A Drive Through Downtown — 1970

DTC_main-harwood_SMUDowntown Dallas, in living color… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The curators of the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection at SMU have released a short film from the Dallas Theater Center Collection. This wonderful 35mm color footage shows downtown Dallas in about March of 1970 (the four movies shown on the marquees of the Majestic, the Capri, the Tower, and the Palace were all playing that month). The camera has been mounted on top of an (off-duty) emergency vehicle, and it’s a leisurely (silent) drive around downtown — it’s kind of thrilling when the slo-mo kicks in. A few screen captures are below, but you really must watch the film — and be sure to expand it to a full-screen view. (There is more to come from this source, and I will write about this Dallas Theater Center project when SMU unveils further footage.)

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A few screenshots (apologies for the graininess — the video is much crisper):

1. Main and Harwood, heading east (seen at the top of this post) — the White Plaza hotel (now the Indigo) is on the left, the Municipal Building is on the right. Same view today is here. [EDIT: the Google Street View links appear to work only on a desktop computer. When I try clicking the links on my phone I get views which show only the general vicinity. So … argh.]

2. Elm Street, heading west (below) — the Majestic Theatre is at the right (now playing: Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here with Robert Redford). Same view today is here. (All images are larger when clicked.)

DTC_elm_majestic_SMU

3. Elm Street — the Capri (showing the X-rated Italian film The Libertine) and the Tower (showing Jenny, with Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda). Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-capri-tower_SMU

4. Elm and St. Paul. Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-st-paul_SMU

5. Elm Street, just past Ervay — the Palace (showing The Only Game in Town with “Liz” Taylor and Warren Beatty). Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-palace_SMU

6. Main Street, heading east toward Griffin — One Main Place on the left, a blobby Pegasus straight ahead. Same view today is here.

DTC_one-main-place_main-and-griffin_SMU

7. Main Street, a little further east — that fantastic old building with the T & P ghost sign and home of the wonderfully seedy-looking Dallas Liquor Store (1112 Main) is now the pretty little Belo Garden. Same view today is here.

DTC_one-main-place_1100 block-main_SMU

8. Main, approaching Akard. (The Eatwell Cafe was at 1404 Main.) Same view today is here.

DTC_1400-block-main_SMU

9. Main and St. Paul — Titche’s department store on the left, Margie’s Dress Shop and Cokesbury Books (great sign!) on the right. Same view today is here. (Big change!)

DTC_main-st-paul_SMU

10. Main and Harwood, turning right onto Harwood. Same view today is here.

DTC_main-harwood_turn_SMU

11. South Harwood and Jackson, heading south — First Presbyterian Church is straight ahead. Same view today is here.

DTC_harwood_SMU

12. South Akard heading north — Dallas Convention Center is on the left. Same view today is here.


DTC_convention-center_s-akard_SMU

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Sources & Notes

Screenshots from the video “DTC Downtown Dallas” on YouTube, here; from the Dallas Theater Center Collection, held at Southern Methodist University. Many thanks, as always, to curator Jeremy Spracklen.

More 35mm color footage from this Dallas Theater Center project will be released in the near future. Keep up to date on these films as well as other fantastic archival DFW footage held by SMU by following @SMUJonesFilm on Twitter or SMUJonesFilm on Facebook.

UPDATE: Watch a short clip from the DTC Collection showing a colorful parade of pedestrians at Main and Ervay, as well as a nice shot of the old Jefferson Hotel — all captured on 35mm color film in 1970 — here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.