Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

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The Majestic Theatre’s Centenary

majestic-theatre_tsha_1920sThe Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm Street

by Paula Bosse

The Majestic Theatre opened on Elm Street 100 years ago this week. We’re lucky to still have such a beautiful building, one which we came close to losing in the late ’60s/early ’70s when so many other “old” buildings were being demolished in downtown Dallas.

The Majestic opened at 1925 Elm on April 11, 1921. The promotional blitz was pretty intense: for months the local papers were full of every little tidbit about the building and the grand opening. A pilot was even hired to drop leaflets and float balloons over 25 North Texas towns in order to reach those farther afield who might be outside the Big City theater loop. 

There was a lot of bragging that the showplace theater cost over $2 million, a huge amount of money at the time. That would be about $30 million in today’s money, and there is no way that beautiful, beautiful theater and its luxurious decor could be built today for a mere $30 million.

Like I said, we’re lucky to have it. Happy 100th, Majestic!

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Here it is under construction in 1920:

majestic_under-constructioin_100120_cinema-treasuresvia Cinema Treasures

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Just read this (click to see a larger image):

majestic-theatre_dmn_040321_grand-openingDallas Morning News, April 3, 1921

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At night, just down from the Melba (originally the Hope):

majestic-theatre_night_cinema-treasuresvia Cinema Treasures

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And it still looks beautiful in the 21st century:

majestic-theatre_LOC_carol-highsmith_20142014, photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress

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majestic-theatre_2009_wikipedia2009, via Wikipedia

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theater_majestic_052522_where-its-cool“Where it’s really cool” (1922)

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Sources & Notes

More about the history of the Majestic Theatre can be found at Cinema Treasures.

The official theater website is here — check out the upcoming shows!

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Art Landry Is At The Palace — 1927

palace-theatre_u-s-coffee_frank-rogers_1927_DPLMarquees, schmarquees… (Dallas Public Library)

by Paula Bosse

Great photo of the Palace Theatre on Elm and Ervay in November or December of 1927 (“My Best Girl” starring Mary Pickford opened at the end of November and ran for a week or two into the middle of December). The movie seems like a bit of an afterthought, though — I mean… ART LANDRY IS IN TOWN, and his giant 78 disc replica promotional sign is crowding out others on the marquee. The touring jazz-band leader (who insisted he did NOT play jazz music — “I became a bandmaster when jazz was jax. In those days noise was the objective. […] The day of jazz is gone….” ) was nestled here in Big D for the holiday season and was apparently well-received. (See another photo of the Palace from about this same time here.)

palace_art-landry_111327Nov. 13, 1927

palace_pickford_my-bes-girl_112727Nov. 27, 1927

You know how when you get a new car you suddenly start seeing that same model everywhere? I’m like that with the U.S. Coffee & Tea Co. — seen right next door to the theater. (See it here, peeping around the Wilson Building in a squattier incarnation.)

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Sources & Notes

Photo titled “[Palace Theatre, Art Landry exclusive Victor Artist]” — by Frank Rogers — is from the Ted C. Steinberg Collection, Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library, call number PA2018-03-14 (the library has the date this photo was taken as Dec. 27, 1927, but “My Best Girl” was long-gone by then — it was probably taken on Nov. 27, the day after “My Best Girl” opened).

Quote from Art Landry about not being a jazz-band leader is from an interview with him in The Dallas Morning News (“Jazz Is Thing of the Past Says Palace’s New ‘Jazz Band’ Leader Who Specializes in Modern Music” — DMN, Nov. 12, 1927). I can’t find any other instances of early jazz music referred to as “jax” music. Can anyone point me to another reference?

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Wes Wise, Dallas Texans, WFAA — 1961

wfaa_sports_sponsor-mag_101661_detA future mayor interviewing future Kansas City Chiefs 

by Paula Bosse

The photo above shows future Dallas mayor Wes Wise in 1961 (when he was sports director for WFAA-Channel 8) interviewing players of the Dallas Texans. Wes Wise served as Mayor of Dallas for three terms, from 1971 to 1976. The (second iteration of the) Dallas Texans played in the AFL from 1960 to 1962 until owner Lamar Hunt relocated them to Kansas City where they became the Kansas City Chiefs. (Read about the first, sad, Dallas Texans in the post “The 1952 Dallas Texans: Definitely NOT America’s Team.”)

Below is the full ad. (Click for larger image.)

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Sources & Notes

Ad from Sponsor, “the weekly magazine Radio/TV advertisers use” (Oct. 16, 1961).

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Copyright © 2021 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.

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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!

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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.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Take a Greyhound to the Texas Centennial — 1936

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936_det“Dallas, please…”

by Paula Bosse

Thanks to the promoters of the Texas Centennial, advertisements placed in national publications in 1936 showed Dallas to be quite the desirable destination. The Centennial — the World’s-Fair-that-wasn’t-quite-a-World’s Fair — made Dallas the place to be in 1936. This ad for Greyhound Lines (a company which, incidentally, is now headquartered in Dallas) need only show a fab deco poster on a wall for people to want to jump on a bus and head to Big D.

The full ad is below. Nary a mention of “Dallas.” (Click to see a larger image.)

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Sources & Notes

Ad from Hollywood magazine, May, 1936.

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936_det_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Ads from St. Mark’s Yearbooks — 1960s

st-marks_1968-yrbk_walls-delicatessen_photoWall’s Delicatessen, Preston Royal, 1968

by Paula Bosse

I love ads. Here are several from various editions of the Marksmen, the yearbook of St. Mark’s School of Texas, a North Dallas landmark. Above, another North Dallas landmark, Wall’s Delicatessen in the Preston-Royal shopping center. The full ad is below (all images are larger when clicked).

st-marks_1968-yrbk_walls-delicatessen1968

The Pit Club, at the Bronco Bowl.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_pit-club_brono-bowl1965

Jack in the Box, 3545 Forest Lane (west of Marsh).

st-marks_1965-yrbk_jack-in-the-box1965

ICEE — “Get a glob of your favorite flavor.” (The ICEE/Slurpee machine was a Dallas product, courtesy of the John E. Mitchell Company, which I wrote about in 4 separate posts — the main one is here, with links to the 3 posts about its WWII munitions work linked in the first sentence.)

st-marks_1966-yrbk_icee1966

Reynolds Penland, Preston Center.

st-marks_1966-yrbk_reynolds-penland_preston-center1966

The Dallas Music House, Preston Royal.

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While we’re at it, Melody Shop — 4 locations, none of which is NorthPark (yet).

st-marks_1965-yrbk_melody-shops1965

Speaking of NorthPark, looks what’s coming. “Soon.”

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Another mall, way across town, Big Town, “a city of shops.”

st-marks_1968-yrbk_bigtown_big-town1968

A change of pace: a city of medical institutes, the Leland Fikes Research Center (including what is now Carter BloodCare), on Harry Hines Blvd. (color photo is here). (A history of the former Wadley blood center can be found in this 1984 article from D Magazine.)

st-marks_1966-yrbk_fikes-research1966

The Torch, 3620 W. Davis.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_the-torch1965

Dominique, 7713 Inwood Road.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_dominique1965

Preston State Bank (formerly the Highland Park State Bank), 8111 Preston Road. Their “Presteen” checking accounts were for high school and college students.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_preston-state-bank_presteen1965

Vick’s Steakhouse — “House of D’lish Foods” — Northlake Center (E. Northwest Highway and Ferndale, Lake Highlands). (According to a full-page newspaper ad from 1963 — which you can see here — the steakhouse was actually part of “Vick’s Northlake Dining Center” which was comprised of the steakhouse, Vick’s Northlake Cafeteria, and Vick’s Northlake Club, the latter being a private club which charged $10 a month, the equivalent of more than $75 in today’s money!)

st-marks-yrbk_1965_vicks-northlake-steakhouse1965

Zuider Zee, 5427 Denton Drive.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_zuider-zee1965

Beard Plumbing Co., “installers of larger mechanical work,” 510 W. Davis. (I thought the fountain pictured might be the one in One Main Place, but that fountain (which, incidentally, was designed by the same man who designed the fountain at Lincoln Center in New York, J. S. Hamel) — did not make its appearance until the end of 1968.)

st-marks-yrbk_1965_beard-plumbing1965

UPDATE: Found an earlier ad in the St. Mark’s yearbook identifying the fountain as being in the Dallas Trade Mart:

beard-plumbing_st-marks-yrbk_fountain_trademart

John Niland’s Kings of Bar-B-Que, 5423 W. Lovers Lane — one of many Dallas restaurants owned by current or former Dallas Cowboys.

st-marks_1968-yrbk_john-niland-kings-of-bbq1968

Fox & Jacobs Construction Co., 12020 Denton Drive. I’ve heard of Fox & Jacobs houses all my life but didn’t realize until a few years ago that it was a Dallas company and not a national one. A history of F & J can be read in a 1978 D Magazine article here.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_fox-and-jacobs1965

Lucas B & B, 3520 Oak Lawn — the granddaddy of the 24-hour diner.

st-marks_1965-yrbk_lucas-b-and-b1965

Neiman-Marcus — “There’s only one way a St. Mark’s man can go… up!”

st-marks_1965-yrbk_neiman-marcus1965

Pandemonium, 2621 McKinney Avenue. “There is only one way for a St. Mark’s man to go… groovy!”

pandemonium_ad_st-marks_1968-yrbk1968

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Sources & Notes

Ads are from the 1965, 1966, and 1968 editions of the St. Mark’s School of Texas yearbook, Marksmen.

See other St. Mark’s-related Flashback Dallas posts here.

st-marks_1968-yrbk_walls-delicatessen_photo_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Highland Park High School: Ads from the 1964 Yearbook

charcos_ad_5300-lemmon_HPHS-yrbk_1964_photoCharco’s on Lemmon — with “14 friendly electronic speakers”

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few ads from the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School — some of the ads feature HPHS students. (Click ads to see larger images.)

Above, Charco’s, 5300 Lemmon Avenue (James R. Inman, manager). The full ad is below. This was the third “Charco’s Circle-Thru” drive-in, following the first location at 6375 E. Mockingbird (at Abrams), which opened in 1957, and the second location at 10218 Garland Road.

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Danny’s Waffle Shop (Danny L. Edwards, owner), 171 Inwood Village. Featuring students Chris James and Suzy Corgan up on the roof.

dannys-waffle-shop_HPHS-yrbk_1964

Sanborn’s Hi-Fi-Center (Charles Larsen, president), 5551 W. Lovers Lane. Featuring Peggy Merritt and Jan Hugenin.

sanborns-hi-fi-center_HPHS-yrbk_1964

The Army-Navy Surplus and Salvage Store at 4538-40 McKinney Avenue (Julia Cooper, owner). Featuring students Liz Wilson, Gay Crowell, and Suzanne Shepard. 

army-navy-store_HPHS-yrbk_1964

S & S Tea Room, 25 Highland Park Village (Dr. Raymond C. Libberton and Mildred A. Libberton, owners). Featuring waitress Lyn Ashmore with students Suzanne Presley, Bev Vaughan, and Susan Behrman. (Dr. Libberton was still a regular presence at the restaurant until his death in 1976 at the age of 104.)

s-and-s-tea-room_HPHS-yrbk-1964

Midnight Coiffures, 5628 Lemmon and 4826 Gaston (Esther Groves, owner). “Dallas’ only midnight salon.” This is a great idea!

midnight-coiffures_ad_HPHS-yrbk_1964

Centex Construction Co., 4606 Greenville Avenue (Tom H. Lively, president).

centex-construction_HPHS-yrbk_1964

Dr Pepper, national headquarters located at Mockingbird and Greenville. Ad featuring teen bridge players Nancy Naber, Sue Fincher, Johnetta Alexander, and Melinda Anderson. “Frosty, Man, Frosty.”

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La Tunisia, 200 N. Exchange Park (Iqbal Singh Sekhon, general manager — he previously managed Safari in North Dallas at Preston and Royal).

la-tunisia_HPHS-yrbk_1964

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Sources & Notes

All images from the 1964 Highlander, yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts which have dipped into the HPHS yearbooks can be found here.

charcos_ad_5300-lemmon_HPHS-yrbk_1964_det_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“A Man’s Shop With a Texas Man’s Viewpoint” — 1945

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

by Paula Bosse

Back when men wore Western pearl-snap shirts embroidered with cardinals, leaves, and acorns — and, if this ad is anything to go by, they wore them proudly and unironically.

Frankly, I’d like to see a return to this style.

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“Wherever Texas men gather to relax and play
you’ll see fine sports clothes by Irby-Thompson.”

Western Suit: $115 (equivalent in today’s money to about $1,660)
Sport Coat: $45 (today, $650)
Slacks: $20 (today, $290)
Tie & Handkerchief: $5 (today, $73)

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Sources & Notes

Ad found in the pages of the 1945 Texas Country Day School yearbook. 

Irby-Thompson (housed in the Mercantile Building), was opened in 1944 by Collis P. Irby and J. S. Thompson; in 1948 Irby and his former store manager, Count Mayes, bought out Thompson and became Irby-Mayes.

Related: see the Flashback Dallas post “Irby-Mayes Ad With a Cameo by the Merc — 1948.”

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

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Awaiting the “Victory Fair” of 1946…

sfot_victory-fair_ebay_1946

by Paula Bosse

Many of us are missing the State Fair of Texas, canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the fair was canceled was during World War II. Here is an ad from 1945, assuring everyone that the State Fair would be back in 1946.

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Dallas Texas Victory Fair in ’46

Since the day we turned the entire facilities of our grounds and buildings into a base for military operations, officials and management of the STATE FAIR OF TEXAS have been dreaming and planning for the time when more than a million people would again throng the nation’s greatest annual exposition. Now those long-made plans are becoming realities that will focus the eyes of North and South America on Texas in 1946!

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Sources & Notes

Ad found on eBay (originally published in the “Billboard Cavalcade of Fairs,” Dec. 1, 1945).

More Flashback Dallas posts on the State Fair of Texas can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Luby’s, In Dallas Since 1929

lubys_main-st_1954_det

Luby’s No. 2, Main Street, 1954 (photo detail)

by Paula Bosse

The liquidation of Luby’s restaurants was announced this week. There are a lot of people (Texans in particular) who are going to take this news hard.

I spotted the Luby’s seen in the picture above in a photo I found on eBay a few years ago (see the full photo here). I was surprised to learn that the first Luby’s in Dallas opened in 1929. (I think it was the first Luby’s in Texas — there might have been a tangentially-related “Luby’s”-branded restaurant in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but let’s just say that the Luby’s at 205 Browder Street in downtown Dallas was the first one in Texas. It was opened by Earl E. Luby on January 8, 1929.

lubys_010829_ad

Jan. 8, 1929

The second location (the one seen in the photo above) opened at 1006 Main Street (at Poydras) two years later, on May 19, 1931.

lubys_051931_no-2

May 19, 1931

Earl Luby was the first cousin of Harry M. Luby, the man who is generally considered to have opened the forerunner of what we now know as Luby’s. In September, 1911, Harry opened a cafeteria in Springfield, Missouri called New England Dairy Lunch — there were several other restaurants around the U.S. with the same name, so I’m not sure if he bought it as a franchise, but whatever the case, that cafeteria was the start of a tray-toting empire.

luby_springfield-MO-news-leader_sept-1911

Springfield News-Leader, Sept. 20 & 21, 1911

He opened other New England cafeterias in Missouri and, with cousin Earl, in Oklahoma. (There was one in Dallas in 1919, located at 1409 Elm, which appears to be connected to the Luby family.)

new-england-cafeteria_041619

Apr. 16, 1919

In 1929 Earl branched off, moved to Texas, opened his own cafeterias (mostly in Dallas), and made a fortune. (There were Luby’s cafeterias run by other members of the Luby family, most notably Harry’s son, Robert Luby, who was active in South Texas a few decades later. I don’t know whether these were two completely different business entities, but Earl was king of the very lucrative Dallas market.)

Here’s an ad from 1953 with Luby’s locations at that time (along with a Miss Inez shout-out). (Click to see a larger image.)

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And from the same ad, a photo of cousins Earl and Harry enjoying a convivial cup of coffee.

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June, 1953 ad (details)

And, below, a 1960 ad for the new Luby’s at the Preston Forest Shopping Center (that sign is fantastic!).

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Sept., 1960

It’s a shame to say goodbye to such a long-lived Dallas institution. RIP, Luby’s. And thanks, Earl (1897-1990).

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Sources & Notes

1954 photo of Main Street is a detail of a larger photo found in the Flashback Dallas post “Streetcar #728, Main Street — 1954.”

Luby’s website is here (hurry!).

More on the history of Luby’s (with some incorrect information and nary a mention of Earl!) can be found on Wikipedia and The Handbook of Texas.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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