Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Nighttime Skyline — 1965

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-lightAll. Lit. Up.

by Paula Bosse

Dallas is always at its most impressive at night, as seen in this view to the northwest, with Memorial Auditorium in the foreground.

***

Sources & Notes

This photo, credited to Dallas Power & Light, appeared in the 1965 Marksmen, the yearbook of St. Mark’s School of Texas. It continued on another page, but I couldn’t fit the two parts together without an annoying gap. The second bit is below (click to see a larger image).

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-light_b

See another cool photo from the same year in the Flashback Dallas post “Dallas Skyline at Night — ca. 1965.”

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-light_sm

*

Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2020

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949Proposed design of Preston Road Neiman-Marcus store…

by Paula Bosse

2020 is finally drawing to a close. And it can’t come fast enough! In this final post of the year, it’s a bit of a struggle to look back and recall good things in this remarkably difficult year, but they’re there. Having this blog has been something of a relief to turn to throughout the past few months — immersing myself in a subject which I love to be immersed in is a great distraction in the time of a global pandemic. So in this final post of the year, I share the most popular posts of 2020, determined by page hits, clicks, likes, shares, etc. Thank you, everyone, for keeping me company in this year of social distance!

Here are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2020, starting with the most popular. To see each full post, click on the title; to see larger images of the thumbnails, click on the picture.

**

1.  “NEIMAN’S FIRST SUBURBAN STORE: PRESTON ROAD — 1951-1965” (August)

Flashback Dallas readers love posts about Neiman-Marcus. I mean really love them! This post left all others from 2020 in the dust. I’m glad I got around to writing about this because even though I knew there had been a N-M store near Preston Center, I had no idea where it had actually been located. And now I know. I was also able to revisit this post a few weeks ago when Sotheby’s sold the store’s Alexander Calder mobile for $18.2 million (a lot more than Stanley Marcus paid Calder when he commissioned the piece!).

*

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-5

2.  “MAGNOLIA GAS STATION NO. 110 — 1920” (March)

This post shows up on all three year-end “best of” lists. I loved it, especially all the zoomed-in close-ups, like the one seen here. Wouldn’t it be great if gas stations still looked like this? At least we still have the building, which stands at the edge of downtown, 100 years old this year.

*

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_interior-lobby_stairs

3.  “THE SOUTHLAND CENTER: MID-CENTURY COOL — 1959” (April)

So many fabulous John Rogers photos in this post! The Southland Center (the Southland Life Building and the Sheraton Dallas hotel) was planned with DESIGN in mind. There was a remarkable amount of attention paid to the aesthetics of architecture, interior design, and decorative art.

*

downtown-dallas_mayflower_med-arts_southland-life_lee-optical_ebay

4.  “LIVE OAK, FROM ELM AND ERVAY” (September)

The featured photo has absolutely everything: the Mayflower Coffee Shop, the Medical Arts Building, the Southland Life Building, the Sheraton Dallas hotel, the Mexico City Cafe, the Dallas Athletic Club, and even an entrance to an underground public restroom (!). How do things like this end up on eBay — posted by a seller in France? I’m glad I happened to see it — next day it was gone. You snooze, you lose!

*

texas-big-state_santa-fe-film_jones-film_triple-underpass

5.  “DALLAS — FROM ‘TEXAS, THE BIG STATE’ (1952)” (June)

A look at a 1952 Technicolor promotional film from Santa Fe Railroad which presents a travelogue of sights from a trip around Texas. The Dallas bit is less than 4 minutes long, but it packs a lot in. It’s always cool to see Dallas on film.

*

lively-house_poss-oak-cliff_rppc_1909_ebay

6.  “RANDOM PHOTOS OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY-ish HOUSES” (July)

A look at eight photographs of Dallas homes, most taken before 1910, some with just an address, some with an owner’s name, and one with no information at all to give a clue of any history of the house. It was a fun research project, offering glimpses of neighborhoods which (mostly) no longer exist. Of the eight houses, only one is still standing — and I bet the Oak Cliff owner has no idea there’s a picture of it from 1910 on the internet.

*

arcadia-theater_exhibitors-herald-world_060928_front

7.  “BEL-VICK’S ANCHOR: THE ANGELUS ARCADE AND THE ARCADIA THEATRE — 1920s” (January)

This was such an eye-opening look at the history of Lowest Greenville (the stretch of Greenville Avenue between Belmont and Ross Avenue). Back in the 1920s, developers were trying to get the public to call the Vickery Place-adjacent area “Bel-Vick” (for “Belmont” and “Vickery Place”), but that seems to have faded after the initial burst of development. This is the second post to make all three year-end “best of” lists, and it’s a nice companion to the post “Belmont & Greenville: From Caruth Farmland to Hub of Lower Greenville” (if I do say so myself!).

*

st-marks_1965-yrbk_neiman-marcus

8.  “ADS FROM ST. MARK’S YEARBOOKS — 1960s” (November)

I wrote a clump of St. Mark’s posts this year, with photos and ads gleaned from yearbooks, and they were all pretty popular. St. Mark’s families are a boosterish bunch! Yearbook ads are always a great source of nostalgia. This 1965 St. Mark’s-specific Neiman-Marcus ad is a personal favorite.

*

azaleas_turtle-creek_spring_swb-phone-book_1968_ebay

9.  “HIGHLAND PARK’S AZALEAS” (April)

Driving around the Park Cities and along Turtle Creek to view the azaleas was an annual event in my family. I’m not sure people do that anymore, but they should — it’s always thrilling to see those sudden splashes of color. The history of azaleas in Dallas is an interesting one, and we should give thanks every spring to Joe Lambert Jr. and the Lambert Landscape Company for encouraging the planting of a crazy amount of azaleas over the decades, and for making Dallas a much, much prettier place. 

*

wah-hoo-club_lake_ebay

10.  MISCELLANEOUS DALLAS” (August)

A grab-bag of photos, including a shot of the entrance to the club at Wah-Hoo Lake, the Coca-Cola HQ on McKinney, a horse-drawn hearse in Oak Cliff, the construction of LBJ Freeway, and a lively strip of businesses along 2nd Avenue in South Dallas.

**

I usually post the top three all-time most popular Flashback Dallas posts, so here they are — it’s been these same three posts for years now, with all three continuing to rack up thousands of hits each year:

**

That’s it for 2020. Thank you for spending some of it with me! On to 2021!

***

Sources & Notes

See all three 2020 Year-End “best of” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2020

arcadia-theater_exhibitors-herald-world_060730Lowest Greenville, 1920s

by Paula Bosse

2020 is, without question, one of the worst years most of us have experienced. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down and, for many of us, has left us mourning the loss of family, friends, and economic stability. 2021 cannot come too soon.

I wrote 62 new Flashback Dallas posts this year, which is surprising — I thought it was a lot less. I guess I wasn’t quite as much of a slug as I felt. Looking back over a previous year’s output is always a little amazing — when did I ever have time to write that much? A lot was covered in 2020, and I enjoyed all of it.

Below are my favorite posts of 2020 — those I particularly enjoyed researching and writing. I learned something with every post. I hope readers enjoyed some of these as much as I did. (Pictures are larger when clicked — read the original posts by clicking the title.)

**

1.   “BEL-VICK’S ANCHOR: THE ANGELUS ARCADE AND THE ARCADIA THEATRE — 1920s (January)

This is my favorite post of the past year — and it’s from all the way back in January, which seems like a lifetime ago. When I stumbled across the photo seen above I was pretty excited — especially because this was in the part of Dallas I had grown up in (and was half a block away from where I had once had a bookstore). And what Dallasite isn’t familiar with Greenville Avenue? I had never heard of the “Angelus Arcade” (built in 1923) or even the name of that general Lowest Greenville neighborhood, “Bel-Vick” (for “Belmont” and “Vickery Place”). The arcade was revamped in 1927 to include a new movie theater — the Arcadia —  but before the 1930s, that bit of Greenville had been completely unknown to me. That photo sent me on a lengthy research road, which had me discovering things I had never known about a part of town I was very familiar with. I loved writing this post!

arcadia-theater_exhibitors-herald-world_060928_front

*

2.   “MAGNOLIA GAS STATION NO. 110 — 1920” (March)

I can’t even remember how I found this unbelievably fantastic Frank Rogers photograph of the wedge-shaped building most people know as the old KLIF studios on Commerce Street. I could seriously look at this photo all day long. It is so rich in detail that I zoomed in to check out the various elements and backgrounds and architectural doodads, and that one great photo turned into a post filled with five equally great detailed-filled closeups. I’ve always loved this (still-standing!) building, and I had no idea it was so old — it hit the century mark this year. In researching this building, I came away with a greater appreciation for this part of the city where downtown begins to peter out before it blooms into Deep Ellum — or, conversely, where the city begins its quick and steady ascent to the major metropolitan density of the Central Business District. 

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers

*

3.   “GEORGE DAHL’S PROPOSED MASSIVE ‘LONE STAR’ ENTRANCE TO FAIR PARK” (October)

This year COVID derailed the State Fair of Texas for the first time since WWII, and my SFOT posts were almost non-existent this year — this was one of them, and it’s another case of excitedly stumbling across something I was surprised I had never come across before. I don’t know anything about this weirdly futuristic vision of Dallas architect George L. Dahl, the man who led the Art Deco-inspired Texas Centennial design of Fair Park, but this drawing is pretty incredible. Frustratingly, I couldn’t find anything about this giant star-shaped entrance to Fair Park — it might just have been the result of whimsical brainstorming — but imagine if this had been built! I’ve found only one image of this, and the resolution is pretty poor. But I love the idea of this so much that my estimation of Dahl is higher than it was before (and it was already pretty high!). I loved researching this, even though my efforts were largely unsatisfying — except for the discovery that plans for a million-dollar star-shaped building were actually warming up in the Centennial bullpen, similar to a crazy, much-maligned “Texas Building” at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair — and hurtling off on this unexpected historical tangent was almost as good as learning about Dahl’s vision of a monumental Lone Star entrance to Fair Park. I loved writing this.

tx-centennial_proposed-lone-star_george-dahl_dma-catalog_1972_portal

*

4-6. A trilogy of posts culled from information found in the 1930 “Official Directory: Dallas Negro Churches, Schools and Other Activities; Civic, Business, Fraternal, Social, Etc.”:

Finding this 104-page scanned booklet was probably the most exciting publication I came across all year. It is amazing. Crammed full of the sorts of photos and ephemeral information which too often disappear before finding their way to a safe haven of a historical archive. I highly encourage everyone to peruse this wonderful document of Dallas’ black community in the 1920s and ’30s. My three-part post was divided into schools, churches, and businesses and people. I loved researching these places and people. All thanks to the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society who provided this important, fully-scanned resource to UNT’s Portal to Texas History.

darrel-school_dallas-negro-directory_1930_portal

trinity-methodist-episcopal-church_dallas-negro-directory_1930_portal

mme-pratt-muisc-teacher_dallas-negro-directory_1930_portal

*

7.   “OAK CLIFF’S STAR THEATRE — 1945-1959” (August)

I saw this photo in Troy Sherrod’s book Historic Dallas Theatres and wondered where this little shopping area and movie theater had been. After researching it a bit, I found that the shopping area was once known as Show Hill and was a lively hub of an African-American neighborhood in the Bottom/Bottoms area of Oak Cliff. I came across a wonderful oral history by longtime resident Margaret Benson who recalled growing up in the area in the 1940s and ’50s — it was a perfect accompaniment to the photo and added so much meat to the bone.

star-theatre_troy-sherrod-hist-dallas-theatres_DPL

*

8.   “RANDOM PHOTOS OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY-ish HOUSES” (July)

I had a bunch of photos of old houses I’d collected over the months and wondered what I could find out about them. I love researching old houses and buildings, and this was a fun project. The house below — one of the eight I was looking into — once stood on Lemmon Avenue, near Welborn. The horse is a nice touch.

lemmon-avenue_house_rppc_ebay

*

9.   “TEXLITE, BORICH, PEGASUS” (April)

For a few years I’d meant to write about the 19th-century Borich Sign Co. and its later 20th-century incarnation, Texlite (famous for creating the famed “Flying Red Horse” electric/neon sign atop the Magnolia Petroleum Building). I figured I’d get around to it eventually. And then I came across a couple of great Texlite ads, and it seemed like a good time to write about this important Dallas company.

texlite_feb-1949-ad

*

10.  “LABOR DAY WEEKEND, UNION BUS DEPOT — 1952” (September)

There’s nothing all that special about this post, but I love glimpses into everyday life. I looked to see what sorts of generally uneventful things were going on in Dallas the day this photo was taken — the weather, news headlines, the movies playing downtown, etc. For instance, while these people were waiting in the Interurban Building’s Union Bus Depot to head off on a holiday weekend, 30 spontaneous grassfires were erupting around the very hot city. 

labor-day_union-bus-depot_hayes-coll_1952_DPL

**

I’m including three bonus posts which have personal meaning to me.

“REV. W. W. STOGNER: THE COURTHOUSE PREACHER” (July)

A little post about the interesting man who married my parents.

stogner_WBAP_03311959_portal

*

“DALLAS BOOKSTORES — 1974” (May)

I come from a family of booksellers, and a scanned article on the city’s top bookstores linked to in this post features my father.

dallas-bookstores_dec-1974_cover

*

“LONE WOLF GONZAULLAS: TEXAS RANGER, DALLAS RESIDENT” (August)

My late father was deeply interested in Texas history, especially the history of the Texas Rangers. I knew the name “Lone Wolf Gonzaullas” from childhood because my father talked about him a lot — most likely because the legendary lawman lived in Dallas, but I think he had also met him a time or two. I’ve been helping to catalog the old WFAA-TV news film held by SMU, and when I came across a clip from 1970 I was excited because 1) I had never heard Gonzaullas talk, and 2) because I knew my father would have loved to have seen it. So I wrote about Lone Wolf for my father.

gonzaullas_march-1970_WFAA_jones-collection_SMU-a

**

Those were my favorite posts of 2020. Tomorrow… the most popular posts of the year.

***

Sources & Notes

See all three 2020 Year-End “best of” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

arcadia-theater_exhibitors-herald-world_060730-sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2020

elm-ervay-live-oak_weather-sign_ca-1948Elm Street neon, ca. 1948

by Paula Bosse

Another year is coming to a close. Time for a list or two (or three…). Today I list my favorite photos, drawings, postcards, and ads posted throughout 2020, listed in the order in which they appeared. Most images are larger when clicked — see the original linked articles for more info and image sources.

**

First, the photo above, which contains almost everything I wish I could have seen in downtown Dallas — sadly, I never got to see any of it! This is downtown Dallas at its liveliest and big-city-est. This is Elm Street around 1948, looking east from Ervay. So much flashing neon. And that wonderful Coca-Cola sign which provided weather forecasts. From the January post “Bright Lights, Big City — ca. 1948.”

*

Perhaps of all the hundreds of historical photos of Dallas I saw in 2020, I think I was most excited to stumble across the one below, which shows a very early photo of Lowest Greenville’s Arcadia Theatre, built in the 1920s. This photo led me to write one of my most research-dense posts of the year. It pays to be someone who loves lingering over obscure film trade publications of yesteryear — otherwise I would never have found this. I can’t fully describe how much I love this photo. Click it. It’s great. Think of it next time you’re in the Trader Joe’s which currently occupies the corner site. (Incidentally, this photo was the most clicked of any Flashback Dallas image posted in 2020.) From the January post “Bel-Vick’s Anchor: The Angelus Arcade and the Arcadia Theatre — 1920s.”

arcadia-theater_exhibitors-herald-world_060730

*

I love almost all illustrations of Dallas’ distinctive skyline. Such as this one from the 1930s, pre-Pegasus, featured in the February post “Dynamic Dallas Skyline — 1930s.” 

skyline_drawing_forest-ave-high-school-yrbk_endpapers_1936

*

I love this photo from 1918 showing “men marching to mess after evening parade” at Camp Dick, the Air Service training camp which took over Fair Park during World War I. Imagine training for military service in the shadow of a giant roller coaster. From the March post “Marching to Mess — 1918.” 

ww1_fort-dick_fair-park_marching-to-mess_roller-coaster_1918_natl-archives

*

What would 2020 be without mention of the ever-present coronavirus pandemic? Several years ago I wrote about Dallas’ experiences with the Spanish Flu in 1918, but seeing that this was the year that was, I wrote another, if only to use this photo showing men based at another major WWI training camp, Love Field, lining up to be “sprayed” as a preventive influenza treatment. From the March post “Influenza Pandemic Arrives in Dallas — 1918.” 

influenza-epidemic_love-field_1918_natl-archives

*

Another great photo of 1940s Dallas is this one showing Oak Cliff’s main drag. From the March post “West Jefferson Blvd. at Night.” 

oak-cliff_jefferson-blvd_night_oldoakclifflodge_flickr

*

This fantastic Frank Rogers photo thrills me every time I see it. It shows what most of us know as the KLIF studios on Commerce Street, but here it is, brand new, as a Magnolia gas station (ground level) and company offices (above). From the March post “Magnolia Gas Station No. 110 — 1920.” 

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers

*

Photos and postcard images showing the powerful light display which was such a huge hit at both the Texas Centennial (1936) and the Pan-American Exposition (1937) are almost hard to believe — but those lights in Fair Park could be seen for miles and miles and miles. The photo below shows what the lights looked like as seen from downtown in 1936 and was featured in one of the periodic posts I do in which I collect photos I’ve come across recently and have decided to add to older posts (this photo was added to a 2016 post which had many photos and postcard images of this super-bright fan-display of lights). From the April post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #13.”

skyline_downtown-to-fair-park_1936_GE-colln_museum-of-innovation-and-science

*

I’m not sure where this photo of a young woman waiting for an Interurban was taken, but it’s somewhere along the Interurban line. I choose to think it’s Dallas — or that she’s at least heading to Dallas. From the April post “Interurban Miscellany.”

interurban-stop_flickr-lynneslens

*

Every lover of Mid-Century Modern design will love all of the photos in the April post “The Southland Center: Mid-Century Cool — 1959,” but there are two in particular which I’ve gone back to and stared at for long stretches of time. The first one shows a more-Deco-than-MCM-looking round kiosk, and this photo just takes my breath way — from the dramatic lighting all the way down to the floor (check out the floor!). (And is that the Republic Bank “rocket” seen out the window?) The second one is all bright light and sharp edges and is as aesthetically pleasing in its angular openness as the first one is in its curved moodiness. All the photos by John Rogers in the above linked post are great.

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_jewely-vendor

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_floor-lobby

*

I’m a sucker for diners, and I love this postcard which shows Ruth Hansen’s establishment at 1814 Main Street, just west of St. Paul, in about 1913. And, again, check out the floor! From the June post “Mother Hansen’s Home Cooking — 1913.”

mother-hansens-home-cooking_ebay_postmarked-1913

*

I found this architectural rendering in an old Chamber of Commerce publication. It shows the original 1949 design of the Neiman-Marcus store on Preston Road as envisioned by architects Roscoe DeWitt and Arch Swank. By the time the store was finally built, the design had, sadly, changed. “Sadly” because this building would have been amazing. From the August post “Neiman’s First Suburban Store: Preston Road — 1951-1965.”

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949

*

This photo appeared in the KERA documentary “South Dallas Pop” — I don’t know the original source of the photo and haven’t seen it anywhere else, so this image is actually a screenshot I captured from the documentary. It shows the 2200 block of 2nd Avenue, looking northwest toward nearby Fair Park from about Metropolitan. This neighborhood looks nothing like this now. I really wish it did. From the August post “Miscellaneous Dallas.”

2nd-ave_south-dallas-pop_KERA

*

This is a family photo sent to me by Ann Hoffman showing a friend of her Great Aunt Nora sipping from a water fountain outside the Old Red Courthouse, sometime in the 1920s. I added it to a 2014 post I wrote about a massively productive artesian well sunk on the courthouse grounds in 1890, but this photo first appeared in the August post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #14.”

gusher_old red_ann-hoffman-collection_1920s

*

This photo of the 3-point intersection of Elm, Ervay, and Live Oak is mere steps from the nighttime scene at the top. This daytime scene shows Live Oak with a view to the northeast. When I first began this blog in 2014, I was amazed by how many people mentioned downtown’s (generally unpleasant) underground public restrooms (which I had never heard of) — and this photo shows where an entrance was: near the tower thing seen under the “L” in the Lee Optical sign. From the September post “Live Oak, From Elm and Ervay.”

downtown-dallas_mayflower_med-arts_southland-life_lee-optical_ebay

*

I don’t know why the 1940s call to me so strongly, but I regret that I didn’t live in a time when sportswriters looked like this. Sports staff of the Fort Worth Press, ca. 1948: (left to right) Jerre Todd, Blackie Sherrod, Dan Jenkins; (and sitting) Andy Anderson and Edwin “Bud” Shrake. Missing: Gary Cartwright. From the October post “Legendary Sports Writers of the Fort Worth Press — ca. 1948.”

sportswriters_blackie-sherrod_dan-jenkins_bud-shrake_etc_fort-worth-press_SMU

*

Remember that photo above of the Magnolia gas station (the KLIF studios)? If the photo below, taken in 1918, had been taken two years later, these high school cadets standing in formation on Commerce Street would have been looking directly at that building. This National Archives photo (like the one of Camp Dick with the roller coaster) is scanned at such a high resolution that you can see all sorts of great little details. Many of the buildings in this photo still stand. From the October post “World War I Cadets, Commerce Street — 1918.” 

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_full

*

This photo probably means the most to me personally. It shows my aunt Bettye Jo (at the far right) with her friends at a bowling league game, representing Victor’s Lounge. I heard about Victor’s from childhood — it was my aunt’s favorite after-work downtown hangout. She had such fond memories of that place and of that time of her life. My aunt died in May of COVID-19, and my brother and I found this photo when we were clearing out her home last month (we also found the super-cool bowling shirt she’s wearing here). I love this photo. From the November post “Victor’s Lounge — 1913 Commerce.

victors-bowling-team_bosse-photo

*

This LOOK Magazine photo shows Santa with the Republic Bank “rocket” behind him. Proves Santa was here! I posted this last week in “‘Christmas in Dallas’ — LOOK Magazine, 1957.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_santa

*

I’m adding three bonus images, all ads. I used to post so many more ads than I have lately. I think my first love has always been retro/vintage/historical advertising, so it’s always exciting when I can combine old ads with Dallas history or Dallas pop culture, and I really love these three ads. The first is from Neiman-Marcus and is a 1962 tie-in ad with what was once the very popular annual Smith College Book Sale. From the April post “Smith College Book Sale — 1962.”

smith-college-book-sale_neiman-marcus-ad_042062

This Irby-Thompson Western wear ad is from the October post “‘A Man’s Shop With a Texas Man’s Viewpoint’ — 1945.”

irby-thompson_western-wear_tx-country-day-school-yrbk-1945

And, finally, I was pretty excited when I saw this “stealth” Dallas-related Greyhound Bus Lines ad (Dallas isn’t even mentioned) — it appeared in a national magazine in 1936, the year of the Texas Centennial Exposition in Big D. From the December post “Take a Greyhound to the Texas Centennial — 1936.”

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936

**

And those are my favorite photos and images which appeared in Flashback Dallas posts in 2020. 

Coming soon are my personal favorite posts and the most popular posts of the year….

***

Sources & Notes

See all three 2020 Year-End “best of” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

elm-ervay-live-oak_weather-sign_ca-1948_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Christmas in Dallas” — LOOK Magazine, 1957

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_spread-1

by Paula Bosse

Here are photos from a 4-page spread in the Dec. 24, 1957 issue of LOOK magazine — “Christmas in Dallas,” by David Zingg with photos by Frank Bauman.

*

“When Christmas comes to Dallas, the city of oil, boom and shiny limousines becomes a glowing land of magic. Even without snow, the Christmas spirit of Dickens, Bethlehem and Santa Claus seems to take on the 10-gallon dimensions of Texas. Here is a scintillating sampler of Christmas in the modern Southwest.  

 “In the early days of Texas, the arrival of Christmas was often greeted by a fusillade of pistol shots. In some areas, wizened mesquite bushes served as Christmas trees. Guns have since been silenced and trees are easy to get, but the exuberant Texas spirit remains. As always, a booming sense of cheer and joy seems to sweep across the Western plains to brighten Christmas in Dallas.”

*

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_spread-2

*

Caption for the photo below: “Santa greets city from skyscraper roof, under gleaming tower.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_santa

*

“Glittering headdress of store manikin typifies richness of Christmas in Dallas.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_headdress

*

“Double-exposure contrasts member of Dallas County sheriff’s posse with beacon and lighted-window cross of the Republic National Bank Building.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_window-reflection

*

“Photographer Frank Bauman captures himself and a window full of toys in a mirror’s golden frame.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_toys

*

“At Neiman-Marcus, a stuffed tiger carries a fabulous burden of a million dollars in gems.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_tiger_neimans

*

“Children’s faces pressed against a toy-filled window express the age-old anticipation of Christmas morning.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_children_window

*

“Busy car lights of Christmas shoppers swirl a colorful pattern around Dallas’s oldest Christmas tree, in Highland Park.” (Sadly, our beloved Pecan Tree is no more.)

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_pecan-tree

*

“A fairy makes Christmas come true as she throws candy to children at Oak Cliff Shopping Center.”

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_oak-cliff-shopping-ctr

Merry Christmas, y’all!

***

Sources & Notes

All images from LOOK magazine, Dec. 24, 1957, from the collection of the author. Photos by Frank Bauman.

More Christmas posts from Flashback Dallas can be found here.

xmas-in-dallas_look-mag_dec-24-1957_santa_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

‘Tis the Season For a Hot Dr Pepper

dr-pepper_hot_ad_1963_flickr“Serve piping hot…” (1963)

by Paula Bosse

I don’t think I’ve ever had hot Dr Pepper. I remember seeing commercials for it on television as a kid, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a social setting where it was offered. It always sounded like an odd thing to do with a soft drink. Years ago I was on a tour of the bottling plant in Dublin (…need I say “Dublin, Texas“?), and the guide said that this winter drink (which is always served with a slice of lemon) isn’t the same these days unless you drink Dr Pepper sweetened with real sugar — heated-up corn syrup apparently ruins the flavor. 

Here are a few nostalgic advertisements to prove to the whippersnappers that this used to be a thing. The first two ads I could find mentioning this seasonal delicacy (the brainchild of a marketing wiz who might well have worked here in Dallas, home of DP’s HQ) are these two, from January and February, 1959 (click to see larger images):

dr-pepper_hot_ad_1959_013059Jan. 30, 1959

dr-pepper_hot_ad_1959_020659Feb. 6, 1959

The “new idea” was definitely being marketed nationally by at least 1963. I don’t know how popular it was, but they even manufactured special cups to drink it from. And, “for those who want something special, try the Boomer” — hot Dr Pepper with a dash of rum.

dr-pepper_hot_ad_19641964

dr-pepper_hot_ad_19651965

dr-pepper_hot_ad_19661966

dr-pepper_hot_ad_19671967

dr-pepper_hot_ad_19681968

There are a few vintage commercial online. Here is one starring Dick Clark, featuring the snowman above.

(Am I the only one disturbed by seeing a pot of boiling Dr Pepper?)

There are a couple of others, in lesser image quality: watch them on YouTube here and here.

There you have it. Consider leaving a Boomer out for Santa. It’s chilly out there. Cheers!

***

Sources & Notes

Top ad (1963) is from Flickr, here.

The rest are from various places, but many were found here.

More Flashback Dallas Christmas posts can be found here.

More Dr Pepper-related posts can be found here.

dr-pepper_hot_ad_1966_det_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Hoppy Holidays from Hop-a-Bus — 1984

xmas_hop-a-bus_DART-archives_1984_portalSeason’s Greetings from Dallas Transit System and friend…

by Paula Bosse

Aww, the Bunny Bus — surely Dallas Transit System’s most whimsical creation. 

The earliest days of the DTS Hop-a-Bus saw a fleet of five, 19-passenger (non-whimsical) mini-buses which shuttled people back and forth across downtown. You could “hop on” and “hop off” for short trips, for a nominal fare (a dime), traveling along Main Street between Houston and Pearl, Monday-Friday, during working hours.

The service was very popular and quickly outgrew the mini-buses — in March, 1976 they went full-size, but ridership of these two large buses was disappointly slow to grow, mainly because people couldn’t tell the difference between the Hop-a-Bus and every other downtown bus. So, in October, 1978, someone, in his or her infinite wisdom, decided to paint the two special buses pink and add a bunny face and aluminum bunny ears (I seem to remember a tail, but I think I’ve added that in my own imagination). Voilà! Instantly recognizable!

At first, a lot of people hated them (describing them as “grotesque”), but pretty soon, downtown denizens fell for their charming appeal, and ridership increased substantially (seriously, you could see those things coming from blocks away!). Tourists loved them: they provided great photo opportunities, and they made getting around an unfamiliar city very easy — when lost, just jump on a pink bus and you’ll probably get to where you need to go.

Photos of the two pink “bunny buses” appeared in newspapers around the country. They even moonlighted at nights and on the weekends when DTS rented them out during off-duty hours — most notably to the pink-loving Mary Kay corporation and to the bunny-loving Dallas Playboy Club (which used the buses to ferry patrons from the Central Expressway club to Dallas Cowboys games).

The iconic (yes, “iconic”!) buses amused and delighted Dallasites until November, 1986. The bunny-bus fleet had increased to five 1966 GMC buses (at one point there had been as many as seven), and even though the fare had increased to 25 cents, they were still very, very popular with the public. But the pink buses were discontinued at the end of 1986 and sold. And, let’s face it, the streets of downtown Dallas have never been quite the same. Imagine if they were still around (and they SHOULD be!) — Instagram would be overrun with millions of bunny bus photos.

Below are a few photos and a video of our decades-gone transit pal, the cute, friendly Bunny Bus. RIP.

hop-a-bus_birnbaum_ad-valorem-infinitum_SMU_screenshotvia Ad Valorem Infinitum (screenshot)

hop-a-bus_curbside-classic-dot-comvia CurbsideClassic.com

hop-a-bus

hop-a-bus_pinterestvia Pinterest

hop-a-bus_clarion-ledger_jackson-miss_020284Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MI, Feb. 2, 1984

hop-a-bus_bring-back-the-bunny_FB-pagevia “Bring Back the Bunny” Facebook page

hop-a-bus_BW

Here’s a great history of the Hop-a-Bus in an article widely syndicated around the country in 1979 — it was written by Claudia Goad, spokesperson for the DTS (click for larger image).

hop-a-bus_wire-story_apr-1979_photo

hop-a-bus_wire-story_apr-1979_storyby DTS’ Claudia Goad, wire story, April 1979

And, finally, a look at a 1976 Channel 8 story on the month-old Hop-a-Bus, before it was transformed into a bunny (from the WFAA News archives at SMU).


via Jones Film Collection, SMU

***

Sources & Notes

Top image is from the Dallas Transit System (DTS) 1985 calendar — the entire calendar can be found at the Portal to Texas History, here, from the DART Historical Archive.

There is a “Bring Back the Bunny” Facebook page, here.

xmas_hop-a-bus_DART-archives_1984_portal_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Holiday Greetings from Jefferson Tower — 1937

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_bChristmastime in Oak Cliff…

by Paula Bosse

Jefferson Tower, on West Jefferson Boulevard between S. Bishop and S. Madison, looked pretty great in 1937 all decorated for Christmas. It was (and is) the tallest building on West Jefferson. This must have made quite the statement!

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937

Here’s a zoomed-in detail (all images are larger when clicked):

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_det

And here’s the building a few years later — no Christmas-tree decoration and in the daytime, but still fantastic.

jefferson-tower_mccoy-collaborativevia McCoy Collaborative

And, I mean, look at how commanding this building is, even now:

jefferson-tower_google-maps

I’d like to see a 21st-century return of a Christmas tree to the exterior of this building — it would still be impressive!

***

Sources & Notes

Christmas photos of Jefferson Tower are from the Private Collection of Mary Newton Maxwell, via the Portal to Texas History — more info may be found here and here.

Photo of Jefferson Tower in the daylight is from the McCoy Collaborative website — more on their work in rehabilitating this historic building may be found here.

See the building on Google Street View here.

More Christmas posts from Flashback Dallas may be found here.

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_b_small

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

SCTV’s Bobby Bittman Does Dallas — 1980

bittman-does-dallas_1980_cheerleadersBittman on hay…

by Paula Bosse

Today I stumbled across a video on YouTube featuring “Bobby Bittman,” a recurring character on the old “SCTV” sketch comedy show played by Eugene Levy (who is suddenly a superstar after decades in show business for his role in “Schitt’s Creek”). The clip is a promo for a new variety special called “Bittman Does Dallas,” starring the painfully unfunny and narcissistic bejeweled comedian Bobby Bittman, with appearances by a bevy of hot-pants-clad cheerleaders and some sort of flag.

(This will be enjoyed by those who grew up with “SCTV” and/or bad variety shows and/or “Dallas.” …Others might not enjoy this at all.)

*

“How are ya, y’all?”

bittman-does-dallas_1980_flag

bittman-does-dallas_1980_title

***

Sources & Notes

YouTube clip is here.

bittman-does-dallas_1980_cheerleaders_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: The Sigel’s Sign

sigels-sign_rain_bosse_121520Thirsty?

by Paula Bosse

Chances are pretty good you recognize this sign. Even through raindrops on a car window. That’s what it looked like when I stopped by Sigel’s on Greenville Avenue today. This is what it looked like when I got back to my car.

sigels-sign_night_bosse_121520

See it moving — flashing and bubbling — in a YouTube video, here.

I wrote about this Sigel’s sign in the 2017 post “Historic Neon: The Super-Cool Sigel’s Sign.” Click the link to read about the man behind this fabulous sign, Marvin Sigel, who died in 2019 at the age of 87 (his obituary is here). After I wrote the piece linked above, I received a very nice message from Marvin’s son, David, who told me that Marvin liked the post and was delighted to know how much his work was appreciated.

And it still is! Thank you, Marvin!

***

Photos by Paula Bosse, taken Dec. 15, 2020.

sigels-sign_night_bosse_121520_sm

*

Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: