Friday, September 16, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 9/19/166 to 9/25/1966

This was Coosa Valley Fair week in 1966, with Tuesday being Children’s Day—which meant free admission for all kids and students. The fair was such a big thing in the 1960s that the Rome City School System gave students a half-day off (closing school after lunch) so that they could get to the fair early to take advantage of the reduced prices on all rides and shows before 6 pm. Atlanta Falcons Randy Johnson & Tommy Nobis were signing autographs at the fair on Monday; Officer Don made an appearance on Tuesday; the World’s Strongest Man Paul Anderson presented feats of strength on Wednesday; the Miss Coosa Valley Fair contest took place on Thursday; a fireworks display highlighted the Friday schedule; Bob Brandy did a special show from the fairgrounds on Saturday; and the West Rome Band ended the fair with a concert Saturday evening.

Growth in Rome—particularly in West Rome—was so strong that the Rome City School System was hurting for teachers, with almost two dozen positions unfilled as the first month of school came to an end. The school system was using substitute teachers, retired teachers, and temporary teachers to fill in until permanent staff could be found.

The Chieftains took on the LaFayette Ramblers on September 23rd;  while LaFayette’s team was highly ranked, they proved no challenge for the Chiefs, who won the game 25-0.  West Rome’s fullback Benny Padgett was chosen Back of the Week for his outstanding performance in the game; he ran the ball 18 times, was credited with 138 net yards, and scored one of West Rome’s touchdowns. As the Rome News-Tribune noted, “Padgett’s only competition for the Back of the Week was fellow Chieftain Roger Weaver, “who rushed for 196 yards and scored twice in the game,” the paper noted. “However, it was Padgett’s all-round play both on offense and defense that earned him the honor.”

An intrepid quartet of burglars broke into four locations on in the wee hours of Friday morning, September 23rd, including the Johnny Reb  Food Store at 2209 Shorter Avenue. The burglars hammered their way through two different concrete block walls to break into Johnny Reb—a lot of work for about $50 worth of cigarettes! The four burglaries netted them less than $125 in cash, which seems like a pretty poor payoff for such ambitious criminals. By mid-day Friday, the police already had suspects in custody.

Piggly Wiggly had Coca-Cola, Tab, Sprite, or Fresca (their only four soft drinks fifty years ago!) for 99¢ a case plus deposit, chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, and four pounds of apples for 49¢. Kroger had fresh whole fryers for 29¢ a pound, ten pounds of Domino sugar for 89¢, and cantaloupes for 33¢ each. Big Apple had center cut pork chops for 69¢ a pound, Bailey’s Supreme coffee for 59¢ a pound, and bell peppers for a dime each. A&P had sirloin tip roast for 89¢ a pound, seedless grapes for 15¢ a pound, and a one-pound package of Oreos for 49¢. Couch’s had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, 16 ounces of JFG peanut butter for 49¢, and Wesson Oil for 39¢ a half-gallon.

The cinematic week began with Butterfield 8 (with Elizabeth Taylor & Laurence Harvey) at the DeSoto Theater, The Oscar (with Steven Boyd, Elke Sommers, & Milton Berle) at the First Avenue, and a double feature of the Russ Meyer films Motor Psycho (with Haji) and Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (with Tura Satana) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch-out brought How to Steal a Million (with Eli Wallach & Charles Boyer) to the DeSoto, The Man from UNCLE: One Spy Too Many (with Robert Vaughn & David McCallum) to the First Avenue, and How to Steal a Million (with Audrey Hepburn & Peter O’Toole) at the West Rome Drive-In.

The Association held on to the number one slot for a second week with “Cherish.” Other top ten hits included “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (#2); “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” by The Temptations (#3); “Black is Black” by Los Bravos (#4); “Bus Stop” by the Hollies (#5); “96 Tears” by ? & the Mysterians (#6); “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops (#7); “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles (#8); “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan (#9); and “Cherry Cherry” by Neil Diamond (#10).

Comics legend Jim Steranko made his Marvel Comics debut on the Nick Fury lead story in Strange Tales #151, on sale this week in 1966. While very little of the Steranko style was evident in that first issue, within a year he would become on of the most distinctive and influential artists in Marvel’s “second wave.” Meanwhile, in the pages of The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #97, the zany comedian met Batman, Robin, and the Joker in a silly tale by Arnold Drake and Bob Oskner.

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