50 Years Ago — August 1967

By Jim Ignasher


On August 2 the movie, “In The Heat Of The Night”, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, premiered in New York.  The movie was a crime drama with Poitier as a Philadelphia homicide detective assisting Steiger, a small-town police chief, in solving the murder of a prominent citizen in the town of Sparta, Mississippi.  It won five academy awards including Best Picture of 1967.  A television series of the same name ran from 1988 – 1995.    

In other entertainment news country singer Bobby Gentry released he hit song, “Ode To Billy Joe”, and The Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” became a number one hit.    


What was termed a “zany” baseball game was held at Burgess Field in Greenville on August 7.  In this particular game, the players rode donkeys – or at least tired to.  


It was also on August 7 that NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 5 transmitted the most detailed photos ever taken of the dark side of the moon.  This was an important step in mapping the moon for upcoming manned lunar missions that would begin in 1969.     


The 3rd Annual Blue Gill Fishing Derby was held at Slack’s Pond in Greenville.  The winner was Tim McDaniel of Lakeside Drive, who caught a one pound Blue Gill, thought to be the largest one ever taken from the pond.


Fifteen members of Boy Scout Troop 1 of Gerogiaville returned from a camping trip at the Silver Buffalo Campground in Yawgoog Valley.  


How many can recall slide-film and slide-projectors?  For those who can’t slide-film was processed into transparent images that could be viewed on a large screen or wall by using a slide-projector.  (Great for showing family and friends pictures of one’s vacation trip.)  A local person advertised a slide-projector for sale that came with a whopping 60 trays, and two carrying cases, all for the price of $60.  The ad claimed the original cost for everything when new was $150.  


The Smithfield Recreation Department sponsored an outdoor dance at Greenlake Beach in Greenville that was attended by 200 youths.  Another was held on August 11 at Georgiaville Beach.


The Smithfield All Stars Little League baseball team won the Rhode Island Little League Crown against a team from Onleyville, 6-0.


President Lyndon Johnson approved the deployment of an additional 45,000 troops to Vietnam by June 30, 1968.

U.S. Navy Ensign Frederick J. Stephenson, Jr., of Greenville, completed Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia.  

Captain Scott McNeilly of Greenville returned home after completing his tour of duty in Vietnam.  


Civil Air Patrol Cadet, 2nd Lieutenant Paula M. Blackmore, of the Smithfield Composite Squadron, earned her glider pilot wings while attending a C.A. P. encampment in Elmira, New York.       


A Putnam Pike car dealership was offering a 1967 Cadillac convertible with factory air and an AM/FM stereo, for $5,800.  A quick check of the Internet reveals that the same car today, depending on condition, sells between twenty and thirty five thousand dollars.  

The same dealer had a 1966 Pontiac, LeMans, (Remember them?) for $2395, and a brand new ’67 Pontiac Firebird, but with no price given.  


The Greenville Grange, which once stood near the Greenville Post Office, held an annual picnic for its members on Johnson’s Pond.  


The Apple Blossom Garden Club held a food sale on the Greenville Common to raise funds for the club’s community beautification projects.  The event was chaired by Mrs. Roland Smith and Mrs. Harold Hall.


Speaking of community improvements, the state finally approved the construction of sidewalks on both sides of Smith Avenue from Greenville Center all the way to the Glocester town line. The move came after much pressure from local residents who had raised safety concerns.   


On August 25, the annual “Water Carnival” was held at Slack’s Pond in Greenville.  The show was performed by children who had completed swimming lessons conducted by Celine Welch, and Suzanne Boulais, both swim instructors for the town.  

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