INSIDE THE OA ARCHIVES: 1959: Cubans endorse national bloodbath

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
The OA on Jan. 22, 1932, included several old advertisements for local businesses. Residents feeling under the weather could visit L.H. Drug Co. or another “druggist” for a small jar of Rowles Red Pepper Rub to “end chest colds quick with good red pepper heat.” And those looking to make a round trip to Abilene, would “see more” and “save more” traveling by Greyhound Bus for only $6.55. The Southland Greyhound Lines terminal could be found at the Manhattan Cafe.
The Jan. 22, 1945, front-page featured the mug shots of three suspected Nazi spies as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover warned the nation to watch for the men, who “were under orders” to enter the country to serve as spies for Nazi Germany. Less than 200 miles away, in Baird, Texas, police officers thought they might have located two of the wanted espionage agents after a trio of citizens identified them at a local restaurant. The FBI had joined with city and county law enforcement in an ongoing search for the foreigners.
In other WWII related news, baseball was hit hard by a recent “work or fight” directive from Washington. The orders from the War Department and War Manpower Commission put a crimp in plans for the professional sport to operate during the next year. It would be nearly impossible for players to take war plant jobs and continue with daily games and extensive travel for seven months of the year.
A headline on the front page of the Jan. 22, 1959, edition screamed, “Cuban Public Backs National Bloodbath” with a photo of part of a crowd of some 500,000 Cubans cheering prior to the “war crimes” trials of 600 defeated foes of the rebel leader Fidel Castro. The trials were set to begin that day in Havana’s 15,000-seat Sports Palace stadium.
Another big news story of the day involved a former child star. Actor Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, former member of the “Our Gang” comedy series, was shot and killed the night before during an argument in San Fernando, Calif.
Odessans looking for a double-dose of suspense and horror that weekend could go see the “The Blob” and “I Married a Monster from Outer Space” at the Scott Theatre.
On this day in 1964, the OA published a front-page story about “Dapper Jack” Ruby, who was awaiting trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Dallas nightclub owner had maliciously gunned down Oswald, while he was in police custody after being charged with assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
West Texas crime news on Jan. 22, 1970, showed that an 18-year-old Texas Christian University student was being held without bond in the Pecos County Jail after his parents, members of a prominent ranching family, were found dead at their home near Fort Stockton. John “Rusty” Kincaid was charged with the gunshot slayings of his mother and adoptive father, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Kincaid.
In the same edition, it was revealed that new evidence might lead to the discovery of Noah’s Ark.
Across the world in eastern Turkey, a group called SEARCH Foundation believed the ark lie frozen in a glacier upon Mt. Ararat. The foundation was trying to raise $1.25 million to melt the glacier, dig out the remains of the ship, and prove their skeptics wrong.
Grocery ads of the day for Everybody’s Food Stores showed Fryers “finger-lickin’ good” chicken for $.27 a pound and a six-bottle carton of Coke or Tab for $.39.
It was reported on the Jan. 22, 1980, front page that a car had smashed into a south Odessa home in the early morning hours, killing a couple and their 5-month old daughter while they lay asleep in their bed. Local police were questioning a young man in his early 20s who was believed to have been the driver that fled the scene on foot.
That week in sports, the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrated their fourth Super Bowl win after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31-19. On page 1B, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who was also awarded MVP, turns up the charm for a photographer while displaying the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The acquittal of Lorena Bobbitt dominated headlines around the nation on Jan. 22, 1994, and the OA was no different. A headline on the front page announced, “Jury accepts defense of temporary insanity” in the case of the crazed wife who claimed that years of sexual and physical abuse and an “irresistible impulse” drove her to mutilate her husband’s genitals.
In local news, residents were looking forward to shopping at the new Hobby Lobby that would soon be taking over the former Furr’s grocery building on East University Boulevard, and Walter’s was offering a special deal on the “best steak fingers in town” for a low price of $1.99.
In the Jan. 22, 2002, publication, we find that a police officer and an Odessa man wounded in a recent downtown gun battle were each in stable condition at Medical Center Hospital. OPD Cpl. Greg Travland was taking a domestic report from Estela Ramon, 37, at her workplace at Drug Screen Compliance & Consortium of the Southwest, when her estranged husband entered the business and began shooting. The woman was killed, and Travland suffered a bullet wound to the leg before returning fire and injuring 41-year-old Joe Ramon.
In October of that year, Ramon pleaded guilty to murder and attempted capital murder and was sentenced to concurrent 99-year prison terms.