Saturday, April 09, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 4/11/1966 to 4/17/1966

West Rome’s track team continued to run circles around the competition. First, the Chiefs defeated Armuchee 87-49 on April 11th, led by double victories for both Arbie Lovell (high hurdles and low hurdles) and Benny Padgett (shot and discus). The next day, the track team racked up 96 points to beat Cedartown and Rossville in a three-way track meet on April 12th. The Chiefs performed so well in this meet that they outscored the other two schools combined!

The JV Chiefs scored seven runs on ten sites to beat Model 7-1 on Wednesday, led by the strong pitching of Steve Harrell.

As if there were any doubts, Tuesday’s referendum put them to rest: voters in both the city and the county overwhelmingly rejected the idea of a school system merger, with almost 70% of the voters casting a NO ballot.

On Thursday, the Rome City school system finally gave up its losing battle to delay desegregation, signing a desegregation compliance certificate just one day before a federal deadline mandating loss of educational funds. This meant that, at long last, segregation came to an end as an official city school system policy, although it would still be two more years before all facets of the plan would be completed.

Coosa Valley Tech’s enrollment was growing so rapidly that the school unveiled plans to add a $1.3 million expansion, with the intention of getting the work completed by the end of the year. (Can the government do anything in eight months nowadays?…)

The cinematic week began with Frankie & Johnny (with Elvis Presley) at the DeSoto Theater and The Rare Breed (with James Stewart & Maureen O’Hara) at the First Avenue. The midweek switch out brought  a Shock-o-Rama double feature of Billy the Kid Vs Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter to the First Avenue (because you know, moviegoers can never get enough Western-monster movie mashups), while Elvis hung around for another week at the DeSoto. The West Rome Drive-In offered a weekend double feature of The Bridges at Toko-Ri (with William Holden) and The Trap (with Richard Widmark).

Piggly Wiggly had Plymouth bacon for 69¢ a pound, cantaloupes for 29¢ each, and a case of Coca Cola, Tab, or Sprite for 99¢ plus deposit. A&P had chuck steak for 59¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 63¢ a pound, and strawberries for 29¢ a pint. Kroger had sirloin steak for 99¢ a pound, yellow corn for 6¢ an year, and ten pounds of Domino sugar for 89¢. Big Apple had center cut pork chops for 59¢ a pound, Irvindale ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and Van Camp potted meat (a deviled ham competitor… as if we needed something else akin to deviled ham) for 18¢ a can. Couch’s had corned beef for 49¢ a pound, Utica salmon for 35¢ a can, and Big Ten canned biscuits for 15¢ a can.

The Righteous Brothers took the number one slot this week with “You’re My Soul & Inspiration.” Other top ten hits included “Bang Bang” by Cher (#2); “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers (#3); “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#4); “Time Won’t Let Me” by the Outsiders (#5); “Good Lovin’” by the Young Rascals (#6); “Kicks” by Paul Revere & the Raiders (#7); “Sloop John B” by the Beach Boys” (#8); “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by BJ Thomas & the Triumphs (#9); and “Monday Monday” by the Mamas & the Papas (#10).

On April 12th, Jan Berry of Jan & Dean nearly died in a car crash; he survived, but suffered near-total paralysis for a year and struggled to come to terms with profound brain damage as a result of the crash. Ironically, his crash occurred very near the same Dead Man’s Curve that he and his musical partner Dean Torrance immortalized in their hit song.

The final episode of McHale’s Navy aired on April 12th, 1966, although the show would continue to be reshown in syndication.

The Wakandan King T’Challa, better known as the Black Panther, made his comic book debut this week in 1966 in Fantastic Four #52 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, & Joe Sinnott. The Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream US comics, and has played a significant role in the Marvel Universe ever since. (That’s the Black Panther that you may have spotted in the Captain America: Civil War trailer—and he plays a significant role in the film.)

This was also the week that saw the release of Steve Ditko’s final stories for Amazing Spider-Man (#38) and Doctor Strange (in Strange Tales #146). For those of us who love Ditko’s distinctive storytelling and strikingly unique artistic takes on Marvel heroes and villains, it truly was the end of an era…

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