Friday, March 16, 2018

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/18/1968 to 3/24/1968

Rome got a dusting of snow on Friday night, March 22nd and early Saturday morning, March 23rd, with accumulations of up to a half an inch reported. Of course, snow on the weekend meant that no one got any extra time off from school... but at least it still looked good!

Rome’s spate of burglaries continued with two Monday morning break-ins: one at Rome Seed and Feed, where burglars broke in the back door and opened the safe but apparently took nothing at all; and the other at Floyd County Lanes, where burglars also broke in the back door and made off with $200 from a cashbox. On Tuesday night, burglars broke into the Southern Railway Depot, but the only thing they could find to steal were three rolls of postage stamps.

Rome and Floyd County, determined to establish a uniform closing hour for all beer establishments in Floyd County, changed the rules to allow beer sales until 1:30 am on weekdays. Previously, the rules had specified a 12:30 am closing time for the county, while the city already had a 1:30 am closing time. This change put the city and the county on the same page as far as beer sales were concerned. Of course, high school students had no interest in such things...

Piggly Wiggly had smoked ham for 49¢ a pound, corn for 6¢ an ear, and Oscar Mayer bologna for 39¢ a pound. Big Apple had chuck roast for 37¢ a pound, grapefruit for a dime each, and  Irvindale ice milk for 39¢ a half-gallon. A&P had fresh whole fryers for 27¢ a pound, Florida oranges for 15¢ a pound, and StarKist tuna for 27¢ a can.  Kroger had sirloin steak for 89¢ a pound, large eggs for 38¢ a dozen, and Maxwell House coffee for 49¢ a pound. Couch’s had chicken breast for 49¢ a pound, Van Camp’s chili for 33¢ a can, and bananas for a dime a pound.

The cinematic week began with Wait Until Dark (starring Audrey Hepburn) at the DeSoto Theatre, The Jokers (starring Michael Crawford) at the First Avenue, and The Ambushers (starring Dean Martin) at the West Rome Drive-In. The midweek switchout brought Sol Madrid (starring David McCallum) to the First Avenue and The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly (starring Clint Eastwood) at the West Rome Drive-In, while the DeSoto stayed in the Dark (Wait Until Dark, that is) for another week. 

Otis Redding took the number one slot this week in 1968 with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Other top ten hits included “Love Is Blue (L’Amour Est Bleu)” by Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (#2); “(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls” by Dionne Warwick (#3); “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. (#4); “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by The First Edition with Kenny Rogers (#5); “La-La Means I Love You” by the Delfonics (#6); “Valleri” by the Monkees (#7); “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” by Aretha Franklin (#8); “I Thank You” by Sam & Dave (#2); and “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde”by Georgia Fame (#10). (And that's a surprisingly high number of songs with parenthetical segments in their titles, isn't it?...)

The Electric Flag released their first album, A Long Time Comin’, this week in 1968. In spite of the album’s overwhelmingly positive critical reception, sales were weaker than band frontman Mike Bloomfield expected; he was particularly disappointed that the hastily prepared Boomfield-Kooper-Stills Super Session album (which also featured Bloomfield), which was recorded in less than two days, actually charted higher than the Electric Flag album. Joni Mitchell also released her first album, Song to a Seagull (also known as Joni Mitchell) this week in 1968; produced by her good friend David Crosby; while the album generated no hit songs, it did establish Mitchell as a rising star in the folk rock movement.

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