Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lost in the 60s of Drive-in movies, catfish and Dixie

Close, at least.:)

Ronnie Milsap - Lost in the Fifties tonight


By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of Historical Essays, Author of book "When America Stood for God, Family and Country" and Chairman of the Confederate History and Heritage Month Committee for the Sons of Confederate Veterans 1064 West Mill Drive, Kennesaw, Georgia 30152, Phone: 770 428 0978 or 770 330 9792.

Hello America!

Do you remember the late Southern-American columnist, comedian and speaker Lewis Grizzard {October 20, 1946 –March 20, 1994} who made us laugh, think and proud of whom we are? There are few that write with the heart and soul of Mr. Grizzard who wrote and spoke compassionately about subjects that included the American-South.

This letter is dedicated in memory of an American-son of Dixie, Lewis McDonald Grizzard, Jr.

Do you remember when people didn't always apologize for America and Lewis Grizzard, with his witty humor and Southern accent was un-apologetically proud of his Southern birth and that of his Confederate ancestors who defended their homes, family and way of life during the War Between the States, 1861-1865?

In an article from February 5, 1993, Mr. Grizzard wrote quote, "Whatever the reason, there was a citizenry that once saw fit to fight and die and I come from all that, and I look at those people as brave and gallant, and a frightful force until their hearts and their lands were burnt away. I will never turn my back on that heritage." unquote

My memories of the 1960s include Saturday night supper with my family at the Rio Vista Restaurant on Stewart Avenue that featured all you can eat catfish or fried chicken and golden brown "melt in your mouth" hush puppies for a dollar and a quarter and later a double-feature movie at the Stewart Drive-in theater. Stewart Avenue and Theater were named after a Confederate soldier but sadly the street has since been renamed and the theater is gone. The Starlight Six is the only drive-in theater remaining in Atlanta, Georgia. See their website at:

New York City the "Big Apple" was famous in the 60s for the Broadway shows and folks came way down South in "Dixie" for Tara, Southern Belles and a taste of our famous Southern Hospitality. Soul Food Restaurants were also popular in the South with a deliciously different cuisine that included: ham hocks, black eyed peas, turnips and hush puppies that are just down home Southern food.

The Academy Award winning movie in 1965 was "The Sound of Music" with Julie Andrews that premiered in New York City and later in Atlanta for a near two year run at Martin's Georgia Cinerama Theater which was located on Peachtree Street near the Fabulous Fox Theater.

During the 1960s America celebrated the War Between the States Centennial, 1961-1965, the Vietnam War was in its early days and we mourned the deaths of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963 and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and….

Dan Emmett's song Dixie was still played at college football games from the Dixie Redcoat Marching Band at the University of Georgia to the "Pride of the South" University of Mississippi Band at Ole Miss where Colonel Reb was the school mascot.

In 1965, Atlanta's Minor League team the Atlanta Crackers played their last season at the new Fulton County, Georgia stadium and the following year the Major League team the Atlanta Braves made their debut at that stadium…And, what about current Braves Veteran of 19 years Chipper Jones who celebrated his 40th birthday this year? Did you know the "Beatles" tour of the USA included Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium in August of 1965?

Elvis Presley, Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Beach Boys were hot on the Rock and Roll scene and Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Roy Acuff performed at the Ryman Auditorium then Home of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Do you remember the Hullabaloo show on NBC during 1965 and 66 that aired the top pop hits of the day with guest hosts that included: Michael Landon, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jerry Lewis?

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of Americas Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, Colonel Sanders Kentucky "finger licking good" fried chicken was served at Davis Brothers Cafeteria, Jacobs Drug Stores where Coca Cola was first served still thrived and the "Popeye Club" with Office Don aired live in the early 60s from WSB TV White Columns on Peachtree in Atlanta.

Wherever you call home, memories with family and friends last forever. Ya'll come back now, you here!


  1. I graduated high school in 1951, college in 1955, and was married in 1957. It really upsets young people when I tell them that America peaked in the '50s. Life was never as good before and never will be again.

    And I loved Lewis Grizzard, may he RIP.

  2. I tell them that America peaked in the '50s.

    I believe so. Wonderful years for me.