Friday, May 03, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome: 4/8/63 to 4/14/63

One state west from here in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and others were arrested in a Birmingham civil rights protest on April 12th..This is the arrest that inspired MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," published a week later.

Burglary continued to be a major problem in Rome, with nine businesses--six of them on Broad Street, including Owens-King, the Diana Shop, Warner's Ready to Wear, Betty's Beauty Salon, JC Penney, and the Singer Sewing Center--suffering break-ins

Rome's employment picture continued to get better and better, coming in at 4.7% this week in 1963. There were 389 new applicants for unemployment in March of 1963, but they were able to refer 275 of these applicants to employers with job openings.

West End Elementary was beginning to look like a school, with the majority of the external construction completed this week in 1963. The school didn't have a name yet, though, being referred to by the Rome City Board of Education as the "Alabama Road Elementary School" (glad that name didn't stick!).

West Rome's baseball team suffered a loss off against Pepperell on Tuesday, April 9th, in spite of two home runs and a single from Gerry Law. This was followed by an 8-2 victory over Darlington on Wednesday, April 10th Jimmy Brewer was the star player with five hits in the game.

West Rome's Golf Team defeated Rockmart on Monday, April 8th; the Chief's teamtotal was 325, while Rockmart was well behind them at 354; West Rome's players won 17 of the 18 holes in the match. The team also participated in a four-way match against Darlington, Cedartown, and Baylor at the Coosa Country Club on Friday, April 12th.

An interesting blend of movies were waiting at Rome's theaters this week in 1963. The first half of the week offered a choice of Son of Flubber at the DeSoto, Term of Trial at the First Avenue, and Elvis Presley's Girls! Girls! Girls! at the West Rome Drive-In. Son of Flubber was so popular that it hung around for the weekend at the DeSoto, while the First Avenue brought in the appropriately-religious-themed The Robe for Easter weekend, and West Rome ran a double feature of Incident In an Alley and Beauty and the Beast.

Spring means lawn mowing, which would account for all the lawn mower ads this week in 1963. Economy Auto had a 19" Lawn Boy mower for $79.50, a self-propelled Lawn Boy for $99.95, and a 21" Lawn Boy for $94.50. Sears Had a Craftsman 19" lawn mower for $69.95 and a 21" for $89.50.

The Shrimp Boat added a fish and shrimp combination dinner with hush puppies, french fries, and tartar sauce for only 97¢, while Redford's brought back their fried chicken dinner with meat and two vegetables for 50¢; if you weren't a chicken fan, they offered country-style steak for the same price. The Aloha Restaurant offered ham as part of their Hawaiian Easter Luau on Sunday, April 14th, while the Holiday Inn offered an Easter Smorgasbord for $2.25 per plate.

Piggly Wiggly had pork chops for 39¢ a pound, turnip greens for a dime a pound, and Maxwell House Coffee for 99¢ for a two-pound can. Kroger had smoked hams on sale for 39¢ a pound for Easter, along with lamb roasts at 59¢ a pound and turkeys at 39¢ a pound. A&P had ham for only 29¢ a pound, bacon for 47¢ a pound, and eggs for 33¢ a dozen. Big Apple offerd whole hens for 35¢ a pound, fruit cocktail for 33¢ per can, nd th eever-popular pickled peaches for 29¢ a can. Couch's had chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound, ham for 39¢ a poud, and assorted Stokely canned vegetables for 29¢ each.

Enloe's was advertising 1 pound bags of Brach's Easter candy (jelly beans or bunny eggs) for 19¢ a pound, plush Easter bunnies for 77¢ each, and woven Easter baskets (empty, alas!) for 19¢ each.

The Academy Awards were presented on April 8, 1963; the big winner was Lawrence of Arabia, which won Best Picture and five other awards, while director David Lean won Best Director. Other awards went to Gregory Peck as Best Actor (for To Kill a Mockingbird--may favorite film from this year, and the film I think should have gotten the Oscar), Anne Bancroft as Best Actress (for The Miracle Worker), Ed Begley as Best Supporting Actor (for Sweet Bird of Youth), Patty Duke as Best Supporting Actress (for The Miracle Worker), Divorce, Italian Style for Best Original Screenplay, and To Kill a Mockingbird for Best Adapted Screenplay.

"He's So Fine" by the Chiffons held on to the number one position on the record charts this week in 1963. Other top ten hits included "Can't Get Used to Losing You" by Andy Williams (#2); "South Street" by the Orlons (#3); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#4): "Baby Workout" by Jackie Wilson #5); "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#6); "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March (#7); "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" by Peter, Paul, & Mary (#8); "Young Lovers" by Paul and Paula (#9); and "Do the Bird" by Dee Dee Sharp (#10).

And over in the UK, many miles from West Rome, the Beatles' single "From Me To You" was released. Americans wouldn't hear much of it until early 1964, though, when Beatlemania hit the US and the American label Vee Jay (who had the rights to the Beatles material all through 1963 but did nothing with it) finally released the single here.

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