Saturday Evening Post Time Capsule: October 1957

October 1957 saw unrest in Little Rock, a royal visit, Russian dominance, Brooklyn heartbreak, and the debut of Ford’s biggest failure.

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October 1957 is memorable for a number of historic events involving baseball, Russia, and royalty.

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  1. A LOT happened (for better and worse) when I was five months old, with a decidedly British accent. Some of it immortalized in Billy Joel’s long listed, vintage ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’. The British press was correct then and now the Royal Family provides dignity and soap opera (usually degradation) that England and Americans have a never-ending fascination with.

    I didn’t know ‘In God We Trust’ was added to the currency at that time, but did know the Brooklyn Dodgers were on their way to Los Angeles. Russia’s surprise missile was an embarrassment, but also a needed wake up call. The Edsel failed for all the reasons mentioned. The 2nd ad shown here for it is the ’59 which tried to dilute the ‘Oldsmobile sucking a lemon’ front grill which was the most controversial feature of the ’58. The final (’60) model was scarcely different from that year’s all-new Ford, and few were produced. Production ceased in November 1959.

    I’ve read many articles on this car and its controversies and failings, but most fail to mention it was an unnecessary car to begin with. Had the car been what we later knew to be the 1960 (compact) Comet which none of the Big 3 had, it likely would have been a hit. In fact the Comet was first slated to be the Edsel Comet! This is why the ’60 Comet is just the Comet, sold at Mercury dealers. It didn’t become the Mercury Comet until the following year.

    One of the biggest bright spots for Ford in ’58 was the introduction of the first 4-seater T-Bird (aka the ‘Squarebird’) which sold EXTREMELY well over the previous 2-seater version. It also acted as a well needed distraction and deflection from what Ford quickly realized was a sales and PR disaster, desperately trying to figure out what to do. I would NOT have wanted to have been one of the executives in the undoubtedly many meetings held regarding the first Edsel, having to justify my role in this complete fiasco!


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