Classic AJC

Not too many tubas

“December 17, 1999 - CNN Center hosted Atlanta’s Tuba Christmas this year. It was the 13th annual for the Atlanta area and the 26th worldwide one. Area Tuba players from all backgrounds were invited to play. Many traditional Christmas Carols and songs were performed. (John Spink/AJC Staff).” Tuba Christmas began as a tribute to the late William J. Bell, tuba player/mentor/teacher. The first one took place at the ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza in New York in 1974.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Burning Barry

Forest Park, Ga. — Rock music record albums, including Barry Manilow, are burned in a bonfire outside the Landmark United Pentecostal Church outside Forest Park on March 17, 1982. Traveling minister Steve Timmons branded the music a tool of the devil and albums were thrown on the fire. Timmons, a Wisconsin Pentecostal minister who is taking his crusade against rock music across the country, drew a crowd of about 200 people. (Nancy Mangiafico/AJC staff).”

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Robin Hood in Decatur

“April, 1966 - Most southpaws will probably be found on the baseball diamond these spring days. However, here’s Robin Woltz displaying a left-handed technique in the sport of archery. Robin is a sophomore at Agnes Scott College and a good shot with the bow. (Bill Wilson/AJC Staff).” According to the 1966 Agnes Scott yearbook Silhouette, in addition to archery, Woltz was majoring in Spanish and was a member of the Curriculum Committee, Arts Council, and Glee Club.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Why did the Chicken …?

“Sept 5, 1978 - Atlanta, Ga - San Diego Padres mascot, The KGB Chicken, has a mouthful of Atlanta Braves owner, Ted Turner. (Jerome McClendon/AJC Staff).” Ted Giannoulas has made a career out of being a chicken. He worked for KGB-FM, a San Diego radio station when this photo was shot. He was fired in 1979 and the station tried but failed to keep him out of a chicken costume. For many years he was called The San Diego Chicken, but now goes by The Famous Chicken. He started his career while still in college and is now pretty close to 60. Baseball season is just about here. The Braves play the Phillies Monday.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A shooting in a sanctuary

“Atlanta, Ga. - June 30, 1974 - Scene outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church after the shooting of Mrs. Alberta King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr. (Bill Mahan/AJC staff)” Alberta Williams King, 70, who was seated at the church organ playing “The Lord’s Prayer,” was killed, as was Deacon Edward Boykin, 69, by a visitor to the church. A woman in the congregation was wounded. The killer was sentenced to life in prison and he died of a stroke in a Georgia prison cell in 1995.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Maps upstairs, and jail downstairs

“June, 1970 - Roswell, Ga. City Hall. (Robert Connell/AJC Staff)” Of course the jail is downstairs. It looks like Roswell’s approach to governing (and keeping the peace) was a little more casual back in 1970. But the city was trading on its history even then. A sign shot by the same photographer on the same day reads “Welcome to historic Roswell. Stop With Us. See our colonial homes. Churches. Landmarks. Free maps & information at City Hall.” Roswell got its current “Taj Mahal” city hall in 1991.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Keeping the peace in Alma

“Placing high again in home town contest was no accident as Alma citizens carried out more improvements. A new police car was added to the city’s law enforcement equipment. (File) 1954” Alma’s new police car was a Ford Mainline. It was manufactured from 1952 to 1956. Alma is in Bacon County in southeast Georgia, well below Macon and north of Waycross. The town is named for the wife of a traveling salesman who happened to pass through at just the right time.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It’s Murphy by a millimeter

“Murphy scores. May, 1979 — Atlanta, Ga.: - Braves’ Dale Murphy avoids the tag by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager and scores. (Steve Deal/AJC Staff).”

Murphy was the Braves’ first-round pick in the 1974 draft. 1979 was the first year management decided that maybe catcher wasn’t the perfect position for him. This was his first season as a first baseman. He played in the outfield in 1980 and finally got to be a first baseman for an entire season two years later.

This is Murphy’s last year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The betting is that Murph won’t make it. The AJC’s Jeff Schultz thinks that’s bad, especially considering other players who are eligible this year. AJC Braves beat writer David O’Brien makes the case for Murph.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Gone with the fire

“Spotlights add to the excitement that reigned in front of Atlanta’s Loew’s Grand theater for the Friday night, December 15, 1939 premiere of the Civil War epic film ‘Gone With The Wind.’ (AJC Staff Photo).” According to an AJC article, the “spotlights” were actually anti-aircraft lights. 2,031 ticket holders - most of whom had paid an extravagant $10 saw the movie along with Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Margaret Mitchell, and other VIPs. About 30,000 people lined the streets around the theater to get a glimpse of a star or just be part of the magic. The theater was a star too. It began life as the Grand Opera House, built in 1893 by Laurent DeGive. Loew’s leased the building in 1916. The Grand closed in 1977 and caught fire in January, 1978. Although the shell was still standing, it was torn down.

View a gallery of GWTW photos on

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A lonely stretch in Kennesaw

“Kennesaw, Ga.: This is a 1952 photo taken in Kennesaw. In the photo, we are looking South on U.S. Highway 41. In the background, on the left, is Kennesaw Mountain. The smaller hump next to Kennesaw Mountain is Little Kennesaw Mountain. (Jerome Drown/AJC Staff).” We’d love to know exactly where this photo was shot. Perhaps that is Ellison Lake on the right. That looks like a tractor on the right hand side as well. Needless to say, things have changed!

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ready to see the world

Original caption: “1945 - Nine of Delta’s flying beauties shown beside a big transport on the apron of the Atlanta Airport. Left to right, Isabel Sanders, Martha Watkins, Josephine Pate, Alberta Cason, Frances Cooper, Christine Ferguson, Hedy Swindel, Nora Walsh and Virginia Lewis.” Flight attendants, who were called stewardesses back then, began flying on Delta with its first passenger flights. A woman named Birdie Bomar was the first Delta flight attendant in 1940.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Early adapters

Nice lettering! Atlantans Leigh Bunkins and Tom Duggins campaign for the environment in Hurt Park in downtown Atlanta on the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. These young activists may have been college students at the time. Hurt Park is very near Georgia State University. Note that the sign held by Duggins has a footnote citing
the source of his information. This photo was shot by AJC staff photographer Bill Wilson. Earth Day 2013 is Monday.

Waiting for bulldozers

“Oct. 1945 - Cars converge at Spring and Cain Streets (now Andrew Young International Blvd.) as they fight for a wheel-hold in the lines of traffic - each waiting for the other to give the necessary inch. Construction of the proposed expressway in which there would be no intersections or crossways would mitigate scenes like these, typical of many of Atlanta downtown spots.” Expressway was a relatively new word in 1945. Construction for it began in 1948.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Just a little love tap

In 1975 Muhammad Ali came to Atlanta as part of a fundraiser for a local charity. Fans paid to see the champ go three rounds with Atlanta’s mayor, Maynard Jackson. The plan was for them to swing at each other and miss until the end of the third round when Jackson was to tap Ali. According to a talk (in the 6th paragraph of the keynote speech) Julian Bond (the referee) gave in 2002, the mayor was reluctant to actually hit Ali, who kept telling him to do just that. Finally Ali swung at Jackson, stopping his fist just shy of the mayoral nose. Jackson then managed to hit Ali and down he went.

View a 70’s gallery on

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

So that’s how he rolled

“Augusta, Ga. — James Brown gets into the leased Mercedes of his business for an excursion Oct. 24, 1980. (W.A. Bridges, Jr./AJC Staff).” What was his business? James Brown was in the business of making people happy and he was very good at it. The Godfather of Soul lead a messy life and when it ended in December, 2006 his financial picture, to the extent that outsiders could see it at all, was pretty cloudy. The IRS auctioned off three of his cars, including a Benz, a few years after this photo was taken. A 1962 red Thunderbird belonging to his estate was auctioned off in 2008. He may not have been a financial genius but people will listen to the genius of his music for centuries to come. View a gallery of auction items on

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On his “appointed rounds

“Feb. 24, 1958 - Rain or shine, the Atlanta Journal is at your door or on your porch every day, thanks to him. Lonnie Parham, 14, symbolizes the hundreds of Independent Carrier ‘Merchants’ (AJC Staff Photo/Tom Aldred).”

According to a former “paperboy” and AJC columnist, this job taught such skills as “business management, interpersonal relations, collections, dog taming, and weather survival.” Kids usually delivered afternoon newspapers after school. According to this essay, the death of the afternoon paper also meant the end of kids as newspaper delivery people.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A new kind of cat

“This is the newly-designed hood ornament on the first 1977 Cougar XR-7 off the Ford Assembly Plant in Hapeville - the only plant in the world which makes this model. Looking on are John J. Latini (left) manager of the Hapeville plant, and B.S. Restuccia, Lincoln-Mercury district sales manager in Atlanta. Photo taken August, 1976. (Calvin Cruce/AJC staff).” Cougars were built at the plant from the mid-70s until May 1985 when the plant retooled for Tauruses and Sables. Now that Porsche’s North American headquarters will be located in the same area as the old Ford plant, Henry Ford II Ave. has a new name: Porsche Avenue. The Ford plant closed in 2006.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Definitely not a loan officer

“May 16, 1985 - Howard Finster and his folk art, which is currently on display in the National Bank of Chattooga County in Summerville, Ga. (Cheryl Bray/AJC staff).” This was the folk artist’s first exhibit in his hometown where his kind of artwork and general outlook on life wasn’t always understood. For the big event Finster wore a suit instead of his usual overalls and called the event, “the wonderfulest thing.” “They thought it was garbage,” said Finster about his creations.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Georgia claims him

“Ray Charles and The Raelettes. (Charles Pugh/AJC Staff).” Known as Ray Charles, the singer’s last name was Robinson. He was born in Albany, Ga. in 1930. He began losing his sight when he was five. At the age of seven his mother enrolled him at a special school in St. Augustine, Fla. He was there for nine years. Although Georgia claims him, he grew up in Florida and moved to Los Angeles in 1950. He died in 2004, the same year the movie “Ray” came out. There’s a famous statue of him in Albany.

Solid as a rock

“April 9, 1966 - Veteran New York Yankees hurler Whitey Ford (L) checks teammate Mickey Mantle’s shoulder before an exhibition game with the Braves in Atlanta. (Marion Crowe/AJC Staff).” New York swept a 3-game series just before the season began. According to news stories, Mantle had shoulder surgery in January and wasn’t sure if he could pitch. He could. He pitched six 1/2 innings the first night, winning 5-4. The Yanks won this game 2-1 with Mantle in center field.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.