Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

The 67-80 Split Near Mesquite — ca. 1951

interchange_hwys-67-and-80_THC_flickr_lgFar East Dallas (click for VERY LARGE image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, a wonderful photo showing Highway 67 (now East R. L. Thornton Freeway and I-30) splitting off into Highway 80, just east of Loop 12/Buckner Blvd., surrounded by lots and lots of open land. At the top right, along Buckner, you can see the Buckner Drive-In, above it the original location of the Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and farther over, to the left, White Rock Airport. Part of the sprawling property belonging to the Buckner Orphans Home can be seen at the bottom left. Today, this is right about at the Dallas/Mesquite border. Except for the highways, this is pretty unrecognizable today!

Here is a second photo, dated Jan. 4, 1951, with Oscar Slotboom’s caption below (from Slotboom’s exhaustively researched book and website, Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways).

thornton-frwy_1951_dfw-freeways

thornton-frwy_1951_dfw-freeways_INFO_pdf-p40

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The Buckner Orphans Home was founded in 1879; it was both a home for orphaned children and a working farm, and at its height, it occupied some 3,000 acres of land (!). Take a look at a 1911 photo here which gives you an idea of the size of the place. The buildings seen at the bottom left of the photo above were houses used by Buckner staff; the Home itself is out of frame.

buckner-orphans-homeBuckner Children’s Home

White Rock Airport opened about 1941 and was in use until 1974. Here is a photo of it soon after  opening.

white-rock-airport_early-1940sWhite Rock Airport

(Several more photos and memories about this airport can be found here.)

Devil’s Bowl Speedway opened in March, 1941. If you wanted to see jalopy races, you headed to Devil’s Bowl. (DBS is still around, nearby, at a different location.)

The Buckner Boulevard Drive-In opened on June 4, 1948. It was the first drive-in in Dallas to have individual car speakers that one placed in one’s car. (More on the Buckner Drive-In can be found at Cinema Treasures, here.)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the TxDOT Photo Files and can be viewed on the Texas State Archives’ Flickr page, here; the date is given as “circa 1940,” but as the drive-in didn’t open until 1948, the date of the photo is probably closer to 1950. (The second aerial photograph — from Oscar Slotboom’s fantastic Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways — is dated 1951, so I’ve updated the title of this post.)

Thanks to Mark’s comment below, I’ve found this detail of a 1957 topo map from the United States Geological Survey. It’s a few years after the photo above was taken, but it shows the layout of the Buckner Children’s Home more fully. (The east-west highway called “East Pike” here is now known as Samuell Blvd.) Click map for larger image.

1957-topo_usgs

The Dallas/Mesquite city limits boundaries have moved over the years, but a current view of the boundary — which involves the area seen in this photo (seriously, this exact area) — can be seen here.

Below, a current Google Maps view of this interchange:

interchange-map

And, if like me, you need some helpful guidance:

interchange_marked.jpg

Thanks to members of the Dallas History Facebook group for helping me figure out what I was looking at, especially David and Chuck — thanks, guys!

Click pictures and articles for larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The “Dallas” Theme Song You’ve Never Heard — En Français

paris-texas_eiffel-towerNo, not Paris, TEXAS…. (via anatravels.org)

by Paula Bosse

You know that theme music for the TV show Dallas? Actually, that should just be a statement of fact: you KNOW that theme music for the TV show Dallas. We all do. But you know what you DON’T know? You don’t know what the French did to “improve” the J.R.-watching experience. For reasons which I don’t exactly understand, they had someone (Jean Renard) write a theme song for the show. A song. Une chanson. With lyrics. To all-new music. Sounds crazy and unnecessary, but it was a big hit on the French pop charts. And it’s so gloriously awful and fabulously weird that it must be shared. This is not a joke. This is the actual music that accompanied Dallas when it was shown on French television.

I give you a rough approximation of the lyrics (the French lyrics are here).

Dallas, your ruthless world,
Dallas, where might is right,
Dallas, and under your relentless sun,
Dallas, only death is feared.

Dallas, home of the oil dollar,
Dallas, you do not know pity;
Dallas, the revolver is your idol,
Dallas, you cling to the past.

Dallas, woe to him who does not understand,
Dallas, one day he will lose his life.
Dallas, your ruthless world,
Dallas, where might is right.

And here it is. Sing along!

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Catchy, huh? What could be better than hearing it sung? Watching it being sung! I’m not sure who the singer is, but he’s attacking this song with a rock attitude that totally isn’t warranted.

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Nice hat!

This was a big, big hit in France. I’ve even seen the word “beloved” used to describe it. Remember this the next time you might feel a lack of confidence or a twinge of inadequacy in the presence of a chic and sophisticated Parisian. Stand tall, my fellow Texans, and remember OUR Dallas theme.

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Silly Frenchmen.

 dallas-french_youtube

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UPDATE: Julia Barton has hipped me to her segment about “Dallas” which aired on public radio’s “Studio 360” in 2011, focusing on the sometimes surprising global and sociopolitical impact of this pop-culture juggernaut. I went to college in the UK, and there wasn’t a day that passed without several people gleefully asking me about J.R. Ewing. It was weird. Had the TV show never existed, I’m sure I would have been queried endlessly (and possibly angrily) about JFK, and I might well have been shunned — yes, shunned! (I remember when people embarking on international trips pre-Southfork were advised to respond to the question “Where are you from?” with the somewhat vague answer “Texas” rather than the explosively specific “Dallas,” because, post-assassination, we were “the city of hate” around the planet.) I’d much rather have had people ask me about a soap opera character than blaming my hometown for killing an American president. So, um, thanks, Lorimar!

Listen to Julia Barton’s 15-minute “Studio 360” segment here (audio plays above J.R.’s silhouette).

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Read about this odd practice the French have of concocting whole new TV theme songs for American television shows, here.

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this. All thanks to my friend Carlos Guajardo for passing along this very entertaining nugget of Dallas kitsch! Thanks, Carlos!

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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