Friday, February 02, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/5/1968 to 2/11/1968

The Rome City Commission clarified and revised ordinances involving mobile homes within the city limits. The commission had considered a proposal to ban mobile homes within the city except for those owned by the resident or a relative of the resident and located on private property. The public outcry against this, both from those who already owned and rented mobile homes and those who rented and lived in them, convinced the city to reconsider. Under the new rules, the city would allow the rental of mobile homes to third parties once an application was filed with the city and a fee was paid; this ordinance would also allow all existing trailer parks and existing rental trailers to continue operation as usual, including a few that were within the West Rome School district. 

Rome got a dusting of snow on Wednesday night as temperatures fell to the low 20s. The snow wasn’t enough to close schools, although areas south of us got much more snow, with school closings reported from metro Atlanta all the way to Savannah.

Marc Maslanka was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout this week in 1968. Maslanka, a freshman at West Rome High School, became a tenderfoot scout in 1965; he went on to serve in various leadership capacities within the troop, including patrol leader and instructor of new scouts. Maslanka’s Eagle Scout badge was presented to him by his mother at a meeting of Scout Troop 55; his father, grandparents, friends, and fellow scouts were also present for the award. Other scouts presented with  a variety of achievement badges at the ceremony included Chieftains Ivan Rutherford, Brad Durham, Bob Washington, Robert Ayers, Alan Ware, David Payne, Mike Tolbert, Dennis Conway, David Johnson, Chuck McKinney, John Furr, Rip Prater, Mike Littlejohn, Doug Carver, Ronnie Hart, Kent McKee, David Whitworth, Ronnie Hart, John Christenberry, Glen Henderson, Wynn Henderson, Darrell Coleman, Dennis Jones, Andy Smith, Sandy O’Neal, Mike Smith, and Marc Weaver. (Some of these badge recipients might not be Chieftains, but I decided it would be better to list non-Chieftain badge recipients than to accidentally omit one of our own!)

Piggly Wiggly had Oscar Mayer bacon for 49¢ a pound, eggs for 37¢ a dozen, and canned biscuits for a dime a can. Kroger had turkeys for 27¢ a pound, Sealtest ice cream for 49¢ a half-gallon, and bananas for a dime a pound. A&P had cubed steak for 89¢ a pound, grapefruit for a dime each, and Pet Ritz frozen cream pies for 25¢ each. Big Apple had pork chops for 69¢ a pound, Stokely catsup for 33¢ a bottle, and celery for 19¢ a bunch. Couch’s had smoked ham for 39¢ a pound, Libby’s spaghetti and meatballs for 39¢ a can, and Castleberry’s chili for 19¢ a can. 

The cinematic week began with Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book at the DeSoto Theatre, The Robbery (starring Stanley Baker) at the First Avenue, and The President’s Analyst (starring James Coburn) at the  West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought The Penthouse (“The film you will never see on television,” they advertised, starring Susy Kendall) to the First Avenue and the West Rome Drive-In, while The Jungle Book hung around for another week at the DeSoto. (Thinking back on it, it’s surprising that the West Rome Drive-In showed so many “mature-viewer” films like this, since the screen was clearly visible to almost anyone driving past on Shorter Avenue. Apparently, no one considered it an issue—surprising, considering this is the same era when ministers were still trying to block the sale of Playboy Magazine within the Rome city limits!)

Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra took the number one slot this week with “Love Is Blue (L’Amour Est Bleu).” Other top ten hits included “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers (#2); “Spooky” by the Classics IV (#3); “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)” by John Fred & the Playboys (#4); “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin (#5); “I Wish It Would Rain” by the Temptations (#6); Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by the Lettermen (#7); “Nobody But Me” by the Human Beinz (#8); “Woman, Woman” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#9); and “Bend Me, Shape Me” by the American Breed (#10). 

The Bee Gees made their American television debut on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour this week in 1968 in advance of the release of their second album, Horizontal. They would quickly become the most most successful Australian musical act in the United States, with album sales that rivaled the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

The tenth Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble, France became the first Olympics to be fully broadcast in color. ABC heavily promoted the color broadcast, airing many of the events in prime time (almost unheard for the less-popular Winter Olympics). 

Captain Marvel #1 and Sub-Mariner #1 both premiered this week in 1968. In publishing the former, Marvel took advantage of DC’s failure to maintain the trademark on the Golden Age Captain Marvel, a character that they had acquired as the eventual result of legal actions against Fawcett Publishing. A few years later, they would regret not protecting that trademark, as they had to relaunch the Billy Batson Captain Marvel in a comic book entitled Shazam! since Marvel now had the trademark on the Captain Marvel name. Sub-Mariner had starred in his own series in the Golden Age, but had shared Tales to Astonish with the Hulk in the mid-1960s before finally getting his own series once again, courtesy of Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

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