Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/30/1964 to 4/5/1964

What game show began its television run on March 30th, 1964? That's right, Jeopardy premiered on NBC fifty years ago this week. In those pre-Alex Trebek days, Art Fleming was the host of the show, while the esteemed Don Pardo was the announcer. Jeopardy was created by Merv Griffin, who also composed all the  music for the show, including the famous "Think" clip the plays while contestants complete their answers--royalties from that song, which was originally a lullaby Grifffin wrote for his son, earned Griffin more than $70 million during his lifetime.

West Rome kicked off its baseball season under the direction of Coach Nick Hyder on April 3rd with a game against Montgomery Bell Academy; alas, the Chiefs lost the game 8-4.

Track season also got underway on April 3rd, with Paul Kennedy coaching the team; alas, that season also began with a West Rome loss--in this case, to Berry Academy, 66 to 63.

West Rome's Tri-Hi-Y began weekly visits to the Open Door Home to help children with their homework; this was one of several service projects the group undertook in 1963-64, including sportsmanship campaigns, lunchroom cleanliness programs, and fundraising to purchase equipment for both the math and science departments.

Meanwhile, on April 1st, the West Rome Hi-Y presented a play, "Youth Takes a Stand," which consisted of scenes that illustrated various points of the Hi-Y platform, including scholarship, clean speech, clean living, and sportsmanship.

Lee Lanes Bowling Center on East Fourth Avenue burned to the ground on April 2nd, 1964; firemen were unable to save the structure, although they did control the flames before they did major damage to the adjacent Ransom Florist Company and the Southern Bell Building.

Automobile ad valorum taxes and car tag fees weren't linked to birthdays back in 1964; instead, everyone had to pay their taxes and buy their tags by April 1st, so the Floyd County tax commissioner was warning procrastinating taxpayers to be prepared for long waits in line as the deadline approached.

The Girl Scouts began their cookie sales on April 2nd, 1964, continuing through April 11th; the cookies sold for 50¢ a box (which was up a dime from the 1963 price of 40¢), and the Girl Scout troops got to keep a nickel per box to fund their activities. Five varieties of cookies were offered in 1964: mint (they had not been renamed "Thin Mints" yet), chocolate and vanilla mixed sandwich cremes, butter flavored Shorties, peanut butter, and fudge creme.

Piggly Wiggly had bananas for a dime a pound, chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, and Lady Alice ice milk for 33¢ a half gallon. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Coke or Tab for 19¢ (plus deposit) per carton, and pork & beans for a dime a can. Big Apple had fresh dressed hens for a quarter a pound, iceberg lettuce for 19¢ a head, and three pound bags of Winesap apples for 39¢. A&P had pork sausage for 33¢ a pound, bread for 19¢ a loaf, and a ten pound bag of russet potatoes for 49¢. Couch's had Armour Star bacon for 49¢ a pound, two dozen large eggs for 89¢, and Martha White biscuit mix for a dime a package (mmm... breakfast!).

Cleopatra continued at the First Avenue Theater this week in '64, while Walt Disney's Merlin Jones wrapped up its run at the DeSoto in the first half of the week. The last half of the week saw the premiere of  Captain Newman, MD (with Gregory Peck, Tony Curtis, and Angie Dickinson) at the DeSoto, while the West Rome Drive-In brought in  Mary Mary (a 1963 film with Debbie Reynolds) and Wall of Noise (a 1963 film with Suzanne Pleshette & Ty Hardin) for their weekend showings--and as those dates prove, the West Rome Drive-In wasn't necessarily scheduling the latest, greatest films!

While the Beatles relinquished their hold on the top four spots in the Top Ten Songs list, they boosted their presence on the list as a fifth Beatles song, "Can't Buy Me Love," made it to number one this week in 1964. Other top ten hits included "Twist and Shout" by the Beatles (#2); "Suspicion" by Terry Stafford (#3); "She Loves You" by the Beatles (#4); "Hello, Dolly!" by Louis Armstrong (#5); "Shoop Shoop Song" by Betty Everett (#6); "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles (#7); "Glad All Over" by the Dave Clark Five (#8); "Please Please Me" by the Beatles (#9); and "Don't Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man)" by the Serendipity Singers (#10). The Beatles continued to hold the top two places on the album charts with Meet the Beatles and Introducing the Beatles.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Need Guide-ance

I'm working on a project that requires some pretty precise info, so I'm looking for TV Guide magazines from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s--the more the better. The catch, though, is that they have to be from the Atlanta region--the same TV Guides that we would have used every week in the Rome/Cedartown area.  Mom used to have quite a set of them, but they were lost long before Dad died, and I don't even know where to begin looking for them. I've tried eBay, where there are plenty of TV Guides, but hardly any from Atlanta. If any of you kind folks have some for sale, let me know...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The CineMarvel Age of... Film?...

A find from my earliest years of teaching: Moviemaking Illustrated, a guidebook to filmmaking that uses panels from Marvel Comics to teach all about film. Kirby, Ditko, Steranko, Tuska, Ayers, Colan, Severin, Trimpe, Heck, Buscema--they're all represented, along with many other Marvel artists of the 1960s and early 1970s. In the days before video-capable smartphones made everyone and his/her three-year-old an expert filmmaker, this was a wonderful way to teach the use of lighting and camera angles and other aspects of filmmaking. And it's still a great reminder of just how sophisticated comic book art is in terms of storytelling. If you find one cheap, grab it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/23/1964 to 3/29/1964

Rome received over 6" of rain on Wednesday evening, March 25, and Thursday morning, March 26th; as a result creek, rivers and streams all over the area flooded, and electrical service was disrupted to some homes. The floodwaters crested at 30.6 feet, just  1.4 feet below the level where massive evacuations would have been necessitated. An East Rome High student died when the car in which she was riding was trapped in floodwaters on a low-lying road connecting Berry Academy and the Berry College campus.

West Rome's 1964 football team made its debut at the spring Green and White intra-squad game, held at Barron Stadium on March 26th. The junior varsity game began at 6:30, with the varsity team playing at 8:00; the junior and senior bands performed at halftimes and between the games. More than 1600 people showed up to watch the games, in spite of the prior night's heavy rains, followed by near-freezing temperatures on Thursday evening. The White team defeated the Green 7-0 on a 51-yard run by Dickie Sapp. Coach Kennedy was less than impressed with the overall performance, saying "I guess we made every mistake in the book, but then again that's what spring games are for—to find your mistakes and correct them."

The West Rome Honor Society was selected The Most Outstanding Chapter in Georgia at the State Honor Society, marking the third time in four years that the Chieftains took home the top Honor Society ranking. Jackie Lupo, a junior, was elected state recording secretary for the 1964-65 term; Mrs. Elliott, West Rome Honor Society advisor, was chosen state sponsor; and West Rome principal Dick McPhee was chosen as Georgia Chairman of the state chapter of the National Honor Society.

The Chieftains Chorus girls ensemble performed "Child Jesus in His Garden" as part of the First Presbyterian Church's Holy Week service.

The sub-freshman Tri-Hi-Y sponsored the second annual Teen Talk at West Rome on Thursday morning, March 26th; Garden Lakes Baptist Church pastor Robert Rutledge spoke on the subject of alcoholism. The Senior Tri-Hi-Y kicked off their Better Citizenship campaign.

Remember those chapel programs that we always looked forward to (because they got us out of class!)? Well, one such program was held at West Rome on Wednesday, March 25th, featuring a performance by the Brass Choir of Jacksonville State College. 

West Rome's Pizza King added kosher sandwiches to its menu this week in 1964, offering  a choice of corned beef or pastrami for 75¢ each, grilled Swiss cheese for 35¢, or the Court Jester (with four meats and three cheeses) for 85¢. And if that wasn't cheap enough, they also added a Monday Family Night discount of 20% off on all orders. (I couldn't figure out how it was that I never knew about Pizza King, since it wasn't that far from my house--but I had not yet discovered the joys of pizza back in March of 1964, and by the time I had, Pizza King was no longer around.)

Southern Airways announced plans to provide  Rome with four flights daily, taking over the routes that Eastern Airlines had announced that it was abandoning. The plan would include two multi-stop flights each day from Atlanta to Rome to Huntsville to Memphis, and two flights back from Memphis to Huntsville to Rome to Atlanta.

Kennedy half-dollars went into circulation on March 24th; 26 million of the coins were minted initially, replacing the Benjamin Franklin half-dollar that had been the norm from April 1948 until the end of 1963.

An Easter tradition in the 1960s that has long since been abandoned Murphy's was offering free live baby chicks for Easter; the only requirement was that you purchase a 15¢ bag of feed at the same time.

Piggly Wiggly had Swift's Butterball turkeys for 43¢ a pound, a dozen eggs for 39¢, and fresh-baked apple or cherry pies for 59¢ each. A&P had sugar-cured hams for 39¢ a pound, red potatoes for a dime a pound, and Nabisco saltines for 29¢ a box. Kroger had young hen turkeys for 35¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and a one-pound bag of those ever-popular Brach's jelly beans for 29¢. Big Apple had fresh fryers for a quarter a pound, sweet potatoes for 18¢ a pound, and t-bone or sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound. Couch's had pork roast for 39¢ a pound, Green Giant green beans for 19¢ a can, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart.

Rome's week at the cinema began with Elvis Presley's Kissin' Cousins at the DeSoto and Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra at the First Avenue. Cleopatra's reign continued through the weekend as well, but Elvis said farewell to Rome in mid-week to make room for the Walt Disney film The Misadventures of Merlin Jones. The West Rome Drive-In continued its weekends-only screenings with a shoring of Take Her, She's Mine with James Stewart & Sandra Dee.

The Beatles held on to the top four positions for year another week, with "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Twist and Shout," and "Please Please Me" in first, second, third, and fourth. Other top ten hits for the week included ""Dawn Go Away" by the Four Seasons (#5); "Fun Fun Fun" by the Beach Boys (#6); "Hello Dolly" by Louis Armstrong (#7); "My Heart Belongs to You" by Bobby Vinton (#8); "Java" by Al Hirt (#9); and "Hi Heel Sneakers" by Tommy Tucker (#10). The Beatles also held the top two album positions for yet another week with Meet the Beatles and Introducing the Beatles.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/16/1964 to 3/22/1964

Rome began this week in 1964 with floods following heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday; the Division Street underpass was totally flooded, as were the Paris Drive bridge and Williamson Street bridge over the creek that paralleled Conn Street. Furthermore, many Conn Street houses had to deal with flooded back yards, while the Oostanaula rose to three feet above flood stage. Thankfully, waters receded rapidly and everything was passable by late Monday evening.

West Rome continued to play an important role in community health as the Floyd Health Department conducted tuberculin tests at West Rome High School. Almost 900 students and teachers were tested for tuberculosis; the tests were offered at the requests of West Rome faculty and parents.

Dr. Charles Whitworth, Academic Dean of Shorter College, spoke to the West Rome Tri-Hi-Y clubs on Tuesday morning, March 17th, on the subject of personal integrity.

Thirty West Rome juniors took the National Merit qualifying test, while eighty-seven freshmen and sophomores took the National Educational Development Test.

Apparently Rome was a virtual hotbed of crime in the early 1960s: thieves broke into the Floyd County Tax Commissioner's office in the Floyd County Courthouse on the night of October 17th, tearing open the vault and stealing almost $10,000 in cash from tax payments. The robbers spent several hours breaking open the vault and punching the safe open, according to investigator Bill Hart. "This was no amateur job; they knew what they were doing," Hart said.

Meanwhile, police engaged in a  high-speed chase down Elm Street and Shorter Avenue  in the early morning hours of March 18th, ultimately stopping three men who had been pursuing a Rome housewife who was en route to pick up her husband at an industrial plant. All three men were arrested; no motive for their actions was given. "It's a good thing this didn't happen a few hours later, when children were on their way to Elm Street Elementary," one officer said.

Paul Harvey paid a visit to Rome on March 17th, broadcasting both his morning and mid-day radio programs from Rome's WIYN studios. The entirety of both programs focused on a salute to Rome and Floyd County.

Talk about supporting your local businesses: Sterchi's Furniture was running a special on a five-piece colonial oak living room suite (a settee, a mating wing chair, a cocktail table, and two end tables) for $219.00--and the furniture was made in Rome at Fox Manufacturing's Furniture Division! 

Piggly Wiggly had first cut pork chops for 39¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and a carton of 6 or 10-ounce Coca Cola for 19¢ plus deposit. Kroger has canned biscuits for a nickel each, whole fryers for 23¢ a pound, and Spotlight coffee for 55¢ a pound. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 49¢, chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, and Morton salt for a dime a box. A&P had rib steaks for 89¢ a pound, oranges for 49¢ per five-pound bag, and Hydrox cookies (to me, these were Oreos imitators--but to Hydrox die-hards, Oreos were the imitators) for 33¢ a box. Couch's had Poss Brunswick stew for 49¢ per 24-ounce can, Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart, and barbecue-cut pork steak for 39¢ a pound.

Cleopatra continued for a second week at the First Avenue for a second week, while the DeSoto offered Sword in the Stone for the first half of the week and Kissin' Cousins (with Elvis Presley) for the last half of the week. The West Rome Drive-In's weekend offering was Move Over, Darling (with Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen).

The Beatles continued to control the Top Ten charts this week in 1964: they held the top four positions with "She Loves You" (#1), "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (#2), "Please Please Me" (#3), and "Twist and Shout" (#4). Other songs on the charts included "Fun Fun Fun" by the Beach Boys (#5); "Dawn (Go Away)" by the Four Seasons (#6); "Java" by Al Hirt (#7); "Hello, Dolly" by Louis Armstrong (#8); "My Heart Belongs to Only You" by Bobby Vinton (#9); and "Kissin' Cousins" by Elvis Presley (#10--and this was the title song to the film that opened in Rome the same week the song made it into the charts). The Beatles also held first and second place in the album charts with Meet the Beatles and Introducing the Beatles.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/9/1964 to 3/15/1964

In March 1964, Georgia law was changed to require that all drivers have minimum liability insurance of $10,000.00 injury/$5,000 property on any and all motor vehicles they operated on the public roads of Georgia. Any driver who did not have such insurance would lose his/her license if he was involved in an accident unless there was a bond of equal value on the vehicle or the driver. However, there was no proof-of-insurance requirement in order to get a license tag for a vehicle; that didn't come into effect for a few more years.  McGhee-Hall & Hogg Insurance Company advertised that they offered such liability policies for as low as $26 a year (but you can bet that this was not the rate for a family with a teenage driver!). For a lot of teenage drivers, this was a new expense involved with owning a car, which made the teenage dream just a bit more expensive.

Fourteen Chieftain wrestlers were awarded the green-and-white WR  this week in 1964. The lettermen included Greg Quinton, Gary Fuller, Mike Murphy, Joey McGee, Jerry Callan, Tommy Sapp, Billy Harris, Lane Warner, Bill Bishop, Dennis Greer, Jerry Coalson, Craig Brewer, Billy Mellon, and Wayne White.

West Rome initiated its daily flag-raising program in March 1964, inspired by a similar program depicted in each weekly episode of the Mr. Novak television show. (In case you've forgotten—or never watched it—Mr. Novak was an NBC drama the starred James Franciscus, who played a compassionate and involved first-year English teacher in a Los Angeles high school.) At the same time the flag was raised, The Star-Spangled Banner was played over the intercom; afterwards, each homeroom would recite the Pledge of Allegiance. West Rome's Tony Ledwell said that "the new idea has created a more patriotic atmosphere at West Rome." I will always remember the morning anthem and pledge, and had no idea that it wasn't a part of Chieftain tradition from the day the school opened!

The next phase of Northwest Georgia's war against polio took place on Sunday, March 15th, as Sabin oral polio vaccine clinics were set up at West Rome High School and many other schools in Rome and Floyd County to distribute type III vaccine absolutely free of charge, thanks to the sponsorship of the Floyd County Medical Society and the Floyd County Pharmaceutical Association, who worked with PTA groups to make the clinics a success. The vaccinations were administered to almost 50,000 people of all ages.

Piggly Wiggly had Duncan Hines cake mixes for 33¢ a box, 3 pounds of Crisco for 49¢, and 24-ounce cans of Swift's Spaghetti for 33¢. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 49¢, ground beef for 33¢ a pound, and winesap apples for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had pork loin roasts for 35¢ a pound, fruit cocktail for 19¢ a can, and Starkist tuna for 25¢ a can. A&P had boneless round steaks for 75¢ a pound, cabbage for 7¢ a pound, and boneless stew beef for 59¢ a pound. Couch's had Swift's premium fryers for a quarter a pound, 4 pounds of lard for 39¢, and Cudahy's Bar-S hot dogs for 39¢ a package.

The cinematic week began with The Prize (with Paul Newman, Elke Sommer, & Edward G. Robinson) at the DeSoto and Critic's Choice (with Bob Hope & Lucille Ball—and in spite of the title, this film was not a critic's choice) at the First Avenue. The last half of the week brought one of 1964's biggest films to the First Avenue: Cleopatra, with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton. The First Avenue ran ads warning that "no seats reserved," which piqued my curiosity, since I never remembered the First Avenue having reserved seats for any films.  It's also worth noting that the ticket price for this film was $1.50 per person, with no discounted tickets and no passes. Furthermore, the First Avenue announced that they would offer an unprecedented 2pm matinee of Cleopatra every day, both weekends and weekdays--and in a small town like Rome, weekday matinees were almost unheard of! The DeSoto Theater, meanwhile, was showing The Sword in the Stone (the Walt Disney animated Arthurian film based on the novel by T.H.White) and ticket prices were a more affordable 75¢ for adults and 25¢ for children. The West Rome Drive-In offered weekend showings of Charade (the 1963 film starring Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn).

The Beatles' hold on the Top Ten strengthened in mid-March 1964 as a fourth Beatles song leapt into the Top Ten. "She Loves You" took first place, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" held on at second, and "Please Please Me" pleased a lot of listeners at third place--but "Twist and Shout" popped up out of nowhere to take seventh place. Other top ten hits included "Dawn (Go Away) by the Four Seasons (#4); "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys (#5); "Navy Blue" by Diane Renay (#6); "Java" by Al Hirt (#8); "I Love You More and More Every Day" by Al Martino (#9); and "Hello, Dolly" by Louis Armstrong (#10). Meanwhile, on March 14th, Billboard Magazine reported that the sales of Beatles records made up 60% of the entire singles market—which might explain why Broad Street's Record Shoppe was advertising that they had Beatles records in stock!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/2/1964 to 3/8/1964

West Rome began spring football practice this week in 1964; Coach Paul Kennedy said that he expected about a hundred potential players to show up for practice, with key lettermen returning, joined by "some fine prospects from the junior varsity team. There's no sense in being pessimistic... I'm very optimistic about this team," Coach Kennedy said on Monday. By the week's end, however, he was a bit less optimistic. "Our defense looks terrible," Kennedy lamented, "particularly our defensive line play. I'm very disappointed with the progress; we're just not getting as much accomplished as in the past."

West Roman Jean Smiderski placed third in Bacteriology at the Seventh District Science Fair, held over the weekend at the Ford Gymnasium at Berry College. Other Chieftains who placed included Paula St. Clair, who took fourth in Experimental Psychology; Bob Bicker, who took fourth in Zoology; and Billy Owenby, who took honorable mention in Zoology.

Sophomores Sara Whitworth, Charlene Lamb, Tom McMahan, Jane Cox, and Yvonne Housch were inducted into the Honor Society during a candlelight ceremony conducted by President Leigh Whittenburg, with the full membership of the group in attendance.

Shorter College announced plans to purchase the 125-room Greystone Hotel on East Second Avenue with the intent of converting it into a men's dormitory. The hotel had closed down on August 10th, 1962, and was still sitting empty, so no business would be displaced by the conversion.

Turbulent weather brought 60mph winds to West Rome on March 4th, damaging roofs, downing a few trees, and bending TV antennas (a common problem in those pre-cable-TV days). There were tornadoes reported in northwest Georgia, but none in Rome.

Floyd Hospital continued to expand with the announcement of a new sixty-bed addition, which would be financed from a bequest made to the hospital from the estate of the late Helen H. Rogers. Mrs. Rogers was the daughter of Dr. Levi Hammond, who treated many patients at Floyd Hospital during his lengthy medical career.

Rome's junior college prospects continued to improve as state senator J. Battle Hall reported that the junior college steering committee had given Rome and Floyd County leaders a "definite commitment and a  firm promise" that a junior college would come to Rome.

Grocery specials for the week included eggs for 39¢ a dozen at Piggly Wiggly, as well as cubed steak for 89¢ a pound and tomatoes for 19¢ a pint. Kroger had Double Q salmon for 49¢ a can, Kraft mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, and a dozen red delicious apples for 49¢. Big Apple had Heinz ketchup for 19¢ a bottle, Cudahy Bar S bacon for 49¢ a pound, and lima beans for a dime a can. A&P had chuck steaks for 45¢ a pound, Marvel ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and Green Giant Mexicorn for 21¢ a can. Couch's had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, Bama strawberry preserves for 39¢ in an 18-ounce drinking-glass container (I still remember Mom washing all the jelly residue out of the Bama glasses so that we could add them to our drinking glass inventory).

The first half of the week brought moviegoers a choice between The Brass Bottle (with Tony Randall, Burl Ives, and Barbara Eden) at the First Avenue and Soldier in the Rain (with Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen) at the DeSoto. The weekend brought The Prize (with Paul Newman and Elke Sommer) to the DeSoto; Mail Order Bride (with Buddy Ebsen, Keir Dullea, and Lois Nettleton) to the First Avenue; and a weekend showing of Man's Favorite Sport (with Rock Hudson and Paula Prentiss) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles scored a trifecta this week in 1964, taking the top three places with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," and "Please Please Me" respectively. Other top ten hits for the week included "Dawn (Go Away)" by the Four Seasons (#4); "Java" by Al Hirt (#5); "Navy Blue" by Diane Renay (#6); "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys (#7); "California Sun" by the Rivieras (#8); "See the Funny Little Clown" by Bobby Goldsboro (#9); and "I Love You More and More Every Day" by Al Martino (#10).