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January 1997

Cadillac Advertisement

Advertisement: Happy Resolution for a Happy New Year! Cadillac
Date: 1956    ID: 91.303.1020

The celebration of the new year has not always been observed on the first of January. For early peoples, the first day of the year fell on the vernal or autumnal equinox, or the summer or winter solstice. In the Middle Ages, Christians usually celebrated it on March 25th. It was not until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, beginning in 1582, that January 1 became the day of the new year. And still, this date is not universal; Muslim New Year is observed on the first day of Muharram; the Jewish New Year falls in September or early October, the first day of Tishri; and the Chinese New Year, one of the most important festivals, falls between January 10 and February 19 of the Gregorian calendar.

And yet, whenever one observes the new year, it is usually a day for celebration, resolution, and a chance to start again. It has been said the new is what has been forgotten, that we only rediscover what has been lost or what we have cast aside. If only as a reminder, the stunning image above serves as a piece of 1956 America with its ideals of elegant ball gowns and big yellow Cadillacs. Here is a quick look at where the United States was forty years ago.

In the America of 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, and the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. dominated the American media. Much of the South disregarded the Supreme Court rulings against segregation in public schools and on buses and streetcars.

Elvis Presley was on top of the music charts and "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews opened in New York City.

The increase in the minimum wage to $1.00 an hour promised to change the lives of over 2,000,000 workers and the automobile industry saw its fourth best production year.

The worst commercial air disaster to date was the collision of two airliners over the Grand Canyon killing 128 people and the Salk antipolio vaccine was put on the open market.

Rocky Marciano retired as undefeated world heavyweight champion, while Michigan State defeated UCLA in the Rose Bowl, and the New York Giants won the NFL championship from the Chicago Bears.

And finally, although collector's may favor the 1954 and 1955 models, the 1956 Cadillac line set records in sales and production and moved Cadillac from 10th to 9th position in the American market.

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