Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/24/1965 to 5/30/1965

This was the last full school week of the 1964-1965 school year; Chieftains had to come back on Monday and Tuesday of the next week, but a two-day week (even one with final exams) wasn't that much of a school week at all! Seniors' last day of class was Friday, May 28th, with Senior Class Night scheduled for that evening.

The Rome City School system announced an agreement with the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that would result in the desegregation of grades 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, and 12 in the 1965-1966 school year and the addition of grades 4, 8, 9, and 10 in the 1966-1967 school year, with all grades being desegregated by the beginning of the 1967-1968 school year. The era of "separate but equal" (which was never truly equal at all) was finally coming to an end, even though it's unclear why it was taking three years to fully bring segregation to a close--it seems like it would have been easier to have desegregated all grades at once than to have this complex system of individual grade desegregation...

Coach Paul Kennedy was chosen by the Kiwanis Club as the Track Coach of the Year in Rome and Floyd County. The Rome/Floyd County all-star track team was also announced (based on best posted times and distances), and it included Dickie Sapp in the hundred yard dash (10 seconds); Arbie Lovell in the high hurdles (15.2 seconds); Arbie Lovell in the low hurdles (20.4 seconds); Dickie Sapp in the broad jump (22' 8.25"); and Dickie Sapp, Louis Kauffman, Arbie Lovell, Ray Jones, and Steve Holland in the 440 relay.

The Floyd Hospital Authority announced plans to construct an eight-bed psychiatric ward addition paid for entirely with local funds; the addition would provide semi-private rooms to the psychiatric wing. Constructing the addition without federal funding would speed up the construction by more than a year.

Did you know that there was once a federal excise tax on televisions? Well, that tax ended in May 1965, and the immediate result was lower television prices. Sears has a 21" Silvertone color television for only $329.00 (yeah, that's the equivalent of almost $2500 in today's dollars, but cutting edge technology has always been expensive!...)

Dempsey-Anderson Motor Company advertised the new 1965 1/2 Rambler Marlin Sports Fastback on sale this week in 1965. The Marlin was a sports fastback with a vinyl roof hardtop, a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, a 327 cubic inch V-8, and reclining front seats.

Kentucky Fried Chicken celebrated the beginning of summer with an 89¢ chicken dinner special featuring three pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, slaw, and hot biscuits. If that was too much for your budget, 54¢ would get a chicken gizzard dinner with the same sides, while 69¢ would buy a chicken liver dinner (a real treat in my household!). They also urged customers to try their "famous Brunswick stew" (I must confess that I don't recall KFC's Brunswick stew at all, so apparently their ad campaign wasn't successful with my family--or the stew was too expensive for out budget back in the mid-1960s).

Piggly Wiggly had Peter Pan canned tuna (Peter Pan made tuna?) for a quarter a can, Southern brand American cheese for 49¢ a pound, and Plymouth bacon for 59¢ a pound. Big Apple had pork tenderloin for 57¢ a pound, Happy Valley ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound. Kroger had 12 ounce cans of Big K soft drinks for 6¢ each, cantaloupes for 33¢ each, and baking hens for 29¢ a pound. A&P had Oscar Mayer bologna for 39¢ a pound, shank portion ham for 35¢ a pound, and vine ripe tomatoes for 19¢ a pound. Couch's had their in-store-ground country sausage for 49¢ a pound, 18 ounce jars of Bama strawberry preserves for 49¢, and squash for a dime a pound.

The cinematic week began with Mary Poppins (with Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke) at the DeSoto Theater and Young Cassidy (with Rod Taylor) at the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-in resumed its seven-nights-a-week schedule this week in 1965 with a double feature of Commancheros (with John Wayne) and John Goldfarb Please Come Home (starring Shirley MacLaine & Peter Ustinov--and written by none other than William Peter Blatty, who went on to become famous for The Exorcist). The midweek switch out brought a double feature of Dr. No and From Russia With Love (the first two James Bond films, both starring Sean Connery, the one true James Bond) to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In went for the big screen spectacle with Cleopatra (starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton); Mary Poppins hung around for a second week at the DeSoto.

The Beach Boys took the number one spot this week for the second week in a row this week in 1965 with "Help Me Rhonda."  Other top ten hits included "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (#2); "Back in My Arms Again" by the Supremes (#3); "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis Presley (#4); "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles (#5); "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits (#6); "I Can't Help Myself" by the Four Tops (#7); "Just a Little" by the Beau Brummels (#8); "Engine Engine #9" by Roger Miller (#9); and "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones (#10).

The number one album this week wasn't by any of the artists listed above, however: it was the Mary Poppins soundtrack, which had taken the number on position in April and was destined to hold on to that slot until mid-July.

The Enemy Ace, a somber, introspective WWI flying ace inspired by Baron Von Richthofen, earned his first solo comic book this week in 1965. Written by Robert Kanigher and illustrated by Joe Kubert, Showcase #57 featured a full-length tale of Hans Von Hammer, who was first introduced in Our Army at War #151 a few months earlier.

Who knew that Max Baer, best known for his portrayal of Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies, was such a hostile and unpleasant guy? Well, we all knew after reading his interview in TV Guide this week in 1965; he revealed that he didn't like the show, but "the money's good, the dames are good..." He also dismissed fellow actors on other hit series, such as  Jim Drury and Robert Reed, as "nothing actors" who were nothing more than handsome faces. *sigh*

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