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In the 75 years since Texas Co-op Power debuted in July 1944, Texas and Texans have left an indelible mark in film, theater, literature and fashion—from Charlie Dunn to Sissy Spacek.
1945: Charlie Dunn, bootmaker to the stars, begins his career at Capitol Saddlery in Austin.
1945: The Associated Press’ Joe Rosenthal captures his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. One of the Marines in the photo is Cpl. Harlon Block of Weslaco.
1948: Red River, a fictional account of the first cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas starring John Wayne, is released.
1948: James A. Michener, who spent the final years of his life in Austin, wins a Pulitzer Prize for his book Tales of the South Pacific.
1950: John Chase enrolls in the University of Texas School of Architecture graduate program, becoming the first African American to enroll at a major university in the South. He becomes the first licensed black architect in the state in 1952.
1954: Fess Parker of Fort Worth stars as Davy Crockett and sets off a coonskin cap craze.
1954: Folklorist J. Mason Brewer of Goliad becomes the first black member of the Texas Institute of Letters.
1955: Future Nobel laureate Toni Morrison begins a two-year teaching stint at Texas Southern University in Houston. Morrison would go on to win the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Beloved and earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
1955: Dallas Decorative Center, the first design center in the nation for furniture, carpet and home decor, opens.
1956: Giant, an epic film about the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean and a young Dennis Hopper, is released.
1956: The Searchers, a John Wayne film portraying the conflict in Texas between settlers and native Americans, is released.
1956: Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Her bridesmaids’ dresses are designed by Neiman Marcus of Dallas.
1957: Old Yeller, the classic boy-dog film set in post-Civil War Texas, is released.
1958: Choreographer Alvin Ailey of Rogers forms the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, composed primarily of African Americans.
1958: Groundbreaking for the Globe of the Great Southwest, a Shakespearean theater in Odessa, takes place.
1959: Enid Collins of Medina starts a fashion trend with her wooden box purses.
1960: John Wayne’s The Alamo is released.
1963: Hud, a Paul Newman film about the ongoing conflict between a Texas rancher and his arrogant son, is released.
1965: A sound and light show called Thundering Sounds of the West opens in Palo Duro Canyon. Its success leads to the annual staging of the outdoor musical drama Texas the next year.
1966: Houston oilman Ralph A. Johnston signs the deed transferring Paisano Ranch, a writers’ retreat southwest of Austin, to the University of Texas.
1966: Katherine Anne Porter, who was born in Indian Creek, wins the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her The Collected Stories.
1966: Gene Roddenberry of El Paso creates and produces Star Trek, the foremost cult TV show in history, which runs to 1969.
1967: Bonnie and Clyde, a movie about real-life violent Texas robbers in the early 1930s, is released.
1967: Carol Burnett of San Antonio debuts her eponymous hit comedy-variety TV show, which runs until 1979.
1967: A record number of visitors go to the Diamond M Museum in Snyder to see Peter Hurd’s official portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson, which Johnson rejected, declaring it “the ugliest thing I ever saw.”
1968: Poet and artist Consuelo “Chelo” González Amezcua has a solo exhibition at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. It’s the first time she is recognized for her brand of Texas filigree art.
1971: The Last Picture Show, a film about high schoolers coming of age in a bleak West Texas town, is released.
1971: The Rothko Chapel, designed by abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko and a string of architects, opens in Houston.
1972: The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, noted as a significant work of modern architecture, is completed.
1972: The University of North Texas takes over the Texas Fashion Collection, which houses more than 15,000 historic haute couture creations.
1972: Donald Judd moves to Marfa, transforming the small West Texas town into a magnet for artists and art lovers.
1973: Elmer Kelton, a native of Crane and voted the “greatest Western writer of all time” by the Western Writers of America, publishes his landmark book, The Time It Never Rained.
1974: Wichita Falls’ Tommy Tune, actor, dancer, singer, choreographer and director, wins the first of his 10 Tony Awards—best featured actor in a musical, for Seesaw.
1974: Cadillac Ranch is created outside Amarillo.
1974: The gory slasher film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is released.
1974: The pilot episode of Austin City Limits, featuring Willie Nelson, is shot.
1974: Houston’s Teresa Graves stars in the police drama Get Christi Love, making her the first black actress to have her own hourlong dramatic TV series.
1974: The restored Ashton Villa in Galveston, one of the first brick structures in Texas, opens to the public.
1975: Pennzoil Place, two 36-story trapezoidal towers of dark bronze, glass and aluminum, is completed in Houston.
1977: Jerry Hall of Mesquite earns $1,000 per day as a model after appearing on more than 40 fashion magazine covers.
1978: The musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas opens on Broadway.
1978: A year after actress Joan Crawford of San Antonio died, daughter Christina publishes Mommie Dearest, a scathing autobiography of growing up as an abused child.
1979: The Orange Show, an open-air, multimedia sculptural installation dedicated to the fruit and created over a period of 25 years by a postman, opens in Houston.
1979: North Dallas Forty, a satirical movie about life as a pro football player loosely based on the early 1970s Dallas Cowboys, is released.
1979: Al Freeman of San Antonio becomes the first African American to receive a Daytime Emmy for a soap opera for his role as a police captain on One Life To Live.
1980: The big question all summer is, “Who shot J.R.?” As in J.R. Ewing, the manipulative oil baron on the hit TV show Dallas.
1980: The hit movie Urban Cowboy helps trigger the Western-wear industry.
1980: Comer Cottrell Jr. relocates Pro-Line Corporation, maker of Jheri curl hair products, to Dallas. It becomes the largest black- owned firm in the Southwest.
1981: The comedic play Greater Tuna debuts in Austin.
1981: The San Antonio Museum of Art opens with much fanfare in the former Lone Star Brewery.
1981: Sissy Spacek of Quitman wins the best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
1982: Vassar Miller of Houston is named the state’s poet laureate. Among other themes, her experience as a person with cerebral palsy informed her work.
1983: Tender Mercies, a film about a broken-down country singer trying to put his life back together in rural Texas, is released.
1984: Blood Simple, a noir tale of infidelity in Texas, is released.
1985: Sally Field wins the best actress Oscar for her role as a 1930s-era widow raising two young children on a small Central Texas farm in Places in the Heart.
1986: Fountain Place, a 60-story tower with slanted sides and clad in green glass, is completed in Dallas.
1986: Larry McMurtry of Archer City wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Lonesome Dove.
1987: The Menil Collection, an art museum, opens in Houston.
1989: Debbie Allen of Houston becomes the first black woman hired by a TV network as a director in prime time for the show Fame.
1990: Slacker, a Richard Linklater film about a day in the life of Austin misfits, is released.
1990: Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger is published. It is adapted into a movie of the same name in 2004 and leads to a widely acclaimed TV series 2006–2011.
1991: The Oliver Stone film JFK is released.
1992: Anna Nicole Smith of Houston replaces supermodel Claudia Schiffer in a Guess jeans ad campaign.
1993: Dazed and Confused, the coming-of-age comedy about the last day of school at a suburban Austin high school, is released.
1993: Selena opens Selena Etc. boutiques in Corpus Christi and San Antonio, offering full-service salons, memorabilia and fashion items.
1993: The TV series Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris, debuts.
1996: The first Texas Book Festival takes place, in Austin.
1997: Arlen isn’t on the Texas map, but when the animated TV series King of the Hill debuts, the characters make it feel like it could be the next town over.
1997: Selena, the eponymous film about the Tejano music star from Lake Jackson who was murdered just two years earlier, is released.
1998: Hope Floats, a post-divorce drama starring Sandra Bullock and set in Smithville, is released.
1999: Office Space, a satire about everyday office life shot in Dallas and Austin, is released.
1999: The high school football film Varsity Blues is released.
2000: George Dawson of Marshall, grandson of a slave, publishes his autobiography, Life Is So Good, at age 102. He became one of the oldest men in America to learn to read when he entered a literacy program in Dallas at age 98.
2003: Catherine Hardwicke, who grew up in McAllen, wins the Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award—Dramatic for Thirteen, which she also co-wrote.
2003: Robert A. Caro wins a Pulitzer Prize in biography for Master of the Senate, one of four biographical volumes he’s written about Lyndon B. Johnson.
2005: Jamie Foxx of Terrell becomes the first African American to receive acting Academy Award nominations in the same year for two movies, Collateral and Ray. His portrayal of Ray Charles wins an Oscar.
2005: Austin native Tom Ford launches his own line of menswear, eyewear and fragrances.
2006: The film Glory Road, based on the racial implications of Texas Western College’s run to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, is released.
2007: Charlie Wilson’s War, based on Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, is released.
2007: Forest Whitaker of Longview wins the best actor Oscar for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the movie The Last King of Scotland.
2007: The film The Great Debaters tells the story of Melvin Tolson, a writer, educator and poet who coached the legendary debate team of the 1930s at Wiley College in Marshall.
2008: No Country for Old Men, a crime thriller set in West Texas, wins four Academy Awards.
2009: The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, innovative for placing back- and front-of-house functions above and below a glass-walled, 575-seat auditorium, opens.
2011: Bernie, a Richard Linklater film that chronicles the 1996 murder of a Carthage millionaire, is released.
2013: The first episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, shot in Waco, airs.
2013: Uvalde’s Matthew McConaughey plays an AIDS patient smuggling unapproved medication into Texas to treat himself and others with the disease in Dallas Buyers Club. He wins the best actor Oscar the next year.
2014: Boyhood, filmed over 12 years, is released. It follows a boy from age 6 to 18 as he grows up in Texas.
2016: Hell or High Water, a neo-Western film set in West Texas, is released.
2016: Poet and novelist Sandra Cisneros, a part-time San Antonio resident, is awarded the National Medal of Arts.
2018: San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye wins the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters, the highest honor given by the TIL.