Friday, March 18, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/21/1966 to 3/27/1966

The spring remained slow and uneventful; like many small towns in the 1960s, Rome wasn’t a particularly busy place. Basketball was over, baseball had yet to start, and football was wrapping up its spring practice.

West Rome held their spring intra-squad football game on March 24th, pitting the Greens against the Whites. Coach Kennedy said that he had been both pleased and displeased with the team’s progress during spring practice; Kennedy said he was particularly concerned with the weakness of West Rome’s kicking game and the inconsistency of his offensive line.

The West Rome Music Department performed at the Tuesday afternoon meeting of the Rome Lions Club, which was held at the Forrest Hotel on Broad Street.

The city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce filed the paperwork to become a party to an April hearing regarding regularly scheduled flights from Chattanooga to Rome to Atlanta and back.Chattanooga spokesmen said the city had “a close community of interest with Rome” and that all three cities would benefit form regularly scheduled shuttle flights.

The draft continued to ramp up, with 111 men transported by bus to Atlanta on March 24th for pre-induction physicals. Mrs. Virginia Turpin, head of the Floyd Selective Service System, stressed that not all 111 would be drafted, but the physicals were being conducted to determine which (and how many) of the draft-eligible Romans might qualify for military service. The group included some childless married men; Mrs. Turpin said that she expected to add college students to the draft-eligible group by the end of the year.

Piggly Wiggly had shoulder roast for 69¢ a pound, fresh-baked pecan pies for 79¢ each, and vine ripe tomatoes for 19¢ a pound. Big Apple had Oscar Mayer bologna for 79¢ a pound, Stokely pineapple for 33¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound. Kroger had ground chuck for 69¢ a pound, Showboat pork and beans for 12¢ a can, and (in the strangest Kroger offering I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been doing this) a three-pack of  “Official Gary Player golf balls” for $1.33. (Kroger carried golf balls? Who knew?) A&P had Libby’s vienna sausage for 23¢ a can, cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, and Cheese Nips for a quarter a box.Couch’s  had ground beef for 33¢ a pound, lettuce for 15¢ a head, and Aristocrat ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon.

The cinematic week began with The Chase (with Marlon Brando) at the DeSoto and The Nanny (with Bette Davis) at the First Avenue. The mid-week switchout brought The Silencers (a Matt Helm film starring Dean Martin) to both the DeSoto and the West Rome Drive-In and The Ghost & Mr. Chicken (with former Andy Griffith show cast member Don Knotts) to the First Avenue.

The Dick Van Dyke Show filmed its final episode this week in 1966. The episode, which wouldn’t be seen until later in the spring, centered around Rob Petrie’s book of humorous incidents from his years as a television writer—a book that Alan Brady liked so much that he bought the rights for a television series.. In other words, the fictional character Rob’s book was destined to be the basis for a show about a TV writer and his boss, Alan Brady… in other words, The Dick Van Dyke Show! (How meta this was, at a time before the concept of metafiction had really entered the public lexicon!)

The medical drama Ben Casey aired its final episode this week in 1966.

For yet another week, Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler held off a charge by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and others to keep his single “The Ballad of the Green Berets” at the top of the charts. Other top ten hits included “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones (#2); “You’re My Soul & Inspiration” by the Righteous Brothers (#3); “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#4); “Homeward Bound” by Simon & Garfunkel (#5); “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles (#6); “California Dreaming’” by the Mamas & the Papas (#7); “These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra (#8); “Bang Bang” by Cher (#9); and “Sure Gonna Miss Her” by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#10).

DC poked fun at the superhero craze with E. Nelson Bridewell & Joe Orlando’s Inferior Five, who made their first appearance in Showcase #62 (DC's rotating-feature tryout book) this week in 1965. The team consisted of a group of not-so-super heroes, including Merryman, Dumb Bunny, Blimp, Awkwardman, and White Feather. While not particularly clever or innovative, The Inferior Five nevertheless did well enough that it graduated to its own comic book series in the spring of 1967 after starring in two more Showcase tryout issues. And yes, I bought all of them—the Showcase and the Inferior Five issues. I was quite the omnivorous comics reader, you see…

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