Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/22/1965 to 2/28/1965

The week began pleasantly enough, weather-wise, but by Wednesday night, a blast of arctic air brought freezing rain and snow to Rome. A half-inch of snow fell on top of a tenth of an inch of ice, and highs never made it out of the 20s on Thursday, creating slippery driving conditions. Temperatures fell to ten degrees Thursday night, with more snow falling on top of the Wednesday night accumulation; the bad weather forced the closing of schools (but I'm sure that all of us managed to deal with our sorrow at a snow day!).

While consumer credit sales in Georgia department stores declined slightly in early 1965 over the same period in 1964, Rome bucked the trend with an 8% growth in credit sales year over year. Rome's furniture stores posted  7% growth, and Rome grocery stores posted 6% growth, showing that Rome's economy was continuing to grow. Rome's unemployment rate was at 4.6% (and this was back when unemployment more accurately reflected the number of people actually out of work), and bank deposits were up 2.8%. What a great start to a new year!

John Christopher Lawler was named West Rome's STAR Student this week in 1964; he selected Miss Susie Underwood as his STAR Teacher.

Ah, how I miss the days when the public utilities were also in the appliance business: Georgia Power offered an electric water heater with a five year warranty (with service provided by Georgia Power technicians on the day you called in a service request!) for only $1.80 a month--and that was at a zero percent interest rate, all added on to your monthly utility bill! Alas, those days are no more...

Hardee's was pushing their fried chicken with a  special 79¢ chicken dinner offer that included three pieces of chicken, french fries, a toasted roll, and honey--obviously they were shooting to compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken, which had begun advertising its $1 lunch (with almost the same selection) at their new Turner McCall location.

Pizza King obviously found an eager market for pizza in Rome: they announced that their 1922 Shorter Avenue location was getting a big brother! The new location at 4 East 2nd Avenue opened this week in 1965--and to celebrate the occasion, Pizza King was offering all 28 varieties of pizza and all pasta dinners at half price at both locations.

Sears was advertising its all-new 16.3 cubic foot frostless refrigerator for only $399.98--and that included an automatic ice maker, which seemed like a real luxury back then. (Bear in mind, though, that when you factor in the 7.52 inflation multiplier between 1965 and now, you have the equivalent of $3000 in today's dollars... and that's for a refrigerator that would be considered tiny by today's standards.)

Chrysler was touting its new 1965 Dodge Polara, a full sized two-door hardtop or convertible with a 383 cu. in. V8 engine. "If you haven't seen the Polara 500.. it's probably because there was  crowd around it!" the ad exclaimed. Interested shoppers could find a selection of new Polaras at Marshall Jackson Motor Company, with prices starting at $2650.

Piggly Wiggly had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, a 16-ounce can of Anchors Aweigh salmon for 49¢, and Swift's bacon for 39¢ a pound. Kroger had round steak for 79¢ a pound, beef liver for 19¢ a pound, and ten pounds of potatoes for 59¢. Big Apple had smoked picnic ham for 27¢ a pound, Happy Valley ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and 16 ounces of Heinz ketchup for 19¢. A&P had corned beef for 69¢ a pound, pork sausage for 33¢ a pound, and a large box of Surf detergent for 28¢. Couch's had spareribs for 39¢  a pound, , a 24-ounce can of Swift's beef stew for 39¢, and a case of Coca-Cola or Tab for 99¢ plus deposit.

The cinematic week got off to a pretty slow start with Get Yourself a College Girl ("The Swingin-est Blast Ever Filmed!") at the DeSoto and The Night Walker (with a Fuselli's Nightmare-esque movie poster) at the First Avenue. The movie selection got slightly more frisky for the weekend, with Sex & the Single Girl (with Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, & Lauren Bacall) at the DeSoto and Sylvia (with Carroll Baker & George Maharis) at the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In offered a double feature of Elvis Presley's Roustabout and East of Eden.

The number one song this week in 1965 was "My Girl" by the Temptations. Other top ten hits included "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#2); "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers (#3); "The Jolly Green Giant" by the Kingsmen (#4); "Eight Days a Week" by the Beatles (#5); "Tell Her No" by the Zombies (#6); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#7); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#8); "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#9); and "Downtown" by Petula Clark.

And this week in 1965, CBS aired a videotaped special performance of Cinderella, based on the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. A young Lesley Ann Warren starred in the special; other cast members included Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, and Celeste Holm.

No comments: