Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: 1950s

State Fair of Texas, From Above — 1959

sfot_dallas-magazine_sept-1959A bird’s-eye view of the Great State Fair

by Paula Bosse

I think I see Waldo.

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Sources & Notes

Front cover of Dallas magazine, Sept. 1959.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Casa View Hills/Casa View Village — 1955

casa-view-village-shopping-center_dallas-mag_april-1955Casa View Village shopping area, April 1955

by Paula Bosse

I wrote about the rather confusing history of the shopping center in Casa View at Gus Thomasson and Ferguson in the post “Shopping at Sears in Casa View” — so this is something of a companion, showing architectural drawings (mostly parking spaces, but, still…). The original shopping center was called, somewhat whimsically, Casa View Hills, which opened in 1953 (the drawing seen below). In 1955, the center was bought by new owners who changed the name to Casa View Village and immediately began the second phase of construction (seen above), which expanded the center across Gus Thomasson (…I think). 

casa-view-hills-shopping-center_dallas-mag_march-1955Built as Casa View Hills (1953), w/ new 2-story addition (1955)

Caption of the drawing immediately above:

INSURANCE COMPANY BUYS SHOPPING CENTER
The $2,500,000 Casa View Hills Shopping Center has been acquired by the Lone Star Life Insurance Company for its home office property and general headquarters. The center, located on Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads in the northeast section of Dallas, is virtually completed except for final finishing on the two-story office building which will house the insurance company. W. H. Smith, president of the company, said the property was purchased from Clark and Smith, General Contractors. [Alexander and Russell, architects.] (“Dallas” magazine, March, 1955)

casa-view-shopping-center_dmn_100453Oct. 4, 1953

The caption for the very top image, showing the planned expansion:

CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CENTER STARTS JUNE 1
Construction of Casa View Village, a new shopping center at the intersection of Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads east of White Rock Lake, is scheduled to begin June 1, it has been announced by Avery Mays, Dallas real estate developer. Valued at $1,500,000, the 9-acre tract includes a 100,000 square foot building area which will include a Tom Thumb Super Market, Skillerns Drug Store and other stores and offices. Harwood K. Smith and Joseph M. Mills are the architects; Phillips, Proctor and Bowers, the land planners; and H. W. Meador Company, the leasing agent. (“Dallas” magazine, April, 1955)

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Sources & Notes

Architectural drawings and quoted text from Dallas magazine, March, 1955 and April, 1955.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterColorful Commerce St. (via trolleydodger.com)

by Paula Bosse

After seeing so many pictures of historic downtown Dallas in black and white, it’s pretty thrilling to see color photos — even better, super-saturated Kodachrome slides. Here are a few.

Above, a photo taken on July 31, 1950: a view of Commerce Street, taken from Lamar looking east. I LOVE this photo! Sadly, I really don’t love what this same block looks like today: brace yourselves — click here! (For reference, Padgitt Bros. was at 1018 Commerce.) 

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Below, a photo from 1954: the 300 block of N. Ervay, taken from Bryan looking southeast toward Pacific. The Republic Bank Building (at the left) is still there, but those buildings on the right? Gone, gone, gone. That space is now taken up with Thanksgiving Square. I may be in the minority, but I would rather have those buildings back. That crazy-looking building housing businesses such as Arcadia Liquor (309 N. Ervay)? I have been all-but-obsessed with that weird building for years. Personally, I prefer its bizarro architecture to that of Philip Johnson. See what this block looks like now, here.

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyvia Shorpy.com

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Below, from 1950: Main Street, looking east toward St. Paul (and Titche’s). This is fantastic! The view now is here

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonvia Noah Jeppson, Flickr

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Another great photo from the collection of Noah Jeppson (seriously, check out his Flickr stream here!), this is one I’ve posted before — everyone posts this because it’s such an amazing photo, from 1945 (!): Elm Street, looking east from the 1400 block. See it today, here

elm-street-color_1940s_jeppson-flickrvia Noah Jeppson

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And lastly, despite the watermark, a cool September, 1940 view of the gas station/service station which once held down the Preston Road entrance to Highland Park Village: looking northwesterly toward Mockingbird. The view today is here

kodachrome_highland-park-village_gas-stations_sept-1940_color-slide_ebay_watermarkvia eBay

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If you’ve got color photos/slides from this era, I’d love to see them!

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Sources & Notes

Links to all sources can be found beneath the photos.

Special shout-out to Michael T. Jackson (@memj83) for tagging me on Twitter to a post by @Kodakforever — a heart-stoppingly great collection of Kodachrome photos where I first saw a few of the photos posted above.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 2)

spruce-high-school_1965-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart_lake-june-rdJerry’s Food Mart, 6416 Lake June Rd., 1964-ish

by Paula Bosse

This final installment of 1960s ads for Pleasant Grove businesses has even more more ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (a link to the previous posts is at the bottom of this page). (Click ads to see larger images.)

BAXLEY CLEANERS, 8117 Scyene — Murrill L. Baxley owner. This very cute little building still stands!

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PLEASANT GROVE CLEANERS, 8011 Lake June Road.

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THOMAS COIN-OPERATED SPEED QUEEN LAUNDRY, 11001 Seagoville Road. (Laundromats once offered the use of hair dryers?)

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CAMPUS BARBER SHOP, 9614 Old Seagoville Road. (1966: owner Ike Robertson pictured with Jack Kelley and “Red.” 1968: owner Keith Gibson.)

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NATALIE SCHOOL OF DANCE, 231 Pleasant Grove Center — Natalie Skelton owner. 

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SOUTHEAST YMCA, 2818 Prichard Lane. Still standing but now a church, I believe.

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PLEASANT OAKS BAPTIST CHURCH, 412 North Masters Drive. Still standing in what looks to be a remodeled building. 

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MACON-HOLCOMB FUNERAL HOME, 8142 Lake June Road. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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DUDLEY M. HUGHES FUNERAL HOME, 2615 S. Buckner Blvd. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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GROVE STATE BANK, 1520 S. Buckner Blvd. I’m kind of shocked to see that this once-cool mid-century building is actually still standing — as a Bank of America branch. Its exterior has been smoothed of most of its character, but the original building is still there.

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TRINITY SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, 1838 S. Buckner Blvd. I think this original building is also still standing — now as a Chase Bank branch. 

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JERRY’S FOOD MART, 6416 Lake June Road and 10420 Second Ave. in Rylie — Jerry Smith owner.

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JERRY’S FOOD MART, 1328 Jim Miller Road.

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BEST FOR LESS FOOD MART, 1042 Second Ave. — E.R. Smith owner. “Where Ma saves Pa’s money.”

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BARNARD’S DRIVE-IN GROCERY, 136 N. Masters — O. L. (Leon) Barnard and Thelma Barnard owners. I love this couple!

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N. D. WHITTLE & SON POULTRY FARM, 2660 Dowdy Ferry Road. I’m happy to see this is an ongoing (and expanded) business!

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the high school yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce and W. W. Samuell.

Other Pleasant Grove posts from Flashback Dallas can be found here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 1)

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pauls-florist_photo
South Buckner Blvd. doesn’t really look like this anymore…

by Paula Bosse

I love the ads in high school yearbooks, so here are a bunch of Pleasant Grove-area business ads from the pages of the Spruce and Samuell annuals. Click to see larger images. First up, all sorts of automotive-related establishments.

GROVE AUTO SUPPLY, 7930 Lake June Rd.

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_grove-auto-supply1968

KARSMITH, 7512 Second Ave. & Elam Rd., and 1952 S. Buckner Blvd. — Charles Smith and Wesley T. Smith, owners. “If you can’t stop, wave.”

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STOVALL’S CYCLE SHOP, 8152 Second Ave.

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HOLLEMAN ENCO SERVICE STATION, 300 S. St. Augustine.

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BARRETT MOTORS, 1514 S. Buckner — Big Billy Barrett, owner.

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HONDA SALES, 405 S. Buckner — Jack Poe, owner.

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TUCKER & SONS SHELL SERVICE STATION, 9606 Second Ave. “S&H Green Stamps… Hot coffee….”

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Next, various retail shops.

PAUL’S FLORIST & GREENHOUSE, 2017 S. Buckner — later at 8121 Bruton Rd. — Tommy Ochoa and Jean Ochoa, owners. If it’s a business in a little house-like building with metal or cloth awnings, I’m a fan.

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SKILLERN’S DRUG STORE, 1437 S. Buckner (Store No. 31).

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_skillerns_photo

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_skillerns_full1968

TURNER’S MENS & BOYS CLOTHING, 1317 S. Buckner.

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McKEE JEWELERS, 259 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. This couple had yearbook ads every year — and they always looked pretty much the same. Which I’m fine with.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_mckee-jewelers1964

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VAN VOAST SPORTING GOODS, 8208 Scyene Rd.

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RYLIE DRUG, Barker’s Shopping Center.

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BRAGG GUN SHOP, 1344 S. Buckner — D. E. Bragg, owner.

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BUCK’S TV & RECORD SHOP, 1311 S. Buckner and 10910 Garland Rd. (and later 1927 S. Buckner) — Jimmy Huett, owner.

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And the always-popular “miscellaneous.”

BUCKNER BOWLING CENTER, 400 S. Buckner.

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WEST-CRAFT, 1926 S. St. Augustine.

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ECONOMY MANUFACTURING CO., 5641 Military Parkway.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_economy-manufacturing-co1966

THE SUBURBAN TRIBUNE, 8114 Lake June Rd. I will always love line drawings of the mid-century Dallas skyline.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_suburban-tribune_dallas-skyline1966

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Part 2 coming soon….

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts heavy on the Pleasant Grove can be found here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s

vel-mar_samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_detVel-Mar, 8516 Lake June Rd., 1959

by Paula Bosse

Here are a whole bunch of ads for Pleasant Grove dining establishments, most with photos, thanks to the intrepid advertising staff of the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School. (Most ads are larger when clicked.)

You gotta start with Dairy Queen. I’m not sure how many DQs were in the Pleasant Grove area, but here are a couple.

Benson Dairy Queen, 1238 S. Buckner Blvd.

samuell-high-school_1958-yrbk_benson-dairy-queen1958

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Wicker’s Dairy Queen, 7636 South Loop 12.

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Gene’s Hitching Post, 223 Pleasant Grove Center. “Good barbecue is no accident.”

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_genes-hitching-post-bbq1964

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Piedmont Drive-In & Steak House, 6855 Scyene Rd.

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_piedmont-drive-in1959

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Underwood’s Bar-B-Q, 7828 Lake June Rd. Odell Chism, manager.

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_underwoods-bbq1967

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A & W, 623 S. Buckner.

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_a-and-w1967

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Apache Drive-In, 316 South St. Augustine. “Around the Bend to the Apache Den.” (The Spruce High School mascot was the Apache.)

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El Charo, 263 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. The owner of this Mexican restaurant in the first ad (from 1958) is Mona Parish, whose husband Carl “Jake” Parish had died the previous year. From 1959, the owner was Marion Martinez, whose son, Mariano, went on to great acclaim with his own restaurant where he invented the frozen margarita (based on his father’s margarita recipe). The younger Martinez almost certainly worked at this Pleasant Grove restaurant.

samuell-high-school_1958-yrbk_el-charo1958

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el-charo_plano-star-courier_nov-1962Plano Star-Courier, Nov. 1, 1962

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I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Vel-Mar drive-in, located at 8516 Lake June Rd., but I understand it was something of a Pleasant Grove fixture during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and into the ’80s. According to a newspaper article which chronicled the history of the Vel-Mar and its then-recent sale by Robert Schweder to James and Sharon Harris (“Drive-In Shrine Alive and Well” by Steve Blow, Dallas Morning News, June 15, 1980), the small chain of root-beer-stand drive-ins was founded by three couples — including a Velma and a Marie (the third, Thelma, wasn’t lucky enough to get her name into the business name). Eventually, the Pleasant Grove location was the last remaining Vel-Mar.

Vel-Mar tidbits:

  • It always closed for the winter, from October to March.
  • Other than its root beer, it was known for its “Dixie Burger” which was a loose-meat sandwich.
  • It was a Pleasant Grove high school hangout, and it had special drinks for students of Spruce and Samuell: a blue and red drink was called “The Sprucette” (also “Spruce Juice”), and a blue drink was called “The Spartini” (for the Samuell Spartans). 

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Sources & Notes

All ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (unless otherwise noted).

More on Pleasant Grove can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “Life in The Grove: Pleasant Grove — 1954-1956,” with material gleaned from Pleasant Grove High School yearbooks.

vel-mar_samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_det_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Texas Rasslin’ at the Sportatorium — 1959

sportatorium_wrestling_mclemore_radio-annual-television-yrbk_1959Heroes and villains, hillbillies and rasslers… (1959)

by Paula Bosse

Ed McLemore and the Sportatorium. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. McLemore owned the Sportatorium (at Cadiz and Industrial) and was a successful promoter of both professional wrestling and up-and-coming hillbilly and rock ‘n’ roll musicians. The wrestlers and the musicians all performed centerstage in the Sportatorium ring (on different nights, but I’m sure McLemore must have at least day-dreamed about having some sort of offbeat tag-team bout featuring all of his clients in the ring at the same time). The Sportatorium was very, very popular, with crowds showing up for both wrestling matches and the legendary Big D Jamboree music shows, as well as boxing matches and a variety of other events.

This 1959 ad mentions a few of the musicians McLemore managed at the time, the biggest of whom was Sonny James (read about Sonny James’ years in Dallas in the Flashback Dallas post “Sonny James: The ‘Shindig Heartbreaker'”). Also listed were Johnny Carroll, the Belew Twins, Rozena Eads, Eddy McDuff, and Bill Dane.

The ad appears to be urging people to head to the Sportatorium because it’s got way more going on than boring old television!

“TEXAS RASSLIN”

Have you noticed the swing is to “Texas Rasslin”

No Murders!! No Guns!! No Quizzes!!

We do have heroes and villains in terrific fast action!

New Lighting — New Angles — New Dimensions — First Runs & Reruns

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mclemore_radio-annual-and-television-yrbk_1959_bio1959

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Sources & Notes

Ad and bio of Ed McLemore from the 1959 Radio Annual Television Yearbook.

Check out some vintage wrestling footage from the Sportatorium in 1960 here.

Check out vintage footage of the Big D Jamboree here.

More on the Sportatorium can be found in various Flashback Dallas posts here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Bird’s-Eye View Down Main Street — 1954

dallas_birdseye_1954_color_ebayMain Street, 1954

by Paula Bosse

A nice color photo showing Main Street, looking west from about Field. For reference, Hotel Southland was in the 1200 block of Main, at Murphy, and Turner’s Clothiers, across the street, was at 1113 Main.

There’s a lot to look at (click to see a larger image). It’s always nice to see a viaduct (top right).

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay.

dallas_birdseye_1954_color_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2021 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.

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“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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“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.)

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

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Merry Christmas, y’all!

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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.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Victor’s Lounge — 1913 Commerce

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Victor’s-sponsored bowling team

by Paula Bosse

My posting has been a bit erratic recently. My brother and I have been clearing out my late aunt’s home. It’s one of those inevitable tasks that no one wants to have to do, but as sad as it’s been, it’s also been comforting to see glimpses of my aunt’s life that I had only vaguely heard about — or had never heard about. Going through her photos, I see what a full life she had, how much she traveled, and that she had decades-old friendships.

One of the places she talked about with great fondness was, of all things, a bar: Victor’s Lounge, which was at 1913 Commerce Street, directly across from the Statler Hilton. The Dallas Morning News described it as “a favorite with the downtown office crowd.” My aunt worked for an insurance company in the Mercantile Building, and nearby Victor’s was the place where she and her co-workers gathered after work (and, I think, for lunch). She even participated in a ladies’ bowling league on a team sponsored by her favorite hang-out. The photo at the top shows the team of fun-looking women (my aunt Bettye Jo is on the far right). She still had the crisply-ironed shirt in her closet! 

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Victor’s was opened by Victor Ballas (who later opened the Purple Orchid a block away at 2016 Commerce). Born in New York, Ballas arrived in Dallas as a child, went to Forest Avenue High School, and had several businesses, one liltingly called “Ballas of Dallas.” My aunt said he always looked after his customers, especially the single women when they were being aggressively hit on by male patrons. Ballas died on Christmas Day, 1971 of a heart attack — he was only 53.

Victor’s opened as a cocktail bar in 1957 or 1958 with a regular piano player (for many years it was Tony Rizzo), but ads indicate that it became more of a restaurant than a bar in the 1960s.

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The Commerce Street location closed in 1971 — it was replaced at the end of that year by the Wild West Saloon, another cocktail bar (but one which included topless entertainment). 

I heard so much about Victor’s over the years from my aunt that when I recently stumbled across odd shots of the place in random film footage I was pretty excited

I wish we could have gotten a drink there together, Bettye Jo. And maybe hit the lanes at your favorite alley and bowled a few frames.

victors_sfot-parade_1960s_jones-film-collection_SMU

victors 2 dmn film SMU

victors dmn film SMU

victors_1962-map_det1962 (click to see larger image)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo and photo of bowling shirt from the collection of Paula Bosse.

The three color images are screenshots from films in the G. William Jones Film Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University. The first is from the WFAA NewsFilm Collection, the second and third from a promotional film for The Dallas Morning News; all are from the 1960s.

Map is a detail from a 1962 map featured in the Flashback Dallas post “Map of Downtown Dallas, For the Curious Conventioneer — 1962.”

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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