Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/24/1964 to 3/1/1964

Just when we thought we were in the clear... a surprise snowfall began Monday night, February 24th, continuing into Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't enough to close schools, however, much to the dismay of many hopeful students!

West Rome's Class Favorites were announced this week in 1964. Seniors Van Gray and Linda Lippincott were chosen Mr. and Miss West Rome High School. Junior class favorites were Derrell Brookshire and Esther Ransom; sophomore favorites were Stan Dawson and Debby Jordan; freshman favorites were Tommy Sapp and Holly Bellinger; sub-freshman favorites (yes, that's what they called eighth graders!) were Dale Ross, Mary Gilbert, and Lee Davenport (tie); seventh grade favorites were Robert Blaylock and Beverly Brookshire.

Leigh Whittenburg and Jeannie Maxwell were chosen as West Rome's Youth Commissioner representatives for Civic Youth Day, joining an elite group of students from across Rome and Floyd County  to learn about the career and political opportunities available in our area.

The West Rome National Junior Honor Society held a rummage sale on Saturday, February 29th, to raise funds for various service projects.

Rome's off-again-on-again campaign to win a junior college for the Rome-Floyd County area was on again this week in 1964 after Judge J.D. Maddox and a committee he headed made a presentation to the State Board of Regents. Rome had been eliminated in late 1963, but the community commitment reflected in the presentation was so impressive that the Board of Regents said that they were considering Rome once again for a junior college location.

The Rome Little Theater put out an odd casting call: they were looking for a cat that could play the role of Pyewacket in their production of Bell, Book, & Candle. They needed a cat who could be trained to perform several tasks on command... and one that wouldn't run and hide when confronted with an audience of theatergoers!

Romans were pleased to hear that President Johnson signed into law the tax cuts proposed by President Kennedy before his assassination; the cuts averaged about 20% for 80 million American taxpayers, while business taxes were cut by 9%. And whaddaya know, we saw a real economic boom for several years thereafter!...

It may have been winter still, but Chieftains were already looking ahead to the fall: Coach Paul Kennedy announced that West Rome had reached an agreement to start their 1964 football season with a game against Coosa on Saturday, August 29th, at Barron Stadium. In order to make this happen, both schools had to sign off on an agreement to start there season a week earlier to fit the game into their schedules.

McCullough's Restaurant on Avenue C celebrated their official grand opening of their new, modern, redecorated location with a special on their broasted chicken. "We serve the same fine food for which the McCullough name is famous," they said in their ad--and from what I remember about their chicken, that was no brag, just fact.

Electronics continued to improve, although most of us couldn't afford them: Chastain Radio and TV was offering RCA's new Vista Color Television, a $595.00 19" color set that included not one but two tuners--both VHF and the hot new UHF tuner as well. Adjusted for inflation, that's almost the same cost as a 4K 65" flat-screen today... and back then, it was about 40% of the cost of a brand-new Volkswagen Beetle!

Grocery shoppers could save at Piggly Wiggly, where whole fryers were 23¢ a pound, Swift's premium franks were 33¢ a package, and bananas were a dime a pound. Kroger had fully cooked picnic hams for 29¢ a pound, carrots for 8¢ a pound, and pork & beans for a dime a can. A&P had hen turkeys for 37¢ a pound, apples for a nickel a pound, and 16 ounces of dill pickle slices for 23¢. Big Apple had sardines for 10¢ a can, Hormel bacon for 49¢ a pound, and the (n)ever popular sliced beef liver for 19¢ a pound (I joke, but I really enjoyed those frequent meals of fried liver with onions that Mom made when I was growing up!). Couch's had Underwood deviled ham for 39¢ a can, chicken livers for 29¢ a pound (we had those a lot, too!), and JFG coffee for 59¢ a pound.

If you wanted to catch a movie, your early-week choices were Four for Texas (a Western with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg, and Ursula Andress) at the DeSoto or The Victors at the First Avenue. The late-week lineup change brought Soldier in the Rain (with Steve McQueen) to the DeSoto and The Brass Bottle (with Tony Randall, Burl Ives, and Barbara Eden; even though Ives plays the djinn, or genie, in the bottle, it was Eden's performance in this film that was pivotal in winning her the part of Jeannie in I Dream of Jeannie a year later) at the First Avenue. On the weekend, the DeSoto also hosted a special one-showing-per-night presentation of the Sonny Liston Vs. Cassius Clay world heavyweight championship bout; in the days before pay-per-view, this was the only way most Americans could see a heavyweight boxing match! The West Rome Drive-In's weekend offering was Irma La Douce (with Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine).

Monsters were bigger than ever in 1964 thanks to the popularity of late night syndicated monster movies, trading cards, model kits, toys, and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, so Marvel Comics tried to tap into the Monster trading cards market (which used movie photos with funny captions or word balloons) with their magazine Monsters to Laugh With. Alas, the contents weren't very laughable...

The Beatles' hold on the Top Ten continued as they took first, second, and fourth place with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," and "Please Please Me" respectively. Other top ten hits included "Dawn (Go Away)" by the Four Seasons (#3); "Java" by Al Hirt (#5); "California Sun" by the Rivieras (#6); "Navy Blue" by Diane Renay (#7); "Stop and Think It Over" by Dale & Grace (#8); "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys (#9); and "See the Funny Little Clown" by Bobby Goldsboro (#10... and I keep wanting the lyrics to continue "See the funny little clown, how big he's grown, but friend, it hasn't been too long, he wasn't big...")

Meanwhile, Vee-Jay Records took advantage of their rights to the material included on Introducing the Beatles and repackaged it to produce yet another Beatles record: Jolly What? The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage. It was deceptive in every regard: none of the material was recorded live and on stage, the Beatles cuts were just reissues of four songs from that already-released Introducing the Beatles, and no one in the US really cared about Frank Ifield. But that didn't stop people from buying this sorry excuse of an album--after all, you probably didn't find out you already had the material until you got it home and listened to it (that's what happened to me, at least).

No comments: