Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/31/1965 to 6/6/1965

This was the week that the 1964-1965 school year wrapped up. Students had to come to school on Monday and Tuesday, and then they were free for the summer! (For me, June 1st marked the end of my one and only year at West End Elementary. My fifth grade year was spent in classrooms in the West Rome Junior High School building at the south end of West Rome High School, since growth in West Rome meant that West End Elementary was too small from the day it opened. My sixth grade year was spent at West End, but the upcoming seventh grade meant we were going back to West Rome Junior High--this time, not as elementary school "guests," but as junior high students! That's probably why I never really felt attached to West End, but I felt very comfortable at West Rome Junior High.)

West Rome High School commencement exercises took place at the City Auditorium on June 1st. 163 students graduated in a ceremony that began with a commencement speech by Georgia Lt. Governor Peter Zack Geer.

Rome's economy continued to grow, with a 7% increase in bank debits in April (in the pre-computer days of 1965, it took longer to compile data than it does today). Debits are checks and withdrawals from local accounts--and while an increase in debits may sound like a potential problem, it's actually quite the contrary. A growth in spending meant a growth in business activity, and that's a very good thing indeed!

Piggly Wiggly had 24 ounce cans of Swift's beef stew or chili for 39¢ each, ground chuck for 69¢ a pound, and a two-pound bag of Vashling frozen wrench fries for 39¢. Big Apple had ground beef for 37¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and Coca Cola or Tab for 29¢ a carton plus deposit. Kroger had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, large eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. A&P had pork loin for 63¢ a pound, corn for a nickel an ear, and a five-pound bag of Ballard's flour for 55¢. Couch's had Southern Maid hot dogs for 39¢ a pound, a 28-ounce jar of Blue Plate peanut butter for 59¢, and cantaloupes for a quarter each.

The cinematic week began with Mary Poppins (with Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke) at the DeSoto and a James Bond double feature of Dr. No (the film that inspired the name for my comic book shop!) and From Russia With Love at the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In offered a double feature of Gunslinger (a nine-year-old Roger Corman Western with John Ireland & Beverly Garland) and Pajama Party (with Annette Funicello & Tommy Kirk). Mary Poppins continued for another week, while the First Avenue brought in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (with Kim Novak) and the West Rome Drive-In screened The Caddy (an oldie with Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis) and A Swingin' Summer (with James Stacy & Lori Williams).

The number one song this week in 1965 was "Back in My Arms Again" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (#2); "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis Presley (#3); "I Can't Help Myself" by the Four Tops (#4); "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys (#5); "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds (#6); "Engine Engine #9" by Roger Miller (#7); "Wonderful World" by Herman's Hermits (#8); "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles (#9); and "Just a Little" by the Beau Brummels (#10).

This week's TV Guide featured a cover story on Dick York, who played Darrin Stephens on Bewitched for the first few seasons. Co-stars Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead had nothing but praise for York's comedy skills, but York played down his accomplishments. One thing York said about his contributions to the success of the series proved to be amazingly prophetic: "Maybe it’s me. I don’t think so, but the only way to tell if it’s me or not is to kill me off in one show, give the witch another husband and see if I’m missed." A year later, illness forced York to leave the series, and he was replaced by Dick Sargent (who was originally offered the role but passed) for the final three seasons. But for those of us who grew up with Bewitched, Dick York would always be the one true Darrin...

TV Guide also mentioned that NBC's in-the-works science fiction series was being reworked to replace Jeffrey Hunter, who had originally been cast as the captain of the starship. The producers of the series, Star Trek, had hired a new actor named William Shatner to take on the role of the Enterprise's captain; if all went well, NBC hoped to air the series in 1966.

Steve Ditko's two big Marvel Comics creations crossed paths in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2's story teaming up Spidey and Doctor Strange, on sale this week in 1965. Marvel also mixed Graeco-Roman and Norse mythologies in Journey Into Mystery with Thor Annual #1, which featured Thor versus Hercules. What a great way to begin the summer as far as comics fans were concerned!

1 comment:

Kyle McCullough said...

I remember getting giant feathers when we went to see Mary Poppins - flamingos, maybe, or ostrich feathers that were dipped in dye. I don't know if they were a promotion at the Desoto, or if we got them somewhere else at about the same time. But I still remember the feathers fifty years later. :)