INSIDE THE OA ARCHIVES: 1974: Fuel shortage leads to reduced speed limit

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is part of a series of stories that will take a look back into the archives of the Odessa American through The full archive contains more than 1.4 million pages of the Odessa American. Visit the OA website at to sign up for
On Jan. 8, 1941, we find that President Franklin D. Roosevelt has asked Congress for almost 17.5 billion dollars in an unprecedented peace-time budget reflecting a world at war and the huge cost of preparing for total defense. We also find that Lord Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scouts in 1910, has died at the age of 83 at his retirement home in Nyeri, Kenya.
Locally, Odessa Golden Glovers buckled down to work in preparation for the upcoming area Golden Gloves Tournament. Entries were pouring in from out of town and included boys from all over the Permian Basin.
Ads for Martin’s that day boasted $2.35 wool jackets for men and two pair of women’s shoes for only $3.
A headline on the front page of the Jan. 8, 1954, edition read, “Rich Carlsbad Woman Tells Lawyers to Figure Way to Keep Her in Jail” with an article explaining the circumstances that led to Frances Supina’s arrest, along with her reasons for wanting to remain locked up. Supina claimed the only real disappointment she had faced behind bars came the week before when the sheriff failed to bake a cake for her six-month “jail” anniversary.
In entertainment news, Houston photographers were infuriated by photos of John Wayne and Pilar Palette that had surfaced because Wayne had asked them not to photograph him with the woman during a recent big premier for “Hondo.” They claimed Wayne promised them nobody else would get the first pictures of him with Palette until his divorce from Eperanza Wayne was final.
On Jan. 8, 1965, the scarehead read “Ft. Worth DA Goes Into Hiding,” while another caption screamed “EXCLUSIVE! What Khrushchev’s Doing Now” with a long story detailing former Soviet statesmen Nikita S. Khrushchev’s “sulking retirement” after his fall from power as premier and head of the Communist Party in Russia.
Meanwhile, the priceless Star of India sapphire was recovered by New York detectives from a locker in a Miami bus station after they received an anonymous telephone tip. The 563-carat gem had been stolen from New York’s American Museum of Natural History more than two months before.
Odessa Nursery was having a tree sale that week. Residents could get a variety of shade trees for $4.95 and up or fruit-bearing trees of all sizes from $0.89 to $12.50.
It was announced on the Jan. 8, 1974, front page that the Texas Highway Commission was expected to cut the states’ speed limit to 55 miles an hour, saving fuel and also avoiding the loss of $240 million in federal funds. Then President Richard Nixon had just signed a law directing the secretary of transportation to disapprove highway projects for states that failed to set a 55 mph limit within 60 days.
Also, Texas’ first all-out effort to write a new state constitution since 1875 would begin at noon that day as state senators and representatives met to discuss the arduous task set before them.
By 1987, Wal-Mart stores were popping up in every other town all across the country and a brief on page 2A of the Jan. 8 edition carried news that Forbes magazine had named Sam Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as the nation’s richest man.
Want to know who was on the “in” and “out” list that year? According to an article on the same page, Bill Cosby, Harrison Ford and Rob Lowe had passed their prime, but “W” magazine, the consumer edition of Women’s Wear Daily, listed Richard Nixon, Paul Hogan and Elizabeth Taylor at the top of the “in” list.
During that time, Grandview Cinema was showing “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise and “Peggy Sue Got Married” with Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. All seats were only $1.
The OA on Jan. 8, 1993, featured a front-page story detailing the arrest of a Presidio man on a charge of murder almost 20 years after the crime occurred.
That same issue informed readers that UIL was taking the position that girls should be allowed to play high school football, and Texas was moving “another step closer to being a state where football is king and queen.”
On this day in 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss., and the Jan. 8, 2001, OA front page featured an article about the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas. Despite the untimely death of the “King of Rock and Roll” at the age of 42, his “star shines bright in Vegas” where an Elvis impersonator can be found on every corner – and in several wedding chapels.