Friday, July 29, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 8/1/1966 to 8/7/1966

The push to improve airline service to and from Rome ramped up this week in 1966—and the difference in air travel fifty years ago and today is remarkable (and the modern-day changes are most definitely not positive ones). One of the biggest advantages of Rome to Atlanta air travel, according to the Rome Chamber of Commerce, was that a traveler could arrive at the airport at 12:40 to catch the 12:45 flight from Rome to Atlanta and be in Atlanta a half-hour later. “In less than 45 minutes, a traveler can complete a journey that would take more than two hours by car, and can relax and prepare for his business in Atlanta rather than traveling across one of Georgia’s most dangerous highways.” (Remember, I-75 ended near Cartersville, forcing travelers to make most of the journey down US 41, which was a very different road then than it is today.) Rome was pushing to have Eastern Airlines’ once-a-day-service contract cancelled and replaced by a  Southern Airways twice-a-day contract—but the Chamber of Commerce was adamant that daily flights between Rome, Atlanta, and Chattanooga were essential. Of course, with today’s arrive-two-hours-early requirements, flight delays, and more, that drive to Atlanta is far, far less time-consuming than any flight would be!

Rome’s first coffeehouse, Prometheus Bound, opened at the Art Gallery on Jackson Hill—but don’t think Starbucks. This coffeeshop, which was targeted towards customers in their late teens and early twenties, was your stereotypical 1960s beat-generation coffeehouse, complete with burlap covered tables, abstract sculptures, flickering candles, poetry recitations, folks musicians, painting demonstrations, dramatic monologues, modern interpretive dance performances, and more, complete with audience members who snapped their fingers to show approval rather than applauding. And you thought that things like this only happened on Dobie Gillis reruns… Maynard G. Krebs must have been so proud. (The Rome News-Tribune kindly refrained from pointing out that this sort of coffeehouse was already a popular culture cliché in 1966. Of course, Rome wasn’t always on the cultural cutting edge…)

Chieftains Coach Paul Kennedy, who was tapped to coach the North team for the Georgia High School Association All-Star Football Classic, delivered on his promise to play a passing game—and his approach paid off big time, with the North team winning 22-0 in a game held at Georgia Tech’s Grant Field on Thursday, August 4th.

Rome City Schools announced that tax revenues were so strong that they would be able to add a $200 annual local pay raise for teachers to the state’s $200 pay raise. The combination of the two raises would push the base pay for a beginning teacher in the Rome City system to $4300.00 a year, with the average pay for a Rome City teacher coming in at almost $6000.00 a year. (Adjusted for inflation, this would be the equivalent today of $32,400 for beginning teachers and $45,000 as a systemwide average.) If teachers seemed a little bit happier when we started back to school in late August of 1966, now we know why!

Piggly Wiggly had fresh whole flyers for 27¢ a pound, Blue Plate mayonnaise for 49¢ a quart, and Northern bathroom tissue for 9¢ a roll. Kroger had baking hens for 37¢ a pound, tomatoes for 19¢ a pound, and medium eggs for 33¢ a dozen. A&P had stew beef for 69¢ a pound, strawberries for 39¢ a pint, and Ann Page coffee for 59¢ a pound Big Apple had chuck roast for 59¢ a pound, five pounds of Dixie Crystals sugar for 69¢, and Heinz pork & beans for 12¢ a can. Couch’s had Southern Maid sliced bacon for 69¢ a pound, Aristocrat ice milk for 33¢ a half-gallon, and Castleberry’s beef stew for 49¢ a can.

The cinematic week began with Lt. Robin Crusoe USN (with Dick Van Dyke) at the DeSoto Theatre and The Wild Angels (with Peter Fonda & Nancy Sinatra) at both the First Avenue Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought Three on a Couch (with Jerry Lewis & Janet Leigh) to the First Avenue Theatre and yet another run of Stagecoach (the remake with Ann-Margret & Red Buttons) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Lt. Robin Crusoe USN hung around  at the DeSoto for another week.

The Lovin’ Spoonful took the number one slot this week with “Summer in the City.” Other top ten hits included “Li’l Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (#2); “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haa!” by Napoleon XIV (#3); “Wild Thing” by the Troggs (#4); “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peters (#5); “I Saw Her Again” by the Mamas & the Papas (#6); “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb (#7); “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones (#8); “Somewhere My Love” by Ray Coniff & the Singers (#9); and “Sweet Pea” by Tommy Roe (#10).

The Beatles boycott was going strong this week in 1966, with Romans being urged to quit buying Beatles albums in response to John Lennon’s statement that “we’re more popular than Jesus now.” Some ministers in Rome were discussing a potential Beatles bonfire, similar to what had been done in Birmingham, but everything was still in the discussion stages.

On August 6th, 1966, Howard Cosell became the first major sports reporter to honor the former Cassius Clay’s request to be known as Muhammad Ali; until this time, most reporters had made a point of using the Cassius Clay name in direct conflict with Ali’s wishes. Once Cosell honored Ali’s request, however, most other reporters began to follow suit—which might explain why Cosell and Ali remained friends for the rest of Cosell’s life.

Spider-Man confronted the Avengers in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, a 72-pager published this week in 1966, while the modern-day Human Torch faced off against the Golden Age Human Torch in Fantastic Four Annual #4.

1 comment:

paul howley said...

"tax revenues were strong strong the they"