The good ol' days

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

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

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

The lead story was headlined, "Junebugs, Pineapples Enliven Plantation Scene."

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 the brick arch at Berkeley Plantation.

"The junebugs swarm the about the brick arch for some reason," the plantation'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 assistant for CW in 1965 who was expounding his musical talents.

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

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

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 Amphitheatre in 1964. It was directed by the local luminary Howard Scammon.

Like the popular outdoor drama, "The Common Glory," which ran for years during 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 light comedies. 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 Williamsburg Shopping Center, miniature golf at the Golf Ranch on Bypass Road (located under the overpass), 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 Williamsburg Shopping Center. It closed last year. Marshall's is expected to open in that spot within the 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 colonial cannon 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" buffet dinner cost $3.75 for adults, while kids ate for $2.50.