the Sixth Buddhist Council on Vesak Day, marking the 2,500 year anniversary after the Lord Buddha's Parinibbāna

Catholic Encyclical

May 25 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Haurietis aquas

  • May 26 A fire on board the aircraft carrier USS Bennington in Narragansett Bay, off Rhode Island, kills 103 crew

French Open Men's Tennis

May 26 French Championships Men's Tennis: Australian Lew Hoad wins his first and only French title; beats Sven Davidson of Sweden 6-4, 8-6, 6-3

French Open Women's Tennis

May 26 French Championships Women's Tennis: American Althea Gibson wins her only French singles title; beats Angela Mortimer of England 6-0, 12-10

  • May 26 Reds' John Klippstein, Hershel Freemman & Joe Blacks no-hitter, broken up with 2 outs in 10th & lose to Braves in 11th, 2-1
  • May 27 French raid in Algiers
  • May 27 US performs nuclear test at Enwetak (atmospheric tests)
  • May 28 Dale Long becomes 1st to hit HRs in 8 straight games

Historic Event

May 28 Eisenhower signs farm bill allows government to store agricultural surplus

Music History

May 29 Arnold Schoenberg's "Modern Psalm" premieres

  • May 29 WESH TV channel 2 in Daytona Beach-Orlando, FL (NBC) 1st broadcast
  • May 30 Bus boycott begins in Tallahassee Florida
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Pat Flaherty wins in a Watson-Offenhauser; first 500 to be governed by the United States Automobile Club
  • May 30 Mickey Mantle misses by 18 inches hitting 1st home run out of Yankee Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader against the Washington Senators
  • May 30 US performs nuclear test at Enwetak (atmospheric tests)

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Byron Stewart, Baxter Springs Ks, actor (Warren Coolidge-St Elsewhere)
  • May 2 David Rhodes, English guitarist (Random Hold), born in London

Akio Toyoda

May 3 Akio Toyoda, Japanese president of Toyota Motor Corporation, born in Nagoya, Japan

  • May 3 Gillian Rolton, Australian equestrian (Summer Olympics 1992, 1996- gold), born in Adelaide, South Australia (d. 2017)
  • May 3 Marc Bellemare, French Canadian lawyer and politician, born in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
  • May 4 Barrie Masters, British pub-rock singer (Eddie & the Hot Rods), born in Rochford, Essex, England (d. 2019)
  • May 4 David Guterson, American author (Snow Falling on Cedars), born in Seattle, Washington
  • May 4 Ken Oberkfell, American baseball player, born in Highland, Illinois
  • May 4 Michael L. Gernhardt, American NASA astronaut (STS 69, 83, 94, sk 100), born in Mansfield, Ohio
  • May 4 Sharon Jones, American soul singer (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings), born in Augusta, Georgia (d. 2016)
  • May 4 Ulrike Meyfarth, German high jumper (Olympic gold 1972), born in Frankfurt, Germany
  • May 5 Dick Kemper, Dutch rock vocalist and bassist (Vandenberg), born in Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • May 6 Brad Felt, American jazz tuba and euphonium player, composer, and bandleader, born in Royal Oak, Michigan (d. 2011)
  • May 6 Tim Simpson, American golfer (4 PGA Tour titles, born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • May 7 Anne Dudley, British classical and film composer (The Full Monty), born in Beckenham, Kent
  • May 7 Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002-10), born in Biezelinge, Netherlands
  • May 7 Jean Lapierre, Canadian politician and television host, born in Bassin, Quebec, Canada (d. 2016)
  • May 9 Wendy Crewson, Canadian actress (Saving Hope), born in Hamilton, Ontario
  • May 10 Bakithi Kumalo, South African session and touring bassist, and composer (Paul Simon - "Graceland"; "Call Me Al"; Mickey Hart's Planet Drum; Harry Belafonte), born in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • May 10 Vladislav Listyev, Russian television anchor and journalist (d. 1995)
  • May 11 Alex Lester, British broadcaster
  • May 11 Theresa Burke, Canadian journalist
  • May 12 Bernie Federko, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan
  • May 12 Glenn Robbins, Australian comedian (Kath & Kim), born in Melbourne, Australia
  • May 12 Greg Phillinganes, American session and touring keyboardist, and musical director (Stevie Wonder, Toto, Michael Jackson, David Gilmour), born in Detroit, Michigan

Homer Simpson

May 12 Homer Simpson, fictional character from the long running television show "The Simpsons", born in Springfield

  • May 13 Aleksandr Yuriyevich Kaleri, Russian cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-14)
  • May 13 David Hollestelle, Dutch rock guitarist (Herman Brood & His Wild Romance), born in Hilversum, Netherlands
  • May 13 Richard Madeley, British TV presenter, journalist, columnist and novelist (Richard & Judy, The Wright Stuff), born in Romford, Essex
  • May 13 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, born in Papanasam, India
  • May 14 Gillian [Marucha] Bradshaw, American sci-fi author (Hawk of May)
  • May 14 Steve Hogarth, Kendal England, vocals (Marillion-Clutching at Straws)
  • May 15 Alice Miller, American golfer (Nabisco Dinah Shore 1985), born in Marysville, CA
  • May 15 Dan Patrick, American sportscaster

Bob Saget

May 17 Bob Saget, American comedian, actor (Full House), and TV host (America's Funniest Home Video), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2022)

  • May 17 Dave Sim, Canadian cartoonist
  • May 17 Sue Carpenter, TV presenter/journalist

Sugar Ray Leonard

May 17 Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer (Olympic gold 1976), born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina

  • May 18 James Moginie, Australian rock musician, and songwriter (Midnight Oil - "Beds Are Burning"; "Blue Sky Mine"), born 64) Kalamunda, Western Australia, Australia
  • May 18 Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki, Japanese golfer (32 Japan Tour titles), born in Tekushima, Japan
  • May 19 Althea Gwyn, WBL center (NY Stars)
  • May 19 Martyn Ware, rocker (Heaven 17 - Electric Dreams)
  • May 19 Steve Ford, actor (Young & Restless)/son of President Gerald Ford
  • May 20 Andrew Hilditch, cricketer (Australian opening bat 1979-85)
  • May 20 Dean Butler, American actor
  • May 20 Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Norwegian author (Elling tetralogy, Brødre i blodet), born in Tønsberg, Norway
  • May 20 John Carney, American politician, Governor of Delaware (2017-), born in Willington, Delaware
  • May 20 Tomas Smid, Czech, tennis star
  • May 20 William Michaelian, American novelist and poet
  • May 22 Douglas Heyes Jr., American actor (Captains & Kings, Aspen), born in Los Angeles, California
  • May 22 Lucie Brock-Broido, American poet and academic (Noctuary), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2018)
  • May 22 Natasha Shneider, Russian musician (Eleven), born in Riga, Latvia (d. 2008)
  • May 23 Buck Showalter, American baseball manager (AL Manager of the Year 1994, 2004, 14; NY Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles) and analyst (ESPN, YES network), born in DeFuniak Springs, Florida
  • May 23 Mark Shaw, New Zealand rugby union flanker (30 caps; Manawatu, Hawke's Bay), born in Palmerston North, New Zealand
  • May 23 Ursula Plassnik, Austrian politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-8), born in Klagenfurt, Austria
  • May 24 Michael Jackson, Northern Irish clergyman (Archbishop of Dublin), born in Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
  • May 25 David P. Sartor, American music composer, born in Nashville, Tennessee
  • May 25 Helen Terry, British pop-rock singer ("Love Lies Lost"; "Now You're Mine"), born in England
  • May 25 Larry Hogan, American politician, Governor of Maryland (2015-), born in Washington, D.C.
  • May 25 Lincoln Barrington "Sugar" Minott, Jamaican singer (The African Brothers), born in Kingston, Jamaica (d. 2010)
  • May 25 Tatsutoshi Goto, Japanese professional wrestler (WAR/NJPW), born in Tokoname, Aichi, Japan
  • May 26 Frédéric Dutoit, French politician
  • May 27 Cynthia McFadden, American television anchor
  • May 27 Lisa Niemi, actress (Dirty Dancing, Will Rodgers Follies), born in Houston, Texas
  • May 27 Nick Lowery, NFL kicker (NY Jets)
  • May 28 Germaine Montenesdro, 2nd victim of NYC's Zodiac killer (survives)
  • May 28 Jeff Dujon, cricket wicket-keeper (WI 1981-91, their most successful)
  • May 28 Markus Höttinger, Austrian racing driver (d. 1980)
  • May 29 Larry Blackmon, American singer (Cameo - Alligator Woman), born in New York City
  • May 29 LaToya Jackson, American singer ("If You Feel the Funk"), and model, born in Gary, Indiana
  • May 30 Allison Roe MBE, New Zealand marathon runner (NYC, Boston 1981; Seoul 1982), born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • May 30 David-Maria Sassoli, Italian politician and journalist, European Parliament President (2019-22), born in Florence, Italy (d. 2022)
  • May 30 Jonathan Idema, Poughkeepsie, New York, torturer, kidnapper and con artist (d. 2012)
  • May 30 Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Greek politician (1st female President of Greece 2020-), born in Thessaloniki, Greece
  • May 31 Bart van Poppel, Dutch bassist, guitarist, and singer (Duplex Johnson, 1980-85; Tambourine, 1987-92; The Analogues, 2014-), born in The Netherlands
  • May 31 Fritz Hilpert, German musician and sound engineer (Kraftwerk, 1987-), born in Amberg, West Germany
  • May 31 Yoshiko Sakakibara, Japanese actress (Sailor Moon, Vampire Hunter), born in Chiba, Japan

Famous Weddings

Anita Ekberg

May 22 Swedish actress Anita Ekberg (24) weds actor and singer Anthony Steel (36) in Florence, Italy; divorce in 1959


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Famous Deaths

  • May 5 Karel Rudolph Gallas, Dutch lexicographer (French Dictionary), dies at 88
  • May 7 Josef Hoffmann, Austrian architect (Vienna Secession Movement), dies at 85
  • May 11 Walter S Adams, American astronomer & director of Mount Wilson, dies at 79
  • May 12 Hendrik P. Marchant, Dutch minister of Education, dies at 87
  • May 12 Louis Calhern, American actor (Julius Caesar, Blackboard Jungle), dies at 61
  • May 12 Vladimír Ambros, Czech composer, dies at 65
  • May 13 Aleksandr A. Fadejev, Russian author (Young Guard), commits suicide at 54
  • May 14 Robert Willem Pieter Peereboom, Dutch editor in chief (Haarlem Newspaper), dies at 64
  • May 15 Austin Osman Spare, English magician (b. 1886)
  • May 16 H. B. Reese, American inventor of Reese's, dies at 76
  • May 18 Maurice Tate, English cricket all-rounder (39 Tests, 155 wickets, 1 x 100, 5 x 50), dies at 60
  • May 20 Andre Eugene Maurice Charlot, actor (Summer Storm), dies
  • May 20 Max Beerbohm, English caricaturist, writer and parodist (Saturday Review), dies at 83
  • May 24 Guy Kibbee, American actor (Capt Blood, Babes in Arms), dies at 74
  • May 26 Al Simmons, American Baseball HOF outfielder (career BA .334; 3 × MLB All-Star; World Series 1929, 30; AL batting champion 1930, 31; Philadelphia A's), dies of a heart attack at 54
  • May 29 Albert H. Edelkoort, Dutch theologist (Christusverwachting), dies at 65
  • May 29 Hermann Abendroth, German conductor (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, 1934-45), dies at 73