Friday, January 05, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 1/8/1968 to 1/14/1968

The Braves Caravan paid a visit to Rome--and to West Rome High School--on Monday, January 8th as their first stop on a whirlwind tour of numerous Georgia cities and schools. Eddie Glennon, the area sales manager for the Braves, set up the Caravan, bringing Phil Niekro, Pat Jarvis, Pat Carroll, Bob Uecker, Milo Hamilton, Ernie Johnson, Lee Walburn, Wayne Minshew, and Milt Browning to town to promote the upcoming baseball season. Caravan participants signed autographs, posed for photos with students, and talked baseball with eager students (and a few faculty members, too!).

Rome began the week with sub-freezing highs and lows in the low teens, with a little freezing rain and sleet moving through on Tuesday, January 9th. Students were sad to see that the icy precipitation was not enough to call of school for the days, although almost every surrounding county did close schools for the day.  A second round of freezing rain came through on Saturday, January 13th—but all the ice was gone by Monday morning, so once again no school holiday...

Romans were also dealing with a flu outbreak, with 90 students absent from West Rome High School on Monday and 107 absent on Tuesday. According to Principal Dick McPhee, typical absentee rates at West Rome were 50-60 students per day. 15% of West Rome’s faculty was also out of school on Monday due to the flu. 

First National Bank raise their savings account interest rate to 5% to kick off the new year, with most other banks offering within .25% of that rate. Today, a 5% interest rate sounds like some sort of fantasy, but back in 1968 anyone could walk into a bank with a $10 deposit and started earning that return on their investment!

After taking a holiday week off, burglars were back in action: the safe at Brackett Pharmacy was broken open in the early morning hours of January 9th and $1800 was stolen. A branch post office in the same building was also broken into an an undisclosed amount of cash and stamps were stolen . The burglars also broke a water pipe during the commission of the crime, flooding both the pharmacy and the post office.

Four teenagers were arrested on Thursday night after they siphoned off gasoline from a truck belonging to the Garden Lakes Company. An alert officer caught the four in mid-crime. 

The next night, burglars broke into Quick Service store on South Broad, stealing $50 in cash; Rome Warehouse on East 12th, making off with some tools that they used in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the safe; Adams Grocery on East 12th, where about $10i in cash and a .38 caliber pistol were taken; and Maple Street Cafe, where  four vending machines were ransacked. 

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, cabbage for 9¢ a pound, and Merico butter-me-not biscuits for 13¢ a can. Big Apple had perch fillet for 33¢ a pound, Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and pole beans for 23¢ a pound. A&P had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and Poss chili with beans for 39¢ a can. Kroger had pork chops for 49¢ a pound, bananas for a dime a pound, and Campbell’s tomato soup for a dime a can.Couch’s had Armour Star hot dogs for 49 a pound, medium eggs for 35¢ a dozen, and Nabisco saltines for 37¢ a box.

The cinematic week began with The Comedians (starring Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton) at the DeSoto Theatre and House of 1000 Dolls (starring Vincent Price) at the First Avenue Theatre and the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout had a Rat Pack feel, with Tony Rome (starring Frank Sinatra) at the DeSoto and the West Rome Drive-In,  and The Ambushers (starring Dean Martin) at the First Avenue.

The Beatles maintained their grip on the number one slot with “Hello Goodbye.” Other top ten hits included “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)” by John Fred & the Playboys (#2); “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees (#3); “Woman, Woman” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#4); “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight & the Pips (#5); “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin (#6); “Bend Me, Shape Me” by the American Breed (#7); “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles (#8); “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers (#9): and “Skinny Legs & All” by Joe Tex (#10). 

This week in 1968, Johnny Cash paid a visit to Folsom State Prison in California, performing a concert that would inspire the most successful live album of his career. 

The Hulk got a second chance at stardom this week in 1968 with the release of Incredible Hulk #102, the first issue of his new ongoing series (it wasThe Incredible Hulk #102 because Marvel continued the numbering of the old Tales to Astonish series that the Hulk had shared with the Sub-Mariner). The Hulk’s first solo series, which launched in 1962, only ran for six issues before it was cancelled; in spite of quality creators that included Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, and Steve Ditko, the first series never managed to achieve any real success.

Green Lantern Guy Gardner made his premiere in Green Lantern #59, this week in 1968. After many years as a footnote in Green Lantern history, Guy returned in the 1980s and has gone on to become a popular member of the Green Lantern team.

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