Friday, May 13, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 5/16/1966 to 5/22/1966

This week in 1966, Harbin Clinic announced plans to build a new medical center on Martha Berry Highway at Redmond Road. The Rome City Commission had already rezoned the land for this use. Harbin Clinic said that they would keep their facility on Third Avenue at East First Street, but wanted to have a location more ready accessible for West Rome and for Georgians who lived north of Rome.

I don’t remember "nudist literature "being a major problem in Rome in the 1960s, but apparently the Rome City Commission knew more than I did, because they passed an ordinance that would ban the sale of all nudist publications to persons under 18 years of age. The law would defined “nudist literature as magazines “principally made up of pictorial material portraying naked or partially clothed physically mature human beings with genitalia exposed to view.”  (Did they intend to specify Playboy, the leading men’s magazine of the time? Perhaps so, but the definition actually didn’t apply to Playboy, since nude photos typically made up 10% to 15% of its overall content.)

Rome and Floyd County began looking at a proposed East-West bypass to take traffic off Shorter Avenue and alleviate West Rome traffic jams. Because of rapid growth in West Rome, Shorter Avenue had become the most heavily traveled street in the city, based on a 1964 survey. The bypass was eventually constructed, more or less—although it took almost fifty years!

Speaking of Shorter Avenue, it was the site of a crime spree on Wednesday night, with break-ins at Martin’s Appliances (2413 Shorter Avenue), Adams Refrigeration & Air Conditioning (2447 Shorter Avenue), and Shorter Avenue Lawn Mower (1946 Shorter Avenue). A small amount of cash and a lot of equipment was stolen in the break-ins.

West Rome coach Nick Hyder was chosen to head the North Squad in the annual Georgia High School Association all-star high school baseball game scheduled for June 6th at Atlanta Stadium.

Meanwhile, West Roman Rusty Oxford was chosen to represent West Rome on the North Team in the Georgia High School Association All-Star Basketball game, slated for August 3rd at Georgia Tech. Oxford was the first West Rome player ever picked to be a part of the all-star game.

West Rome’s Student Council officers were honored at the first annual Student Council banquet. 25 members of the Student Council received awards, as did sponsors Susie Underwood and Betty Higgins.

Television prices began to drop—and screen sizes began to grow—in 1966. Floyd Outlaw Furniture & Appliances offered a 25” Olympic color television with both VHF and UHF tuners for $549, or a 23” console unit with television, radio, and phonograph also priced at $549.

Piggly Wiggly had Blue Plate mayonnaise for 44¢ a quart, medium eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and chuck roast for 39¢ a pound. Big Apple had lamb shoulder roast for 59¢ a pound, Pride of Georgia ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and red delicious apples for 19¢ a pound. Kroger had 10 pounds of Domino sugar for 69¢, Cardinal sliced bacon for 69¢ a pound, and a 2 pound bag of frozen french fries for 29¢. A&P had t-bone steak for 99¢ a pound, yellow corn for a nickel an ear, and a strange three-cans-of-tomato-rice-soup-and-a-pound-of-saltines special for only 49¢. Couch’s had picnic hams for 39¢ a pound, yellow squash for a dime a pound, and Old Favorite ice milk for 33¢ a half-gallon.

Rome’s theaters continued to show lackluster films; this week, it was Weekend at Dunkirk (a two-year-old French film with Jean-Paul Belmondo) at both the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In—it’s like they wanted people to stay away from the theaters! The midweek switch out brought The Loved One (with Robert Morse & Jonathan Winters), which was billed as “the motion picture with something to offend everyone), while the West Rome Drive-In offered a bad-science-fiction double feature of Time Travelers and Reptilicus (a two-year-old B-movie and a five-year-old dubbed Danish film).

Percy Sledge took the number one slot this week in 1966 with “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Other top ten hits included “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders (#2); “Monday Monday” by the Mamas & the Papas (#3); “Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones (#4); “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan (#5); “I Am a Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel (#6); “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (#7); “Good Lovin’” by the Young Rascals (#8); “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart” by the Supremes (#9); and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown (#10).

This week also saw the release of two of the 1960s’ greatest albums: Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan and Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. This was also the week that a British audience booed Bob Dylan and the Band when they began their concert with electric instruments. Little did they suspect that this new approach would launch an entire folk-rock subgenre.

This was also the week that Perry Mason solved his final case on weekly television. After nine seasons, the CBS legal drama Perry Mason aired its final original episode on May 22nd, marking the end of an era. (It wasn’t the end of Raymond Burr’s television career, however, as he would return to play Ironside a year later.)

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