Rome officially began the Christmas season with the Monday evening arrival of Santa, who landed at Barron Stadium via helicopter before joining the 28-unit Christmas parade up Broad Street to the Rome City Auditorium, where he officiated the lighting of the Christmas Tree and all the Christmas lights along Broad Street. The West Rome Junior High Band and the West Rome High Marching Band, as well as the homecoming queen, were a part of the parade.
The weather was perfect for a Christmas event: it was dry and clear, but very, very cold, with highs in the upper thirties and low forties during the day on Monday and Tuesday and lows in the upper teens.
Christmas season also saw the premiere of the three-day Christmas show sponsored by the Floyd County Home Demonstration Clubs. The event, held at the Rome Civic Center, was developed around the theme "An Old Fashioned Christmas at Home," with participants from around the area, including West Rome.
The holiday sales season got off with a rip-roaring start, with Rome and Floyd County merchants reporting record sales for the first week of the Christmas season. Of course, there was good reason: Rome was also reporting an all-time record high payroll in 1964, banks were reporting record savings account balances, and more Romans participated in Christmas Club savings accounts than ever before. Estimates indicated that spending for the early part of the Christmas season was running 20% to 30% higher than the year before, which had set its own records.
And here's a real season opener: NBC presented the television premiere of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Sunday, December 6th. The show became an annual tradition on NBC, appearing there every year until it moved to CBS in 1972.
In honor of the holidays, Redford's 5¢ and 10¢ on Broad Street
"Christmased up" its menu, adding cranberry sauce to its 50¢ fried
chicken dinner that included two pieces of fried chicken, mashed
potatoes, green beans, and a roll. None of that stuff with berries in
it, either: this was the 1960s "real deal" jellied cranberry sauce that
still carried the shape of the can! (No, they don't say that in the ad,
but I remember it well... at the time, I had no idea there was any other
type of cranberry sauce, in fact!)
The West Rome Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y clubs took part in a countywide
"Operation Goodwill" program to collect food and toys for Christmas; the
toys would go to the Marines Toys for Tots program, while the food
would go to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy families.
Homerooms were urged to begin collecting food and toys in preparation
for "Goodwill Week" on December 7th-11th.
It was a good week for Chieftain athletes: West Rome's wrestlers defeated East Rome 29-26 on Thursday, December 3rd. Then West Rome opened its basketball season on Friday, December 4th, with a game against Chattooga—a game that the Chieftains won 49-30, led by the outstanding performances of Donnie Hill and Stan Dawson. Perhaps they were spurred to victory by the pep rally that preceded the season opener...
Changes were proposed for Battey Hospital: a state commission
studying mental health problems in Georgia recommended that Battey be
used for overflow from the Milledgeville State Psychiatric Hospital.
Airlines was eager to get rid of its Rome flight service, and Southern
Airlines was willing to take the routes, if the Civil Aeronautics Board
approved the transfer. They listened to both airlines present their
requests, then postponed any decision until they could hold public
hearings on March 16, 1965.
Nelson Brothers Service Station at 618 Shorter Avenue suffered a break-in on Monday night; the thieves gained access to the service station through an unsecured garage door at Pettyjohn's Body Shop at the rear of the service station. The thieves made off with $230, two retread tires, and three inner tubes (they might have taken more, but they got tired...).
The Imperial Service Station at 2205 Shorter Avenue celebrated the holidays with a special "buy eight gallons or more of gasoline and get two extra gallons for free" promotion. With 94 octane regular at 29.9¢ and 100-octane ethyl at 31.9¢, the price was already pretty cheap, but this made it as much as 20% cheaper! And if that wasn't enough, they gave you a one copper penny bonus refund for each gallon purchased!
Piggly Wiggly had Swift's premium bacon for 49¢ a pound, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and fully baked fruit pies for 59¢. Kroger had an eight-ounce can of tuna for 27¢, Maxwell House coffee for 59¢ a pound, and pit-cooked barbecue sandwiches for a dime each. Big Apple had fresh whole fryers for 25¢ a pound, Bailey's Supreme coffee for 55¢ a pound, and tangerines for 15¢ a pound. A&P had pork loin for 49¢ a pound, a five-pound Jane Parker fruitcake for $3.99, and an 18-ounce can of fruit cocktail for 27¢. Couch's had 18 ounce jars of Blue Plate jelly in assorted flavors for 39¢, veal chops for 59¢ a pound, and the never-popular Libby's potted meat for a dime a can.
The cinematic week began with Elvis Presley's Roustabout at the DeSoto and Bikini Beach at the First Avenue. The midweek change-up brought Fail Safe to the DeSoto and a double feature of Witchcraft and The Horror of It All to the First Avenue, while West Rome Drive-In offered a weekend double feature of Pepe and Zotz.
The number one song this week in 1964 was "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton. Other top ten hits included "She's Not There" by the Zombies (#2); "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#3); "Come See About Me" by the Supremes (#4); "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles, making their return to the charts after a record-setting summer (#5); "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones (#6); "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks (#7); "Baby Love" by the Supremes (#8); "I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney (#9); and "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the Beach Boys (#10). Four British Invasion groups on the Top Ten charts was quite impressive, but the fact that the Supremes had two of the Top Ten was even more outstanding!