Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Humor

The “Freshie” Ads for *-@!!@!* Delicious Mrs. Baird’s Bread — 1945-1953

Geez, Picasso, get a grip… “YUM!”

by Paula Bosse

There’s nothing like cartoon swearing. The reader is likely to translate those random symbols into words that are probably a lot filthier than was intended by the cartoonist. …Probably.

Here are a few examples of this, found, surprisingly, in cartoon ads for wholesome Mrs. Baird’s Bread. This ad campaign — which, as far as I can tell, lasted from 1945 to 1953 — consisted of a one-panel comic called “Freshie,” illustrated for most of its lifespan by Harry Walsh. There were close to a hundred of these panels produced. (That’s a lot of bread-based humor some poor advertising copywriter had to come up with.) They were often placed directly on the comics page, alongside Pogo, Li’l Abner, and Rex Morgan M.D. “Freshie” was the name of the child with the unwavering/disturbing obsession with Mrs. Baird’s Bread. (UPDATE: I now see that the “Freshie” cartoon ad concept was used all across the country, for various brands of bread. Oh, Freshie, your love for Mrs. Baird’s bread was just for show, wasn’t it?)

Not all of them had cursing — in fact I think it might be just these four. Still, it’s a little unexpected. What would Mrs. Baird think? (Click to see larger images.)

Dec. 28, 1945

June 7, 1948

Nov. 30, 1949


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


“Greetings From Dallas, Texas” — 1955

greetings-from-dallas-texasDallas? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse


Somehow Anna Belle and her family found the Cotton Bowl.



Postcard from eBay.


UPDATE: A person commenting on Facebook says that he thinks this shows “Cedar Mountain, near where Joe Pool Lake was built” — an area which actually is within the Dallas city limits. I’m not familiar with that area. Does this postcard show this view? Read about the Cedar Mountain Preserve here; and about Joe Pool Lake here. Check out a map that shows the City of Dallas boundary, here.

Read about Cedar Mountain (“…that wooded white rock ridge that runs from Eagle Ford to Cedar Hill…”) in the Dallas Morning News article “Bear Slapped Him But He Survived” by Kenneth Foree (Sept. 1, 1948).

Apologies, Cedar Mountain and Rembrant (sic) Post Card Company, if I have made unfounded sarcastic comments.


UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I have to admit, nothing I’ve posted before has stirred up quite so much controversy. This post has been shared quite a bit, and I’ve dipped into Facebook pages where members are discussing this idyllic photo. Half swear up and down there’s no way this could be anywhere near Dallas, and the other half are pretty certain it’s in the Cedar Hill area.

The  more I look into it, the  more it seems possible that this IS in the Cedar Hill area (aka “The Hill Country of the Metroplex”). The highest point in North Texas is just a stone’s throw from Dallas. According to the Wikipedia entry, it “stands at an elevation of about 800 feet (240 m) above sea level — the highest point in a straight line from the Red River at the Texas-Oklahoma border to the Gulf Coast.”

The Old Penn Farmstead was a working family farm/ranch from the 1850s until the 1970s (remaining in the Penn family the entire time). Photos show that the fence construction on the Penn property is the same as that seen behind the horsies in the postcard. The photo may have been taken on Penn land or other land in the same area. There were several large-ish farms and ranches nearby, several of which had horses. There were even a couple of “retreats” operating in the area in the late-1940s and ’50s (notably, the 520-acre retreat sponsored by the Dallas Baptist Association).

Even though it’s possible this was just some sort of stock Western-looking photo used by the postcard company, I’m leaning toward it showing the unexpected beauty around what is now the Cedar Hill State Park, Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Mountain Preserve, Dogwood Canyon Audobon Center, Joe Pool Lake, Mountain Creek Lake, etc.

Watch a short Texas Parks & Wildlife video about Cedar Hill State Park here; the Penn Farmstead is located here and is seen in the video.

Here’s a 1985 article about the 11,000 nearby acres which would soon be inundated in the construction of Joe Pool Lake. (Click article to see larger image.)


Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 6, 1985


UPDATE TO THE UPDATE OF THE UPDATE: It appears that the Rembrant Post Card people will tell you whatever you want to believe! The same image has been found without “Dallas” but with “Colorado” on it (see link in comments section). Horrors! So, anyway. After all that, my original sarcastic tone stands. Always trust your inner cynic! At least I learned about Cedar Hill!

UPDATE, ETC.: And now this saga has been taken on by intrepid Dallas Morning News reporter Charlie Scudder! Read his coverage, here.

UPDATES, INCORPORATED: And, somehow, this story ended up in the pages of the actual paper edition of The Dallas Morning News. Lordy.

DMN, Aug. 3, 2016


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Brimstone Baths, Lake of Fire: Welcome to Summer

summer_knott-cartoon_dmn-071722NOT from a Chamber of Commerce brochure…

by Paula Bosse

Summer in Dallas is HELL ON EARTH. Welcome, newcomers!


Cartoon by Dallas Morning News staff cartoonist John Knott — it appeared in the July 17, 1922 edition of the DMN.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“The Last Time I Saw Texas” — 1953/58

neiman-marcus_texas-mapThat “X” is in the wrong spot, y’all…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Before I begin, I offer apologies in advance to Oscar Hammerstein II (original lyricist of “The Last Time I Saw Paris”), NeimanMarcus (with or without the hyphen), haters of Texas stereotypes, and, especially, Fort Worth.

In a Dallas item connected with “Independence Day” in only the most tangential way possible, I thought I’d share a little cabaret song I stumbled across today whilst rummaging through the internet. It’s a humorously re-written version of the Academy Award-winning hit song “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” (…um, the one in FRANCE….), written in 1940 by Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) and Jerome Kern (music).

Partial lyrics were reported by Earl Wilson in his syndicated gossip/entertainment column, “Broadway Last Night,” twice — first in 1953, after he’d seen Juliana Larson sing it at the Sherry Netherland Hotel, then later, in 1958, after he’d heard Connie Moore sing it at the St. Regis Maisonette. Both women had Texas ties (Constance Moore actually grew up in Dallas), so I’m sure both enjoyed singing the ditty (in what one hopes was in an ever-so-amusing sophisticated style, à la Noël Coward).

At the Neiman-Marcus store
They sell the usual furs
And the cutest children’s Cadillacs
And yachts marked “His” and “Hers.”

The last time I saw Texas
And the oil was in her hills,
The kiddies bought their lunch at school
With hundred-dollar bills.

The last time I saw Texas,
All Dallas was so gay,
We’d burned Fort Worth to the ground
On Independence Day.

Happy Independence Day, Fort Worth!


Listen to Noël Coward sing “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (before FW was being burned to the ground), here.

Juliana Larson (aka Juliana Bernhardt) was a former John Powers model who married wealthy Houston oilman Walter Bedford Sharp, Jr. (whose father was a business partner with Howard Hughes’ father). She started in light opera in Texas and moved on to New York nightclubs. She seems to be known mostly as the wife of a Texas oilman and a permanent fixture on Best Dressed lists. She horrified everyone when she showed up to a Metropolitan Opera opening night wearing trousers — see her delighting in the publicity she received from that, in Life magazine (Nov. 24, 1952), here.

Constance Moore was born in Iowa but grew up and began her career in Dallas. More about her here and here; glamour photos here.

The “Texas” lyrics were reported by Earl Wilson to have been written by David Roger (for Juliana Larson, in 1953) and by Earl Brent (for Connie Moore, in 1958). The partial lyrics Wilson quoted in 1953 and 1958 were the same. …So there you go. (I changed the order of one line, because it seems that Wilson got the lines of the first verse in the wrong order.)

I’m not sure where I found that Neiman’s map, but it’s cool. (Why IS the “X “is the hinterlands, anyway?)

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend! And don’t burn anything down!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Used Books and Guns” — 1967

used-books-and-guns_SASEKJust your typical Texas bookshop….

by Paula Bosse

In honor of my father’s birthday, I give you this great illustration by M. Sasek from his book This Is Texas, an amusing children’s book featuring a tour around Texas. The above is one of the offerings from San Antonio, and it’s accompanied by the following caption:

“San Antonio bookstore. There is all you need if you want to start a long literary argument — or to end one quickly.”

(I don’t know what bookshop this was, but it was real. If anyone knows its identity, please let me know!)

As this book was in my house growing up, I’m sure my father — a bookseller with a great sense of humor and an enthusiasm for firearms — must have seen this and laughed — and seriously considered whether the used books-and-guns combo-shop was feasible.

UPDATE: Thanks to my old friend Rodney H., I now have this photo to post here. I don’t know the source of this photo or where it was taken, but it certainly looks like Sasek’s illustration! (See them side by side, here.) Thanks, Rod!



Miroslav Sasek (1916-1980) was a Czech author and illustrator best known for his fantastic “This Is…” series of books, many of which have been reprinted. More on Sasek here and here.

A previous post I wrote about my father, Dick Bosse, owner of The Aldredge Book Store, is here.

Yes, there WAS a similar bookstore envisioned in a “King of the Hill” episode; read about it here.

I love this book, and even though it was reprinted in 2006, I think it is out-of-print again. There are several for sale here (I’d avoid the copies listed as “fair” or “good.” And make sure you get a dust jacket!)

Click picture for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy 1st Day of April!

tx-jackrabbitPerspective’s a bit off — those cattle would have been MUCH larger

by Paula Bosse

Everything’s bigger in Texas — including our jackrabbits, which are justifiably legendary. Below, a photo of a (concerned-looking) child posed atop one of the more docile breeds. We’re just not growing them that big anymore. Shame.

jackrabbitSomewhere in Dallas….


Top image found here (where other historical images of cowboys riding giant jackrabbits can be seen).

Bottom photo (possibly a postcard) was on eBay a while back. Location was identified as Dallas.

For a previous Flashback Dallas post celebrating the 1st Day of April, see “U.S. Revenue Cutter ‘Carrie Nation’ Successfully Navigates the Trinity In Valiant Effort to Keep Dallas Dry! — 1931” here.

Click for larger images!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Carhops as Sex Symbols — 1940

male-car-hops_AP_1940“At your service, ma’am” (click for larger image) AP Photo

by Paula Bosse

In 1940, Dallas was in a tizzy about the sudden fad of scantily-clad “girl carhops.” This scourge had made its way to Dallas from Houston (brought to Oak Cliff by the enterprising husband and wife team behind Sivils Drive-In), and in April of 1940, it was a newspaper story with, as it were … legs. For a good month or two, stories of sexy carhops were everywhere.

The girls started wearing uniforms with very short skirts — or midriff-baring costumes with cellophane hula skirts. Some of the women reported an increase in tips of $25 or more a week — a ton of money for the time.

The public’s reaction ranged from amusement to outrage. There were reports of community matrons who reported the “indecent” attire to the police department and demanded action. Other women were annoyed by the objectification of young womanhood. Lawmakers in Austin discussed whether the practice of waitresses exposing so much extra skin posed a health risk to consumers.

But it wasn’t until a woman from Oak Cliff piped up that something actually happened. She complained that she didn’t want to look at girls’ legs when she stopped in at her local drive-in — she wanted to look at men’s legs. Drive-in owners thought that was a GREAT idea, and the idea of the scantily-clad male carhop was born.

carhops_FWST_042840Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Apr. 28, 1940 

One might think that the woman behind this “equal ogling” campaign was sort of proto-feminist, until you get to the part where she said that the whole girl carhop thing was “wrong socially and economically and should not be tolerated” (DMN, Apr. 27, 1940) — not because of the skin flashed, but because men needed jobs, not girls. And that also raised hackles. Two married women who had been carhops wrote to the Dallas News to speak up for these girls and women who were “at least coming nearer to making a living wage than at any other time of their existence. […] The girl carhops are either supporting their family or sharing the expenses. […] Why all the storm about a leg? It is nothing more than you see at a movie and a vaudeville” (DMN, May 5, 1940).

The photo at the top ran in newspapers around the country with the headline: “Adonis and Apollo of Roadside Bring Trade to Daring Stand.”

First large roadside stand Friday to bow to the demand of Dallas women and feature husky young male carhops in shorts was the Log Lodge Tavern at Lemmon and Midway where four six-footers found jobs. Above, in blue shorts, white sweatshirt and cowboy boots, Joe Wilcox serves Pauline Taylor who smiles her approval of the idea. Bound for another car is James Smith, at right.

April, 1940 must have been a slow news month, because this story really got around (click to see a larger image).

sexy-carhops_corsicana-daily-sun_042740Corsicana Daily Sun, April 27, 1940

One intrepid reporter even tracked down a Texas Ranger (!) to ask his opinion, to which the Ranger replied, “…letting those roadside glamor boys wear boots is nothing more than a slam at the state. People think of booted Texans as men, not as fancy-panted carhops.” The whole article, below, is pretty amusing.

sexy-carhops_anniston-AL-star_042840Anniston (AL) Star, April 28, 1940

There were other male carhops around town, some not quite so hunky. This guy — game as he was — really needed to reconsider his outfit.

carhops_xenia-ohio-daily-gazette_050340Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gazette, May 3, 1940

But back to the female carhops and their siren-like hold over their male customers. This was, by far, the best story to hit the wires:

Waxahachie Daily Light,  July 16, 1940


Sources & Notes

Top image from the Associated Press, 1940. 

The Log Lodge Tavern was located at 7334 Lemmon Avenue, which was across from Love Field and adjacent to the Log Lodge Tourist Court. It was located approximately where the red circle is below, on a page from the 1952 Mapsco (click for larger image).


Check out these related articles from The Dallas Morning News:

  • “Skimpiest Costumes Bring Biggest Wages” (DMN, April 24, 1940)
  • “Women To Fight Girl Carhops; Slogan: Let Us See Men’s Legs” (DMN, April 26, 1940)
  • “Adonis and Apollo of Roadside Bring Trade to Daring Stand” (DMN, April 27, 1940)
  • “Word For Carhops Grass Skirts And All” (letter to the editor) (DMN, May 5, 1940)
  • “Went Crazy Over Car Hops, Wife Says of Fugitive” (DMN, July 16, 1940)

UPDATE: This has been a weirdly popular post — it’s gotten a few thousand hits and even resulted in a short radio interview on Dallas’ public radio station, KERA. I don’t really add anything new to this story, but if you’d like to listen to the interview conducted by Justin Martin, it is here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Neiman’s Will Welcome You With Open Arms When Your Gusher Finally Comes In

neiman-marcus_cartoon_1956New Yorker cartoon by Mischa Richter, 1956

by Paula Bosse

I came across this cartoon in — of all things — a historical journal, without a source. Google informs me that this was a cartoon by Mischa Richter, and that it appeared in the Oct. 27, 1956 issue of the New Yorker, one month before the release of the heavily-promoted epic movie “Giant.” You know Jett Rink was no stranger to N-M after his gusher came in.


Cartoon from the TSHA journal Texas Historian, Nov. 1978, used as an illustration in the article “Neiman-Marcus: A Dream of Elegance” by Margaret Lucas.

Details on the New Yorker cartoon by Mischa Richter (and the possibility that the original artwork may be available for purchase from Condé Nast, if you are so inclined) can be found here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Texas Dashboard Organizer

tx-dashboard_diffee_new-yorker_2006 New Yorker cartoon by DIFFEE, 2006

by Paula Bosse

Not really retro and not specifically Dallas-related, but … close enough.


Cartoon by Matthew Diffee (a Texan, who grew up in the Dallas area); appeared in the Nov. 13, 2006 issue of The New Yorker. Suitable for framing? Why, yes, it is. Condé Nast would love to set you up with one of your own, here.

And, WOW, check out Diffee’s homage to Big Tex — it’s GREAT! — and it’s here! Click through all four parts! #WWBTD

His “Twelve Best Toons” selection is pretty good, too, here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Elm Street Cave — 1967

elm-st-cracks_flickr_red-oak-kid_smThe Elm St. Cave – tourist attraction… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In the wee hours of the morning of  Jan. 11, 1967, a giant hole opened up on the south side of Elm Street — 200 yards long, 20 feet wide, and 15 feet deep — running roughly the entire length of the block between Griffin and Field. It was assumed that there was some connection between the cave-in and the adjacent construction of One Main Place. During the ensuing investigation into a cause, the consultations with geologists, the lawsuits, the repairs, the back-filling, etc., this very busy stretch of Elm was closed for an incredible seven months (!). Most of that time it was a gaping hole.

The hole was a major headache to city leaders and to downtown developers (…and to motorists), but it became an ongoing joke to everybody else. The “Elm Street Cave” and “Elm Street Cavern” were referenced everywhere for most of 1967. San Francisco had “The Summer of Love” that year, Dallas had “The Elm Street Cave-In.” It was the butt of endless jokes in local, out-of-town, and even out-of-state newspapers. A band sprang up calling themselves The Elm Street Cave-Ins.

cave-ins-band_dmn_062867June 28, 1967

A group of local lawyers known as The Skid Row Bar Association proclaimed to the press that it was “the last remaining scenic wonder in Dallas.” Curious tourists were drawn to the hole like camera-laden moths to a flame. “Talk about your ‘Deep Elm’!” became a punchline much bandied about by people who didn’t understand that something like that is moderately amusing once or twice, but that it tends to lose its sharpness after it’s repeated ten or fifteen times. And, bizarrely, it even found its way into an oddly defensive Sears ad (click to see a larger image).

ad_sears_dmn_070667-det_sm1967 Sears ad, detail

The hole was eventually filled in, and, in August — after months of jokes and inconvenience — the street was finally re-opened. Life returned to a pre-cave-in normalcy. The reason for the collapse was determined to be shifting rock formations below street level. One report said that workmen had “uncovered a huge crevice in the limestone beneath the street measuring 30 feet deep. They filled the crevice with concrete and tied together the broken sections of rock.” I’m not sure how comfortable I’d feel about a giant building sitting on shifting shale-covered limestone,* but apparently everything’s been fine ever since, and everyone — the engineers, the geologists, the One Main Place developers and tenants — lived happily ever after.


Sources & Notes

Associated Press photo of the lovely Judy Thedford and her fashionably large hair posing rather incongruously beside a car bumper appeared in newspapers across the country on Feb. 12, 1967. This scan is from the Red Oak Kid’s Flickr page, here.

The weird “Let’s quit apologizing! Dallas is worth seeing!” ad comes from a larger Sears advertisement that appeared in July, 1967.

Related Dallas Morning News articles:

  • “Strip of Elm Collapses; Experts Remain Baffled” by Carolyn Barta (DMN, Jan. 12, 1967)
  • “Cracks on Elm Street Not Funny to City Hall” by Kent Biffle (DMN, Feb. 12, 1967)

*For people who (unlike myself) know something about geology, an article written in 1965 about the special problems regarding the One Main Place excavation and construction (“How to Support Skyscrapers” by Martin Casey — DMN, Nov. 28, 1965) might be interesting. There is much mention of Austin Chalk Limestone and Eagle Ford Shale which made the One Main Place project quite troublesome to engineers. 

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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