1951 – Past Daily’s Thousand Yard Stare

1951 - Crime was an epidemic. So were drugs. So was war. (Photo: Crime boss Frank Costello Testifying).

1951 – Crime was epidemic. So were drugs. So was war. (Photo: Crime boss Frank Costello Testifying).

1951 – Voices and Events – December 30, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

1951. With the end of this year rapidly approaching, maybe it’s a good idea to look at other years, just to get an idea that things have always been just a little crazy, a little harrowing and a little optimistic.

Starting with the Crime wave, then sweeping the country, and the drug problem running alongside it. Television was starting to dominate American living rooms, and the biggest attraction that year were the Kefauver Crime Committee Hearings on Capitol Hill. Leading figures from crime syndicates around the country were called to testify and to answer questions posed by Senators over the extent and influence these Crime bosses prevailed over the everyday life of Americans. Some were belligerent, while others took the Fifth Amendment. Some, like crime boss Frank Costello were televised only via their hands. It was a media frenzy and it made for riveting viewing.

Drugs were a big problem, creeping into American schools. So was bribery in school sports. Generally, the question on everyone’s minds in 1951 was “where was America heading?” – there seemed to be a moral dilemma brewing and many were unprepared to deal with it. Yep, a drug problem in America and it was 1951 – even 64 years ago.

But there were other events – The Korean War and the firing of General MacArthur, and the media frenzy which took place over that.

And because it was the Cold War, the Red Scare was alive and well and running rampant, from the State Department in Washington to the Grip Department in Hollywood.

Where was the optimism? It was in Europe in 1951. The rebuilding going on and the unity shared among European nations gave many a cause to believe World War 3 wasn’t such a reality, for the time. That peace was still possible in the rest of the world – and that the War in Korea was only going to happen in Korea and not spread elsewhere. And that peace, even there was possible – it just took time.

A lot of news and events got crammed into this one hour recap of events from 1951, all of it featuring the voices which made the news, historic, memorable or forgotten voices from six decades ago.

For a glimpse at what life was like during the year 1951, here is that rundown of events for 1951 as presented by NBC Radio.

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