Friday, December 02, 2016

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 12/5/1966 to12/11/1966

West Rome defeated Berry Academy 51-37 for their first basketball win of the season after three losses. (One reason the team was having a tough time of it: the median height of Coach Randall Kent’s Chieftains team was only 5 feet 9 inches!) Charlie Layman, Kenny Stephens, Bobby Becker, and Benny Padgett all scored in double digits. Alas, West Rome was unable to turn it into a winning streak, falling to Model’s Blue Devils 54-35 on Friday, December 9th. June Hyder’s girls team posted a 58-37 victory over Model’s girls, with Juanita Williams, Debbi Porach, and Elaine Underwood all scoring in double digits.

Talk of annexing Garden Lakes into the City of Rome resumed, with most of the concerns focusing on schools. The Rome City school board said that they could accept the students into the city system only if they also inherited Garden Lakes Elementary, expanded West Rome High School to include the West Rome Junior High classrooms, and constructed a new junior high school. This would be an issue, though, because the county said they would not be willing to give away Garden Lakes Elementary, although they would be willing to sell it.

The West Rome High School Football “Banquet of Champions” took place at 6pm on Thursday, December 8th, at the Callier Springs Country Club. Filmed highlights from the season were shown and trophies were presented to outstanding players.

The booming economy made for busy cash registers in the early weeks of the Christmas 1966 season. Not only were toys and clothes selling at an almost 10% better pace than the prior Christmas, but retailer reported strong increases in sales of jewelry, color televisions, appliances, and even new cars. Rome’s three big banks (National City, First National, and Rome Bank & Trust) reported that more than $900,000 in Christmas Club savings were cashed out in 1966, setting an all-time record.

Rome was coming ever closer to making cable TV available with the first reading of the Community Antenna Television Franchise for the city, Regulations required at least two readings of the CATV franchise agreement before the franchise agreement could be officially confirmed. Plans called for Rome Broadcasting Company, the owners of WRGA Radio, to be awarded the cable TV franchise for Rome.

Remember when I-75 was still a work in progress? This week in 1966, a 6.3 mile section of I-75 between Adairsville and Calhoun opened to traffic. There was still a gap beginning at Adairsville and continuing south to Marietta, where the Interstate picked up again and continued into Atlanta and beyond. (I still remember having to take US41 between Cartersville and Marietta well into the 1970s...)

You could tell it was Christmas season: this week in 1966, Sears began running ads that they would be open until 9pm every night until Christmas. Other businesses with extended hours included Super-Discount Store (9pm), Murphy’s (8pm), Penney’s (8pm), Economy Auto (9pm), and Redford’s (9pm). Back in 1966, staying open as late as 9pm was a pretty big deal!

Piggly Wiggly had fresh whole fryers for 23¢ a pound (or you could pay 6¢ more a pound and get ‘em already cut up into pieces), medium eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and sweet potatoes for 12¢ a pound. Kroger had round steak for 75¢ a pound, Star-Kist tuna for 29¢ a can, and three cans of Campbell’s soup for a quarter. Big Apple had  smoked picnic hams for 39¢ a pound, Sealtest ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon, and Big Apple sliced sandwich bread for a quarter a loaf. A&P had boneless brisket for 89¢  a pound, a one-pound bag of Ann Parker potato chips for 59¢, and twenty pounds of potatoes for 99¢. Couch’s had pork roast for 39¢ a pound, lettuce for a dime a head, and Coca-Cola/Tab/Sprite for 99¢ a case plus deposit.

The cinematic week began with Texas Across the River (with Dean Martin & Joey Bishop) at the DeSoto Theatre and The Poppy Is Also a Flower (with Trevor Howard & Yul Brynner) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switch out brought Not With My Wife You Don’t (with Tony Curtis & Virna Lisi) to both the DeSoto Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In. The First Avenue Theatre remained closed for renovations, but the end was in sight: management announced the the theatre was tentatively slated to reopen on December 22nd with a six-week run of The Sound of Music.

The Beach Boys took number one this week in 1966 with “Good Vibrations.” Other top ten hits included “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan (#2); “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band (#3); “Devil With a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels (#4); “You Keep Me Hanging’ On” by the Supremes (#5); “Lady Godiva” by Peter & Gordon (#6); “Stop Stop Stop” by the Hollies (#7); “Born Free” by Roger Williams (#8); “I’m Ready for Love” by Martha & the Vandellas (#9); and “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra (#10).

Eric Clapton’s ascendancy to rock god status began this week in 1966 with the release of Fresh Cream, the first album from the Clapton-Jack Bruce-Ginger Baker group. This is also the week that the Stephen Stills-Neil Young-Richie Furay group Buffalo Springfield released their eponymous debut album. While most people remember the album because of the classic “For What It’s Worth,” the song actually wasn’t included on the album as released in 1966; it was added to the album in March of 1967, replacing “Baby Don’t Scold Me.” (Interestingly enough, “For What It’s Worth” was actually recorded this week in 1966, although it wouldn’t make its album debut for three more months.)

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