Saturday, July 06, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/8/63 to 7/14/63

Rome was apparently a hotbed of break-ins and burglaries a half-century ago: on July 10th, 1963, someone broke into the Eastern Airlines office at Russell Field and stole the safe and its contents. A similar break-in and theft was reported at a truck stop just a few miles away.  The big surprise here is (a) that there was an Eastern Airlines office at Russell Field, and (b) that they did enough business to need a safe!

Floyd County ended a decades-old policy of housing mental patients in jail when they opened their new psychiatric wing on July 12th. Until this time, the mentally ill were confined in a city or county jail cell while they awaited treatment in Milledgeville or another state facility; now, their mental health needs could be addressed in Rome in a medical facility rather than a cell.

Apparently Rome Automobile's Volkswagen advertising was putting some pressure on Bonnie Davis Chevrolet: they rolled out a very strong ad campaign for the Corvair in the summer of 1963, touting its great gas mileage, its light weight, its maneuverability, and its rear-mounted air-cooled engine ("which means there's no antifreeze or water for you to add--ever!"). Of course, all of these were also qualities of the VW… And ironically, a VW ad touting the same things ran the day after the Corvair ad!

North Georgia was excited about a proposed extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway that would reach deep into Georgia, ending near Lake Allatoona. It was seen as a boon for the entire northern half of the state in its effects on both commerce and tourism. Plans were to link it to I-75 north of Marietta… but of course, I-75 was far from complete at this time, so the point where the proposed extension would connect was still on the drawing board. There was also talk of four-laming Highway 53 from Rome to the Parkway Extension. As we now know, that extension fell by the wayside, but support for the idea proved so strong that it gave way to the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway, which becomes I-575 in Cherokee County and extends down to connect with I-75 just north of Marietta.  Alas, the complete four-laning of Highway 53 never took place, so Rome never got the connection it hoped for… an all-too-familiar refrain when it comes to Floyd County highway plans…

Kroger had chuck steak for 59¢ a pound, leg o' lamb for 59¢ a pound (lamb seems to have been much more popular in the 1960s than it is today), and pork & beans for a dime a can. Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 29¢ a pound, Swift's luncheon meats (including bologna, pickle & pimento loaf, and liver loaf) for 19¢ per half-pound package, and 10 pounds of potatoes for a quarter. A&P was offering a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola for 79¢ plus deposit, a 5-pound bag of sugar for 59¢, and beef short ribs for 39¢ a pound. Big Apple had sirloin, t-bone, or porterhouse steaks for 99¢ a pound, salmon for 49¢ for a 16-ounce can, and that ever-popular ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. Couch's offered stew beef for 29¢ a pound, corn for a nickel an ear, and center cut pork chops for 39¢ a pound. A&P offered baking hens for 29¢ a pound, peaches for a dime a pound, and hot dogs for 49¢ a pound.

Fifty years ago this week, the first James Bond film premiered at the First Avenue Theater; Dr. No had already generated some buzz, since President Kennedy had said that he was a James Bond fan, so there was advance interest in this film and its relatively unknown star, Sean Connery. The DeSoto Theater was showing Call Me Bwana with Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg, while the West Rome Drive-In had a pair of high-class cinematic masterpieces: Monster That Challenged The World (apparently it didn't deserve the introductory article "The" in its title) and Jesse James' Women. Dr. No hung around for the weekend at the First Avenue, while the DeSoto brought in the double-feature of The Man from the Diner's Club (with Danny Kaye) and Everything's Ducky (with Mickey Rooney & Buddy Hackett) and the West Rome Drive-In had The Yellow Canary and Thirty Years of Fun.

If you checked out the comic book spinner racks at Conn's Grocery, Couch's Grocery, or Candler's Drug Store in West Rome this week in 1963, you would have seen Spidey battling Doctor Doom on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #5.

For the second week in a row, the number one song was "Easier Said Than Done" by The Essex. Other top ten hits included "Surf City" by Jan & Dean (#2); "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" by Rolf Harris (#3); "So Much in Love" by the Tymes (#4); "One Fine Day" by the Chiffons (#5); "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto (#6); "Memphis" by Lonnie Mack (#7); "Blue on Blue" by Bobby Vinton (#8); "Hello Stranger" by Barbara Lewis (#9); and "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris (#10).

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