Saturday, March 07, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/8/1965 to 3/14/1965

West Rome faced off against South Hall of Gainesville on March 10th in the opening round of the Georgia Class AA basketball tournament—and when it was all over, the West Rome team posted a 62-46 runaway victory in their matchup at Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum. As a result, the team advanced to the second round, facing the Cairo Syrupmakers (yes, that was their name!) on Thursday, March 11th. Alas, that game didn't go as well, with the Chiefs losing 51-31, eliminating them from further tournament play. (The Chiefs earned their way into the tournament with a 12-7 record under the guidance of Coach Ralph Beeler.)

Chieftainacts 1965 was presented on Friday, March 12th, and Saturday, March 13th, at the West Rome High School Auditorium.

Rome finally unveiled its desegregation plans for the city school system: grades 1-3 were set for desegregation beginning with the 1965-1966 school year, In addition, students in grades 4-12 could request transfer to another school if it was geographically closer, regardless of the students' race. It may be something we take for granted now, but in 1965, desegregated schools were still largely a dream, not a reality!

Great news for those of us addicted to books: construction pre-planning for the new Carnegie Library and Tri-County Regional Library was running ahead of schedule,l which meant that construction was likely to begin in June--some four months ahead of original plans. The new construction was to be added on to the back of the Carnegie Library location, extending and expanding the facility.

In the pre-computer days, it took a while to tally all the numbers, but the Georgia State Chamber of Commerce finally had all the total for 1964 sales in Rome and Floyd County, and it was great news: Rome's total sales soared to more $122 million in 1964, which was an increase of more than $19 million over the 1963 totals of $108 million. What we wouldn't give for a 14% year-over-year increase in sales nowadays! Rome and Floyd County's economic growth was about 1 and 1/2 times the statewide rate.

Piggly Wiggly advertised "Prices as Hot as a Pistol!" this week in 1965 (complete with an image of a gun... and no one was outraged!), with eggs for 33¢ a dozen, Fleeetwood coffee for 59¢ a pound, and T-bone steak for 79¢ a pound. Kroger has fresh fryers for 27¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 22¢ a can, and Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can. Big Apple had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, five pounds of Domino sugar for 35¢, and a dozen Honey-Dip donuts for 19¢. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and Golden Sweet creamed corn for 12¢ a can. Couch's had a tall can of Double Q salmon for 49¢, pork roast for 39¢ a pound, and the never... err, ever-popular Libby's potted meat for a dime a can.

The cinematic week began with The Rounders (with Glenn Ford & Henry Fonda) at the DeSoto and Kitten (with Ann-Margret & John Forsythe) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (with Bette Davis, Olivia DeHavilland, and Joseph Cotten) to the DeSoto, Love Has Many Faces (with Lana Turner & Cliff Robertson) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Dear Brigitte and Curse of the Timberland at the West Rome Drive-In.  Monster movie fans like myself were sure to be on hand for the First Avenue's special Saturday-afternoon-only presentation of the live Dr. Jekyl (sic) and His Weird Show, which combined a live horror-host, some schlocky but still fun monsters and zombies, and clips from horror films. For those of us who grew up with Channel 5's Bestoink Dooley and his Big Movie Shocker, this was a must-see since it was happening right in front of the audience, not on a small television screen.

The Beatles still held on to number one this week in 1965 with "Eight Days a Week." Other Top Ten hits included "Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes (#2); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#3); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#4); "Can't You Hear My Hearbeat" by Herman's Hermits (#5); "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry & the Pacemakers" (#6); "My Girl" by the Temptations (#7); "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#8); "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (#9); and "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All Stars (#10).

Johnny Carson came down with the "fifteen minute flu" in 1965 to protest the fact that a number of NBC affiliates were not showing the first fifteen minutes of The Tonight Show beginning at 11:15pm, meaning that a lot of viewers weren't seeing Carson's monologue. Instead, the stations were airing a half-hour of news from 11:00 to 11:30pm (most stations were only showing a 15 minute news program at 11pm). The sick-out finally ended when the network agreed to let Carson launch the show with a guest from 11:15 to 11:30, then begin his monologue at 11:30. You've got to pity the poor guest who got stuck with the opening slot, knowing he was the least important person on the program that night!

The Avengers got a new line-up this week in 1965--and it marked the first time that former villains Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch appeared as a part of the superhero team. As of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's Avengers #16, Captain America was the only A-list superhero still holding a slot in the Avengers. Meanwhile, Lee & Kirby also revealed the origin of the Red Skull in Tales of Suspense #68, also on sale this week in 1965.

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