Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Humor

“Go Away! Can’t You See I’m Listening to WFAA?” — 1947


by Paula Bosse



Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

“Jim Nasium” Can Teach You a Thing Or Two About Baseball Heckling — 1908

baseball-hecklers_dmn_050308Cartoon by “Jim Nasium” — 1908 (click for larger image, you sap-head)

by Paula Bosse

If you were a die-hard baseball fan in 1908, you were no doubt familiar with many of the jeers featured in the cartoon above by one Mr. “Jim Nasium,” a sportswriter and cartoonist who was given almost half a page of primo newsprint each Sunday in many newspapers around the country. Feel free to incorporate some of these exhortations into your next enthusiastic visit to the ballpark. ANY ballpark. Those kids can take it….


Below, a few images of the Dallas baseball scene from around the time that Mr. Nasium’s column on “roasting appeared in the pages of The Dallas Morning News. (As always, click for large images.)

The Dallas Giants, 1908

Above, the 1908 Dallas Giants team. Bottom row–Slattery, Fletcher, Kerns, Tullos, Maloney. Middle row–Maag, Hole, Moore, Whittaker, Cooper, Loudell. Top row–Burnett, Peters, Hay, Storch, Miller.



Here’s where they played that week, Gaston Park. Mayor Hay threw out the first ball. Below, where the cat-calls would come from. “What’re you tryin’ to bunt for, you sap-head!”

baseball_gaston-park_grandstand_dmn_050508DMN, May 5, 1908


baseball-ad_dmn_050608DMN, May 6, 1908


The cartoons of “Jim Nasium” appeared in The Dallas Morning News alongside his weekly column, “Conversations With an Old Sport,” a humorous syndicated series by Edgar F. Wolfe, who would later go on to edit Sporting Life. Here is an excerpt from that week’s column about the bad sportsmanlike conduct of jeering spectators in grandstands, complete with wonderful slang you’ve probably never encountered before (click to read):

jim-nasium_dmn_050308-excerptDMN, May 3, 1908

This full “Conversations With an Old Sport” column can be read in a PDF here. (You’re going to have to click that “plus” symbol at the top many, many times in order to magnify the text enough to read it!)

Photo of the Dallas Giants from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; it can be accessed here. It appeared in the pages of The Dallas Morning News on May 6, 1908, crediting photo to Clogenson.

A few more (grainy) photos of Gaston Park — site of the first Texas-OU game held in Dallas in 1912 — can be seen in another Flashback Dallas post, here.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Captain Marvel Fights the Mole Men in Dallas! — 1944


by Paula Bosse

In 1944 Captain Marvel came to Dallas. He had brushes with the SMU marching band, Love Field, Mayor Woodall Rodgers, Fair Park, the Cotton Bowl, a sunken Adolphus, Ted Dealey, and a bunch of “expert lariat throwers.” And he saved us from the Mole Men (and their “mole-kids”). People, you have NO idea…. A few of the highlights below (click for larger images). (To go directly to the entire scanned comic book, click here.)










Holy Moley! That was close! Thank you, Captain Marvel! SHAZAM!


To read the entire adventure “Deep in the Heart of Dallas” — in fact, to read the entire comic book (which also includes a trip to Greenpoint, Brooklyn…), check out the whole thing here. Enjoy! (And sorry about the spoilers!)

Some panels are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Keep Oak Cliff Kinky — 1923


by Paula Bosse

I’m not sure what more I can offer, except to say that in today’s money — with inflation taken into account — that little bondage device for a child’s thumb would run you a cool 40 bucks.

I picture Mrs. J. C. Thompson assembling the inventory herself, at the kitchen table in her little frame house on Melba Street in Oak Cliff, the Victrola playing in the other room, having a chirpy one-sided conversation with the imaginary “Dr. Thompson.” I wonder if she sold any?

To quote the Messrs. Python: “Guaranteed to break the ice at parties!”


Ad from The Dallas Morning News, Nov. 18, 1923. I’m not sure there was a follow-up.

Whither Mrs. J. C. Thompson, West Dallas entrepreneur?


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Texas Fire Extinguisher Co. and Hitler — 1942

tx-fire-extinguisher-coTexas Fire Extinguisher Co., across from Fair Park… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

For a place that sells fire extinguishers and tractor equipment, this is a wonderfully comforting image. Hardly even looks like Dallas. The Texas Fire Extinguisher Company — operated for several decades by the Hancock family — was located at the corner of Parry and Second Avenue, across from Fair Park. While checking to see the exact address of this business (which, by the way, was 929 Second Ave.), I came across a 1942 article mentioning it and Hitler.

According to a Dallas Morning News blurblet, the Hancock company owner had placed a want-ad for a painter and paperhanger and received an odd response on a postcard:

“Gentlemen: I wish to apply for the job as a paperhanger. Am hunting bears at present, but am about out of ammunition. Anyway, I am a better paperhanger than I am a bear hunter. –Adolph Hitler, Berlin, Germany. (P.S. Please rush answer as this job is playing out and may have to move soon.)”

Humor doesn’t always translate successfully across the generations. But, hey, that was weird.


Sources & Notes

Postcard (cropped) from the Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection on Flickr, here.

Quote from Dallas Morning News article “Reply to Want Ad Indicates Hitler Wants a New Job” (DMN, Nov. 6, 1942).

Click postcard for larger image.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Chas. Ott: One-Stop Shopping for Bicycles and Dynamite

ad-charles-ott-dynamite_smu-1916(1916 ad)

by Paula Bosse

Aside from maybe an ad for a popular off-campus soda shop or one of those bland, dutiful business card ads for an insurance company, I’m not sure that there’s necessarily a specific type of advertisement I expect to see in the pages of a college yearbook. But if I were quizzed on types of ads I wouldn’t expect to see in the pages of a college yearbook, it would probably include an ad for dynamite and ammo. But in 1916, SMU’s inaugural yearbook committee was proudly testing the limits of advertising propriety!

Charles Ott was kind of a big deal in the world of, first, gunsmithing, and second, locksmithing. Born in Germany, he came to Dallas in 1873 and opened a gun shop on Elm Street in 1876. According to The Encyclopedia of Texas, at the time of his death (c. 1921?), he was “the oldest gunsmith in the State of Texas.” That’s an impressive accomplishment. As seen from the ad above, a successful businessman not only knows his craft, but he knows how to diversify. (A nice bio of Mr. Ott can be found here.)

If you’re in business selling ammunition and gunpowder and fireworks and dynamite, you probably need to secure them in a place safe from the reach of the fires that seemed to hit Dallas constantly in the 19th century. ‘Cause if you don’t, you run the risk of something like this happening (north side of Elm, between Griffin and Akard):


My favorite part of the story, though, was this on-the-spot artist’s depiction of the “conflagration.” You can practically feel the smoke burning your eyes.



Top ad from, yes, the 1915-16 SMU Rotunda.

Bio of Charles Ott linked above from Davis & Grobe’s Encyclopedia of Texas (Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1922). If you sped-read past it above, you can find it here.

Excerpt and drawing of the explosive Elm St. fire from The Dallas Morning News, May 26, 1896.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“If You Don’t Come to Dallas, the Laugh Will Be On You!”


by Paula Bosse

“Hee! Haw! Hee! Haw!” Sa-LUTE!


Click to get the donkey bigger, y’all.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

So This Cowboy Goes Into a Psychiatrist’s Office…


by Paula Bosse

Well, bless his heart.


Cartoon by Kaz from The Saturday Evening Post.

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