Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome: 6/17/1963 to 6/23/1963

Members of the Rome Boys' Club Choir--which included several Chieftains in its numbers--embarked on a 1300 mile, two week concert tour on Sunday, June 23rd. The tour took them through Georgia and Florida.

Did you know that the Rome City and Floyd County libraries used to be two totally separate agencies? Well, they were up until the summer of 1963, when the Rome City Commission approved an agreement to merge the Carnegie and Tri-County Libraries into one library system.

On the other side of the country, Disney made history when they debuted their first audio-animatronics in the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland. (At this time, the area around Orlando, Florida, was largely undeveloped land, with Disneyworld still years away…)

On June 19th, 1963, President Kennedy sent to Congress the legislation that would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The city commission also approved the creation of what would become Gala Shopping Center, with the stipulation that the shopping center would not contain a "super-discount" store.  Apparently Big K didn't qualify as a "super-discount" store, since it was the anchor store in Gala when it opened just a couple of years later.

Coosa Valley Tech held its first graduation this week in 1963; 22 students earned their diplomas as part of the first graduating class.

Summertime means ice cream time… and there was no better place for ice cream than West Rome in 1963! Not only was Candler's Drug Store offering their nickel one-scoop and dime two-scoop ice cream cones as well as other treats, but just a block away on Shorter Avenue, the Dairy Queen was celebrating its 23rd anniversary with a 29¢ banana split.

Belk-Rhodes was either very early or very late: in the middle of June 1963, they were running a big special on automatic electric blankets at $11.75. Did people really stock up on electric blankets the week that summer began?…

The Georgia Department of Revenue began investigating the possibility of raising the sales tax from 3% to 4%, with the commitment that this would allow them to eliminate the Georgia income tax entirely. As we know all too well, the government always follows through on tax increases but rarely does so on tax cuts--the sales tax did eventually increase to 4% statewide, but the income tax never went away…

Small cars aren't a new thing: Rome Lincoln-Mercury was advertising their new line of Ford Anglia automobiles this week in 1963. "The world's most exciting light car" offered a 997cc OHV engine, got up to 43 miles per gallon, and had a "roomy interior" that seated four. (I don't remember the Anglia at all, but it did exist: it was a small British-designed car that was replaced by the Ford Escort. It was consistently more popular in Europe than it was in the US.)

Tired of grilling with charcoal? Well, 1963's sensation, the Safari Grill, was the thing for you: it cooked with rolled up newspapers rather than charcoal. (Insert joke about hot news here…)

McCullough's restaurant expanded its menu to include broasted chicken at both its Martha Berry Highway location and its Town House restaurant at 314 Broad Street. (I don't recall ever eating McCullough's chicken--and that's quite odd, considering how much my family loved chicken. Can anyone give us any reports on McCullough's and their menu?) If fish was more to your liking, Redford's on Broad Street had catfish filet dinners (including vegetables and hush puppies) for 50¢.

Piggly Wiggly offered chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, Coca-Cola for 79¢ a case (plus deposit), and Sealtest ice milk for 29¢ a half gallo. Kroger had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, peaches for a dime a pound, and fat back for 9¢ a pound (do grocery stores sell fat back now?). Colonial had smoked ham for 33¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and perch fillets for 49¢ a pound. A&P offered pork loin for 49¢ a pound, strawberries for 39¢ a pint, and tomatoes for a quarter a pound. Couch's, a West Rome favorite, offered ground steak for 69¢ a pound, cream corn for  a dime a can, and a 1 pound can of salmon for 49¢.

Rome started the week off with a touch of the risqué with The Stripper at the DeSoto Theater; the West Rome Drive-In offered more family-oriented fare with Disney's Bon Voyage, while the First Avenue continued with Mutiny on the Bounty for another week.  The monsters finally sunk the Bounty on June 21st when King Kong Vs. Godzilla premiered at the First Avenue Theater, while the West Rome Drive-In offered Five Weeks in a Balloon and the DeSoto continued their venture into the burlesque as The Stripper was held over.

The number one song this week in 1963 was "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto. Other top ten hits included "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore (#2); "Hello Stranger" by Barbara Lewis (#3); "You Can't Sit Down" by the Dovells (#4); "Blue on Blue" by Bobby Vinton (#5); "Da Doo Ron Ron( When He Walked Me Home)" by the Crystals (#6); "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" by Nat King Cole (#7); "Still" by Bill Anderson (#8); "I Love You Because" by Al Martino (#9); and "One Fine Day" by the Chiffons (#10).

No comments: