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The KHOU-TV Collection - News Clips, April 15 - 22, 1968

Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Sound | 1968

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  •  Marriages/Treadway, 04/22/68: A government official criticizes Harris County Clerk R. E. Turrentine’s plan to hire a Pentecostal minister to issue marriage licenses and perform matrimonial rites in his office. The Reverend Arthur Lee Pozzie would clock out to perform a ceremony, and marriage fees would go towards the building fund for his church. Turrentine reportedly decided to hire the minister after justices of the peace came out against legislation that would allow the clerk’s office to perform marriages and collect the resulting fees. The Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously rejected Turrentine’s proposed hire at first. Turrentine did not relent, threatening a court order. The court finally approved the hire in June after Turrentine made his request for the eleventh time.  
  •  Underground Wrap, 04/22/68: KHOU reporter Mark Hepler teases an underground shopping center next to the Buffalo Bayou 
  •  Homicide, 04/22/68: Homicide detectives question a shirtless man 
  •  Car & Bayou, 04/22/68 
  •  2-Alarm Fire, 04/22/68: Firefighters extinguish a house fire 
  •  Burg Shot, 04/18/68: Law enforcement investigate a burglary at the Pontiac City dealership 
  •  Phone Strike, 04/20/68 Demonstrators picket outside the Southwestern Bell building, accusing the company of attempting to entice union members to work despite the ongoing strike. In April 1968, some 200,000 Communications Workers of America telephone employees went on a nationwide strike after the Bell System refused to agree to general wage increases. The strike lasted 18 days, with the Bell System agreed to a raise in wages and benefits. 
  •  Road Construction, 04/19/68: KHOU reporter Ron Pierce talks with a government official about attempts to improve a two-lane highway. Conducting the interview on the road in question, the pair ironically hold up traffic to make their point.  
  •  Teenage Floater, 04/18/68 
  •  Welch on March, 04/15/68: Houston Mayor Louie Welch rejects critical remarks made  
 
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This film from KHOU-TV Channel 11 in Houston contains a series of short news segments that would have aired as highlights to news stories. Many are silent and would have been voiced over by the anchorperson during a live broadcast. The titles for each segment are the originals created by KHOU-TV. The clips on this reel all date from April 15 to 22, 1968. This series includes news segments about a hiring dispute between the Harris County Clerk’s Office and justices of the peace, the Communications Workers of America, and the anniversary of the Texas City disaster.
The digital preservation of this collection was made possible by a grant to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the Houston Public Library from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
 
Many more films from the KHOU-TV Collection are available on the Houston Public Library Houston Area Digital Archives website.
Politician Louie Welch was born in Lockney, Texas, on December 9, 1918. He received a degree in history from Abilene Christian College, now Abilene Christian University.
 
Welch began his political career in 1950, serving four terms on the Houston City Council. He unsuccessfully sought the Houston mayoral office three times before being elected to the position in 1963. Houston grew immensely during Welch’s five terms as mayor, from the population topping one million people to the opening of the Astrodome in 1965 and the Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969. 
 
His tenure, however, was not without its controversy. A 1967 conflict between police and Texas Southern University students created a rift between the local administration and many of Houston’s African Americans. Welch’s reputation also came under fire during his last term over his relationship with well-known crime leaders, leading to suspicions about how his second mayoral bid was financed. 
 
In 1985, Welch ran for mayor again, campaigning in opposition to the extension of job protection rights to homosexuals employed by the city government. He lost to incumbent Kathy Whitmore. 
 
Welch died from lung cancer on January 27, 2008, in his Harris County residence. He was 89.
On the morning of April 16, 1947, a fire broke out within the hold of the SS Grandcamp while docked at a pier in Texas City. Crew were loading the vessel with ammonium nitrate—a chemical used in explosives and fertilizer—at the time. The nearly 2,300 tons of cargo detonated at 9:12 a.m., producing an initial blast that could be heard 150 miles away. Flaming debris caused a chain-reaction of additional fires and explosions on nearby ships as well as neighboring chemical storage facilities and oil refineries. The fires were not extinguished until April 18. In total, 581 people died and more than 3,500 were injured. The disaster prompted the first class action lawsuit ever filed against the US government. Congress ultimately granted $17 million in compensation to 1,394 victims in 1955. The port was subsequently rebuilt to only handle oil products. The explosion remains the deadliest industrial accident in US history.