Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/29/1965 to 4/4/1965

Dickie Sapp smashed two West Rome school records to lead the Chieftains to a victory over Armuchee and LaFayette in a three-way track meet held at West Rome's track on April 1st. Sapp ran the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, then posted 22 feet 8.25 inches in the broad jump, both of which beat prior records that, as it turns out, were also set by Dickie Sapp!

It was a very good week for West Rome, athletically speaking, as pitcher Todd Zeiger led the Chieftains to a 2-1 baseball victory of Dalton. Alas, it wasn't such a good week for Zeiger, who was struck by a batted ball and injured sufficiently to take him out of the game and place him on the disabled list for at least a week.

West Rome took  fourth place at the Region 3-AA Literary meet held at Berry College on Friday, April 2nd. Chieftain Jerry Shaw tied for first place in Boys Solo, posting West Rome's only first-place win.

Candidates for Student Council offices made their campaign speeches during an assembly program on April 1st.Sarah Whitworth and Jeannie Maxwell were on the ballot for president; David Garrett, Tommy Fricks, Yvonne Housch, Tommy McMahon, and Regina Swinford, for vice-president; Gwen Day, Tommy Sapp, Kay Shoemaker, and Cynthia Tolbert, for secretary; Pam Callaway, Teresa Deleski, Pat Finley, Baxter Joy, and Pam Williams, for treasurer.

West Rome's academic offering expanded with the addition of German I, enriched reading, and general shop; all three courses were slated to be initially offered for the fall 1965 semester, with students pre-regstering in the spring. General shop classes became possible with the construction of a $66,000 shop that was slated to be finished by August 1965, just prior to the beginning of the 1965-66 school year. The addition of these three classes expanded West Rome's total number of elective offerings to 45.

McDwain Sandlin and Anna Payne, who were chosen to represent West Rome at the State Science Fair in Athens, were presented with a modest financial grant by the JETS and Science Club to help cover some of the attendance costs.

Kentucky Fried Chicken kicked off its Wednesday Finger-Lickin' Specials with a 15 piece family bucket for $2.91 (regularly $3.50). Don't get too excited, though: when you factor in the inflation multiplier, that special price would equal $21.88!

Piggly Wiggly had Wilson's bacon for 59¢ a pound, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and canned biscuits for a dime a can in an apparent effort to corner Rome's breakfast market. Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, a five-pound bag of oranges for 33¢, and a six-bottle carton of Diet-Rite or RC Cola for a quarter plus deposit. Big Apple had Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, prime rib for 69¢ a pound, and a five-pound bag of White Lily for for 49¢. A&P had ground chuck for 59¢ a pound, strawberries for 29¢ a pint, and bananas for 11¢ a pound. Couch's had chicken breasts for 39¢ a pound, Libby's vienna sausages for a dime a can, and a one-pound can of JFG coffee for 69¢.

The cinematic week began with Bus Riley's Back In Town (with Ann-Margret & Michael Parks) at the DeSoto and None But the Brave (with Frank Sinatra) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought John Goldfarb Please Come Home (with Peter Ustinov, Shirley MacLaine, & Richard Crenna) to the DeSoto, while both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In were screening a rather odd movie choice—Tennessee Jamboree: A Roadshow Musical, a country music performance film featuring Jim Reeves, Webb Pierce, Marty Robbins, Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb, Minnie Pearl, Chet Atkins, and many others. The success of this film played a role in CBS's decision to launch the Hee Haw television program a few years later, since the low-budget film's ticket sales indicated an interest in country music beyond the Deep South.

Freddie and the Dreamers were probably doing the Freddie this week in 1965, because they had the number one slot with their single "I'm Telling You Now." Other top ten hits included "Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes (#2); "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" by Herman's Hermits (#3); "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All-Stars (#4); "The Birds & the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#5); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#6); "Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders (#7); "Nowhere to Run" by Martha & the Vandellas (#8); "I Know a Place" by Petula Clark (#9); and "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" by Vic Dana (#10).

Most superheroes stayed out of real-world combat, but not at Marvel Comics, where Thor headed into Vietnam to face off against the Viet Cong in Journey Into Mystery #117, on sale this week in 1965. This was also the week that Charlton resurrected its early 1960s hero Captain Atom, reprinting early Steve Ditko-illustrated stories in Strange Suspense Stories #75. In the years since Captain Atom had initially been published, Ditko had become a major comics superstar at Marvel due to his work on Spider-Man, so many Marvel fans were thrilled to see another superhero book with Ditko art. And Henry Pym made his final solo appearance as Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #69; the next issue would see his spot in the book taken by Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. (It's strangely appropriate that Marvel's original Ant-Man would be one of the company's superhero short-timers...)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/22/1965 to 3/28/1965

West Rome wrapped up three weeks of spring practice with the Green and White intra-squad game, which was held at Barron Stadium on March 26th. Robert Green coached the Green Team, appropriately enough, while Nick Hyder was in charge of the White team, with Coach Kennedy watching the whole thing from the press box. For a while, it appeared that the game might be rained out, but the Chieftains slogged across the muddy track and onto the wet field to play the game, with the Greens winning  7-3.

Barbara Helie was chosen as West Rome's 1965 senior class poet; her class poem would be part of the 1965 Class Night program.

Ann Peery, Jane McCollum, Lynn Moore, and Stan Dawson were chosen to represent West Rome on the Floyd County All Star Basketball Team.

I didn't remember that classes had a class flower or a class song, but they did—and in 1965, the senior class chose the red rose as their class flower and "I'll Be Seeing You" as their class song.

The Student Council announced that the 1964 Western Pioneer Day was so popular that it was becoming an annual event, with the second Western Pioneer Day set for Friday, April 23rd. Students and teachers were encouraged to begin assembling their cowboy or Indian costumes now, since anyone out of costume could potentially be arrested and "jailed" and would have to pay a 10¢ fine to get out. A special assembly program was also in the works, featuring parodies of such popular Western TV shows as Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

And speaking of assembly programs, Charles Gregory entertained West Rome Students on March 24th with a program called "Strange Music." during the assembly, Gregory performed music using such unusual instruments as a vacuum cleaner, a rubber glove, a theremin, a bicycle pump, a balloon, a saw, a mallet, and bagpipes. Did it have great educational value? Not particularly. But did it add a memorable and entertaining break to the school week? You bet!

Back in 1965, everyone had to pay ad valorum taxes and buy car tags before April 1st--and that meant that the big rush was on in the last full week before the deadline. While almost 19,000 tags had been paid for by the beginning of the week, Tag Agent Lee Looney estimated that another 7,000 to 8,000 tags would be paid for in the final days as the deadline approached.

All the numbers were finally tallied, and the Federal Reserve reported that Rome's department stores saw a 6% gain during January 1965 over the same month in 1964, while purchasers were also carrying a lower charge account balance and were paying off those balances more quickly than in the past. Furniture stores saw an 8% gain, while grocery stores saw a 5% gain. All these numbers pointed to a continuation of the strong economic growth that had emerged since the 1963 tax cuts went into effect.

West Point and Pepperell voted to merge their two textile firms this week in 1965, creating the new West Point Pepperell company. Spokesmen assured concerned employees that this merger would not result in any job cuts in the Rome facility--and in fact, it might very well lead to new jobs.

Color television prices were dropping in 1965, with Sears offering a 21" color tabletop TV for $366.00 (that's a little over $2750,00 in today's dollars, adjusting for inflation), while a 23" black and white console dropped in price to $146.00 (the equivalent of $1097 in 2015 dollars). We apparently loved our television, considering how much we paid for it! By comparison, a 5-piece maple living room suite could be had for $177 and a four-piece maple bedroom suite could be had for only $144. (Yes, you could furnish a room for less than the cost of a television!)

Piggly Wiggly had whole fryers for a quarter a pound, Nabisco saltines for 19¢ a box, and fresh strawberries for 33¢ a pint. Kroger had pork roast for 23¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and a 16-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup for 19¢. Big Apple had beef liver for 17¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 30¢ a can, and and five pounds of Pillsbury flour for 53¢. A&P had Long Island ducks for 43¢ a pound (I had no idea that Rome grocery stores offered duck in the meat section in 1965!), Oscar Mayer bacon for 55¢ a pound, and fresh broccoli for 29¢ a bunch. Couch's had sirloin steak for 79¢ a pound, Chase & Sanborn coffee for 69¢ a pound, and a 32-ounce can of Poss's Brunswick stew for 49¢.

The cinematic week began with Strange Bedfellows (with Rock Hudson & Gina Lollobrigida) at the DeSoto and Baby the Rain Must Fall (with Steve McQueen & Lee Remick) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Bus Riley's Back in Town (with Ann-Margret & Michael Parks) to the DeSoto and None But the Brave (with Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, & Tommy Sands) to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In hosted a three-film weekend Horror-rama that included Black Sunday, The Pit & the Pendulum, and House of Usher--and you could see all three for only a quarter per person!

The Supremes had the number one song this week in 1965 with "Stop! In the Name of Love." Other top ten hits included "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat' by Herman's Hermits (#2); "I'm Telling You Now" by Freddie & the Dreamers (#3); "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All-Stars (#4); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#5); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#6); "Eight Days a Week" by the Beatles (#7); "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (#8); "Nowhere to Run" by Martha & the Vandellas (#9); and "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" by Vic Dana (#10).

This was a particularly memorable week for album releases in 1965. LPs premiering this week included Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan; The Early Beatles by the Beatles (the first Capitol release of the music previously available on Veejay); The Temptations Sing Smokey, a cover album by the Temptations; Begin Here by the Zombies; The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads by the all-too-short-lived Otis Redding; The Pretty Things by... oh, you can figure it out; and Soul Dressing by Booker T & the MG's.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/15/1965 to 3/21/1965

The Chieftains wrapped up the final weeks of spring practice fifty years ago this week, preparing for the W Day varsity and junior varsity that culminated the three-week spring practice. A total of 86 students were scheduled to take part in the two games. Coach Paul Kennedy said he was really putting the new players through their paces. "We're young and inexperienced and have the same schedule as last year. We have to expose these boys to such strong competition this quickly, but we have no other choices."

The West Rome Senior Tri-Hi-Y took first place in the Rome-Floyd County YMCA Club of the Month competition, while the Junior Tri-Hi-Y came in second. The West Rome Senior Tri-Hi-Y sponsored twenty different projects during February, which included such activities as taking gifts to the children at Battey Hospital, stocking the sick room at West Rome, helping on Civic Youth Days, sponsoring a teacher appreciation breakfast, and working on school site cleanup.

Judo and karate were very much in vogue in the mid-1960s, which explains why the YMCA was offering  an eight-week judo course on Tuesday nights beginning in mid-March. The course was taught by Hugh Hardison, Georgia State Patrol self-defense and judo instructor.

Rome was joined by the Adairsville and Kingston in asking that the proposed route for I-75 be redrawn to move the interstate west of Cartersville rather than to the east. We know now that the plan failed--but oh, what a difference it might have made if the interstate had gone right through Kingston, with a direct interchange on 411 approximately 15 miles outside of Rome!

Trend Mills ramped up production at its new Redmond Road location this week in 1965, adding more than 150 new jobs to the Rome area. Plans called for Trend to eventually create more than 300 new jobs by the time the facility was opening at full capacity.

Auto inspections were new in 1965, and apparently a lot of people weren't paying attention to the law--which is why the law was modified in March to give motorists an extra few months to get their car inspected. The new deadline of October 31st gave motorists an extra four months--which seemed like a good idea, since fewer than 5% of all residents with registered cars had taken their vehicles in for inspection by mid-March!

West Rome got another restaurant choice with the opening of Country House Barbecue at 516 Shorter Avenue, offering barbecue pork, beef, and chicken, along with Brunswick stew and a smoked country burger. For their grand opening, they offered a country burger and a Coke for only a quarter, or a choice of barbecue beef, pork, or chicken, along with a cup of stew and a Coke, for only 65¢.

Meanwhile, far, far away from Rome in New York City, TGI Fridays opened its first restaurant on March 15th.

Interest rates to die for: Home Federal was paying 4.6% interest on a six-month certificate, while both Rome Bank & Trust and National City Bank were advertising 4.5% interest paid for a six-month deposit at their banks. With rates like that, savings actually paid off!

Piggly Wiggly ("your modern supermarket!" according to their advertising slogan) had ground beef for 49¢ a pound, Mueller's spaghetti for 15¢ a box, and a half-gallon of Sealtest ice milk for 39¢. (In case you're too young to remember ice milk, it's the 1960s version of what we now call low-fat ice cream). Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, Del Monte English peas for 15¢ a can, and large eggs for 39¢ a dozen. Big Apple had Coca Cola or Tab for 27¢ a six-pack (plus deposit), carrots for a dime a bunch, and tom turkeys for 35¢ a pound. A&P had beef liver for 29¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and Eight O'Clock Coffee for 67¢ a pound. Couch's had chuck roast for 29¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystal sugar for 39¢, and Swift's premium bologna for 33¢ a pound.

The cinematic week began with Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (with Bette Davis, Olivia deHaviland, & Joseph Cotten) at the DeSoto and Love has Many Faces (with Lana Turner & Cliff Robertson) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Strange Bedfellows (with Rock Hudson & Gina Lollobrigida) to the DeSoto and Why Bother to Knock? (with Elke Sommer) to both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In.

The number one song this week in 1965 was "Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes. Other top ten hits included "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat?" by Herman's Hermits (#2); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#3); "Eight Days a Week" by the Beatles (#4); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#5); "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" by Gerry & the Pacemakers (#6); "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All-Stars (#7); "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (#8); "My Girl" by the Temptations #9); and "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#10).

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/8/1965 to 3/14/1965

West Rome faced off against South Hall of Gainesville on March 10th in the opening round of the Georgia Class AA basketball tournament—and when it was all over, the West Rome team posted a 62-46 runaway victory in their matchup at Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum. As a result, the team advanced to the second round, facing the Cairo Syrupmakers (yes, that was their name!) on Thursday, March 11th. Alas, that game didn't go as well, with the Chiefs losing 51-31, eliminating them from further tournament play. (The Chiefs earned their way into the tournament with a 12-7 record under the guidance of Coach Ralph Beeler.)

Chieftainacts 1965 was presented on Friday, March 12th, and Saturday, March 13th, at the West Rome High School Auditorium.

Rome finally unveiled its desegregation plans for the city school system: grades 1-3 were set for desegregation beginning with the 1965-1966 school year, In addition, students in grades 4-12 could request transfer to another school if it was geographically closer, regardless of the students' race. It may be something we take for granted now, but in 1965, desegregated schools were still largely a dream, not a reality!

Great news for those of us addicted to books: construction pre-planning for the new Carnegie Library and Tri-County Regional Library was running ahead of schedule,l which meant that construction was likely to begin in June--some four months ahead of original plans. The new construction was to be added on to the back of the Carnegie Library location, extending and expanding the facility.

In the pre-computer days, it took a while to tally all the numbers, but the Georgia State Chamber of Commerce finally had all the total for 1964 sales in Rome and Floyd County, and it was great news: Rome's total sales soared to more $122 million in 1964, which was an increase of more than $19 million over the 1963 totals of $108 million. What we wouldn't give for a 14% year-over-year increase in sales nowadays! Rome and Floyd County's economic growth was about 1 and 1/2 times the statewide rate.

Piggly Wiggly advertised "Prices as Hot as a Pistol!" this week in 1965 (complete with an image of a gun... and no one was outraged!), with eggs for 33¢ a dozen, Fleeetwood coffee for 59¢ a pound, and T-bone steak for 79¢ a pound. Kroger has fresh fryers for 27¢ a pound, Starkist tuna for 22¢ a can, and Campbell's tomato soup for a dime a can. Big Apple had baking hens for 29¢ a pound, five pounds of Domino sugar for 35¢, and a dozen Honey-Dip donuts for 19¢. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, strawberries for 33¢ a pint, and Golden Sweet creamed corn for 12¢ a can. Couch's had a tall can of Double Q salmon for 49¢, pork roast for 39¢ a pound, and the never... err, ever-popular Libby's potted meat for a dime a can.

The cinematic week began with The Rounders (with Glenn Ford & Henry Fonda) at the DeSoto and Kitten (with Ann-Margret & John Forsythe) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (with Bette Davis, Olivia DeHavilland, and Joseph Cotten) to the DeSoto, Love Has Many Faces (with Lana Turner & Cliff Robertson) to the First Avenue, and a double feature of Dear Brigitte and Curse of the Timberland at the West Rome Drive-In.  Monster movie fans like myself were sure to be on hand for the First Avenue's special Saturday-afternoon-only presentation of the live Dr. Jekyl (sic) and His Weird Show, which combined a live horror-host, some schlocky but still fun monsters and zombies, and clips from horror films. For those of us who grew up with Channel 5's Bestoink Dooley and his Big Movie Shocker, this was a must-see since it was happening right in front of the audience, not on a small television screen.

The Beatles still held on to number one this week in 1965 with "Eight Days a Week." Other Top Ten hits included "Stop! In the Name of Love" by the Supremes (#2); "The Birds and the Bees" by Jewel Aikens (#3); "King of the Road" by Roger Miller (#4); "Can't You Hear My Hearbeat" by Herman's Hermits (#5); "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry & the Pacemakers" (#6); "My Girl" by the Temptations (#7); "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#8); "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (#9); and "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All Stars (#10).

Johnny Carson came down with the "fifteen minute flu" in 1965 to protest the fact that a number of NBC affiliates were not showing the first fifteen minutes of The Tonight Show beginning at 11:15pm, meaning that a lot of viewers weren't seeing Carson's monologue. Instead, the stations were airing a half-hour of news from 11:00 to 11:30pm (most stations were only showing a 15 minute news program at 11pm). The sick-out finally ended when the network agreed to let Carson launch the show with a guest from 11:15 to 11:30, then begin his monologue at 11:30. You've got to pity the poor guest who got stuck with the opening slot, knowing he was the least important person on the program that night!

The Avengers got a new line-up this week in 1965--and it marked the first time that former villains Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch appeared as a part of the superhero team. As of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's Avengers #16, Captain America was the only A-list superhero still holding a slot in the Avengers. Meanwhile, Lee & Kirby also revealed the origin of the Red Skull in Tales of Suspense #68, also on sale this week in 1965.