The good ol' days

The first edition of the Williamsburg Magazine was published in July 1964 under thetitle, "The Publick Observer."

John Gravely was publisher, Roger Swagler, was editor and Thomas Haley, advertisingmanager.

Emblazoning the front page of the publication were stories centering on Junebugs at theJames River Plantations and a Colonial Williamsburg minstrel.

The lead story was headlined, "Junebugs, Pineapples Enliven PlantationScene."

The feature was written by Pete Crow, a writer for the Gazette in the 1960s.

The article chronicled what people were considering an amazing swarm of junebugs on thebrick arch at Berkeley Plantation.

"The junebugs swarm the about the brick arch for some reason," theplantation's owner said at the time.

The feature never supplied the answer to that conundrum.

Also on the front page was a feature spotlighting Tayler Vrooman, a research assistantfor CW in 1965 who was expounding his musical talents.

As research assistant, Vrooman had discovered a wealth of untapped songs that werepopular in the American colonies. Vrooman, being a lifelong musician, began singing thesongs.

"These popular songs were musical compositions as opposed to folk songs,"Vrooman said in the article. "They were imported from Mother England along with otherforms of culture and tangible merchandise. Wine, women and politics were the favoritetopics."

Want to know what locals and visitors did for fun in 1964?

Well, nighttime entertainment offered a several options.

The outdoor drama "The Founders," premiered at the Lake Matoaka Amphitheatrein 1964. It was directed by the local luminary Howard Scammon.

Like the popular outdoor drama, "The Common Glory," which ran for yearsduring the summer at Lake Matoaka, "The Founders" was written by Gary Green.

The play was a celebration of the Jamestown Settlement. It offered music and dance,drama, comedy and history.

If that wasn't your druthers, the Wedgewood Dinner Theatre in Toano was an option.That theater, which employed among others, Charles and Carolee Silcox Bush, offered lightcomedies. On stage in 1964 was "The Moon is Blue" and "Gigi."

An article about Wedgewood talked of the success of the theatrical venture.A feature hyping cultural life in Williamsburg also touted "Story of a Patriot"as a must-see. That film is still running daily at CW's Visitor's Center.

Other happenings around town included bowling at the Colony Lanes in the WilliamsburgShopping Center, miniature golf at the Golf Ranch on Bypass Road (located under theoverpass), and art show at Twentieth Century Art Gallery located near the Publick Gaol.The gallery is now the This Century Art Gallery on North Boundary Street.

An advertisement in the magazine highlighted the Williamsburg Shopping Center. Back then merchants including Colony Bowling Lanes, Rich's Supermarket, Colonial Stores,Nottingham Pharmacy, F.W. Woolworth's and Zuzma's Barbershop.

Remember Roses?

That was the department store formerly located next to SteinMart at the WilliamsburgShopping Center. It closed last year. Marshall's is expected to open in that spot withinthe next several months.

Roses was running a big sale on souvenirs. In the ad, Roses described the store as a:"Twentieth Century Variety Store in an Eighteenth Century City."

Bargains included tri-cornered hats, souvenir mugs, children's t-shirts and a colonialcannon for $1. Colonial paper dolls were $2, house caps $1.98 and postcards were 3 for $1.

Hungry locals or travelers could get a Sunday Buffet brunch at the Heritage Inn for $2.Kids ate for .95 cents. On Wednesdays, a "Champagne and Candlelight" buffetdinner cost $3.75 for adults, while kids ate for $2.50.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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