SMU Football Players’ Unusual Summer Job: Strutting and Parading at the Dog Track — 1937

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It was kind of like this… (click for larger image with caption)

by Paula Bosse

In doing research for my recent post on the Oak Downs/Sportsman’s Park greyhound racing track across from Love Field, I came across, of all things, a 1935 Mickey Mouse comic strip story arc about dog racing. The first panel of one of the early strips is above. Its caption:

The preliminaries have been run, and now, the main event of the day is about to start! The band strikes up as the proud owners parade their dogs to the starting box.

So when I came across a 1937 story about financially-strapped SMU football players earning extra money during the off-season by parading greyhounds around our dog track, I couldn’t help but think of the cartoon panel above. …But with maybe more strutting.

Some of Matty Bell’s Southern Methodist University Mustangs already are picking up something more than pin money out at Sportsman’s Park, where greyhound racing is flourishing and gaining in popularity nightly. When Lou Harris’ jazz band strikes up a lively tune for the parade to the post you’ll see eight husky young athletes leading out the field of greyhounds in that race. They’re decked out in handsome uniform and they’ve learned to strut with the music and put on their part of the show in style. After finally placing the dogs in the starting box they keep fit running down the track to a stand where they wait until the race is over to catch the canines and then return them to their owners…. [Coach Bell] thinks the work in the open, combining strutting with running, will help keep off that excess poundage. Meantime some other coaches are wishing they had dog tracks in the vicinity of their schools.” (Dallas Morning News, April 30, 1937)

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Sources & Notes

Mickey Mouse panel from the 9-week dog-racing story arc which ran between Jan. and March, 1935; this particular panel appeared in newspapers on Jan. 8, 1935.

Dallas  Morning News excerpt from George White’s “Sport Broadcast” column (DMN, April 30, 1937). I’m afraid I know nothing about Mr. White, except that, lordy, that man needed to pare down his sentences and use a lot more commas!

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.