1942: The bell’s gone to Berlin

October 9, 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.

On Oct. 9, 1942, the Odessa American was celebrating National Newspaper Week and the pages were bursting with news at the height of World War II. The scarehead read “Southern Soviets Vow To Turn Back Huns” while another caption screamed “Japs Belted Throughout The Pacific As Allies Spray Hot Lead Over Enemy Ships In A Surprise Attack.”

In Ector County and statewide, citizens were doing their part to assist in the war effort by designating Oct. 12 as a day to gather scrap metals of various kinds to manufacture weapons, ammunition and other necessities. A reporter from one Texas county revealed the local Baptist church had even thrown in their large church bell. Residents were informed: “From now on, folks around here can go to church without being reminded, or go to hell. The bell has gone to Berlin.”

Odessans planning to send Christmas packages and cards to service men overseas were told the items should be mailed by Nov. 1, and a Montgomery Ward ad encouraged everyone to stop by the store on North Grant to pick up a list of gift suggestions with special shipping instructions.

The OA on Oct. 9, 1959, invited the public to an open house celebration at the new Permian High School located at East 42nd Street and North Dawn Avenue.

During that time, Americans waited to hear the results of a quiz-fixing probe as congressional investigators planned to question former contestant Charles Van Doren about the allegedly rigged “21” TV quiz show.

By Oct. 9, 1966, the NBA was ushering in its 21st season on the basketball courts and the league that year would be expanded to 10 teams with the birth of the Chicago Bulls.

In oil and gas news, plans were announced for an upcoming oil essay contest for West Texas high school seniors. “Texas as Oil and Gas – A Century of Progress” was the subject, and scholarships would be awarded to the top three winners.

Grocery ads of the day showed a pound of bacon for 79 cents at A.L. Davis Food Stores.

A wrap-up of the 13th annual Country Music Association awards show was featured on the front page of the Oct. 9, 1979, edition of the OA. Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers were the big stars of the night, as Nelson was named Entertainer of the Year and Rogers was crowned Top Male Vocalist and awarded Album of the Year for “The Gambler” (1978).

The countertop microwave oven was first introduced in 1967, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that a low-cost, affordable version was developed for the American consumer - affordable at the amount of $318 to $499 at the local Kmart store. Fortunately for those of us who need a quick shortcut when it comes to cooking, the price has dropped significantly over the years. Kmart is no longer open, but today you can buy a decent microwave for around $40 at any Walmart.

It was announced on the Oct. 9, 1985, front page that Palestinian hijackers of an Italian cruise ship had finally surrendered after two days of terror on the Mediterranean Sea. The four men had commandeered the vessel in hopes of forcing Israel to release 50 Palestinian prisoners, but Israel never responded and the ship was denied port at two different locations before the captors gave up on their ill-conceived demands.

On that day, rainfall flooded the streets of Odessa and left some motorists stranded when they tried unsuccessfully to pass high water areas in town. According to the National Weather Service, clouds dropped up to three inches of rain around the Odessa-Midland area between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and there was a 50 percent chance of more showers to come.

In other local news, many Ector County I.S.D. parents were concerned that poor marks on new state-mandated tests would damage their children’s future, while others were angry about the “no-pass, no-play” rule.

The Peanuts gang? They were all on hand to celebrate as Charlie Brown anxiously contemplated his 35th birthday. “Rats!” Except for Snoopy... he was busy playing a nail-biting game of toss the “Hat on the Cactus” in an undisclosed barren wasteland. “One thing about living in the desert… There’s always something exciting to do!”

A headline on the front page of the Sports Extra on Oct. 9, 1997, read, “Broncho visit - Coach, players reach out to sidelined fans” with a photo of Odessa High’s football coach Randy Quisenberry shaking hands with Erich Leeder, a resident of New Horizons Nursing Home. The coach and two players were honored to take the time to visit the homebound OHS devotee and present the longtime fan with a commemorative shirt, a football signed by team members and a video of the Odessa vs. Permian game from Sept. 26. The Bronchos upset their rival team in the annual grudge match, pulling off a historic win against the Panthers that eluded them for 32 years.

For decades Americans have been deeply divided on the major issues facing this country, and the gap seems to grow larger by the day. The front page of the Oct. 9, 2004, edition of the OA features an article about a “testy debate” between then President George W. Bush and the Democratic Party candidate John Kerry. With Election Day looming on the horizon, Bush and Kerry traded barbs on the campaign trail, quarreling aggressively over the war in Iraq, jobs, health care, abortion, cheaper drugs and more.

Locally, residents got a taste of Hollywood when “Friday Night Lights” premiered at Century Theatres. Several actors from the film traveled to Odessa for the highly anticipated event, and many former Permian players from the 1988 football season were also in attendance. On page 2A, Permian High School cheerleaders turn up the glamour for a photographer at a school pep rally. All the hype from the movie and the red-carpet event had the Panther’s pumped up going into their first District 3-5A game of the season. Players and fans alike were crushed when the Midland High Bulldogs delivered Permian a tough 42-34 loss.

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