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INSIDE THE OA ARCHIVES: 1985: Reagan and Gorbachev hold talks at Geneva Summit

November 20, 2018

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 newspapers. com. The full archive contains more than 1.4 million pages of the Odessa American. Visit the OA website at oaoa.com to sign up for newspapers.com.

Nov. 20, 1947, was a Friday and the front page was filled with big news from President Harry S. Truman’s 10-point anti-inflation program to a peak in employment in the Odessa area. According to local Texas Employment Commission records, there was virtually no unemployment here at that time.

For early Christmas shoppers, Western Auto offered scooters for $2.59 and electric train sets for $14.95. Grocery ads featured Thanksgiving specials including fat dressed hens for 29 cents a pound and pork ham roast for 49 cents a pound.

The Odessa American on Nov. 20, 1953, featured a number of stories concerning the pending execution of Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Brown Heady, a couple who kidnapped and killed a 6-year-old boy in Missouri. The pair demanded $600,000 in ransom from the child’s wealthy parents and received the payment in full. Unbeknownst to the family, the kidnappers had killed the boy soon after the abduction.

In West Texas, a 26-year-old man was being held in the Gaines County Jail after being charged with assault with intent to murder after “pumping slugs from a .30-06 rifle” into the legs of a police officer in Seminole. Johnny Agnew held a posse of 60 men off with the rifle until his relatives talked him into surrendering.

Locally, a parade with dazzling floats was scheduled the next day to kick off Odessa’s Christmas season. It was “the big spectacle of the year, featuring the man of the year – Santa Claus.”

On Nov. 20, 1966, the headline read, “Two Odessa Men Are Fatally Gassed: Three Others Hospitalized” after several persons were overcome by lethal fumes while working on a rig near 49th Street and West County Road. Meanwhile, about 36 miles southwest of town, Ward County lawmen were without clues in the slaying of a Monahans couple, found dead the day before in their small garage apartment. Officers had “talked to people all over town” and had been unable to come up with any leads in the death of the man and his pregnant wife.

Across the world in Saigon, the “Flying Horsemen” of the 1st Cavalry Division killed 1,411 Communists in the battle of Chu Pong Mountain.

In football news, Permian won the district Victory Bell and the Bronze Helmet when they whipped Odessa by a score of 35-8, and the Ector Eagles lost a district match up with Andrews, 20-6.

A front-page article on Nov. 20, 1976, reported that Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, was freed from jail on $1.5 million bail and had gone home for the first time since her bizarre kidnapping in 1974. Following her abduction by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the 22-year-old newspaper heiress had joined the SLA and fully participated in an armed robbery of the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. She was later convicted of the crime and sentenced to seven years in prison.

In other national news, CIA Director George Bush was briefing President-elect Jimmy Carter on the highly secret methods his agency used to gather intelligence around the world, and part of a California-sized radioactive cloud formed by a Chinese nuclear test was expected to reach northern Washington state early that morning.

Later in the day, Texas Tech quarterback Rodney Allison, a former Odessa High School Broncho, had the starting assignment for the Red Raiders. They would take on the Houston Cougars at Jones Stadium in Lubbock in a key game on the road to the Cotton Bowl.

The OA on Nov. 20, 1985, was filled with news about the Geneva Summit taking place in Switzerland. During the Cold War-era meeting, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time to hold talks on international diplomatic relations and the arms race. The American and Soviet first ladies, Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev, also met at a “tea summit” to promote “peace and harmony for all mankind.”

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the food section included guidelines for carving a turkey with pictures guaranteed to reduce bird anxieties.

Looking for the perfect side dish or dessert for the Turkey Day feast? Odessans could purchase a copy of the “Odessa College Culinary Creations” cookbook for $5 at the bookstore on campus. The cookbook contained a collection of 320 recipes.

In the Nov. 20, 1997, Odessa American, we find that Michael Eugene Sharp has been executed for the 1982 kidnapping and murder of 32-year-old Brenda Kay Broadway and her 8-year-old daughter Christie Elms. The two, along with Broadway’s other daughter, 14-year-old Selena Elms, were abducted at knifepoint from a Kermit car wash and taken to the oilfields near the Winkler/Ector County line. Sharp stabbed the mother and youngest daughter to death, but the oldest child managed to escape into the desert and lived to testify against her captor.

In the same edition, children were invited to come skate with Santa the following night at the ice rink at Music City Mall, and the Permian Playhouse announced a special upcoming performance of “The Lion in Winter” on Thanksgiving Day.

The Nov. 20, 2006, publication reminded readers that the coming Thanksgiving holiday would mark the beginning of the “holiday visits home” season and offered suggestions to minimize stress. Across the nation, many were preparing to fight the crowds on Black Friday and get a head start on their Christmas shopping while taking advantage of special pricing on a number of popular items, including the Nintendo Wii. The new game sole was officially released the day before and quickly sold out in many stores despite stocks that far surpassed those of its rival PlayStation 3.

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