Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/29/1964 to 7/5/1964

With school out, kids had plenty of time on their hands—which is why the Carnegie and Tri-County Regional Libraries launched their Summer Safari reading program for first through eighth graders, urging them to read at least ten books during the summer.  The library offered various award incentives for young readers who completed ten, fifteen, and twenty-five books.  (Since I was a voracious reader, hitting the 25-book mark was no problem.)

Did you remember that Shorter Avenue was still a two-lane road at the underpass in 1964? It's true—but that was about to change as the Rome City Commission unveiled its grand plan to widen Shorter to four lanes at the underpass. Some may not even remember the old railway underpass at the east end of Shorter, near the former Marine Corps Armory, but it was one of those landmarks that Romans used in giving directions back in 1964—and it was a major bottleneck for traffic during rush hour, often backing up westbound traffic well past the hospital every afternoon. The underpass was such a landmark, in fact, that some longtime Romans still give directions using the phrase "go past where the underpass used to be."

Floyd Outlaw's Rome Appliance Center was promoting their new high-capacity 14 cubic foot refrigerator-freezers this week in 1964; for only $295, you could have this state-of-the-art frost-free model delivered to your home. (Today, 14 cubic feet is on the lower end of refrigerator sizes, but in 1964, it was the Cadillac of fridges!)

This week in 1964, Piggly Wiggly had oleomargarine for a dime a pound, Van Camp's pork & beans for 9¢ a can, and a July 4th special of Coca-Cola, Tab, or Sprite for only 75¢ for a 24-bottle case (plus deposit, of course). Kroger had ground beef for 37¢ a pound, strawberries for 29¢ a pint, and Polar Pak ice milk for 19¢ a half-gallon. Big Apple had a 12-ounce jar of Jif peanut butter for 39¢, Swift's bacon for 49¢ a pound, and whole watermelons for 79¢ each. A&P had a pint of blueberries for 35¢, Super-Right hot dogs for 49¢ a pound, and a bag of marshmallows for a quarter—just perfect for toasting over the grill after the big July 4th cookout! Couch's had JFG mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, Kraft tasty-loaf American cheese for 25¢ a pound, and pork steak for 39¢ a pound.

Rome's cinematic week began with Flipper's New Adventure  at the DeSoto, How the West Was Won at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Four For Texas and Strait-Jacket at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week switch up (because new movie day was Wednesday back then, not Friday) brought The Unsinkable Molly Brown (with Debbie Reynolds) to the DeSoto and a double feature of The Victors and The Dream Maker to the West Rome Drive-In, while How the West Was Won continued for a third week at the First Avenue.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys. Other top ten hits included "Memphis" by Johnny Rivers (#2); "Rag Doll" by the Four Seasons (#3); "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#4); "Can't You See That She's Mine" by the Dave Clark Five (#5); "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small (#6); "People" by Barbra Streisand (#7); "A World Without Love" by Peter & Gordon (#8); "The Girl from Ipanema" by Getz/Gilberto (#9); and "No Particular Place to Go" by Chuck Berry (#10).

And this week in 1964, two of my favorite things—comic books and the Beatles—merged when Dell released their 64-page biographical comic book spotlighting The Beatles. This was the first of many Beatles biographies I have read over the years--but to this day, whenever I hear about the Beatles' early years, I always picture artist Joe Sinnott's depiction of the Fab Four. Sinnott, who would be best known as an inker on Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four, was quite a skilled penciller, and he turned in an outstanding art job on this comic. Of course, it was a must-have for me as soon as I saw a copy at Enloe's Rexall Drugs on Shorter Avenue...

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