Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Texas Centennial Promotion on Hyper-Drive! — 1936

tx-centennial_poster_cowgirl_briscoe-ctr

by Paula Bosse

A bit of color and giddy enthusiasm on a gray day.

tx-centennial_promo_sheet(click for MUCH larger image)

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Top image is a Texas Centennial poster from the Ephemera Collection of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. I would provide a link, but I am unable to find it now. It was online a few months ago!

Source of bottom image is unknown. Probably eBay. A long, long time ago.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Old Red Goes Hollywood (sort of…) — 1964

buchanan_trial-oswald_1964Old Red’s star turn in The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

An interesting (if a bit fuzzy) screenshot of the Old Red Courthouse from one of Larry Buchanan’s Dallas-made films, “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald” (1964), about what might have happened had LHO lived to face trial. As with most of Buchanan’s extremely low-budget films, it drags and has clunky acting (…I have to admit that I didn’t watch the whole thing), but it’s interesting to fast-forward through to see the bits shot out on the streets of downtown. I really like this view of the courthouse. It seems familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

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Yes, you can watch the whole film on YouTube — free! Mosey on over here. The movie’s tagline: “Not a Newsreel … A Full-Length Motion Picture Filmed Secretly in Dallas.” Uh-huh. And as far as the movie having been “suppressed” (as is mentioned at the  beginning of the film) … well, let’s just say Larry worked in advertising for many years and knew a thing or two about marketing.

For other posts I’ve written about Larry Buchanan (I kind of feel I know him now — he would have been a lot of fun to shoot a movie with!), click here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Hanukkah in Dallas

hanukkah_dmn_121757aThe Raymond Israel family, 1957

by Paula Bosse

A few photos of Hanukkah observances from the pages of The Dallas Morning News. The caption to the photo above:

“Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Israel, their daughter , Donna Beth, 10, and son, Steve, 13, light the first candle in preparation for the feast of Hanukkah, which starts Tuesday at sunset.” (DMN, Dec. 17, 1957)

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hanukkah_dmn_121938a“Jews are now observing Hanukkah by lighting candles in their homes. This is an eight-day observance. Above, Sara Ann Kaufman, 6, of 2514 Grand, right, lights the candles at her home as her father, Sam Kaufman, center, and her sister, Mitzi Kaufman, 9, left, read the prayer book.” (DMN, Dec. 19, 1938)

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hanukkah_dmn_122354DMN, Dec. 23, 1954 (click for larger image)

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hanukkah_dmn_120469DMN, Dec. 4, 1969

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Happy Hanukkah!

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Interurbans: Freight-Movers?

interurban-passenger_freight_1940sPeople-mover, above; freight-mover, below (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

When I saw this photo, I had no idea what I was looking at — what was that odd-looking thing in the foreground? A couple of rail enthusiasts informed me that it was an interurban freight engine on rail tracks beneath the old elevated interurban/streetcar trestle that spanned the Trinity. This is the Dallas side, with the Dallas Morning News building and the Hotel Jefferson in the background, to the north. (You can see the tracks running right next to the DMN in a photo in a previous post, here.) According to one of the experts:

“The interurban did some exchange of freight cars with the regular railroads and the exchange tracks were under the streetcar/interurban viaduct. This track merged with the streetcar tracks at the foot of the viaduct right next to the DMN .”

The interurban, though primarily a mover of people, also hauled freight. With more than 200 miles of track across North Texas, the Texas Electric Railway was the largest interurban railway operator in the South. But its glory days were starting to wane as the popularity of automobiles increased. By the ’20s, freight-moving was added to the company’s services, generating welcomed revenue.

The interurban freight depot — seen below in 1946 — was located just east of Ferris Plaza. At the left, part of a railroad freight car is visible, in the middle, an interurban freight car, at the right, an interurban (passenger) streetcar, and at the far right, an automobile. And some crazy person walking.

freight_interurban_denver-pub-lib_1946(click for larger image)

But the automobile eventually proved too popular, and more and more people began using trucks for hauling. After 40 years in business, the Texas Electric Railway interurban ceased operations in 1948.

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When searching around for possible other images of engine 903 (as seen in the top photo), I found it hanging out over on eBay — described as being in the “Waco car house yards” in 1944. Small world.

engine-903_ebay(click for larger image)

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Top image found on Flickr, here.

Photo of the freight depot taken by Robert W. Richardson on April 27, 1946; from the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library, viewable here.

Bottom photo (cropped) from a  currently active eBay listing, here.

Interurban freight operation Wikipedia entry here.

Texas Electric Railway: Handbook of Texas entry here; Wikipedia entry here.

MANY photos of various Texas Electric Railway freight motors and locomotives, here.

And, lastly, great photos from around Dallas in CERA’s “Texas Electric and the Journey to DART,” here.

(Thanks to Bob J. and Robert P. for their helpful info!)

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Baylor Hospital — ca. 1920

baylor_postcardGaston, looking surprisingly pretty (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Nice backdrop for a classic car show….

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Postcard currently on eBay.

Click picture for larger image.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Brook Hollow Country Club — 1940s

brook-hollow-country-club_1940sA modest clubhouse… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A photo of Brook Hollow Country Club from a 1940s guide for newcomers. This photo is from a page of the area’s country clubs. This looks positively quaint.

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From an early edition of “So This Is Dallas,” a guide for new residents of Dallas — this edition is from the early ’40s. Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for loan of the image.

For an early history of the Brook Hollow Country Club (including a photo of the overgrown thicket before it became a golf course), see here.

The Brook Hollow Golf Club is a bit swankier these days. The official site is here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Back When Bookstore Fixtures Were a Thing of Beauty! — 1940s

baptist-book-storeErvay & Pacific — “Book Corner” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In July of 1941 the Baptist Building opened at Ervay and Pacific. Part of the ground floor (“the Book Corner”) was occupied by the Baptist Book Store, which sold mostly religious material, but which also stocked dictionaries (“and other items of similar nature”) and children’s books (“We have books for every type and age of juvenile from the Picture Books of Children from three to five to the vigorous youth wanting stories of the romantic west”). The ad below appeared in a booklet put together to welcome newcomers to the city, about 1946:

baptist-book-store_ca1946(click for larger image of bookstore interior)
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Having grown up in a family-run bookstore (and having worked in various other bookstores for a large chunk of my life), I’m always fascinated by old photos of bookstore interiors, and this one is just great. (Click the image above to see the photo of the store much larger.) I’m particularly fascinated by the fixtures encircling the pillars — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the problem handled in such a sophisticated way. And is that recessed lighting shining down on the slatwalls? This is a really wonderful-looking bookstore. The only thing that looks out of place is what appears to be an old-fashioned chunky cash register, center left. Everything else in this photo makes the bookseller in me practically giddy with nostalgia.

baptist-book-store_dmn_092847-det

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Ad is from a publication called “So This is Dallas” published by “The Welcome Wagon.” It is undated but is probably from immediately after the war. This slim booklet was printed for several years in slightly different editions for people who were considering a move to Dallas or for people who had just moved here. These booklets are wonderful snapshots of the time, with everything the prospective Dallasite would need: facts, photos, and ads.

Bottom image is a detail from an ad that appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Sept. 28, 1947.

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I am fascinated by photographs of vintage bookstore interiors — especially Dallas bookstore interiors, of which there are precious few to be found. I would love to see any photos of Dallas bookstores before, say, 1970. If you have any, please send them my way! My contact info is in the “About/Contact” tab at the top of the page. Thanks!

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Getting Married on the Radio — 1922

radio-wedding_corbis_062922Inez & John, exchanging vows on Dallas radio, 1922 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

An early radio stunt happened in Dallas on the night of June 29, 1922 when a couple exchanged wedding vows over the air, with the bride, the groom, and the minister each broadcasting from the studios of different Dallas radio stations: WDAO, WRR, and WFAA. These were the very early days of radio, and when the wedding was broadcast, WDAO had been on the air for a little over a month, and WFAA for less than a week! (WRR, Dallas’ first radio station had been on the air for about a year, but most of that time it had been operating as a one-way radio dispatcher for the city’s fire and police departments). In June of 1922, these were the only three Dallas-based radio stations, and they all worked together in this “historic” broadcast. (This early media stunt was a full 47 years before Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki got hitched on the Tonight Show.)

DALLAS COUPLE TO WED BY RADIO THURSDAY NIGHT

DALLAS — The first wireless marriage ceremony ever performed in which neither the bride, the groom, nor the officiating minister will be at the same place is to be solemnized here Thursday night when Miss Inez Mabel Brady, Dallas society girl, becomes the bride of John H. Stone, operator at WRR, the municipal broadcasting station.

It is estimated that more than 25,000 radio fans will “witness” the tying of the radio nuptial knot.

Three Dallas broadcasting stations will be used in the ceremony. Rev. Thomas Harper, pastor of the Central Congregational Church, who has been asked to officiate, will repeat the marriage ritual into the transmitter of [WFAA,] the broadcasting station on the roof of [the Dallas Morning News] building. The bride and her attendants will be at the Automotive Electric Company’s radio station [WDAO, on South Ervay], while the groom will make his responses from WRR, the station of which he is in charge.

Operating staffs of the three stations are working out the details of the ceremony, which will include a broadcasted wedding march.

(– Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 28, 1922)

Obviously new to the hustle of radio promotion, The Dallas Morning News (owner of WFAA) mentioned the event only a couple of times — fleetingly. They did note that “This probably will be audible to one of the largest audiences ever ‘hearing’ a wedding ceremony” (DMN, June 28, 1922). It’s not known just how many people tuned in to listen to the ceremony (probably a considerable number), but the story made news around the country, as can be seen in this article from The Durham Morning Herald in Durham, North Carolina:

radio-wedding_durham_071322a

radio-wedding_durham_071322-bDurham (NC) Morning Herald, July 13, 1922 (click for larger image)

The broadcast had only a tiny hiccup:

radio-wedding_winfield-daily-press_kansas_063022Winfield (Kansas) Daily Press, June 30, 1922

As successful as the radio wedding was, the marriage between Inez Brady and John H. Stone does not appear to have lasted very long. At the time of the wedding, Inez was just out of school and was only 16 or 17 years old (the descriptions of her as a “society girl” and “debutante” were, I think, a bit of an exaggeration). According to the news stories surrounding the wedding, she “fell in love” with Mr. Stone’s voice on the radio. None of that bodes well for a lasting marriage. The 1923 city directory had the newlyweds renting rooms on McMillan, off Lower Greenville, but the 1924 directory had John in Oak Cliff and Inez in Old East Dallas. She re-married in 1928 at the creaky old age of 22, and he seems to have left WRR to work in some capacity for RCA. The marriage might not have lasted, but they both had a “brush-with-celebrity” story to tell (and re-tell) for the rest of their lives.

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Top photo from CorbisImages, © Bettmann/CORBIS.

I’m not sure which ended first — Mr. and Mrs. Stone’s wedded bliss or the radio station WDAO, which ceased operation sometime in 1923. A good look at the history of early local radio can be found at DFW Radio Archives, here. (WRR and WFAA continue to march forward, just a few years shy of their 100th anniversaries!)

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Vickery Place: “Above the City” — 1911

vickery-place-dmn_061111“An Unstinted Supply of the Very Best Water” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Vickery Place is the place to be!

  • Most Convenient
  • Most Reasonable
  • Most Desirable

And the water! Gobs of it! Look for the flag on the derrick over the artesian well — you can see it from St. Mary’s College on Ross!

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Ad for the new Vickery Place Addition appeared in the June 11, 1911 edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Vickery Place website is here.

Vickery Place wiki is here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Urban Crisis” — 1967

lake_dmn-022667Oak Cliff Pier? Just one part of Dallas’ urban future as envisioned in 1967

by Paula Bosse

In 1967, the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects unveiled a project it had been working on under the sponsorship of the Greater Dallas Planning Council for over a year — a 40-minute color slide presentation with recorded narration called “The Walls are Rising,” directed by writer-photographer Rob Perryman of Austin. Enslie “Bud” Oglesby — one of Dallas’ top architects and the chairman of the committee behind the project — said of the film:

“I saw here an opportunity to demonstrate the problems which poor planning bring and the results that can come from a sound, unified planning program” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 18, 1967)

The rather more urgent tone of the brochure which accompanied the film was a bit more dire:

“We cannot afford to lose any more time in developing a coordinated plan to make Dallas a more beautiful and effective city, for all around us the walls are rising, the city is being built… We are designing by default instead of summoning our vitality, wealth resources, talents and human vision to create a design plan that will give Dallas quality and character all its own.”

The goal of the project was to create awareness among city officials, planners, and designers (as well as among the public) of the immediate need to address the conscious physical design of the city in order to improve its future “livability.” The argument was that the city of Dallas was, in 1967, an unplanned and uncoordinated chaotic urban environment dominated by (and practically strangled by) the automobile; it was overwhelmed by traffic, noise, and visual clutter, and it lacked much-needed green spaces and personal “refuges.”

It was stressed that the film was not a plan, per se, but was, instead, an outline of suggestions that the AIA and the Greater Dallas Planning Council were proffering for discussion (and, one assumes, hoping would be implemented). Among their suggestions were the following (some of which have been adopted, but many of which have been “on the table” for decades now and which Dallas leaders continue to debate):

  • A 6-mile hike-and-bike trail from Turtle Creek to Reverchon Park
  • A rapid transit system (the report stressed that it would be urgently needed by 1980)
  • The creation of downtown parks
  • The development of downtown apartment housing
  • A centralized transportation hub (bus, rail, air)
  • The reduction in noise, visual clutter, and traffic
  • More “sensitive” freeway planning, which should be designed (or re-designed) for the driver and not for the automobile
  • More awareness of the pedestrian in designing downtown and neighborhood streets, especially in regard to safety and accessibility
  •  Development of, yes, the Trinity River and its levees, including a downtown lake and sailboat-dotted marina, with apartments and a variety of entertainment and shopping venues lining the “shore”
  • And, most unexpectedly, a “scenic link” which would connect Fair Park to the Dallas Zoo, incorporating a sort of shuttle service between the two locations (and across the Trinity) via an elevated gondola ride (!)

As fun and fanciful as fresh ideas on getting to Oak Cliff are, the film seems to have been more of a warning of what the city’s future would be if it continued down its then-current path of … having basically no plan at all. The film started off by assaulting the viewer’s senses with several minutes of “blaring, cacophonous music” and a rush of chaotic images — and opened with the ominous words, “We are living in an accident.” The League of Women Voters issued a report in 1968 called “Crisis: The Condition of the American City” in which they described “The Walls Are Rising” as “a horror film.”

walls_report_dmn_050368Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1968 (click for larger image)

What sounds a bit like a sophisticated A/V presentation was screened for dozens and dozens and dozens of groups in the Dallas area between 1967 and about 1972: it was shown to various Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions clubs, women’s groups, church groups, business groups, arts organizations, and on and on and on. The film would usually be introduced by an architect who would also lead a discussion and answer questions afterward. If you were a member of a civic or professional group in the late ’60s, chances are pretty good you saw “The Walls Are Rising.”

Which is why it’s so surprising that all traces of the film seem to have vanished in the intervening years. I contacted the Dallas Municipal Archives, the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library, AIA Dallas, and the Dallas Center for Architecture. Everyone was very helpful, but … nothing. Designs for Dallas and the later Goals for Dallas are better known projects, but it seems that there would be something connected with this film lying around somewhere. I’d love to see it. It sounds like it would be entertaining and informative … and depressing. We’ve come so far. …We haven’t come far at all.

lake_dmn_022667-captionDMN, Feb. 26, 1967

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walls_FWST_061867Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 18, 1967 (click for larger image)

walls_dmn_021267-sketch2DMN, Feb. 12, 1967

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Top illustration from The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 26, 1967. Other newspaper clippings as noted.

“The Walls Are Rising” was introduced to the Dallas public in Dorothie Erwin’s lengthy article, “A Design for Dallas Proposed,” which ran in the Feb. 12, 1967 edition of The Dallas Morning News. The full story (complete with a photo of smiling architects Enslie Oglesby and Harold Box showing off their “lake” plan) can be viewed in a PDF, here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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