1970, popular TV shows and See Rock City

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
This will be my next to last column on peoples, places and events in the year 1970.
Thirty-nine years ago D.V Johnson hosted the state Shape Note Singing Convention in Brewton. Soloists and family singing groups came from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia.
D.V., who served as president of The Escambia Singing Convention, was known throughout the south for his unique bass singing voice. He served as president of The Escambia County Singing Convention for a number of years. He was also a close friend, and we enjoyed many early morning coffee sessions together.
Several local pharmacist and drug store owners were recognized by the city during National Pharmacy Week for their many contributions in the field of pharmacy and medicine. Included were Ed Ray and Bill McCrory of Greenlawn Drug Store; Ken Barnett and James Nall of Escambia Drugs; Tom Kelly of Reid Drug Store and Bob Davidson of Davidson Drug Store. Mayor Tom Byrne recognized these outstanding men for committed service to the community.
Vanity Fair received a federal grant to improve its recreation park. Little League facilities, playground equipment and picnic areas were greatly improved as a result of the grant.
Atmore’s Jerry Cruitt was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. The Warrant Officer Army pilot performed duty in Vietnam during this period.
John Bell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Winfred Bell, also received note-worthy military honors. The U.S. Air Force Captain was awarded the Commendation Medal for meritorious service overseas.
W.C. Barrineau, who called Atmore his second home, was named the top farmer in the state of Florida. The Barrineau Park native was known to many Atmore merchants and business owners.
Alabama Power Company recognized two employees for long time service. Myrtis, Hinton and Arthur Deese received special pins for fifteen and twenty years of service, respectively.
Atmore’s I-65 branch of the interstate highway system was deemed important by the State of Alabama. It was recognized as beneficial for Florida to Alabama traffic. The state, at that time, had 899 completed miles of the nation’s 42,500 miles of interstate.
Clair (Wise) McGill received her bachelor’s degree in Teacher education from Samford University. She recently retired as a teacher after thirty years of service.
Bill Gandy, former ECHS and Century High School coach, was named the head football coach of Robertsdale High school.
Former Atmore Mayor H.H. Dees passed away that year. He served the citizens of Atmore from 1940 to 1964 in various capacities.
Leading ECHS cheers at football games were Lynn Maxwell, Debbie Jones, Shelia Copeland, Janet Helton, Cynthia Latham, Kaki Gordon, Rita Vickery, Linda Helton, Mary Catherine McRae and Marllyn Nall.
The popular “M.A.S.H.” T V series became a spin off from the 1970 movie of the same name.
Other hit movies that year were, Patton, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Little Big Man.
Some popular TV Shows were Beretta, The FBI and The A Team.
For those of you who contacted me about last week’s column regarding social security stimulus checks, let me make one correction. And, even now I am still confused about one particular area of this benefit. I should have said last week that only those non-working social security recipients would receive an extra social security check in the amount of $250. Internet sources indicate the checks will, hopefully, be sent you near the end of May. Those working social security recipients should consult your tax preparers to clarify this aspect
I received an email yesterday from one of my former college friends. A native of northeast Alabama, he lives near Chattanooga. Advertising has been his unique career since finishing college. He told me of his involvement with some of the firms handling advertisement for the Creek Casino. At one time he said he operated his own outdoor advertising business. That career kept him on the road much of the time securing contracts with farmers and land owners to lease their barn tops for the purpose of painting advertisements on them. It must have been, I am sure, very much like the barn tops seen along highways and interstates with the wording “See Rock City”. I am not sure he ever worked for this well known attraction, but this was generally the type work he did. He did say he was affiliated with a firm responsible for R.C. Cola advertising at one time.
Speaking of Rock City, I can remember countless trips over the years seeing those black roofs with large white lettering. For those of you who have visited this renowned attraction you know it is perched high atop Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls is an especially a colorful and intriguing feature. Overlooking the city of Chattooga from atop the mountain is breathtaking. They say you can see seven states from the lookout.
And, you know this city is also famous for its moon pies. This is where those moon pies used as Mardi Gras throws are made.
I am working on another column in more detail about Lookout Mountain and those “Burma Shave” jingles seen on roadsides all across America,
News about renewed oil drilling in the Huxford-Butler street area may be available in the not-too distant future. I have an ‘inside source’” and, hopefully, I’ll have some encouraging information for those of you who live in this area.
I took a trip out to the casino last week for the purpose of gathering some news. Surprisingly, in talking with several employees, I learned that many of them live in Monroe county. One lady told me “our economy is at low ebb in Monroe County with all the recent mill layoffs.” They barely had the words to express their appreciation to the Poarch Creek Indians for their new jobs
It is good the Creeks can offer needed employment to our neighbors, not only in Monroe County, but to local and other area residents, as well.
Again, your emails are always welcome. Much inspiration for writing the column comes from your nice emails.
As Rev Dewitt Allen (WALA), Jimmy Cruise, Sam Ford, Mike Roberts, Jim Campbell, Sam Hill, Tom and Ernestine Miniard and all those other memorable WATM radio announcers of my days in radio (the early 1950s) would say …….”Stand by……stay tuned ……and join us again next time for our next visit with you…..”
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox