Caution: only proceed if you’re happy to be catapulted back to 1952. You will be shaking your head in disbelief at the 70 things that turn 70 in 2022.
Sugar, butter, cheese, meat and tea are all still rationed. The Great Smog is thick in London. (At least Mars bars are only fourpence, hey?)
In 1952, George Santanya (philosopher, poet and novelist) said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
So, considering that, let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane. For good times’ sake.
In true Spring Chicken style, we’re having a flick through the history books and stirring up a nice dose of nostalgia for all those born in 1952.
People turning 70
You won’t believe which celebrities are turning 70 this year. Do you share any birthdays with them?
Best known for starring in ‘Taken’ and ‘Schindler’s List’, legendary Irish actor Liam Neeson celebrates his 70th on the 7th of June. Neeson career started way back in the early 1980s when he starred in The Arthurian offering Excalibur.
For the past 3 decades Liam Neeson has worked on some of the biggest projects and with some of the best directors in Hollywood, including Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
British actor, Jenny Agutter turns 70 this year although she still looks as youthful as she did in the Railway Children. Agutter career includes some of the best British cinema has produced in the past 5 decades.
Her playlist includes The Railway Children, American Werewolf in London and Logan’s Run.
The ‘Baywatch’ star celebrates his milestone birthday on 17th July. David Hasselhoff rocketed to fame in the ‘80s adventure series Knight Rider. He then confirmed his place in UK TV history in the decade long series, Baywatch.
Sharon Osbourne is a television personality, music manager and author. She celebrates her 70th birthday on 9th October.
Happy birthday, Mr. T!
Laurence Tureaud was born on 21st May 1952. Actor and professional wrestler, we can’t quite believe he’s 70! Mr T was the lynchpin to the hugely successful ‘80s adventure series The A Team.
Can you still recall the ruse to get him to fly on a plane?
Jeff Goldblum’s 70th birthday is on October 22nd. The enigmatic leading man shot to stardom in the 1986 version of The Fly. Goldblum’s unique acting style and handsome good looks assured that he would rarely be off the big screen for the next three decades.
In recent years Goldblum has side-lined his acting career to pursue his love for Jazz piano, releasing several albums for Decca records and playing Glastonbury.
You may also recognise him from films such as ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, and ‘The Fly’.
Mickey Rourke was one of the most promising and naturally gifted actors of his generation. Alongside his smouldering good looks and screen presence his ability to reinvigorate the '80s Hollywood scene with a bad boy image was second to none.
It seemed that Mickey Rourke's 'bad boy' image wasn't just another role. He simply had a self destruct button that made him fizz of screen. His early roles in Diner, Rumble Fish and The Pope of Greenwich Village soon became cult films and a must see for every '80s teen.
Acting and the stage were far from Rourke's first choice of career in the '70s Rourke only had one love, boxing. After a fairly successful amateur career Rourke was told to take a rest to recover from several concussions. So, under Doctor's order the young Mickey Rourke took a year out. Whilst he would intermittently retreat to the boxing ring over the next four decades Mickey Rourke would play the Hollywood bad boy 24/7 for the next 30 years.
'When he was good, he was very good but when he was bad...' well you get the gist.
Rourke's performances in Year of the Dragon, Barfly and Angel Heart were superb. However, his personal life started to become bigger headlines than his film releases, alongside some bad career choices, turning down Pulp Fiction, Silence of the Lambs and Top Gun.
As in his boxing career Rourke refuses to stay down coming back with a majestic BAFTA winning performance in the wrestling film The Wrestler.
Who knows what else might be instore for us from Rourke as he marches on through his 70s!
The very funky Nile Rogers turns 70 but that doesn’t mean he can’t still ‘cut it’. The former Chic founder and producer has given the world some of the most memorable sounds of the '70s and '80s including Le Freak, Everybody Dance and Dance, Dance, Dance.
The hugely talented Nile Rogers continues to entertain and create to this very day performing at Hyde Park in July 2022.
No, Einstein doesn’t turn 70 this year. But, 70 years ago, Albert Einstein was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel. He declined.
Why? He said that, as a scientist trained to deal with objective facts, he lacked the aptitude and experience to deal with people.
That’s one for the memory bank.
The year 1952 saw the birth of several classic novels for both old and young alike, including:
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
This children’s book was illustrated by Gareth Williams – and first published on the 15th of October 1952 by Harper & Brothers.
The novel follows the story of Wilbur, a pig, and his friendship with a barn spider called Charlotte. In 2006, Charlotte’s Web became a classic family film.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Published by Dent in 1952, The Borrowers is a children’s fantasy book that features a family of tiny people. The tiny people, or ‘borrowers’ reside in the walls of an English house and spend their time acquiring things from the main residents.
This was the first of a 5 books series and went on to spawn a hugely entertaining series in 1992 and a motion picture starring Jim Broadbent and John Goodman in 1997.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
The third book in The Chronicles of Narnia, this classic book turns 70 this September. The original world of fantasy and dragons spanning some 7 books.
This was the blueprint for the Harry Potter books some 50 years later.
East of Eden John Steinbeck
This book is regarded as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel. Steinbeck himself said that it’s one of his greatest achievements.
"I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this."
Rated 4.4 by half a million people on Goodreads, it’s no surprise!
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
‘The Old Man and the Sea’ was the last major work of fiction that Hemingway wrote that was published during his lifetime.
The short story is a modern classic detailing mans struggle against nature and it’s will to survive.
Waiting For Godot – Samuel Beckett
Beckett’s most successful work is an existential classic. The stripped bare nature of the work has resulted in it being interpreted in many political, religious and ethical arenas.
It is still one of the most debated works of literature of all time.
The Birds – Daphne Du Maurier
Du Maurier’s horror short story from the Apple Tree Collection is best known for the Hitchcock’s dramatisation of 1963.
This gothic tale of nature’s prowess over mankind is chilling to the last page.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales – Dylan Thomas
One of Thomas’ most popular pieces. The book recounts memories of Christmas’ past, the stories invoke warm nostalgic feelings for those halcyon Christmases of our youth.
A truly wonderful and ageless piece of prose from one of the world’s most naturally gifted writers.
Fifteen Streets – Catherine Cookson
Fifteen Streets is an early offering from Cookson’s most prolific back catalogue. Cookson’s appeal witness’s sales more than 100 million.
Fifteen Streets is a historical romance novel set against the backdrop of working-class northern city.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai – Pierre Boule
This fictional work utilises the construction of the Burma Railways as its setting. Although fictional it documents the savage stories of suffering experienced by POWs whilst building the railway.
The reality is that the conditions that the POWs had to contend with were much worse than those detailed in the books and subsequent Oscar winning film starring Alec Guinness of 1957.
Songs turning 70
In November 1952, NME published the first ever UK Singles Chart. Whilst the authenticity of this chart has been much debated with Record Mirror and the Melody Maker providing their own charts in later years, it was the first published UK Chart.
‘Here in My Heart’ – Al Martino
The very first number one hit song that spent 9 weeks at the number one spot at the end of 1952. Al Martino was one of the most popular pop crooners of his time alongside Perry Como and Bing Crosby. Al Martino was to have 10 top 50 Uk hits in his career.
Martino can also be seen playing the quasi-Sinatra role, Johnny Fontaine in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather in 1972.
High Noon – Frankie Laine
Awarded the 1952 Academy Award for Best Original Song, ‘High Noon’ is a classical classic. Do not forsake me, oh my darlin’…
Frankie Laine’s incredibly emotive version of High Noon was to become the definitive version. ‘Old leather lungs’ spent 3 weeks in the UK top 10 with this Western classic.
Come A Long A Love – Kay Starr
Kay Starr spent some 14 weeks in the UK Top 10 with this cheerful little ditty. Peaking at the number 1 spot finally in January 1953.
Starr was to have a total of 5 UK top 20 hits including a 1955 number 1 with Rock and Roll Waltz.
You Belong to Me – Jo Stafford
The first female artist to reach number one on the UK Singles Chat, Jo Stafford was a legendary American popular singer. Her career spanned 5 decades from the 1930s to the 80s.
Stafford was to have 4 top 20 hits in the UK charts in the 1950s.
Another of Jo Stafford’s songs turning 70 in 2022 is ‘Jambalaya’.
In 1952 Jo Stafford was voted the favourite female singer on Radio Luxembourg by listeners testifying her huge popularity at the time.
Do you remember the words to ‘You Belong to Me’?
Auf Wiederseh’n, Sweetheart – Vera Lynn
Having heard people singing the song in Swiss beer parlours, Vera Lynn felt she had to record it. She found the music and had lyrics written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.
The ‘forces sweetheart’ peaked at number 1 in November of 1952.
Sugarbush – Doris Day & Frankie Laine
The first of a 15 string of top 30 hits for Doris Day in The UK charts.
A hugely popular entertainer Doris Day and Frankie Laine had 8 weeks in the charts with their popular version of this well-known song.
Faith Can Move Mountains – Johnnie Ray
The ‘Nabob of Sob’ or the ‘Prince of Wails’, Johnnie Ray took this spiritual to the number 2 spot at Christmas 1952. Ray was one of the most popular imports from across the pond. His unique phrasing and delivery set him apart from his contemporaries at the time.
The father of rock’n’roll was to enjoy some 21 forays into the British charts in the 1950s.
Films that turn 70 in 2022
The silver screen of 1952 offered us up some gems. The picture houses of the UK were teaming with people visiting them, sometimes two or three times a week.
Did you watch any of these films at the cinema?
Singin’ in the Rain
A classic romantic musical. ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ was directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and showed a glorious story of Hollywood in the late 1920s.
Donald O’Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, and Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Is it the greatest musical ever made?
The Quiet Man
This beautifully shot John Ford film stands the test of time. Starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in the lead roles as a mismatched couple.
Wayne plays Sean Thornton an ex-prize-fighter returning to his family village in Ireland.
The on-screen chemistry between Wayne and O’Hara is electric and the film is a true Hollywood classic.
This Western film, starring Gary Cooper, followed a town marshal’s conundrum when he is presented a choice: face a gang of killers along, or leave town with his new wife.
Alongside Gary Cooper a strong supporting cast including Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges and Lon Chaney insured the film is often ranked in the top films ever made.
Hans Christian Andersen
A classic Hollywood musical, starring Danny Kaye. The film is romantic fiction but is inspired by the Danish poet and scholar – who wrote numerous famous fairy tales.
An international success in 1952, the narrative of ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ is told through song and ballet.
This thriller follows an actor who married a playwright – who ends up plotting her murder. It’s rated PG, which is a true sign of the good old days.
Joan Crawford and Jack Palance take the lead in this brilliant film noir.
This comedy stars the famous duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They made 16 hilarious movies together and released ‘Sailor Beware’ in 1952.
Do you remember this song from ‘Sailor Beware’?
The Road to Bali
The penultimate of Hope and Crosby’s hugely successful Road To series. It followed the same recipe as the previous films that packed audiences in.
Flanked by the wonderful Dorothy Lamour the boys roll out their usual wise cracks and crooning blend of entertainment.
The Bad an The Beautiful
A hard-boiled hatchet job on the crazy world of Hollywood. One of the few films of its time to tell the full story, warts and all.
Kirk Douglas excels in the lead role playing opposite Lana Turner as The BAd And The Beautiful.
The Crimson Pirate
Burt Lancaster plays the title role as the dashing, acrobatic Crimson Pirate. A swashbuckler of the kind Hollywood used to make every week.
Co-starring Lancaster’s old circus buddy, Nick Cravat who starred alongside the Hollywood leading man in 9 of his films.
Set in WWII, James Mason stars as a mercenary spy. This mystery-thriller was an excellent espionage tale.
‘5 Fingers’ is rated 100% by some acclaimed critics. What would you score it?
The Greatest Show on Earth
‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ was perhaps precisely that. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Story, and it won the Golden Globe Awards in three different categories.
Don’t miss the reissue trailer (in colour!):
Stewart Grainger takes the lead role in this swashbuckling classic. Set amidst the French Revolution, Scaramouche will keep you enthralled from the very first scene.
This film premiered at Odeon Leicester Square in London on the 8th of February, 1952.
Valentina Cortese and Serge Reggiani also starred in the film, and it was directed by Thorold Dickinson.
An epic adventure film, this vintage classic was shot in technicolour and featured some big stars (Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders – to name a few).
Unsurprisingly, the film set an opening week record at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. ‘Ivanhoe’ was MGM’s biggest earner in 1952 – and it was the fourth most popular film in England.
Did you watch this when you were little?
We’re Not Married!
In separate stories, five married couples find out that they’re not actually married. A classic rom-com, ‘We’re Not Married!’ stars Victor Moore, Ginger Rogers, Fred Allen, Marilyn Monroe, David Wayne, and countless other big names from the ‘50s.
Can you think of any more films from 1952?
Comment at the bottom of the article – we’d love to reminisce with you.
TV Shows Turning 70
Television was still in its infancy, whilst families were clambering to buy one or more likely rent one for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 it was still a considerable outlay for many families.
The Sooty Show
In 1952, ‘Sooty’, Harry Corbett’s glove puppet bear, first appeared on the BBC. ‘The Sooty Show’ then ran from 1955-1967 on the BBC, and then between 1968-1992 on ITV. Corbett presented the show until he retired, and then his son, Matthew Corbett, became the puppet master.
The beloved Flowerpot Men premiered on the BBC in 1952. A new series, with many new additions, began almost 50 years later on CBBC.
“Which of these two flowerpot men, was it Bill or was it Ben?”
Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School
The 29 year old Gerald Campion began his role as Billy Bunter entertaining us with his japes and scrapes at Greyfriars.
The show was hugely successful lasting nearly 10 years on the BBC.
A British soap opera for children, this fortnightly show was aired on the BBC until 1957. Then, a reunion programme came out at Christmas in 1960, called ‘Christmas with the Appleyards’.
Did you religiously watch this show at 4:30pm every Thursday, too?
My Wife Jacqueline
‘My Wife Jacqueline’ was one of the first British sitcoms – airing on the BBC in 1952. The series starred Leslie Phillips and Joy Shelton, and we stuck it on around 8:30pm every Wednesday.
All Your Own
‘All Your Own’ featured children showing off their talents and collections. It ran from 1952 until 1960, and was presented by Huw Wheldon – and, later, Brian Johnston.
Did any of your friends go on ‘All Your Own’?
Here’s a snippet from a 1957 episode:
Adventures of Superman
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!
Based on the DC comic book character and concepts from 1938, ‘Adventures of Superman’ was first aired in September 1952.
The 1952 version starred a portly George Reeves as the muscled body stockinged boy wonder. Again, the rather primitive special effects wowed children of the era and Superman became a favourite in Saturday Morning Picture Clubs.
70 years of the Wireless
The wireless was in its prime. Whilst the new medium of television was still finding it’s feet radio still commanded large swathes of the British audiences that either didn’t trust or couldn’t afford a television box.
The Goon Show
The legendary comedy show featuring Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Michael Bentine first took to the airwaves on January 22, 1952.
British comedy was never to be the same again.
The show’s influence was still to be witnessed some 70 years later on the comedy circuit.
The programmes surreal, absurdist humour was much loved by all generations and to this day is quoted by comedians paying homage.
Eddie Izzard on the Goons – “It’s Stupid, I love it.”
Educating Archie was part of the much-loved BBC Light programme, it had a unique twist as it featured Pater Brough and Archie Andrews.
However, the unique twist was that Peter brough was a ventriloquist and Archie Andrews was a dummy.
Yes, a ventriloquist on radio – money for old rope you might say. The show was hugely successful and launched the careers of Beryl Reid and Benny Hill. Running for a full decade between 1950 and 1960 it average 15 million listeners ever week!
First aired in 19250 The Archers was pulling in some 5 million listeners by 1952 and was one of radio 4’s flagship programmes.
Who was to know it would run for another 7 decades?
Things that turn 70 in 2022
There are things that have been around us our whole lives that perhaps we haven’t even given a second thought to. Here we have examined those very things and it’s surprising how many of them turn 70 in 2022.
It’s not just the platinum jubilee we should be celebrating this year that’s for sure. However, it’s only the jubilee celebrations that will get us a prolonged bank holiday weekend. Sadly, Tony the Tiger turning 70 will not!
Tony the Tiger
The iconic advertising slogan started telling people that Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes (Frosties) were “Gr-r-reat!” in 1952 and is still touring the world spreading the good word some 7 decades later.
The New Musical Express was indeed new back in 1952. Launching for the very first time on March 7th.
Some 70 years later it still has an online presence and a brand that is recognised and respected worldwide.
The Gibson Les Paul Guitar
Les Paul started selling his classic electric guitar. The Gibson Les Paul is synonymous with Rock and Roll.
The Gibson Les Paul is probably the most popular guitar of all time with an estimated 2 million of them in circulation.
The list of famous owners is endless including Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend.
Mr Potato Head
We can’t believe Mr. Potato Head is 70 years old. It was the first toy ever advertised on TV – and he’s still in production!
Here’s a fun fact to tell the grandkids: in its original form, Mr. Potato Head was offered as separate plastic parts - to be pushed into a real potato or vegetable. It wasn’t until 1964, with multiple complaints about safety regulations, that Mr. Potato Head became fantastically plastic.
Adidas Three Stripes were born.
Adidas purchased its famous 3-stripe logo from Finnish sports company Karhu Sports for two bottles of whiskey and less than 1600 euros.
Now that’s how business was done 70 years ago!
Britain Gets the Bomb.
Prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill announces that the UK are the third country to get a nuclear bomb behind the United States and Russia after successful testing on the 3rd October 1952 on The Montebello Island in Western Australia.
And the race was on.
The First UK Charts are Published.
The music paper the NME releases the first official UK charts detailing the best-selling releases on the hit parade.
It was not the definitive chart as other rival publications The Record Mirror and Melody Maker also released their own best-selling charts over the subsequent years.
Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap.
The longest running West End play of all time, Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap begins its run at the Ambassador Theatre in London on the 25th November 1952.
The TV Detector Van.
The dreaded TV detector van makes its first journey onto the streets to clamp down of the suspected 150,000 licence dodgers.
Finally, here are the companies we’re wishing a happy 70th birthday to this year!
Sports cars and racing cars took a new turn in 1952, when Lotus Cars Limited was formed by two engineers.
Colin Chapman and Colin Dare were to fulfil their dreams, Lotus racing cars were to become the best in the world over the next 7 decades.
70 years ago, Austin-Healey was established as a British sports car maker. Healey built a Healey Hundred model for the 1952 London Motor Show, which impressed Leonard Lord (managing director of Austin).
Together, they made a deal to build it in quantity. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100, because it was able to reach 100mph.
Did you own an Austin-Healey?
It’s hard to think of a kitchen without Russell Hobbs these days. Formed in 1952 by William Russell and Peter Hobbs, Russell Hobbs became the primary kettle maker in the UK.
I’ll raise my cuppa to that!
Nathan Swartz founded Timberland in 1952 and helped to design the brand’s durable boot.
Can you remember your first pair?
Founded in August 1952, Holiday Inn has now grown to be one of the world’s largest hotel chains.
A great excuse to have a staycation this summer. Afterall, it’s for Holiday Inn’s 70th birthday, right?
Three Score Years and Ten…
The list of 70 things that turn 70 in 2022 is a fascinating look at how far we’ve come as a society in the last seventy years. From films and music to technology and culture, it seems like there’s something for everyone on this list.
We can’t wait to see what to see what exciting challenges the next seventy years! Whatever they are, we are sure they will be fun, intriguing and surprising.
How about you?
What are the biggest changes you have witnessed over the past 70 years? Let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
Don’t forget to check out our lists for things that turn 50 and 60 too!
On a final note we should make reference to Mark Twain’s famous 70th-birthday speech,
“The seventieth birthday! It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a generation and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit and look down and teach -- unrebuked.
You can tell the world how you got there. It is what they all do. You shall never get tired of telling by what delicate arts and deep moralities you climbed up to that great place. You will explain the process and dwell on the particulars with senile rapture. I have been anxious to explain my own system this long time, and now at last I have the right.”
Quiet Man Poster - Wiki (Public Domain) / Bad and The Beautiful Poster - Wiki (Public Domain) / The Greatest Show On Earth Poster - Wiki (Public Domain) / Singin In The Rain - Wiki (Public Domain) / High Noon Poster - Wiki (Public Domain)