Netflix offers Atmore native turned star

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One of first things I did after installing my Netflix movie set top box was queuing up movies that featured Paul (Burch) Smith. As you know he was born in Atmore and wound up with a long time movie career.

I found several of his movies and television shows carried on Netflix. Even though he made 39 movies, 50 stage dramas and several TV shows all were not carried on this outlet.

Much has been written about Smith, so I will not dwell on his biography.

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Actually, I wanted to let you know how television viewing is changing. Over the past several months many have dropped some of their satellite and cable services and created their own network, so to speak.

In my case, I have gone back to a basic satellite Family Package ($19.99 per month) added the Netflix movie box ($7.95 a month) and bought an amplified indoor antenna book ($39.95) to bring in 16 local channels in HD.

Yes, that indoor antenna resembles a book and it blends in nicely situated beside my TV and small Netflix box.

Since my Family Package does not contain ESPN, I solved that problem by wirelessly sending my Internet ESPN3 network to my TV. Unlike some internet companies, we are fortunate that Frontier Communications carries this sports channel.

In addition to my Family Package, I do pay an extra six dollars a month for a DVR, which is ideal for recording shows to view at a later time.

So, for $26 a month. I get all the TV I need and I have saved about $50-60 a month on my TV service.

As I have written many times, Internet TV will be a popular option for television programming in the very near future.

Now let’s take a look at some news from 1954.

McMurphy Dairy Bar (now Buster’s) had its grand opening in May. It became one of Atmore’s favorite places featuring meals, sandwiches, milk shakes and a popular hangout where friends gathered to share news and make conversation. Right across the street was McMurphy Dairy where milk trucks were dispatched for home delivery of fresh milk.

Atmore potato sheds had a banner year with six sheds in operation. These sheds offered jobs such as unloading the trucks in from the field, grading the potatoes as they were carried on a moving wide belt, bagging culls and high grade spuds, sewing bags filled with potatoes, rolling filled bags into waiting iced train cars and stacking those bags in the cars. Many teens and grownups found gainful employment during the potato season.

The fresh aroma from the grading operation was very becoming. Some older folks found enjoyment watching the grading process while sitting in their parked cars.

There was another delightful aroma back then. Everyone enjoyed the smell of fresh coffee processed at Atmore Coffee Company. That unique aroma from Dixie Blend, their famous brand, could be detected practically throughout town.

Piggly Wiggly, known for their bargains, advertised onions three cents each and Kellogg Corn Flakes 20 cents for a 12-ounce box.

Two from here made the news in May that year. Assistant coach W.J. Slovinac resigned from ECHS to take a similar position in another state.

David W. Coker was awarded a Commendation Ribbon for Meritorious Service in Korea. The former ECHS grad was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben F. Coker of Route 2 Atmore.

A large crowd came out to watch a donkey ball game in Byrne Field. Several local residents participated in the event. One young man reportedly received a strained back when the donkey he was riding landed on the back of another donkey trapping the rider between the two animals.

As a side note, I am wondering why Channel Five does not offer a sports reporter on all their regular news broadcasts. I was told they only have one sports anchor, and in my opinion it leaves a void in their broadcasts when he is absent. It is also evident some of their news anchors “double up” on sports on occasions. I notice also that Channel Five favors Atmore quite often in their weather news. They show a live scene of downtown Atmore, but for the life of me I am unable to detect where their camera is located. I notice they give credit to a helicopter identified with Wind Creek Casino. That’s good because it brings favorable attention to Atmore. But, I sure wish they would improve on their sports reporting.

Congratulations to Auburn University and to the University of Alabama for reining in banner recruiting classes. It is no wonder our state leads the nation in quality recruits. After all, how many states can boast of having back to back national football titles. It has become quite evident that our state and the entire Southeastern Conference is recognized as “the kingpins” in the world of college football.

More next week from the year 1954.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at