Friday, December 25, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/26/1965 to 1/1/1966

The old year ended and the new year began with very little fanfare fifty years ago. Kids were out of school, the weather was seasonably cold but still pleasant, nothing major was happening in Rome… it was a quiet ending to a very good year.

The Rome City School System received a $167,000 grant for the purchase of material to develop “the most complete reading program in Georgia.” Superintendent McDonald said that there were “no strings attached” to the grant, which would enable the school system to purchase two mobile reading laboratories that could serve approximately twenty-five students; the labs would contain the latest in reading materials, electronic gear, special testing equipment, and more. In addition, the school system would have funds left over to purchase projectors, tape recorders, overhead projectors, and more for in-class reading programs, as well as extra funds for after-school study programs.

Rome merchants found a solution to the problem regarding pinball machines being seized as gambling equipment: they agreed to quit giving free games to high-scoring players. City police chief Nelson Camp said that as long as merchants let people “pay for play,” the police would have no problems with pinball machines.

GE announced plans for an $11 million expansion of the Rome plant, located just a mile away from West Rome High School on Redmond Circle. The new expansion would add 200 jobs to the Medium Transformer Department.

How great is this? Rome banks increased their interest rates on savings certificates to 4.5%, while the interest rates on regular savings accounts rose to 4%.

Piggly Wiggly had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, two pound bags of dried black-eyed peas for 29¢, and fresh collards for 19¢ a pound. Big Apple had Morrell bacon for 69¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and Maxwell House coffee for 79¢ a pound. Kroger had four-pound Wilson’s Corn King canned hams for $3.89, bananas for 9¢ a pound, and applesauce for a dime a can. A&P had sirloin tip roast for 99¢ a pound, tomatoes for a quarter a pound, and a one-pound can of Nestle’s Quik for 41¢. Couch’s had pork steak for 59¢ a pound, Nabisco saltines for 33¢ a box, and ten pounds of potatoes for 49¢.

Rome’s cinematic week began with Boeing Boeing (with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis) at the DeSoto Theater and Pinocchio in Outer Space at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Do Not Disturb (with Doris Day & Rod Taylor) to the DeSoto and the James Bond spoof The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World (with Tom Adams) to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In offered a double feature of McLintock (with John Wayne) and Jason & The Argonauts (with Todd Armstrong and Honor Blackman, as well as special effects by Ray Harryhausen) to the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song on New Years Day 1966 was Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence" (amazing what a difference it makes when some talented session musicians add an electric guitar and drums to a song originally released about a year earlier!). Other top ten hits included “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles (#2); “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown (#3); “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds (#4); “Over and Over” by the Dave Clark Five (#5); “Let’s Hang On” by the Four Seasons (#6); “Fever” by the McCoys (#7); “Ebb Tide” by the Righteous Brothers (#8); “England Swings” by Roger Miller (#9); and “Make the World Go Away” by Eddy Arnold (#10).

The Dating Game debuted fifty years ago this week on ABC TV, allowing single people to embarrass themselves on national television as they engaged in a search for a suitable date.

This was also the week that ABC began running commercials for a new show that was destined to become a major television success in 1966—a show starring Adam West as a guy named Bruce Wayne…

Jim Warren’s Creepy magazine was so successful in recreating the vitality of EC’s horror comics that he launched his companion magazine, Eerie, this week in 1965. The magazine actually began with its second issue—the first was a 200-copy ashcan produced just to lock in the title when they heard that someone else was considering a competing magazine with the same name. Archie Goodwin, Frank Frazetta, Gene Colan, Jonny Craig, Reed Crandall, Gray Morrow, John Severin, Angelo Torres, and Alex Toth contributed to Eerie #2, making it one of Warren’s finest showpieces.

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