Events in Film & Television in 1959

Television Premiere

Jan 9 "Rawhide" with Clint Eastwood premieres on CBS TV

  • Jan 12 KOED TV channel 11 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (PBS) begins broadcasting

Music History

Jan 24 Dmitri Shostakovich's comedy "Cheryomushk" premieres in Moscow

  • Jan 24 WHCT TV channel 18 in Hartford, CT (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 26 KOKH TV channel 25 in Oklahoma City, OK (IND/PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 29 Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" released
  • Feb 1 WVUE TV channel 8 in New Orleans, LA (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Feb 23 KVIE TV channel 6 in Sacramento-Stockton, CA (PBS) begins broadcasting

Emmy Awards

Mar 6 11th Emmy Awards: Playhouse 90, Jack Benny Show, Raymond Burr win

  • Mar 8 KUAT TV channel 6 in Tucson, AZ (PBS) begins broadcasting

Theater Premiere

Mar 11 Lorraine Hansberry's stage drama "A Raisin in the Sun", 1st Broadway play by a black woman, starring Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier, opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, NYC; later transfers to the Belasco Theatre; runs for 530 performances

  • Mar 15 WILX TV channel 10 in Lansing, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting

Film Premiere

Mar 29 "Some Like It Hot", American comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, premieres at the Lowe’s Capital Theatre, NYC

  • Mar 30 WNED TV channel 17 in Buffalo, NY (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Apr 6 31st Academy Awards: "Gigi", Susan Hayward & David Niven win
  • Apr 11 Yip Harburg, Fred Saidy, and Harold Arlen's musical "Jamaica", starring Lena Horne, closes at Imperial Theater, NYC, after 558 performances
  • Apr 14 KDIN TV channel 11 in Des Moines, IA (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Apr 24 WICD TV channel 15 in Champaign, IL (NBC/ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Apr 28 6th National Film Awards (India): "Sagar Sangamey" wins the Golden Lotus
  • Apr 28 KLOE TV channel 10 in Goodland, KS (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • Apr 28 KPLR TV channel 11 in Saint Louis, MO (IND) begins broadcasting
  • May 4 "The 400 Blows", French film directed by François Truffaut, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, is released

Music Premiere

May 11 Mary Rodgers & Marshall Barer's musical "Once Upon A Mattress", starring Carol Burnett and directed by George Abbott, opens at Phoenix Theatre, NYC, later transferring to the Alvin Theater; runs for 244 performances

Television Finale

May 13 Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle last airs on NBC-TV

  • May 15 12th Cannes Film Festival: "Black Orpheus" directed by Marcel Camus wins the Palme d'Or
  • May 16 WTOM TV channel 4 in Cheboygan, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Jun 13 "Sammy Kaye Show" last airs on ABC-TV
  • Jun 18 New York City premiere of the film version of Kathryn Hulme's "The Nun's Story"
  • Jun 26 9th Berlin International Film Festival: "The Cousins" wins Golden Bear

Theatrical Finale

Jun 27 "West Side Story" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 734 performances

  • Jul 1 WVTV TV channel 18 in Milwaukee, WI (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Jul 6 WENH TV channel 11 in Durham, NH (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jul 12 NBC uses cameras to show catchers signals during Yankee-Red Sox game

Film Premiere

Jul 17 "North by Northwest" directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint premieres in Los Angeles

Film Premiere

Jul 18 "The Nun's Story" based on the novel by Kathryn Hulme, starring Audrey Hepburn premieres in Los Angeles

The Worst Movie Ever

Jul 22 Ed Wood's cult classic "Plan 9 From Outer Space", called one of the worse films ever, premieres

  • Jul 24 500,000th Dutch TV set registered
  • Aug 1 WAAY TV channel 31 in Huntsville, AL (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting

Venice Film Festival

Aug 23 20th Venice Film Festival: "The Great War" directed by Mario Monicelli and "General della Rovere" directed by Roberto Rossellini jointly awarded Golden Lion

Television Premiere

Sep 12 American western series "Bonanza" starring Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon premieres on NBC-TV

  • Sep 14 WQEX TV channel 16 in Pittsburgh, PA (PBS) begins broadcasting

Film & TV History

Sep 19 Nikita Khrushchev is denied access to Disneyland

Film Release

Sep 25 Hammer horror film "The Mummy" starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is first released in the UK

  • Sep 28 "Hennesey" debuts on CBS-TV
  • Sep 29 "Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis" debuts on CBS-TV
  • Sep 29 "Philip Marlowe" debuts on ABC-TV
  • Oct 2 Rod Serling's anthology series "The Twilight Zone" premieres on CBS-TV

Film Release

Oct 7 "Pillow Talk" film directed by Michael Gordon and starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson is first released

  • Oct 11 KTHI TV channel 11 in Fargo-Grand Forks, ND (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 14 WMUB (now WPTO) TV channel 14 in Oxford, OH (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 15 KNDO TV channel 23 in Yakima, WA (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 15 TV series "The Untouchables" starring Robert Stack premieres in the US
  • Oct 20 WABG TV channel 6 in Greenwood-Greenville, MS (ABC) 1st broadcast
  • Nov 8 KJTV (now KGET) TV channel 17 in Bakersfield, CA (NBC) 1st broadcast
  • Nov 10 Corinne Rottschaeffer of the Netherlands elected Miss World
  • Nov 11 1st episode of Jay Ward's cartoon series "Rocky & His Friends", featuring Rocket J. ("Rocky") Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. airs on NBC

Film Premiere

Nov 18 "Ben-Hur" directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston premieres in New York City (Academy Awards Best Picture 1960)

  • Nov 19 "Rocky & His Friends" debuts on ABC
  • Nov 20 WABC fires Alan Freed over his refusal to swear innocence in payola scandal (accepting bribes from record companies)

Music History

Nov 21 Entertainer Jack Benny (violin) and US Vice-President Richard Nixon (piano) play their famed duet

  • Nov 25 Mary Rodgers & Marshall Barer's musical "Once Upon A Mattress", starring Carol Burnett and directed by George Abbott, opens at Alvin Theater, NYC, after starting off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre, later moves to St. James
  • Nov 28 KOMC (now KSNK) TV channel 8 in McCook - Oberlin, NB (NBC) begins