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?

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