Today In Salisbury’s History: Thursday, Jan. 25, 1968

Thursday, Jan. 25, 1968 —

  • Mayor Dallas Truitt continued his war with Panther Theaters Corp. President Herbert Nitke over the quality of movies his company was sending for viewing at the Wicomico Theater on South Division Street in Downtown Salisbury. “The type of pictures being shown recently at the Wicomico presents a distorted image of sex as the means and the end of human existence in varying degrees,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Nitke. “While what we consider obscene or distorted may not be obscene or distorted to you, we maintain this type of motion picture … incites the young to promiscuity, perversion and violence.” The mayor warned Nitke that several community groups agreed with his position and an organized boycott of the theater was possible. In a letter written last week to the mayor, Nitke said: “We feel in the interest of freedom we do not have to play exactly the motion pictures that you think are of high moral quality, because opinions differ across the United States.” Currently playing at the Wicomico is “The Ambushers,” starring Dean Martin as Matt Helm. The controversial “Valley of the Dolls” played for four weeks over Christmas and New Year’s.
  • The Dykes Twins, William and Richard, have left the circus promotion business and have purchased the Acorn Drive-In on North Salisbury Boulevard and Gordy Road. Why did the brothers leave the circus partnership they formed with Whorton Circus last summer? “Too many problems,” said William Dykes. Lloyd Pusey had operated the Acorn for the past 10 years. A purchase price was not announced.
  • The City Council has scheduled a showdown vote Feb. 12 on a proposal to spend $122,665 on a master brain traffic control system for most of the traffic lights in Salisbury. A vote had been expected Monday, but city officials wanted more time for the contractor to reduce its bid. The contract calls for a series of new, rebuilt traffic control signals on Routes 13 and 50, attuned to a master computer brain that would control traffic flow.
  • Wicomico County Democrats were set to meet tonight to discuss the two-year-old County Charter that many people cite as the reason Republicans took control of the County Council. The two minority members of the council — Wade H. Insley and George E. Burnett — are featured on the program, as is former County Attorney Richard Cullen, who was ousted in the GOP takeover.
  • Damage was reportedly slight at the old Swift Plant on Willow Street that is being renovated by its new owners, A.W. Perdue Co. Assistant Fire Chief Fred Williams said a workman using an acetylene torch to cut a pipe had accidentally set fire to the inside of a wall. To extinguish the blaze, firefighters had to cut out a 4-foot section of the wall. Some 40 firefighters and two engines were on the scene for nearly two hours. The Perdue family is converting the plant to a poultry processing operation.  
  • Ethelyn Hopkins Rinnier, 59, of Union Avenue in Salisbury, died Wednesday In Peninsula General Hospital after a long illness. The wife of Leslie J. Rinnier, she was a former teacher at elementary schools in Tyaskin and Salisbury. She was a member of Green Hill Yacht & Country Club, Bethesda United Methodist Church and the Elks Women’s Auxiliary. Her son, Lt. William B. Rinnier, is a pilot serving on the U.S. Navy.
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