Parker High School opened its doors to students five decades ago on Feb. 12, 1968, in what seems like an entirely different universe by today’s standards.
Local headlines in the Janesville Daily Gazette that week included “Parker students awed by plush surroundings,” “State plan means big changes to city’s vocational schools” and “Males develop guilt complexes over minis (skirts).”
After spending their first day in their new school, students could settle down for an evening of television. Shows on that evening included “Gunsmoke,” “Rowan and Martin”with special guest the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Lucille Ball” with special guest Milton Berle, “Rat Patrol,” “The Carol Burnett Show” starring Martha Raye and Betty Grable, and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
Shows playing in Janesville at the time were:
- “Wait Until Dark,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin, at the Jeffris. “During the last eight minutes of this picture, the theater will be darkened to the legal limit to heighten the terror of the breathtaking climax,” the ad reads. The short was “Pearls of the Pacific.”
- “Reflections in a Golden Eye” at the Myers. The movie website Fandango described the film this way: “An Army major (Marlon Brando) with a lusty wife (Elizabeth Taylor) feels homosexual in the 1940s South.” No one younger than 18 was admitted, and tickets were $2.
The show also included the short “Texas Today” and the Tom and Jerry cartoon “Polka Dot Puss”—because nothing gets one in the mood for Marlon Brando like a cartoon for 6-year-olds.
At Woodman’s Food Market, 1266 Milton Ave.:
- An eight-pack of the new 16-ounce Cokes cost 69 cents.
- The same 69 cents also would buy you a 3-pound tub of cottage cheese or a pound of Colby cheese.
- Fresh Texas carrots, an “excellent roast mate,” cost 10 cents. The carrots’ excellent mate, a pork roast, cost 45 cents a pound.
- A 2-pound package of Fig Newtons was 89 cents.
Elsewhere, three half-gallons of skim milk were on sale for 89 cents.
People also could get a half-gallon of skim milk delivered to their doors for 32 cents.
National headlines the week of Feb. 12, 1968, included:
“Memphis sanitation workers walk out”
“Killy takes first heat in giant slalom”
“Washington Cathedral invites Dr. King”
“Three Negro students killed in skirmish with police”
“Moby Grape rocks with Procol Harum in pair of concerts”
“War doubts in Senate; misgivings over administration policy said to spread as offensive continues”
“Woman pastor installed in First Congregational Church, first woman pastor in denomination”
More fast facts
The minimum wage rose from $1.40 an hour to $1.60 an hour in February 1968.
Stamps cost 5 cents.
“Planet of the Apes” opened Feb 12, 1968.
Lyndon Johnson was president, but candidates were already getting ready for the November election. Richard Nixon had announced his decision to run earlier that February. Michigan Gov. George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, was in Janesville campaigning the week of Feb. 5, 1968.