Saturday, January 04, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/6/1964 to 1/12/1964

After a lengthy Christmas break, school resumed on Monday, January 6th--a little bit later than originally planned, as it turned out! Students were supposed to go back to school on Thursday, January 2nd, but the New Year's Eve/New Year's Day snow and ice forced school officials to postpone the resumption of classes for another few days. (So much for that nostalgic belief that, back in the "old days," school started after Labor Day, ended before Memorial Day, and had two weeks off for Christmas, a week for Thanksgiving, and a week for Easter!…)

City school superintendent M.S. McDonald expressed concern when the city approved a school system budget of $745,000 for 1964--a figure that was $59,000 less than McDonald had requested. McDonald said that unless the budget was restored, the city school system would have to cut National Defense Education funds for East Rome and West Rome; these funds were part of a federal plan whereby local funding for language, science, and math technology was matched by an equal amount of federal funding. Of course, as McDonald pointed out, both schools had been fully stocked with state-of-the-art equipment (well, state of the art for the early 1960s) in the few years prior, so there wasn't really that much equipment needed… but it had been budgeted in just in case.

Coach Kennedy revealed that Cedartown was considering dropping its annual football face-off with the Chieftains since the two schools were no longer in the same region. "After having beaten us six times, you'd think that Cedartown would want to keep playing us," Coach Kennedy told the Rome News-Tribune's Don Biggers (hi, dad!).

The Chieftains faced off against Calhoun on January 10th, winning handily 47-27. The next night, they played against Berry, trouncing them 60-39. West Rome may have been a football school, but we had a pretty doggone impressive basketball program, too!

Right-of-way funding was completed for the East Rome Interchange of US 411/US 27--and State Highway Director Jim Gillis pointed out that the planned multi-level interchange was the only one of its kind in Georgia. Of course, he felt the ambitious plan was necessary since the state intended to complete a direct connection via US 411 to I-75 in the next few years.  (Alas, the Rollins family had other plans, putting their wants ahead of Rome's progress for a half-century and counting!…)

The Rome City Auditorium hosted the Hollywood Hillbilly Stage Show on January 8th, which included such stars as Col. Tim McCoy, Harry Head, Bouncing Bobo, Scotty Lee, Johnny Guns, and TV's original Masked Rider. (No, I've never heard of any of them, either.)

Apparently luxury means different things today than it did in 1964: Marshall Jackson Motor Company ran an ad touting their luxury Dodge 330 car for $2674.80, which was $410.80 more than the base model of the same car. What did four grand and change get you? A heater, a radio, automatic transmission, whitewall tires, and wheel covers… (Was a heater really a luxury addition in 1964?)

The city of Rome confirmed that the growth everyone was talking about in 1963 was quite real: the city issued 350 building permits in 1963 for a total of $2.5 million in new construction and/or renovation--an increase of almost 30% over 1962 construction levels.

Belk-Rhodes advertised their new shipment of Froshield Magnetic Window Covers to keep snow, ice, and sleet off your car's windshield. For only $2, you got a sheet of plastic with eight magnets in it. I actually remember us having a couple of those back in the 1960s, in fact—and they worked pretty well for those of us who didn't have a garage!

Four West Rome juveniles were arrested on January 6th in conjunction with a series of robberies, many in West Rome. Frank Camp reported that his roller rink on Hanks Street was broken into twice and several vending machines were ransacked; Southern Dairies was broken into twice; several convenience stores were victims of snatch-and-grab crimes committed by the four boys; and two homes were broken into. The crime spree came to an end when Detectives George Lemming and Bill Kinney arrested all four; since they were juveniles, their names were withheld.

Kroger and stew beef for 19¢ a pound, pecans for a quarter a pound (unshelled, of course!), and Kroger brand biscuits for a nickel a can. Piggly Wiggly had a dozen eggs for 47¢, Allen lime beans or Lay's potato sticks for a dime a can, and Sunset Gold potato chips for 39¢ a bag. A&P had Dexola cooking oil for 39¢ a quart, Super-Right sliced bologna for 27¢ a package, and cubed steak for 79¢ a pound. Big Apple had four pound of pure lard for 39¢, sea bass fillets for 49¢ a pound, and fruit cocktail for 23¢ a can. Couch's had Carnation Milk for 17¢ a can, Fleetwood coffee for 59¢ a pound, and pork roast for 39¢ a pound.

If you wanted to catch a movie in the first half of the week, your choices were Take Her, She's Mine (with James Stewart & Sandra Dee) at the DeSoto or In the French Style ("Recommended for Adults Only!") at the First Avenue. The weekend brought The Wheeler Dealers (with Lee Remick & James Garner) to the Desoto and The Haunting (an eerie classic starring  Julie Harris & Claire Bloom) to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In continued its weekends-only schedule with a double feature of Swordsman of Siena and Drums of Africa--a pair of films that you would skip over in the $1.99 DVD bin at your local discount store today.

Captain America made his official return this week in 1964, leaping towards the reader from comic book spinner racks as he graced the cover of Avengers #4. And on the same day, the X-Men confronted Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4, while the Hulk and the Thing were slugging it out in Fantastic Four #25. For those of us who read comics, 1964 demonstrated from the very beginning that the Marvel Age of Comics was here!

The number one song this week in 1964 was "There! I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton. Other top ten hits included "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen (#2); "Popsicles & Icicles" by the Murmaids (#3); "Forget Him" by Bobby Rydell (#4); "Surfin' Bird" by the Trashmen (#5); "Dominique" by the Singing Nun (#6); "Hey Little Cobra" by the Rip Chords (#7); "The Nitty Gritty" by Shirley Ellis (#8); "Out of Limits" by the Marketts (#9); and "Drag City" by Jan & Dean (#10).

Showing that he was a much better musician than he was a prognosticator, John Lennon said on January 9th, 1964, that the steady climb of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the US Charts was "mere sympathy for the British people," and he really didn't expect it to be a hit in the US…

And on January 10th, American listeners had their first chance to enjoy a Beatles album. No, it wasn't Meet the Beatles; that wouldn't be released until the 20th. Instead, it was the Vee Jay album Introducing the Beatles, which many of us played over and over again, from its side one beginning track "I Saw Her Standing There" to its final rocker on side two, "Twist and Shout." (This sneak release from another label was a real treat for all of us when Beatlemania hit after their February Ed Sullivan Show appearance, since it meant that we had two albums' worth of Beatles music to enjoy!)


paul howley said... can this statement be correct?..."ran an ad touting their luxury Dodge 330 car for $2674.80, which was $4010.80 more than the base model of the same car. What did four grand and change get you?"

Cliff Biggers said...

Would you believe $410.80?