Friday, October 30, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 11/1/1965 to 11/7/1965

The annual East Rome-West Rome football game generated more than the usual excitement in 1965, because this game would determine not merely Rome bragging rights, but also the sub-region championship. West Rome went into the game with a 2-1 record within the sub-region, while East Rome had a 1-1-1 record. West Rome could clinch the title by winning or tying the game, while East Rome had to secure a win to become a sub-region champ. Coach Paul Kennedy was cautiously optimistic. “East Rome’s always tough when the play us,” Coach Kennedy said. “Considering what’s at stake, I believe East Rome will give us all we can handle, but I think we're up to it.” The combination of a cross-town rivalry and a sub-region championship on the line led to increased ticket sales, with more than 6000 people buying tickets for the game, which was officially sold out by Thursday afternoon.

If Coach Kennedy was at all concerned about the game’s outcome, he shouldn’t have been: West Rome won 33-0, scoring three touchdowns on the ground and two through the air. It was the biggest winning point-spread in East-West history, and it secured the Region 3-AA South championship for the Chieftains.

West Rome’s Distributive Education program was spotlighted in the Rome News-Tribune. Nineteen Chieftains were enrolled in DE, a work-related program that allowed students to get class credit for on-the-job experience in a  distributive business (which included retail sales). To stay in the program, students had to work between 15 and 35 hours a week. The average student enrolled in the program would earn $500 during the nine-month period, and many of them earned significantly more by continuing to work at the same job during the summer. (Distributive Education began as a “girls only” program in 1945 when Rome still had a Girls High; when Girls High and Boys High merged in 1951 the program was expanded to include boys and girls.)

The Rome Auto Show was held in the Central Plaza Shopping Center parking lot on Sunday, November 7th, with the newest models from Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Chrysler, Valiant, Imperial, Rambler, Buck, Pontiac, Dodge, Lancer, Volkswagen, and Lincoln-Mercury all on display—and they were all available through Rome auto dealers, so you’d never have to leave Rome to buy the car of your dreams once you discovered it at the auto show! In fact, Volkswagen was promoting their show special: they offered a 1966 VW Beetle for $1722.72 including all taxes and fees—and it included a radio!

Barth’s Sport and Hobby Shop advertised its expansion this week in 1965. The store, located on North 5th Avenue, carried model kits, balsa planes, Tonka toys, Lincoln Logs, and sporting goods.  Considering my obsession with airplane models, I’m not sure how I never knew about this store when I was a kid; I was a Revell and Monogram model addict, with a particular interest in WW2 airplanes, and regularly raided Murphy’s, Redford’s, and Super-Discount store looking for new kits. I suspect my parents were keeping this store a secret from me…

Piggly Wiggly had  pork chops for 53¢ a pound, JFG instant coffee for 99¢, and Shurfine cream corn for 16¢ a can. Kroger had sirloin steak for 95¢ a pound, Maxwell House coffee for 59¢ a loud, and bananas for 12¢ a pound. Big Apple had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, yams for 12¢ a pound, and a 2-pound jar of Lennox Park peanut butter for 69¢. A&P had stew beef for a quarter a pound, a twenty-pound bag of potatoes for 95¢, and Merita bread for 19¢ a loaf. Couch’s had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, large eggs for 49¢ a dozen, and grapefruit for a nickel each.

The cinematic week began with The Hallelujah Trail (with Burt Lancaster & Lee Remick) at the DeSoto Theater and Beach Ball (with Edd Byrnes) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought The Cincinnati Kid (with Steve McQueen & Ann-Margret) to the DeSoto and Darling (with Laurence Harvey & Julie Christie) to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In offered a weekend double feature of Witchcraft (starring Lon Chaney Jr. in one of his final acting roles) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (with Annette Funicello & Dwayne Hickman). Considering how incredibly different those two films are, you have to wonder who selected the lineup for these double features!…

The Rolling Stones held on to the number one slot for the second week in a row with “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Other top ten hits for the week included “A Lover’s Concerto” by the Toys (#2); “1-2-3” by Len Barry (#3); “You’re the One” by the Vogues (#4); “I Hear a Symphony” by the Supremes (#5); “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass (#6); “Everybody Loves a Clown” by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#7); “Let’s Hang On” by the Four Seasons (#8); “A Taste of Honey” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (#9); and “Ain’t That Peculiar?” by Marvin Gaye (#10).

And it was a great week for albums, too: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ Going to a Go-Go (the first album to include a separate credit line for Smokey Robinson) and The Temptations’ The Tempting Temptations were both released this week in 1965. This was also the week that the Who released their iconic single “My Generation,” although it wouldn’t chart for a while yet.

Everyone thinks of comics as being superhero adventures, but the comics rack was quite diverse this week in 1965: you could choose from Army War Heroes, Black Fury (a comic about a horse that roamed the West righting wrongs), Career Girl Romances, Cheyenne Kid, Fightin’ Marines, Fightin’ Navy, Gunmaster, Hot Rod Racers, Just Married, Old Yeller, Teen Confessions, Teenage Hotrodders, Tippy Teen, and Zorro, as well as at least a half-dozen different Archie titles—and that was just a sampling of the non-superhero books published this week in 1965!

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