Friday, August 28, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/30/1965 to 9/5/1965

The school year started without a hitch on Monday, August 30th, and there were no problems with the first day of integrated schools. A total of 59 black students enrolled in Rome City Schools, including seven at West Rome High and two at Elm Street Elementary. Superintendent M.S. McDonald said that late enrollment was continuing throughout the week, and it was likely that more students would be integrated into city schools as the week progressed. Rome's total enrollment at all schools was approximately 7500 students, an increase of more than 200 students over the previous school year.

Chieftain Benny Padgett was named the Rome News-Tribune's Lineman of the Week for his outstanding performance in the season opener against Coosa. Padgett was credited with 11 individual tackles and recovered a key fumble to stop Coosa from scoring.

This week's football game pitted the Chieftains against the Dalton Catamounts. West Rome Coach Paul Kennedy downplayed West Rome's chances, saying that "Dalton will undoubtedly win the region championship again this year," while Dalton Coach Bill Chappel said that "West Rome was the most likely contender to win the title."  This is one time when we wish the other team's coach had been correct: unfortunately, West Rome lost to the Catamounts 21-0.

Nowadays we're accustomed to see blue lights on police cars, but red flashing lights were the norm until this week in 1965. This is the week that Floyd County began switching over to blue flashing lights to distinguish police cars from ambulances and other emergency vehicles. The Rome City Police Department confirmed plans to switch to blue lights as well, but they weren't sure when the transition would occur.

The Coosa Valley Fair began their pre-fair publicity push this week in 1965 with the announcement that a new Sky-Liner ride would join the list of Coosa Valley Fair attractions this year. The Sky-Liner was really nothing more than a chair life that ran on a five-hundred-foot-long steel cable above the fairgrounds.

The numbers were finally tallied, and it turned out the retail sales in Rome and Floyd County jumped more than $2 million in the second quarter of 1965 compared to the same quarter in 1964. Total retail sales were more than $32,697,000, putting Rome and Floyd County near the top of Georgia's retail growth curve.

We talk about Christmas season kicking off too early nowadays, but apparently the problem has existed for quite a while: The Discount House at 7 North Division Street in West Rome announced that Santa would be at the store on Labor Day, and parents could have their kids' photos taken with Santa. They were also kicking off a major toy sale over the weekend leading up to Labor Day.

Piggly Wiggly had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, baking potatoes for 6¢ a pound, and Snax brand potato chips for 39¢ a bag. Kroger had Wilson's four-pound canned hams for $2.99, fresh eggs for 37¢ a dozen, and Country Club ice cream for 45¢ a half-gallon. Big Apple had round steak for 79¢ a pound, Van Camp's potted meat for 16¢ a can, and a carton of Pepsi-Cola for 29¢ plus deposit. A&P had hen turkeys for 39¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli for 39¢ a can. Couch's had pork chops for 59¢ a pound, Showboat pork & beans for 19¢ a can, and Double Cola for 69¢ a case plus deposit,.

The cinematic week began with A Very Special Favor (with Rock Hudson & Leslie Caron) at the DeSoto Theater; H. Rider Haggard's She (with Ursula Andress) at the First Avenue; and a double feature of The Thrill of It All (with Doris Day & James Garner) and Art of Love (with Dick Van Dyke & Elke Sommer) at the  West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought The Sons of Katie Elder (with John Wayne & Dean Martin) to the DeSoto; Lord Jim (with Peter O'Toole) to the First Avenue; and Shenandoah (with James Stewart) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles held on to first place in the Billboard charts with "Help." Other top ten hits included "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan (#2); "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (#3); "You Were On My Mind" by We Five (#4); "California Girls" by the Beach Boys (#5); "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers (#6); "I Got You, Babe" by Sonny & Cher (#7); "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown (#8); "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles (#9); and "The 'In' Crowd" by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (#10).

The Beatles also reclaimed the number one album slot with Help! this week in 1965. knocking the Rolling Stones' Out of Our Heads off its three-week stint in first place.  (The Stones, in turn, had knocked off the prior Beatles album, Beatles VI, which held the number one slot for six weeks.)

Superhero fans had a new comic book choice this week in 1965: THUNDER Agents #1, the premiere offering from Tower comics. A striking Wally Wood cover graced the first issue of this 64-page 25¢ comic that introduce Dynamo, No-Man, and Menthor to the comic-book-reading world.

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