Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 6/14/1965 to 6/20/1965

 Summertime, and the living was easy... and apparently not very newsworthy! With school out for the summer, there were no high-school sporting events, no meetings, no clubs, no school events—in short, the summer of 1965 was the sort of long, hot, langorous summer that we remember so fondly now. The first half of the week was soggy, with heavy rain every day through Wednesday, but it began to slack off by Thursday and by Friday we were back to typical Georgia heat and humidity... but somehow, it didn't see as bad when I was only 11 years old, even though we only had air conditioning in the family living room, so I had to rely on a box fan to cool off in my bedroom. Of course, most of us grew up planning for hot summers rather than isolating ourselves from them, so we didn't think that much about it.

How many times did the Rome and Floyd County school systems talk about merging into one system? The subject came up yet again this week in 1965, with county leaders and state education officials stressing how much more efficient and cost-effective a single system would be. Rome officials expressed interest if the financial requirements could be worked out (but we all know that they never were resolved, just as they remained unresolved during prior discussions, so the systems continue to this day as two separate systems).

It's baaaack!...  The proposed Floyd Junior College, apparently killed back in 1963, returned from the dead this week in 1965 as the State Board of Regents  said that Rome was one of three areas given high priority in plans for a new junior college. Rome had been a serious contender for a junior college two years earlier, but had been eliminated from contention at the last minute.

An unnamed state official told Rome and Floyd County that their desegregation plans were expected to be approved by the first week of July, and that school systems should begin making registration schedules around those proposed plans. The city's plan called for grades 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, and 12 to be desegregated beginning in the 1965-1966 school year.

The decline of interest in train travel reached Rome as Southern Railway announced a reduction of train service from Rome to Macon. Where there had previously been two trains per day to Macon, the railway was cutting that to one train per day--a train that would continue on to Jacksonville, Florida-- due to insufficient ridership.

Atlanta Gas Light began pushing natural gas air conditioning again this week in 1965, promoting its cost-effectiveness (almost 30% lower to operate than electric air conditioning)--and to sweeten the deal, they were offering low monthly payments over a three-year period with no interest. Not sure what happened to natural gas air conditioning... we hardly ever hear of it today, but every article from the time makes it sound like a superior system.

The savings stamp craze was in full bloom in 1965, and even appliance stores were getting into the game. Floyd Outlaw Furniture and Appliances was offering 8000 Gold Bond stamps to anyone who bought a Maytag washer for the low price of $269.95 (yes, that's over $2000 today, adjusted for inflation!).

Piggly Wiggly had Luzianne instant coffee for 59¢ a jar, Lady Alice ice milk for 19¢ a half-gallon, and eggs for 39¢ a dozen. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, Happy Valley ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and watermelons for 79¢ each. Kroger had chicken breast for 49¢ a pound, Maxwell House coffee for 69¢ a pound, and lemons for 27¢ a dozen. A&P had round steak for 79¢ a pound, Allgood bacon for 59¢ a pound, and lettuce for 25¢ a head. Couch's had Swift's smoked picnic ham for 29¢ a pound, Coca-Cola or Tab for 99¢ a case plus deposit, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart.

The cinematic week began with Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion at the DeSoto, Up from the Beach (with Cliff Robertson & Red Buttons) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Fanny Hill (with such big name stars as Leticia Roman & Ulli Lommel) and The Millionaires (with Sophia Loren & Peter Sellers) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought another lion to the theater in the film Fluffy (starring Tony Randall, Shirley Jones, and Fluffy the Lion), while the DeSoto kept Clarence around for an extra week and the West Rome Drive-In offered a double feature of Dr. No and From Russia With Love, the first two James Bond films.

The Byrds took the top spot this week in 1965 with their cover version of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Other top ten hits included "I Can't Help Myself" by the Four Tops (#2); "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (#3); "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones (#4); "Wonderful World" by Herman's Hermits (#5); "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis Presley (#6); "For Your Love" by the Yardbirds (#7); "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" by Patti Page (#8); "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys (#9); and "Seventh Son" by Johnny Rivers (#10).

The big album release for the week was Beatles VI, a Capitol Records offering made especially for the US market. While most of the tracks on this album were either leftovers from UK albums or singles, two tracks were moved  from the upcoming Help album to this offering ("You Like Me Too Much" and "Tell ME What You See"), and two more were songs recorded by the Beatles especially for the US market ("Bad Boy" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy"). This was actually their seventh album for Capitol if you count the double-record set The Beatles Story (although that album was mostly biography and history, with only brief snippets of music).

The Justice League was missing in action in their own comic this week in 1965--but the Justice Society stepped in to take their place in Justice League of America #37's "Earth Without a Justice League." This was the beginning issue of the third JLA storyline featuring the  the Golden Age versions of the Flash, the Atom, Green Lantern, and Hawkman, along with Doctor Fate, Mr. Terrific, and Johnny Thunder. The meeting of the two super teams had become a can't-miss annual event for comic book readers like me who wanted to learn more about these superheroes who fought crime in the years before we were  born.

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