Saturday, April 02, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/4/1966 to 4/10/1966

No week-long spring break for those of us attending West Rome in 1966: the city school system was closed on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, giving us a five-day spring break instead. Teachers had to go to two days of teachers’ meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, while everyone got Good Friday off.

West Rome racked up a dozen first place wins on April 5th to win the three-way track meet. The Chief defeated Coosa and Berry Academy with 110 points to 11.5 and 49.5 respectively. Ray Jones won three first places, while Arbie Lovell, Lane Warner, and Benny Padgett each won two first places.

West Rome’s baseball team didn’t fare so well: Calhoun scored five runs in the first inning to pave the way for an 11-1 victory over the Chieftains.

Rome Police Chief Nelson Camp said that the police were immediately implementing a crackdown on loud mufflers. ”We are going to enforce the law,” Chief Camp said. “We’ve heard from many residents who complain that these mufflers disturb the peace of their neighborhoods.” Shorter Avenue was mentioned as one specific location where the police would be actively enforcing the crackdown. They also planned to fine muffler shops that installed excessively loud mufflers.

Apparently the subject matter of A Patch of Blue bothered at least one Roman: someone phoned in a bomb threat to the First Avenue Theater at 7:53PM on Monday night, just as A Patch of Blue was about to begin its evening showing. The caller said that he had put a bomb in the theater and it was set to explode at 8pm. The theater was quickly evacuated, police conducted a search, and no bomb was found. In case you’re not familiar with the film, here’s the “Cliff's Notes” mini-summary: A Patch of Blue deals with a black man who befriends a troubled blind girl and helps her to gain entrance into a school for the blind. The teen confuses his compassion for her with romantic love and asks him to marry her—a proposal that he declines, explaining that their love wasn’t romantic and their relationship will not work.)

An investigation into Rome City Schools expenditures revealed that the Rome City School System spent $22,000 a year for school bus transportation—but they didn’t have any school buses. Instead, students rode city buses that were assigned to run school bus routes. This expenditure was mandated by a  state law that said school systems had to pay their proportionate per-pupil share for school bus services across the state, even if the systems had no school buses of their own. (I remember riding the bus to school every now and then, and seem to recall having to pay for the privilege…)

Rome’s Kentucky Fried chicken was running two interesting specials this week in 1966: a chicken liver dinner (with 6 livers, mashed statutes, gravy, and rolls) for 89¢ and a quart of Brunswick stew for 59¢. I have absolutely no memory of Brunswick stew from KFC, which is surprising, considering how much I love Brunswick stew and how often we bought chicken from the KFC on Turner McCall--it was a favorite of Mom & Dad's.)

Enloe’s Rexall drugstores had one-pound Easter-themed Whitman samplers for $1.60 each. Arrington-Ingram and chocolate-covered Easter Eggs in assorted flavors for a nickel each. Buy-Wise had one-pound bags of jelly beans for a quarter each. Super-Discount Stores had Brach’s Bunny Eggs for 29¢ a bag. And Murphy’s had 12” tall solid milk chocolate Easter bunnies for 59¢ each. Let the candy-feasting begin!

Remember the Mercury Discovery? I don’t—and apparently it wasn’t the biggest seller on the Mercury lot since, Rome Lincoln-Mercury was running a major special on the car this week in 1966, taking $300 off the list price of this particular model. The deluxe auto included such luxuries as an all-vinyl interior, push-button radio, a 390 cubic inch V-8 engine, deluxe wheel covers with spinners, a full-range heater, electric windshield washers, and (get ready for it)… back-up lights! Makes you wonder what a stripped down car included back then…

Piggly Wiggly had Armour bacon for 69¢ a pound, medium eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and strawberries for 33¢ a pint. Kroger and hen turkeys for 39¢ a pound, Country Club ice cream for 44¢ a half-gallon, and fruit cocktail for a quarter a can. A&P had Eight O’Clock coffee for 63¢ a pound, whole or half hams for 59¢ a pound, and fresh-baked apple pies for 33¢ each. Big Apple had fryer breast for 49¢ a pound, celery for a dime a bunch, and fresh turnip sales (I must confess I have no idea what this is, but it was so strange it caught my attention) for 19¢ a pound. Couch’s and chuck roast for 47¢ a pound, cabbage for a nickel a head, and Coca Cola or Tab for 99¢ a case plus deposit.

The cinematic week began with The Silencers (with Dean Martin) at the DeSoto Theater and—as mentioned earlier— A Patch of Blue (with Sidney Poitier) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought Frankie & Johnny (with Elvis Presley) to the DeSoto and The Rare Breed (with James Stewart & Maureen O’Hara) to the First Avenue. The West Rome Drive-In’s weekend offerings included a double feature of Black Spurs (a 1965 film with Rory Calhoun) and The Party Crashers (a 1958 grade-B film whose case included Connie Stevens and Frances Farmer).

The Righteous Brothers climbed to the top spot on the record charts this week in 1966 with “You’re My Soul and Inspiration.” Other top ten hits included “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#2); “Bang Bang” by Cher (#3); “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers (#4); “Time Won’t Let Me” by the Outsiders (#5); “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones (#7); “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler (#7); “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by BJ Thomas & the Triumphs (#8); “Good Lovin’” by the Young Rascals (#9); and “Kicks” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#10).

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass set a record this month in 1966 by pacing five albums on the Pop Albums Chart in the same week—and four of them were in the Top Ten!

The Addams Family aired its final original episode this week in 1966, but Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, and the rest would love on for many more years in syndication.

What an incredible week this was for Marvel Comics fans: Marvel added Golden Age Captain America reprints to Fantasy Masterpieces #3, while also including some of the pre-hero monster and fantasy stories that had been Marvel’s stock-in-trade before Fantastic Four #1. I had read one Golden Age Cap story in Jules Feiffer’s Great Comic Book Heroes, but now I could look forward to rare Golden Age reprints every month... and these stories featured art by Jack Kirby and his partner Joe Simon!

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