Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/17/1964 to 2/23/1964

It's always nice when academic prowess earns recognition, isn't it? Leigh Whittenburg was announced as West Rome's STAR Student for the 1963-64 school year; Leigh named Mr. Ronald Midkiff as her STAR teacher.

West Rome's girls basketball team lost to Dalton 52-42 in the Region 3-AA tournament on Tuesday, February 18th, while the boys defeated Dalton 64-59 on Wednesday, February 20th.

The West Rome Library Club (I didn't remember that we had a library club!) made a trip to the Shorter Avenue library on Saturday, February 22nd, for a tour of the facilities.

The West Rome Senior Tri-Hi-Y conducted a survey to determine what percentage of students in grades seven through twelve were smokers. The results were as follows: 8 of 143 7th graders smoked; 11 of 166  8th graders; 5 of 163  10th graders; 9 of 182 10th graders; 14 of 172 11th graders; and 13 of 106 twelfth graders. So while shows like Mad Men may give the idea that everyone was lighting up at every opportunity, this survey showed that the urge to smoke hadn't spread too far into the student population.

Science Fair exhibits were set up during sixth period and after school on Friday, February 21st, with the Science Fair open to the public from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, February 22nd. ( I still have fond memories of those science fair projects, presented on the three-piece folding display boards--even though not all of my entries into the fair were as serious as I think the judges might have hoped.)

Burglars with an eye for electronics broke into Mac's Radio & Television Service on February 22nd, stealing $2500 in color televisions, stereos, and transistor radios. (Of course, at $500+ for a color television back then, they didn't have to steal many TVs to rack up $2500 in merchandise thefts!)

Back in 1964, we still celebrated Washington's Birthday rather than Presidents' Day--and Rome celebrated the day of George's birth with their city-wide two-day Washington's Birthday Sale, organized by the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce. The markdowns included such highlights as a 23" mahogany console TV for $199 at Sears; a four-piece maple bedroom suite for $99; men's dress pants for $4 a pair at Esserman's; a GE washer and dryer set for $348 at Goodyear; dresses for $5 each at Belk-Rhodes; Royal typewriters for #39.95 at Miller's; and half-price shoes at Poplin's. But Miller Bros. had the best offering of all: a $3 Beatle wig ("But hurry! They won't last long!" the ad proclaimed. I don't know if that referred to the sales velocity or the poor quality of the wigs...)

Chrysler made auto history this week in 1964 when they unveiled their second generation hemi racing engine in the Daytona 500 on February 23rd. The 426 hemi-powered Plymouth driven by #43, Richard Petty, won the race, while other hemi-powered Plymouths finished second and third... and suddenly, every teenager dreamed of a car with a hemi!

Piggly Wiggly had bacon for 39¢ a pound, a dozen eggs for 39¢, and a 5-pound bag of Colonial sugar for 49¢. Big Apple had bananas for a dime a pound, cabbage for 7¢ a pound, and Swift's Premium Canned Ham for $2.99 for a 4-pound can. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, canned biscuits for 6¢ a can, and sweet potatoes for a dime a pound. A&P had 10 pounds of red delicious apples for 49¢, sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, and baking potatoes for 59¢ for a 10-pound bag. Couch's had pork chops for 39¢ a pound, Old Favorite ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and chili for quarter a can.

The week's cinematic offerings started with Man's Favorite Sport (with Rock Hudson & Paula Prentiss) at the DeSoto and The Cardinal (with Tom Tryon, Romy Schneider, & Carol Lynley) at the First Avenue. The weekend  brought Four for Texas (with the unlikely cowboy duo of Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin) to the DeSoto and The Victors (with George Peppard, Romy Schneider, & George Hamilton) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Bye Bye Birdie and Harbor Lights at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles held on to the top two spots again this week in 1964, with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the number one position, while "She Loves You" held on to second place--but in a surprise a third Beatles song, "Please Please Me," leapt onto the charts in the sixth place position! Other top ten hits included "Dawn (Go Away)" by the Four Seasons (#3); "Java" by Al Hirt (#4); "California Sun" by the Rivieras (#5); "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore (#7); "Navy Blue" by Diane Renay (#8); "Stop and Think It Over" by Dale & Grace (#9); and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" by Major Lance (#10).

Meanwhile, trying to cash in on the Beatles craze, MGM realized that they had the rights to The Beatles With Tony Sheridan & Guests, the album produced by Bert Kaempfert in Germany that included "My Bonnie," "The Saints (Go Marching In)," "Cry for a Shadow," and "Ain't She Sweet," among other less-than-memorable songs. So in late February of 1964, American listeners could buy three different Beatles albums (Introducing the Beatles, Meet the Beatles, and The Beatles With Tony Sheridan & Guests) on three different labels (VeeJay, Capitol, and MGM).

And on Sunday, February 23rd, the Beatles made an unprecedented third weekly appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (the performance was actually filmed a week earlier, but didn't air until the night of the 23rd), performing three songs: "Twist and Shout," "Please Please Me," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Other guests for the evening included Cab Calloway, Dave Barry, and Gordon & Sheila MacRae... but the only guests that anyone remembers from evening are the Fab Four, of course.

1 comment:

paul howley said...

In the 4th paragraph, you wrote "studnets"...obviously you meant STUDENTS.