Friday, July 11, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/13/1964 to 7/19/1964

Rome and Floyd County continued to show strong economic growth in the summer of 1964, with Rome unemployment coming in at only 4.4% for the summer, almost a full percentage point below the national average of 5.3%. This wasn't as bad as it sounds, though, because students looking for summer jobs routinely registered as unemployed every summer in order to take advantage of the employment office's job listings. Adult unemployment remained steady at about 3.1% in Floyd County... a number we all consider almost unattainable today. And remember, back in 1964 a much higher percentage of the working-age population was participating in the work force, making that figure even more impressive.

Ledbetter Construction Company was chosen to complete the Rome/411 Interchange project, building one of the most ambitious non-interstate interchanges in Georgia  right across the site previously known as "Goat Hill." Rome had ambitious hopes that this interchange would lead to commercial growth on 411 between Rome and Cartersville and on 27 between Rome and Cedartown—and it eventually did, just not as quickly or as thoroughly as civic leaders anticipated back in 1964.

West Rome High School's beloved Mrs. Smiderski was one of 57 social studies teachers in the Southeast—and the only one in Rome—who successfully completed the University of North Caroline Summer Fellowship Program in Economic Education.

And the economic good news continued as Rome's department stores reported 2% sales growth over the first half of 1963.  This was less than the statewide growth average of 9%, but Rome's lower growth was due in part to the fact that it saw higher-than-the-state-average growth between 1962 and 1963 (maybe the rest of the state was just catching up).

This'll have you in stitches: a top-of-the-line Kenmore sewing machine could be had for only $53 at Sears—and that included an all-wood cabinet/sewing console with a folding top that opened out into a spacious work area.

Piggly Wiggly had Delmonico steaks for 99¢ a pound, watermelons for 69¢ each, and Sunset Gold biscuits for a nickel a can. Kroger had ground beef for 29¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound,and whole pineapples for 49¢ each—and to make them more attractive to price-conscious shoppers, they also became a Top Value Stamps store effective this week in 1964. Big Apple had chuck roast for 29¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of Domino sugar for 39¢, and fresh okra for 19¢ a pound. A&P had seedless grapes for 29¢ a pound, Porterhouse steak for 89¢ a pound, and Red Rock canned soft drinks for 9¢ each. Couch's had Duke's mayonnaise for 39¢ a jar, sirloin steak for 79¢, and white corn for a nickel an ear.

The DeSoto Theater began the week with special Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday matinee showings of Puss 'n' Boots ("all seats only 50¢"). The week of evening screenings began with Bedtime Story (with Marlon Brando, David Niven, & Shirley Jones) at the DeSoto, Good Neighbor Sam (with Jack Lemmon) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Lady & the Tramp and Almost Angels at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week new movie switch out brought Walt Disney's Thomasina to the DeSoto, Wild and Wonderful (with Tony Curtis) at the First Avenue, and Savage Sam at the West Rome Drive-In.

They're baaaack... After a few weeks out of the Top Ten, the Beatles made their return this week as "A Hard Day's Night" entered the charts in the number two position, right behind "Rag Doll" by the Four Seasons. Other top ten hits included "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys (#3); "Memphis" by Johnny Rivers (#4); "The Girl from Ipanema" by Getz/Gilberto (#5); "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" by Jan & Dean (#6); "Can't You See That She's Mind" by the Dave Clark Five (#7); "Dang Me" by Roger Miller (#8); "Wishin' & Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield (#9); and "Keep on Pushing" by the Impressions (#10).

The Beatles soundtrack album A Hard Day's Night  also jumped to number three on the charts this week in 1964—and this Beatles album appeared on yet another label, as United Artists had acquired the US rights to the film and its soundtrack. As a result, the  album, featuring a mix of eight Beatles songs and four instrumental tracks arranged by George Martin, would not be available on Capitol Records for another sixteen years, when EMI acquired United Artists and transferred the rights to the soundtrack to Capitol.

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