Saturday, July 05, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/6/1964 to 7/12/1964

Several Rome businesses—including some restaurants, drive-ins, and motion picture theaters—ended their policies of segregation this week in 1964 in keeping with the recently-passed civil rights bill. The DeSoto and the First Avenue were the first formerly-segregated businesses to open the doors to all regardless of race. This marked the long-overdue beginning of the end of segregation in Rome, in Georgia, in the South, and in the nation as a whole. It seems hard to believe that we're only a half-century removed from a time when segregation was still an accepted practice, isn't it?

Rapid residential and business growth in West Rome led to the City Commission "fast-laning" the four-laning of Shorter Avenue at the Underpass. In addition, City Manager Bruce Hamler reported that the City Commission had approved bids for two water storage tanks in the West Rome area to make sure that immediate water needs were met.

Rome Police Chief Nelson Camp announced that, in response to concerns from residents and businesses, the city would actively enforce the 11pm curfew for all residents under the age of 21. Chief Camp said that officers would allow for reasonable extensions for people coming home from work, a movie, etc.

The Rome City and Floyd County school systems continued to discuss a merger of the two systems, with State Board of Education chairman James Peters saying it was the only only path to progress. Today, no one remembers James Peters and the two systems remain un-merged...

We're accustomed to seeing cheaper prices from a half-century ago, but interest rates that banks were paying were certainly much, much higher--more than 16 times today's rates for a standard savings account. Citizens Federal was paying 4.25% interest on all savings accounts this week in 1964... and today, most banks are barely paying the .25% part of that! 

Piggly Wiggly had chicken breasts for 39¢ each, bananas for a dime a pound, and Pillsbury flaky biscuits for a nickel a can. Kroger had ham for 39¢ a pound, cream style corn for a dime a can, and a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit. Big Apple had chuck roast for 29¢ a pound, watermelons for 33¢ each, and ice cream for 39¢  a half-gallon. A&P had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, potato salad for 29¢ a pound, and smoked sausage for 59¢ a pound. Couch's had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 29¢ each, and a 16-ounce jar of JFG Peanut Butter for 49¢.

Rome's cinematic week began with The Unsinkable Molly Brown at the DeSoto, How The West Was Won at the First Avenue, and The Dream Maker at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week movie switch up brought Good Neighbor Sam (with Jack Lemmon) to both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In and Bedtime Story (with Marlon Brando, David Niven, and Shirley Jones) to the DeSoto.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Rag Doll" by the Four Seasons. Other top ten hits included "Memphis" by Johnny Rivers (#2); "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys (#3); "Can't You See That She's Mine" by the Dave Clark Five (#4); "The Girl from Ipanema" by Getz/Gilberto (#5); "The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)" by Jan & Dean (#6); "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#7); "Dang Me" by Roger Miller (#8); "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small (#9); and "Keep On Pushing" by the Impressions" (#10).

Comic book readers were happy to see that the Hulk became a regular feature in Marvel Comics' Tales to Astonish beginning with #60, which went on sale this week in 1964. Meanwhile, Captain America and Iron Man were slugging it out on the cover of Tales of Suspense #58, also on sale this week in 1964... and their face-off was the precursor to an ongoing Captain America feature in Tales of Suspense beginning in the next issue.

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