Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/28/1964 to 10/4/1964

All Rome City Schools, including West Rome, held meetings to explain the new city-wide grading system that was going into effect beginning with the 1964-65 school year. The old number grade system, with 93-100 equalling an A, etc., was replaced with an A-B-C-D-U-I system (U for unsatisfactory and I for incomplete due to unavoidable reasons). "No numbers will be used," a Rome City Schools spokesperson said. "A student will fail or pass not on a numerical average of 69 or 70, but in terms of the overall quality of his work." (I presume this refers to report card grades only, since I never remember a time when we didn't get numerical grades on tests and other in-class work. I'm also not sure how long this system stayed in place; does anyone remember a period of time when we got letter grades only?)

West Rome faced off against Calhoun on October 2nd in a crucial sub-region contest. Alas, Calhoun came from behind in the second half, scoring two touchdowns to defeat the Chieftains 14-3.

The West Rome Honor Society held its induction ceremony on September 30th, welcoming twelve new members to their ranks. The roster of inductees included Jan Ross, Dan Schweitzer, Esther Ransom, Carolle Sewell, Barbara Belswinger, Phyllis McGhee, Anna Payne, Nancy Childers, Jack Column, Pat Barns, Stan Dawson, and Muriel McAbee.

Junior class officer elections were held, with Pat Barns being elected as class president; Ronnie Parker, vice-president; Stan Dawson, secretary; and Ann Peery, treasurer.

The West Rome Library Club elected Sara Whitworth as club president; Cathy Atkins, vice-president; Marilyn Moon, secretary; Sanda Addington, treasurer, and Marilyn Allen, reporter.

Romans were very excited to learn the art of hooking this week in 1964. Rug hooking, that is... (What did you think they were teaching at the YMCA?) The class actually filled up so quickly that the YMCA was evaluating whether they should offer a second session.

The new TV season also brought a renewed push to get color televisions into more homes. RCA Victor had a 21" color console for only $599.95 with trade-in, while RCA offered a 21" tabletop color set for only $399.95 with trade. (When you factor in the inflation multiplier of 7.51, however, that would be be the equivalent of paying just over $4500 for a 21" console set or just under $3000 for a 21" tabletop TV--almost the same price we'd pay for a large-screen 4K UHD set today!)

Sears was a major player in the auto repair business in the 1960s, offering everything from tires and tuneups to complete engine replacements. With automobile dealers on the verge of unveiling new models in late 1964, Sears was urging customers to put some money into a remanufactured engine instead. A V-6 engine could be had for as little as $159, while a V-8 started at $179--and you could get the installation done by Sears the same day you bought the engine.

And speaking of cars, Rome Automobile Company began showing off the new 1965 Volkswagen Beetle this week in 1964, complete with 15% more window area, larger and more comfortable front seats, a back seat that folded almost flat (and the manufacturer touted that the large flat open area could be used as "a large luggage space or a playpen for children." Apparently we worried much less about car seats and buckled-in children fifty years ago!)

Piggly Wiggly had center-cut pork chops for 59¢ a pound, turn it greens for a dime a pound, and a 24-bottle case of Coca Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit. Kroger has bananas for a dime a pound, whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, and graham cracked for 33¢ a box. A&P had smoked hams for 39¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, and Bartlett pears for 12¢ a pound. Big Apple had winesap apples for a dime a pound, jiffy steak for 99¢ a pound, and a half-gallon of Sealtest ice milk for 39¢, Couch's had T-bone steak for 69¢ a pound, lab shoulder roast for 19¢ a pound, and lettuce for 15¢ a head.

The movie week began with Kisses for My President (with Fred MacMurray & Polly Bergen) at the DeSoto and Night Must Fall (with Albert Finney) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switch out switch-out brought I'd Rather Be Rich (with Sandra Dee & Robert Goulet) to the DeSoto, A Shot in the Dark (the second Pink Panther film, with Peter Sellers & Elke Summer) to the First Avenue, and an Alfred Hitchcock double feature of Vertigo and To Catch a Thief to the West Rome Drive-In (which was on its weekends-only schedule).

There's no need to fear!... Underdog was here as of October 3rd, when the cartoon made its NBC debut as a part of the Saturday morning lineup. Those of us who grew up in the 1960s may remember that he got his abilities after taking his Super Energy Pill; younger viewers who saw the series in syndication may have never heard of the Super Energy Pill, however, since all references to it were edited out of the cartoon beginning in the mid-1970s, presumably out of fear that it would be seen as some sort of a pro-drug statement.

The number one song this week in 1964 was "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#3); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#6); "It Hurts to Be In Love" by Gene Pitney (#7); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#8); "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers (#9); and "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy (#10).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/21/1964 to 9/27/1964

The Coosa Valley Fair opened on September 21st, with Kunz Century-21 shows supplying the world's largest motorized midway, which included an expanded ("faster and wilder!") Tilt-a-Whirl. Carole Sewell represented West Rome in the Miss Floyd County contest.

West Rome went into their game against LaFayette with high hopes, but those hopes were dashed when LaFayette won the game 13-7; Dickie Sapp scored the only touchdown, but was stopped short on a second touchdown run.

BF Goodrich celebrated Coosa Valley Fair Week with a special on retreads for $9 each (do they even offer retreads nowadays? I haven't heard mention of them in years...), while Sears offered new tires for $9.88 to $15.88 each and Goodyear offered tires from $9.99 to $17.99 each. I'm still not sure how tires came to be associated with Fair Week...

Walter R. Thomas Jewelers closed its Broad Street location in September 1964—or more specifically, they sold their stock to Kay Jewelers, who took their place. Even so, they advertised a big store closing sale as they liquidated what inventory they could prior to the sale--so if you got any sort of jewelry as a Christmas gift in 1964, this might be the source!

Rome City Schools superintendent M.S. McDonald met with the Georgia Board of Education on Wednesday, September 23rd, to request $130,000 in building construction funds. Some of those funds were to be used construct an industrial arts workshop at West Rome High School. His pitch must have been most persuasive, because he came back with a $127,637 check, and planning of West Rome's industrial arts workshop was officially on the drawing board.

Piggly Wiggly had boneless Hotel Special steaks for 89¢ a pound, Mann's Golden Harvest wieners for 49¢ a pound, and turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, grapes for 12¢ a pound, and five pounds of Colonial sugar for 39¢. Big Apple had Hormel sliced bacon for 57¢ a pound, Cornish game hens for 69¢ each, and red delicious apples for 12¢ a pound. A&P had bone-in rib steak for 89¢ a pound, Banquet 8-ounce frozen pot pies for 12¢ each, and frozen flounder fillets for 49¢ a pound. Couch's had sirloin steaks for 89¢ a pound, Pet-Ritz frozen cream pies for 29¢ each, and a one-pound box of Nabisco Saltines for 31¢.

The fall season television show rollout continued, with several great series debuting this week in 1964, including The Man from UNCLE (September 22nd), Daniel Boone (September 24th), The Munsters (September 24th), Gomer Pyle USMC (September 25th), and Gilligan's Island (September 26th). And yes, that means that Gilligan's Island debuted on a Saturday night! Back in 1964, entertainment choices were fewer, and networks offered a full line of original programming, including Flipper, Gilligan's Island, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, Mr. Magoo, Jackie Gleason, Lawrence Welk, and Saturday Night at the Movies, which featured television film premieres of major motion pictures.

The movie week began with The Chalk Garden at the DeSoto; Act One (with George Hamilton & Jason Robards) at the First Avenue; and nothing at the West Rome Drive-In (since it had begun closing except for weekends). The mid-week switch up brought Hamlet (starring Richard Burton, and shown "thru the miracle of ElectronoVision," according to the ad), to the DeSoto, Love With the Proper Stranger at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Heller in Pink Tights (with Sophia Loren & Anthony Quinn) and Ring of Treason (with no one worth remembering) at the West Rome Drive-In.

Roy Orbison took the number one spot this week in 1964 with "Pretty Woman." Other top ten hits included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#2); "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#3); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#6); "It Hurts to Be in Love" by Gene Pitney (#7); "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#8); "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett (#9); and "Save It For Me" by the Four Seasons (#10).

In a surprising show of schedule coordination, Gold Key Comics published the first issue of their Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea comic this week in 1964, meaning that the comic debuted at almost exactly the same time as the TV series that starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison. Of course, the comic book publisher had plenty of time to prepare, since both the show and the comic were actually based on the 1961 Irwin Allen film of the same name.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/14/1964 to 9/20/1964

The on-again, off-again US 27-US 411 interchange was off again this week in 1964 once someone noticed that eight abandoned houses and an empty store were still standing where the road was supposed to be. The state said that Ledbetter-Johnson Construction were supposed to remove them, but the construction company said that was the state's responsibility. While both sides argued, work ground to a halt.

West Rome's JV team defeated Trion 33-7 on Thursday, while the varsity defeated McCallie 26-7. Ronnie Kennedy threw two touchdown passes in the first five minutes of the game, while Dickie Sapp scored a TD on a 62-yard return and Richard Camp ran seven yards to score West Rome's fourth touchdown.

Technologist David Kuhns presented "The Wonders of Liquid Air" at a West Rome High School assembly on September 17th; his presentation involved (among other things) liquid oxygen, solid mercury, and pressured oxygen. Mr. Kuhns was assisted by students Jimmy Cowart, Jack Collum, and Nelson Payne.

The chorus selected its officers for the 1964-65 school year. Barbara Heile was elected president; Janet Scherer, vice president; Billy Avery, secretary-treasurer; and Jacky Lupo & Judy Lloyd, librarians.

The Future Homemakers of America elected their 1964-65 club officers, with Jane Casey being tapped as president; Carole Sewell, vice president; Elmira Hardin, secretary; and Sally Sanford, treasurer.

West Rome's senior class began its magazine sale this week in 1964; the class set a goal of $3500 worth of subscriptions, with all profits slated to go towards the seniors' end-of-the-year gift to the school.

The new television season began this week in 1964--and what a memorable season it was! Several now-classic programs debuted in 1964, including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (debuted on September 14th), Peyton Place (September 15th), Shindig! (September 16th), Bewitched (September 17th), The Addams Family (September 18th), Jonny Quest (September 19th--and it was the first prime-time animated adventure series), and Flipper (September 19th). And that's not it for the season--there are some more memorable debuts coming up in next week's list... including a few of my all-time television favorites.

The Imperial Service Station at 2205 Shorter Avenue (one of Rome's first 24 hour service stations) celebrated its grand opening this week in 1964 with 94 octane regular for 29.9¢ per gallon and 100+ octane ethyl for 31.9¢--and if that wasn't cheap enough, they offered a penny back for every gallon purchased (not a discount--they just gave you pennies).

Piggly Wiggly had lettuce for 19¢ a head, beef liver for 19¢ a pound, and red grapes for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had picnic hams for 29¢ a pound, Uncle Tom's Brunswick stew for 39¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound. A&P had fatback for a dime a pound, JFG coffee for 79¢ a pound, and 5 pounds of white potatoes for 19¢. Big Apple had center cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Showboat salmon for a quarter per flat can, and a two pound jar of Blue Plate apple jelly for 29¢ (that's a lot of jelly!). Couch's had Black Hawk sliced bacon for 59¢ a pound, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and a large roll of Northern paper towels for 29¢.

Moviegoers looking to catch a film during the first half of the week could choose from Robin and the Seven Hoods at the DeSoto and Lady in a Cage at the First Avenue; the West Rome Drive-In resumed its off-season schedule, which meant they were closed only Wednesday through Sunday nights. The mid-week movie switch out brought The Chalk Garden (with Deborah Kerr and Hayley Mills) to the DeSoto, Seven Days in May (with Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas) to the First Avenue, and The Moonspinners to the West Rome Drive-In.

Roy Orbison took the number one slot this week in 1964 with "Pretty Woman." Other top ten hits included "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#2); "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals (#3); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#4); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#5); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#6); "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#7); "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#8); "It Hurts to Be in Love" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "Save It For Me" by the Four Seasons (#10).

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/7/1964 to 9/13/1964

At long last, the city took action to minimize the flooding problems that had plagued houses along Conn Street in West Rome. City officials purchased a machine they referred to as the "Hopto," a dredging machine that could clear out the creek bed (I guess whatever the dredging job was, it could hop to it!...). The entire creek bed from Burnett Ferry Road to Williamson Road was cleared out in the first week; eventually, the city planned to clear the entire creek bed all the way to Horseleg Creek Road. Not only were the Evans, the Hatches, the Skeltons, and everyone else who lived along Conn Street and Paris Drive happy with the news, but those of us who were frequently cut off from most of West Rome due to flooded roads were pretty darned pleased, too! (Even better, it made it easier for us to wade the creek without getting stuck in the muck; now, if they only could have done something about the ever-present leeches in that creek...)

West Rome's third football game of the season took them up to Summerville to take on the Chattooga County Indians. The JV team did their part, defeating Chattooga 40-6 on Thursday, September 10th. The varsity team did even better, trouncing Chattooga 41-0 on the Indians' home turf. As a result of his outstanding performance in the game, Richard Camp was named the Rome area's back of the week after an outstanding performance that saw him score two touchdowns, one of them on a 67-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.

Krystal celebrated their 32nd anniversary with a half-price special over the weekend, offering five Krystal hamburgers for a quarter. (Yes, you could actually get a hamburger for a nickel!)

Economy Auto Stores announced a shipment of new 82-channel 19" televisions for only $148. Of course, the addition of a UHF dial didn't do much for us in Rome, since it would be a few years since anyone in our broadcast area began offering UHF channels; wonder how many people bought a new TV figuring they'd have more channels to choose from?

Piggly Wiggly had first cut pork chops for 49¢ a pound, New Plymouth ice cream for 39¢ a half-gallon, and fresh turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, peaches for 15¢ a pound, and Maxwell House coffee for 58¢ a pound. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 39¢, veal chops for 69¢ a pound, and beef liver for 19¢ a pound. A&P had rib steaks for 89¢ a pound, lettuce for 19¢ a head, and grapes for 17¢ a pound. Couch's had chuck steak for 59¢ a pound, Bama Jelly in a reusable glass for 33¢, and ocean perch for 29¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Marnie (with Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery) at the DeSoto, South Pacific at the First Avenue, and Lawrence of Arabia at the West Rome Drive-In. The mid-week switch brought Robin & the Seven Hoods (with the Rat Pack— Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.), Lady In a Cage (with OIlivia de Havilland) at the First Avenue, and a forgettable double feature of The Jayhawkers and Walk a Tightrope at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Animals landed their first number one song this week in 1964 with "House of the Rising Sun." Other top ten hits included "Bread and Butter" by the Newbeats (#2); "Where Did Our Love Go?" by the Supremes (#3); "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison (#4); "GTO" by Ronny & the Daytonas (#5); "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (#6); "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las (#7); "Because" by the Dave Clark Five (#8); "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann (#9); and "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas (#10).