OIL: The Big Strike

At 78, rough, tough Mike Benedum, "greatest wildcatter in the world," wanted just one more big strike. His Plymouth Oil Co. had leased 800 acres in desolate Upton County in western Texas and started to drill for oil. Plymouth drilled down 10,000 ft. and lost $1,000,000 before it quit. That was in 1946.

Subsequently, San Antonio's Slick-Urschel Oil Co. (TIME, Jan. 28, 1946) took over the drilling for a half-interest in the field. It drove down another 1,500 ft. Last week the big news came out. Slick-Urschel had struck oil and it looked...

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