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Race blackout lifted; first time since 1950

So what were Indy and the 500 like 66 years ago?



Today Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced that for the first time since May 30, 1950 the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live in the Indianapolis viewing market. WRTV 6 have announced they will be broadcasting the race live along with the traditional 7 p.m. tape delay. Officials also revealed that the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is completely sold out. There are no reserved seats or general admission tickets available. They can be bought on the secondary market, but be prepared for a large markup.

It’s been 66 years since the people have watched the Indy 500 live in the Indianapolis area, or even Indiana. There've been a lot of changes since — some examples:

The race saw more entries in 1950

Johnnie Parsons won that race in 1950. What’s worth noting is the number of cars on the entry list who could not make the field. 77 cars officially entered, 44 cars did not make the race, which includes drivers who made multiple attempts on multiple cars.
One notable driver who did not make the race was Bill Vukovich. He would later go on to win the race in 1953 and 1954. Vukovich lead over 70 percent of the laps he ran in the Indianapolis 500 before his tragic death of lap 57 of the 1955 Indianapolis 500. He was in the lead at the time of the accident.

The population was smaller

According to the 1950 census, Indianapolis had a population of 427,173. The United States, led by President Truman had a population of 151,325,798. Our nation only had 48 states at the time, as Alaska and Hawaii did not become states until 1959.

Pop culture was black-and-white

Elvis Presley had yet to release a single — Sam Phillips wouldn’t even open Sun Records until 1952. The popular book Old Yeller wouldn’t be published for another six years (1956). We didn’t Leave It to Beaver until 1957 or enter the Twilight Zone until 1959. Howdy Doody was in year three of its 13 year run on NBC. It would be over a decade until Beatlemania hit US soil.

Can we go back to 1950’s pricing?

In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00

In 1950 the average income per year was $3,210.00

The credit card became available in 1950 as "The Diners Club" issued their first bits of plastic.

If you grilled a T-Bone steak at a race party, it cost you 59 cents a pound. If you got some on your shirt, the Tide used to wash your shirt cost 67 cents.

If you went to the race and wanted to send a post card, your postage was three cents. The car you drove likely cost you $1,510 and cost you 18 cents a gallon to fill it up.


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