Friday, March 25, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/28/1966 to 4/3/1966

What a boom period the mid-1960s were! Rome’s building permits topped the $1 million mark in March, marking the third month in a row that more than $1 million in permits were issued. This included permits for new construction as well as for renovations. (Bear in mind that this was in a time period when the average new home in Rome sold for $24,000.)

It’s hard to imagine how much the draft cast a shadow over everything for young men in the 1960s, but the monthly draft report serves as an uncomfortable reminder. Georgia announced that the state would, for the first time since WWII, draft a thousand men in the May draft selection. This was an increase of more than 25% over the number of Georgians drafted in January of 1966, and the Georgia Selective Service System said that it was likely that the number would continue to increase for the rest of the year.

The Chieftains defeated Darlington 69-67 in a hard-fought track meet; the match was decided by a three-yard margin int final race, when Lane Warner crossed the finish line on the last leg of the mile relay to give West Rome the victory.

Coach Nick Hyder was optimistic about West Rome’s prospects for the baseball season, but he said that he saw the battle for the region title going “right down to the wire. I can’t see one team dominating it. I believe several teams will battle it out. It could go into a playoff before the winner is decided. But I think this team is as goo as, if not better than, the team we had last season.”

Piggly Wiggly had Plymouth bacon for 69¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and Fleetwood coffee for 69¢ a pound. Big Apple had leg o’ lamb for 79¢ a pound, Irvindale ice cream for 49¢ a pound, and Libby Vienna sausage for 20¢ a can (judging from the ads, we all ate a lot of Vienna sausages in the 1960s). Kroger had fresh fryers for 29¢ a pound, Morton cream pies for a quarter each, and Gorton fish sticks for 39¢ a box. A&P had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, fresh-baked cherry pie for 45¢ each, and apples for 19¢ a pound. Couch’s had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, a 12 ounce jar of Blue Plate peanut butter for 29¢, and a 10-ounce jar of the ever-popular Maxwell Instant Coffee for $1.29. (I remember thinking that instant coffee had to be one of the greatest ideas of the 20th century… the only problem was, it didn’t really taste very good—sort of like powdered milk…)

The cinematic week began with The Silencers (with Dean Martin) at the DeSoto Theater and The Ghost & Mr. Chicken (with Don Knotts) at the First Avenue—and both films proved so popular that the hung around for a second week! The West Rome Drive-In weekend schedule included a double feature of The Fall of the Roman Empire (with Sophia Loren, Alec Guinness, & James Mason) and Thunder in the Sun (with Jeff Chandler).

The Righteous Brothers took the number one slot this week in 1966 with “You’re My Soul and Inspiration.” Other top ten hits included “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#2); “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones (#3); “Bang Bang” by Cher (#4); “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler (#5), “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles (#6); “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers (#7); “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by BJ Thomas & the Triumphs (#8); “Sure Gonna Miss Her” by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (#9); and “California Dreaming” by the Mamas & the Papas (#10).

Sam & Dave made their album debut this week in 1966 with Hold On, I’m Comin’. That was one of several major albums released fifty years ago this week; other noteworthy LPs included Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass), a greatest hits compilation  by the Rolling Stones; Boots by Nancy Sinatra; Color Me Barbra by Barbra Streisand; Hold On! by Herman’s Hermits; Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful; If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by the Mamas & the Papas; Woman by Peter & Gordon; and a pair of eponymous premiere albums, The Young Rascals and Love. (Since my allowance only allowed one album a week in addition to my comics, the Rolling Stones won out—but I was lucky enough to get  free copy of the Herman’s Hermits album through the Rome News-Tribune, where no one wanted the review copy that came in so Dad brought it home to me.  This was my first experience with free review copies, and I must admit that I found the idea to be very appealing... so appealing, in fact, that a few years later I would start a science fiction review fanzine in order to get review copies of books.)

Color Me Barbra was the official soundtrack that accompanied Barbra Streisand’s television special of the same name, which debuted on CBS on Wednesday, March 30th, 1966.

And this was also the week that the last new episode of The Flintstones aired on ABC. This brought the six-season run of the popular prime-time cartoon series to an end, although it would survive for decades in syndication.

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