Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/27/1965 to 10/3/1965

West Rome ventured to Calhoun on Friday, October 1st, to take on the Jackets in a region game. Once again, Richard Camp had a great game, scoring one touchdown and two extra points. The real star player of the evening, however, was David Garrett, who scored three touchdowns. The end result was a 38-0 victory for West Rome, their second sub-region win. While the season started off with losses, those were not sub-region games, so West Rome's chances of advancing to a championship still remained strong.

And speaking of Richard Camp: he was chosen lineman of the week by the Rome News-Tribune in recognition of his outstanding performance in the West Rome-Lafayette game, in which he scored three touchdowns and five extra points.

Twelve new members were inducted into the West Rome Honor Society. The new inductees included Linda Camp, Carol Culp, Patty Dobbins, Elaine Freeman, David Garrett, Wanda Grantham, Jean Jackson, Dianne Massey, Joey McGee, Ann Peery, Dennis Souder, and Regina Swinford.

Senior magazine sales wrapped up this week in 1965; the top five salespeople were Rusty Oxford, Donita Womack, Regina Swinford, Ann Finley, and Ann Peery.

The junior class elected its officers, choosing Benny Padgett as president, Susan Sprayberry as vice-president, Dianne Massey as secretary, and Tommy Sapp as treasurer.

The new officers of the West Rome FHA included Carol Culp, president; Pat Hicks, vice-president; Dianne Chambers, secretary; Linda Hilley, treasurer; Linda Camp, chaplain; and Mary Ann White and Layne Lucas, projects chairs.

Ah, gender stereotyping! A half-century ago, the YMCA chose to offer a course called "The Feminine Mechanic," intended to teach ladies on "the mysteries of the auto," including such mysterious rituals as changing a tire, filling a gas tank, or checking the oil. The course was taught by Jack Hudson, district manager for Northwest Georgia Chevrolet. The course was open to any female with a driver's license, so it's possible that a few Chieftains signed up!

The YMCA also enlisted West Rome teacher Ronald Midkiff to offer a  linguistics mini-course to inform parents on current educational techniques. "Linguistics emphasizes how words actually generate in the brain and form a complete sentence," Midkiff explained. "Previously, the older method of diagramming sentences placed the emphasis on each separate word, and no thought was given as to how words or sentences first originated." The course also offered an overview of phonetics, which was being taught in elementary schools.

Piggly Wiggly had five pounds of Domino Sugar for 37¢, Castleberry's chili for 33¢ a can, and chuck roast for 69¢ a pound. Big Apple had Diet-Rite or RC Cola for 29¢ a six-pack plus deposit, sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, and red grapes for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had whole chicken breasts for 45¢ a pound, sliced pineapple for 14¢ a can, and Star-Kist tuna for a quarter a can. A&P had smoked picnic ham for 38¢ a pound, Miracle Whip for 49¢ a jar, and sweet potatoes for a dime a pound. Couch's had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and Betty Crocker cake mix for 33¢ a box.

The cinematic week began with The Great Spy Mission (with Sophia Loren & George Peppard) at the DeSoto Theater and the Beatles' Help! at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Marriage on the Rocks (with Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, & Dean Martin) to the DeSoto, while the First Avenue got a real oddity: The Legend of Blood Mountain (with Erin Fleming & Glenda Brunson). it's not the film that was the oddity, however: it was the fact that the film was show in the theater complete with bonus material starring Bestoink Dooley, the horror-host of WAGA-Channel 5's Big Movie Shocker every Friday Night. Dooley (played by Atlantan George Ellis) filmed his clever monologues and segues, which were inserted into the film at the appropriate places. So in effect, we were paying to go to the theater and watch a late-night horror TV program! Help! didn't go away entirely, however: it just moved from the First Avenue to the West Rome Drive-In, where it was part of a double feature with Ferry Cross the Mersey (starring Gerry & the Pacemakers).

Paul McCartney's acoustic ballad "Yesterday" took the Beatles back to the number one position on the charts this week in 1965. Other top ten hits included "Hang on Sloopy" by the McCoys (#2); "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head (#3); "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (#4); "The 'In' Crowd" by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (#5); "Catch Us If You Can" by the Dave Clark Five (#6); "You've Got Your Troubles" by the Fortunes (#7); "Baby Don't Go" by Sonny & Cher (#8); "You Were On My Mind" by We Five (#9); and "Do You Believe in Magic?" by the Lovin' Spoonful (#10).

Meanwhile, British folk musician Donovan Leitch, best known simply as Donovan, made his American premiere on Shindig on Thursday night, performing his version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier." Donovan's folk music never caught on here in the US, but his move into pop with a psychedelic edge would eventually make him a superstar.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/20/1965 to 9/26/1965

Five games into the season, the Chieftains finally got a victory—and what a victory it was! West Rome trampled the Lafayette Ramblers 35-0 in a Friday night home game. "It was a real fine team effort, and I can't say enough about my boys after that performance," Coach Paul Kennedy said. "We fumbled a couple of times, but other than that the boys played a near perfect ball game. We knew that it was going to happen sooner or later... we'd been expecting it." The Chiefs scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, then scored their fifth TD in the fourth quarter. Richard Camp scored three of the touchdowns and kicked all five extra points, accounting for 23 of West Rome's 35 points.

The Coosa Valley Fair kicked off on Monday, September 20th, offering a mix of amusement park rides, arcade activities, contests, displays, and much more. In the 1960s, the fair was such a Big Thing that the school system dismissed students early on Tuesday of Fair Week so that they could enjoy Kids Day at the fair, taking advantage of the reduced prices. The West Rome Band performed at the fair in the special events arena on Tuesday afternoon at 6:30. By the time the fair was over, attendance had topped 100,000! In the days before Six Flags and other regional amusement parks, the fair was a major event.

Apparently the fair filled everyone's schedule, because there was nothing else going on in Rome this week. No school events (other than the football game), no big sales... apparently everyone was too busy on the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel to do anything else!

Piggly Wiggly had Swift's Premium bacon for 59¢ a pound, Tokay grapes for 15¢ a pound, and Coke or Sprite or Tab for 99¢ a case (plus deposit). Big Apple had round steak for 69¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and five pounds of Gold Medal flour for 49¢. Kroger and sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, Kroger mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, and a four-pound bag of red delicious apples for 33¢. A&P had fryer breasts for 49¢ a pound, Eight O'Clock Coffee for 69¢ a pound, and bananas for 15¢ a pound. Couch's had cabbage for a nickel a pound, JFG coffee for 69¢ a pound, and eggs for 33¢ a dozen.

The cinematic week began with I Saw What You Did (with Joan Crawford) at the DeSoto Theater and Walt Disney's Cinderella at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought The Great Spy Mission (with Sophia Loren & George Peppard) to the DeSoto, the Beatles' Help! to the First Avenue, and a weekend double feature of The Seventh Dawn (with William Holden & Susannah York) and Walt Disney's The Monkey's Uncle at the West Rome Drive-In.

The McCoys took number one this week in 1965 with "Hang on Sloopy." Other top ten hits included "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (#2); "Yesterday" by the Beatles (#3); "Catch Us If You Can" by the Dave Clark Five (#4); "You Were On My Mind" by We Five (#6); "The 'In' Crowd" by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (#6); "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head (#7); "You've Got Your Troubles" by the Fortunes (#8); "Baby Don't Go" by Sonny & Cher (#9); and "Laugh at Me" by Sonny (#10). And would you ever have thought that Sonny Bono would have two songs in the top ten the same week... and one of them would be a solo hit?

War comics weren't generally as popular as super-hero comics, but DC tried to bring a little action-hero attitude to their war line with the introduction of Lt. Steve Savage, the Balloon Buster, in All-American Men of War #112, on sale this week in 1965. Robert Kanigher & Russ Heath presented the story of a young United States Air Corpsman whose specialty was taking out German attack balloons in WWI. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/13/1965 to 9/19/1965

After a summer of back-and-forth negotiations, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare finally signed off on Rome City Schools' desegregation plans on September 15th. This marked the formal end of segregation in Rome City Schools, although it would be another year before all grades were desegregated.

Chieftain Charlene Lamb represented West Rome in the Miss Floyd Contest, slated to be held at the Coosa Valley Fair during the week of 9/20 through 9/25.

West Rome's football team continued to struggle as they suffered their third defeat in a row, falling to the McCallie Tornadoes of Chattanooga in a 21-6 game. West Rome's only touchdown was scored in the first quarter; from that point on, it was McCallie's game all the way.

Back in 1965, Romans could choose from two daily flights between Rome in Atlanta. Eastern Airlines added a flight leaving Rome at 1:29 each day, arriving in Atlanta at 2pm. Romans hoping to return could depart Atlanta at 6:15pm and arrive in Rome at 6:50 pm; the plane would then continue on to Chattanooga. Talk of turning Russell Field into a regional airport never materialized, though, so the talk of flights to Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Memphis never went any further than talk. Still, the idea that Rome had any commercial flights in the 1960s is still pretty surprising!

Would-be skateboarders could save money at Murphy's: the bargain department store had a 24" anodized aluminum skateboard for only $1.75, a 22" oak board with a lacquered surface for only $1.17, and a 23" anodized aluminum board for only 88¢. Today's skateboarders would undoubtedly laugh at the heavy, clunky-looking boards of 1965, but these store-bought boards were certainly better than the homemade boards (pieces of plywood with skate wheels on the bottom) that some of us used!

Now here's the special that no one I knew ever wanted: Kentucky Fried Chicken was running a special on their gizzard dinner—six fried gizzards, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a biscuit, for only 49¢. (That's about 50¢ more than I'd pay for chicken gizzards!)

Piggly Wiggly had ground chuck for 69¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and Oreos for 45¢ a box. Big Apple had five pounds of Dixie Crystal sugar for 39¢, lamb shoulder roast for 49¢ a pound, and cabbage for 6¢ a pound. Kroger had pork chops for 69¢ a pound, Maxwell House Coffee for 59¢ a pound, and a quart of Miracle Whip for 49¢. A&P had red grapes for 15¢ a pound, baking hens for 39¢ a pound, and Ann Page tomato rice soup for 13¢ a can. Couch's had stew beef for 29¢ a pound, sweet potatoes for 7¢ a pound, and Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can.

The cinematic week began with Sergeant Deadhead (with Frankie Avalon) at the DeSoto and Island of the Blue Dolphins (with Celia Milius) at the First Avenue. With school back in session, the West Rome Drive-In returned to its weekends-only schedule. The midweek switch out brought I Saw What You Did (with Joan Crawford) to the DeSoto and  Walt Disney's Cinderella to the First Avenue, while the West Rome Drive-In went wild over the weekend with Elvis Presley's Wild in the Country, along with Wild on the Beach (with Frankie Randall).

All three television networks began rolling out their new shows this week in 1965. The series that premiered in the fall of '65 included:

Monday, September 13th:
A Man Called Shenandoah (ABC)
The John Forsythe Show (NBC, Color)
The Legend of Jesse James (ABC)
Run for Your Life (NBC, Color)
The Steve Lawrence Show (CBS)

Tuesday, September 14th
F Troop (ABC)
My Mother, The Car (NBC, Color)
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (NBC, Color)

Wednesday, September 15th
The Big Valley (ABC, Color)
Gidget (ABC, Color)
Green Acres (CBS, Color)
I Spy (NBC, Color)
Lost in Space (CBS)

Thursday, September 16th
The CBS Thursday Night Movies (CBS, Mostly Color)
The Dean Martin Show (NBC, Color)
Laredo (NBC,, Color)
The Long, Hot Summer (ABC)
Mona McCluskey (NBC, Color)
O.K. Crackerby! (ABC, Color)

Friday, September 17th
Camp Runamuck (NBC, Color)
Convoy (NBC)
Hank (NBC, Color)
Hogan’s Heroes (CBS, Color)
Honey West (ABC)
Mr. Roberts (NBC, Color)
The Smothers Brothers Show (CBS)
Tammy (ABC, Color)
The Wild, Wild West (CBS)

Saturday, September 18th
Get Smart! (NBC Color)
I Dream of Jeannie (NBC)
The Loner (CBS)
Trials of O’Brien (CBS)

Sunday, September 19th
The FBI (ABC, Color)
The Wackiest Ship in the Army (NBC, Color)

Several interesting observations: first, it's surprising how many new shows were still offered only in black and white, even though the networks were majority color broadcast at this time. Secondly, it's interesting to see how many syndicated-show mainstays of the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (Green Acres, Get Smart!, I Dream of Jeannie, Hogan's Heroes, The Wild Wild West, F Troop, I Spy, Lost in Space) premiered this week fifty years ago; and third, it's informative to see that the networks have pretty much always had more misses than hits (look at that list of shows—how many of them do you not remember at all, or how many of them lasted only one season?).

And finally, I still remember getting the special Fall Preview issue of TV Guide in the mail on Wednesday or Thursday before the new week began, and going through the listing and schedules, marking shows I wanted to watch in pencil to make sure that I didn't miss them. Since we had no DVRs or VCRs or any other means of saving or time-delaying programming in 1965, advance planning was crucial. That's the main reason I don't recognize so many of these shows, I'm sure: they were up against shows that I considered must-see, so my channel selections were pre-determined!

Barry McGuire's apocalyptic "Eve of Destruction" rocketed to the number one slot this week in 1965. Other top ten hits included "Hang On Sloopy" by the McCoys (#2); "You Were on My Mind" by We Five (#3); "Catch Us If You Can" by the Dave Clark Five (#4); "Help!" by the Beatles (#5); "The 'In' Crowd" by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (#6); "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan (#7); "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles (#8); "Heart Full of Soul" by the Yardbirds (#9); and "Laugh at Me" by Sonny (#10--Sonny Bono's only top ten solo hit).

The week's big album release was Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul by... well, the name says it all, doesn't it?

Friday, September 04, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/6/1965 to 9/12/1965

West Rome began the school year without an industrial arts building, but the folks in charge of Rome City Schools construction were doing everything they could to get the building open in September. Building construction wrapped up this week in 1965, but Superintendent M.S. McDonald said that it would take a week or two to move the industrial arts equipment into the new shop and get it set up.

The Rome City School system also announced the development of a kindergarten program for students who were gauged to be unprepared to enter the first grade. Plans called for the program to be developed during the 1965-1966 school year and actually launched in the 1966-1967 school year. The kindergarten program was not for all students; instead, it was only for those who were not ready to go into the first grade. The program would be coordinated with Operation Head Start, but it would not be free to participating parents; instead, they would have to bear some of the cost of kindergarten for their children unless their incomes were so low that they qualified for local assistance.

West Rome's first home game of the season pitted the Chiefs against the Chattooga Indians—but the home advantage apparently wasn't enough, as Chattooga won 13-12.

As the Coosa Valley Fair opening day neared, fair officials announced a major improvement: pavement! In years past, the fairgrounds were packed dirt with straw and/or gravel in some of the more heavily travelled areas, and CVF president Dean Morgan said that they had dealt with many complaints over the years regarding the dust and (when it rained) mud. To alleviate the problem, fair officials paved the paths near the concession booths, the exhibits building, the offices, and many of the rides. (I guess we take things like paved walkways for granted; I had forgotten that the fairground were unpaved dirt during much of my childhood! I guess I was too busy looking at the Tilt-A-Whirl and other rides to notice the ground I was walking on.)

And speaking of the fair, officials also announced an actual Mercury spacecraft would be on display at the fair. The hatch would be removed and the opening enlarged slightly to make it easier for Romans to get into the capsule and experience first-hand the not-so-luxurious accommodations that John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, and others enjoyed as they orbited the Earth.

McDonald's rolled out its new McDouble Cheeseburger this week in 1965. For only 38¢, you could get the burger by itself—or for 69¢, you could get it with an order of fries and a shake.

Nowadays, gyms and exercise facilities are ubiquitous, but they were far less common in 1965, which is why it was such big news that Rome Health Studios was opening a facility at 623 Shorter Avenue. For only $7 a month, members could use their exercise equipment, steam baths, and sun lamps.

Color television prices began to drop a bit in 1965 as stronger sales led to higher volume. Sears was offering a 21" Silvertone tabletop unit for only $326, while a 21" color console TV in a maple cabinet could be had for only $396. Rome Radio & TV had a 23" GE color television for only $399 or a 21" RCA for only $349; those with bigger budgets could spring for a "giant-sized 25" RCA color console TV with Mediterranean styling for only $750. With a new television season set to begin in a couple of weeks, viewers were undoubtedly looking into color televisions, since more than 80% of the networks' offerings would be in full color. (Yes, there were still a few shows produced in black and white in 1965!)

Piggly Wiggly had Fig Newtons for 33¢ a box, Maxwell House Instant Coffee for 79¢ a jar, and white grapes for 15¢ a pound. Kroger had rib roast for 79¢ a pound, honeydew melons for 45¢ each, and a five-pound bag of Colonial sugar for 39¢. Big Apple had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, Bailey's Supreme Coffee for 59¢ a pound, and Showboat pork & beans for a dime a can. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, Bartlett pears for 25¢ a pound, and a one-pound bag of Jane Parker potato chips for 49¢. Couch's had smoked cured picnic hams for 35¢ a pound, white corn for a nickel an ear, and Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart.

The cinematic week began with The Sons of Katie Elder (with John Wayne & Dean Martin) at the DeSoto, Lord Jim (with Peter O'Toole) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Mister Hobbs (with Robert Mitchum & Carroll Baker) and The Satan Bug (with George Maharis, Richard Basehart, & Anne Francis) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Sergeant Deadhead (with Frankie Avalon) to the DeSoto,  Genghis Khan (with Omar Sharif, Stephen Boyd, & James Mason) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Red River (with John Wayne) and The Glory Guys (with Tom Tryon & Senta Berger) at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Beatles held on to the number one slot for a third week with "Help!" Other top ten hits included "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (#2); "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan (#3); "You Were On My Mind" by We Five (#4); "Catch Us If You Can" by the Dave Clark Five (#6); "The 'In' Crowd" by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (#6); "Hang On Sloopy" by the McCoys (#7); "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles (#8); "I Got You, Babe" by Sonny & Cher (#9); and "Heart Full of Soul" by the Yardbirds (#10).

One of the best Spider-Man two-part stories in history began this week with the release of Amazing Spider-Man #31. The story, "If This Be My Destiny," kicked off the two part Master Planner/Doctor Octopus story arc that features one of Spidey's most iconic scenes as he struggles to free himself from beneath tons of destroyed machinery.