Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Leisure

Eula Wolcott’s Baker Hotel Book Shop & Rental Library, 1926-1942

baker-hotel-book-shop_1934Eula Wolcott: bookseller, librarian (Publishers Weekly, 1934)

by Paula Bosse

Today is the birthday of my late father, Dick Bosse, owner of the Aldredge Book Store. I always try to post something bookstore-related on his birthday. This year: Miss Eula Wolcott’s Baker Hotel Book Shop & Rental Library, located inside the Baker Hotel.

Eula Wolcott (1881-1962) was born in Waxahachie and had moved to Dallas by 1910. She appears to have had theatrical ambitions and studied voice and expression (she was billed as an “Experienced Concert Reader and Story Teller”). She opened a little book store and library in the early 1920s — the Booklovers Shop and Library was first on West Jefferson and later on Swiss Avenue. In 1926, she opened a similar shop inside the glamorous Baker Hotel, an enterprise she ran successfully until at least 1942 when another owner took over (she also apparently had a book shop inside the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells). In 1931 she opened the rather confusingly-named “Baker Hotel Book Shop and Rental Library” in Highland Park — in the new “Spanish Village” (the original name for Highland Park Village). Below is a very enthusiastic profile from Publishers Weekly (click to see a larger image).

baker-hotel-book-shop_publishers-weekly_032434_eula-wolcott_textPublishers Weekly, March 24, 1934

I wish the photo at the top had been better, because I’d love to get a good look at the decor. And Eula. I managed to find a photo of her.

wolcott-eula_ancestryEula Wolcott, via Ancestry.com

Here are a few ads:

booklovers_0420241924

baker-hotel_book-shop_DMN_oct-24-1926Two shops, one owner — 1926

baker-hotel_book-shop_1009271927

baker-hotel-book-shop_19371937

baker-hotel_book-shop_DMN_oct-25-19401940

She was active as a bookseller for many years and was also a familiar voice to radio listeners who tuned in to hear her book reviews on WFAA. 

One interesting piece of trivia about Eula’s hotel bookshop, shared with me by a former bookstore client of mine: the Baker Hotel Book Shop was the very first American bookstore that British author H. G. Wells ever visited. A lecture tour brought him to Dallas in 1940 — like many of the celebs of the day, he stayed at the Baker. I’m sure Eula was very happy to have Mr. Wells, a literary powerhouse, in her shop. Let’s hope he exhibited proper bookstore etiquette and purchased something!

baker-hotel_mural-room_dallas-directory_1942Baker Hotel, circa 1940

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Sources & Notes

Top photo and article from the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, March 24, 1934.

Read more Flashback Dallas articles on the Dallas bookstore scene here.

baker-hotel-book-shop_1934_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Betty and Benny Fox, Sky-Dancing in Dallas — ca. 1935

fox-betty-benny_princeton-univ_ndBetty & Benny, without a care in the world… 

by Paula Bosse

I often just wander aimlessly around the internet, hoping I’ll find something Dallas-related that I haven’t seen before. Last night I found this unusual photo in the Western Americana Collection of Princeton University, described as “View of a Texas city, possibly Dallas.” Okay. It didn’t strike me immediately as a familiar view of Dallas, but you’ve got appearances by Dallas Art Glass Co., Texas Hosiery, and Texas Paper Co. So, yeah. Dallas! I definitely haven’t seen this before. (Scroll down for the specifics of the location.)

Once I determined this was, in fact, Dallas, I tried to figure out what was happening — who (and why?!) were those two people waving from a tiny platform on top of a tall pole? I first thought “flagpole-sitting,” the weird fad of the 1920s which makes me uncomfortably acrophobic just thinking about it. But it was two people on a pole. Standing. Waving. I just kept looking at it, wondering how they got up there. And how were they going to get down (without plummeting)? Why were they there? Were they a couple? Were there husband-and-wife pole-sitters/-standers/-dancers/-wavers? So many questions.

My first hint was in a December, 1931 story in The Dallas Morning News about a young woman who seemed to have some name-recognition named Betty Fox who was, at the time of the article, perched atop a pole in Greenville, Texas, attempting to test her endurance and remain there for 100 hours. As one does. (When in Greenville….) So I searched for newspaper articles about “Betty Fox.” She was, indeed, a star in the pole-sitting world, entertaining large crowds and making personal appearances all around the country. Then I noticed that there seemed to be more than one “Betty Fox” out there. Hmm. And I had noticed that there had been a pole-sitter named Ben Fox who was a fairly serious flagpole-sitting champ. That was kind of a weird coincidence. Or was it? And then I found the article “Sky Dancers Betty and Benny Fox,” which helpfully explained that Benny and Betty were daredevil aerial dancers. They were originally billed as brother and sister, but as the article says, “they were not related. And Betty was not always the same person, nor was she actually named Betty.”

They traveled from city to city performing for enthralled crowds on a tiny circular disc 24 inches in diameter (it later shrank to 18 inches in diameter). Their acrobatic “sky dance” (AKA “The Dance of Death”) apparently lasted for several hours. (There was an article I read from 1931 about “Betty” and a heretofore unknown other “sibling” named “Babe” Fox who defied a judge’s injunction to prohibit the two from engaging in a 100-hour marathon-dance stunt on a 35-inch platform 50 feet in the air in cold, wet, and windy Texarkana. Seems like a bad idea, but, apparently, they didn’t die. (…Or maybe they did and just got a new “Betty” and “Babe” and carried on to the next gig.)

Princeton University estimated the date of the photo to be around 1930. I think it might have been 1935. The two classified ads below in which Benny seeks Dallas promoters for their local event, were from the end of 1935. (The event was sponsored by a Dallas newspaper — it obviously wasn’t the DMN, because there was no story about the Foxes in their pages.) The newspaper photo below the ads shows the then-current version of Betty and Benny, and they look like the couple in the Princeton photo. 

fox-benny_dmn_112735Dallas Morning News, Nov. 27, 1935

fox-benny_dmn_120735DMN, Dec. 7, 1935

fox_atlanta-constitution_050335Atlanta Constitution, May 3, 1935

Yes, that caption says they performed for SIX HOURS.

I’m not sure how long “Betty and Benny” lasted, but they were back in Dallas in 1957 performing at a week-long carnival in Wynnewood Shopping Center. I bet there were more “Bettys” than “Perunas.”

Here’s some newsreel footage of one of the Betty and Benny incarnations doing their thing in Chicago. (Seriously, if you’ve got even a hint of a fear of heights, look away!!!)

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So where was that photo at the top taken? I’m estimating the camera was on the top of a building at, roughly, Griffin and Pacific, looking in a northerly direction. At the top right, the tall building farthest away is the First Methodist Episcopal Church (now First United Methodist) at Ross and Harwood. It’s hard to see any streets, but the two running diagonally are Camp and Patterson. A few addresses of businesses seen in the photo:

  • Dallas Art Glass Co.: 1408 Camp
  • Steger Transfer Co.: 1305 Camp
  • Texas Hosiery: 1200 Camp/1201 Patterson
  • Texas Paper Co.: 1200 Patterson, extending to Pacific

A 1921 Sanborn map is here. A detail from a 1952 Mapsco is below.

fox_mapsco_1952_camp-patterson-griffin1952 Mapsco (det)

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I’m not sure why Princeton has this photo in their collection, but I really enjoyed reading about Benny and his “Bettys.”

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Sources & Notes

Top photo — “View of a Texas city, possibly Dallas” — is from the Western Americana Collection, Princeton University Library Special Collections; more information on this photo can be found on the Princeton website here.

See several “action” photos of Benny and Betty from GettyImages here.

Read the very entertaining “Sky Dancers Betty and Benny Fox” by Alan E. Hunter, here.

Another story I wrote concerning an “endurance” stunt (which, like this one, also makes me feel a little panicky) is “Buried Alive at the Fair Park Midway — 1946.” 

fox-betty-benny_princeton-univ_nd_det

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Gaston-Carroll Pharmacy — ca. 1929

gaston-carroll-pharmacy_1929_joe-windrow_dallasFBCurb service at Gaston and Carroll…

by Paula Bosse

I received an email the other day from Melissa Maher asking about the building which houses the new shop she owns with her business partner, Chelsea Callahan-Haag: East Dallas Vintage, at 4418 Gaston Avenue. Next door, on the corner, is Ross Demers’ new restaurant, Cry Wolf (4422 Gaston). Surprisingly, I had two photos of the building from the 1920s!

The building is on the southwest corner of Gaston and N. Carroll in Old East Dallas and was built in 1925. The first mention I found was from a classified ad in The Dallas Morning News in February, 1902 — a “for sale” ad for the lot boasted that it had “city sewer” and that it was “fine, very fine for you and your friend to build two fine houses” (which is an unusual sales tactic). The price was $3,850 — if you believe the accuracy of inflation calculators, that would be the equivalent of about $125,000 in today’s money.

1902_gaston-carroll_dmn_081802Dallas Morning News, Aug. 18, 1902

In 1907 it was reported that attorney N. Lawrence Lindsley was building a house on the large lot, for the equivalent of about $250,000 (add that amount to the cost of the land…). Before 1911, the address was 668 Gaston Avenue — after 1911 the address became 4418 Gaston. Over the years, the house passed through several owners until the large, stately 3-story home had been broken up into apartments in the 1920s (see the house on a 1922 Sanborn map here). In 1925, the house went on the market.

A CORNER ON GASTON WITH A FUTURE
Southwest corner of Gaston and Carroll. Has three-story well-built house bringing $100 monthly rental or 8.5 per cent on price of $14,000. Lot 90x125x160. When Gaston is opened through to Pacific this will be one of the best corners in East Dallas for stores. Call H. K. Dunham, exclusive agent. […] Do not bother tenant. No trade. Seay-Cranfill Co. Realtors. (Feb. 8, 1925)

It was snapped up fast. A mere ten days later, a Texas charter notice appeared in newspapers for Gaston Avenue Investment Company, owners of the property. The 18-year-old house was promptly razed, and a building containing space for four shops opened in June. 

The grand opening was broadcast live on WFAA radio on June 27, 1925, with music performed by Jack Gardner and his orchestra. Quite a do.

1925_gaston-carroll_dmn_062725DMN, June 27, 1925

The original businesses were:

4414: Piggly Wiggly grocery store (now a Domino’s Pizza)
4418: Long’s Helpy-Selfy (a “serve-yourself” no-frills grocery)
4420: Johnson’s Superior Market, Otto S. Johnson, prop. (um, another grocery)
4422: Gaston-Carroll Pharmacy, C. L. Watts, prop. (with a soda fountain)

The Gaston-Carroll Pharmacy was on the corner, and that’s what we see in the photos above and below, taken about 1929 when Bill Windrow had taken over as president, manager, and druggist. An 11-year-old relative, Rollen Joseph “Joe” Windrow, worked as a carhop. Above, we see Joe “hopping”; below, Bill and Joe, stand on the sidewalk in front of the pharmacy.

gaston-carroll-pharmacy_dallasFB_bill-and-joe-windrow_str

Joe lived nearby on Swiss Avenue and later went to Woodrow Wilson High School. He grew up to be a handsome young man.

windrow-joe_woodrow_football_1936Joe Windrow, Woodrow Wilson High School, 1936

windrow-joe_tx-a-and-m_1941Joe Windrow, Texas A&M, 1941

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Over the years, the space on the right (4414 Gaston) was most often a grocery store (Piggly Wiggly, Safeway, Tom Thumb), and the space on the corner was a pharmacy for at least 60 years (Gaston-Carroll, Marvin’s, Walgreens, Taylor’s, and Felty’s). The middle shops were a variety of businesses, with one of the spaces apparently being absorbed into another.

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The building received a nice makeover recently. The Google Street Views below show July 2018 (before), and March 2019 (after).

gaston-carroll_google-street-view_july-2018._march-2019Google Street View: 2018, 2019

Melissa Maher, one of the proprietors of East Dallas Vintage (now occupying 4418 Gaston) sent me the following photos (from the end of 2021, I believe), showing her space and the space next door (Cry Wolf, 4422, in the old pharmacy location on the corner). She was wondering if there had been a basement in the building. It seems unlikely, but if anyone has any info, I’m sures she’d love to know.

2021_gaston-carroll_melissa-maher_1photo: Melissa Maher

2021_gaston-carroll_melissa-maher_2photo: Melissa Maher

2021_gaston-carroll_melissa-maher_3photo: Melissa Maher

2021_gaston-carroll_melissa-maher_4photo: Melissa Maher

2021_gaston-carroll_melissa-maher_5photo: Melissa Maher

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Thanks for asking about this, Melissa! I had always meant to write something about the Gaston-Carroll Pharmacy and post these 1929 photos — and this was a great opportunity to use them. I hope to visit your shop sometime!

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Sources & Notes

The top two photos were found on a Dallas history Facebook group, but I’m not sure which one. They were posted in 2015, and I’m unable to find them now. I believe they were found by the original poster on Ancestry.com. Luckily, I had noted the names “Windrow,” “Joe,” and “Bill,” because I now know more about the Windrows than a non-Wiindrow needs to know — I can definitely verify that the circa-1920 photos are of the Gaston-Carroll Pharmacy. I’m still not sure of the relationship between Bill and Joe (there were a lot of Windrows…) — possibly uncle and nephew, or maybe cousins.

Thanks again to Melissa Maher for her photos. Go see her and Chelsea Callahan-Haag at East Dallas Vintage.

I couldn’t find any photos of the home of N. Lawrence Lindsley — I know they’re out there somewhere! I’d love to see one. If you know of any, please let me know!

Of related interest, the other half of that block in which this building is located was once home to a truly palatial home, built by Thomas Field. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. See the house in the Flashback Dallas post “Junius Heights … Adjacent!”

Also, catty-corner from this building is the former Brink’s restaurant. Way back, though, it was once the site of another grand residence — a home which became the Spann Sanitarium about the same time that the little strip of shops was built (I keep meaning to write about this sanitarium…):

spann-sanitarium_postcard

gaston-carroll-pharmacy_1929_dallasFB_det_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“No Mice, No Flies, No Caffeine, No Cocaine” — 1911

ad_dr-pepper_dmn_031911“Come and see.”

by Paula Bosse

Dallas did not become the official home of Dr Pepper until the summer of 1923, when Dallas banker S. W. Sibley acquired the bankrupt Circle-A Corporation (a Waco manufacturer of soft drinks, including Dr Pepper) for $264,500 — this bought him formulas, trademarks, and the company’s three plants (in Waco, St. Louis, and Dallas). The headquarters was promptly moved to Dallas. 

But 12 years earlier, the ad above — from the March 19, 1911 edition of The Dallas Morning News — caught my eye. Here’s the text: 

DRINK DR. PEPPER
FREE FROM CAFFEINE AND COCAINE
BUMBLEBEES, FLIES, MICE, etc.

See Waco Times-Herald, March 17, for Report of Governance Trial of Caffeine Beverages, now going on at Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Home of Dr. Pepper is the Most Sanitary Factory in America. We Invite Inspection by City, State or National Inspectors, or the General Public.

No Mice — No Flies — No Caffeine — No Cocaine.

Come and see.

DR. PEPPER CO.
Waco, U.S.A.

Yes, at the time U.S. food manufacturers — in response to the Pure Food and Drug Act — went out of their way to tout their products as being “pure” and their super-sanitary factories as being so sparklingly clean you could eat off the floor without fear of contamination… but having the words “no mice, no flies” in an advertisement seems to be going an extra mile that didn’t need to be taken. This ad was in response to a newsworthy trial which had just begun in Chattanooga in which the United States was suing the Coca Cola company for what they felt was deceptive labeling and its use of possibly “injurious” amounts of caffeine, etc. (Coke won.) The trial was something of a sensation, and I’m sure DP was all about nipping any collateral damage in the bud before anyone started wondering about their product, “the pure food beverage”:

dr-pepper_dmn_070911_adDallas Morning News, July 9, 1911

dr-pepper_FWST_032611_adFort Worth Star-Telegram, March 26, 1911

“Free from Caffeine and Cocaine — and always has been.” (No mention of always having been free of vermin and insects….)

dr-pepper_el-paso-herald_063011_adEl Paso Herald, June 30, 1911

dr-pepper_new-logo_logos-dot-world-dot-net1911, new logo

No bumblebees here, bud. Nothing to see. Move along.

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Sources & Notes

Sources of ads noted above.

Dr Pepper logo (which was used from 1911 to 1934) found here.

Read about the trial — which was officially “The United States vs. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca Cola” — in a Time magazine article here

More Flashback Dallas posts on Dallas’ favorite fizzy hometown concoction can be found here.

ad_dr-pepper_dmn_031911_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Entertainment Awards — 1961

dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_cover_SMUAnd the winner is…

by Paula Bosse

Here’s an interesting piece of Dallas entertainment history: a program for the 1961 Dallas Entertainment Awards, held in the Century Room, the swanky nightclub in the Adolphus Hotel. The awards were nicknamed “the Billy award,” or “the Billys.” Dresscode: “semi-formal.” Here are a few highlights.

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BEST RADIO PERSONALITY

Nominees are: Nick Ramsey (KVIL), Ted Cassidy (“Profile of an Orchestra,” WFAA), Meg Healy (KIXL), Hugh Lampman (“Music ’til Dawn,” KRLD — the previous year’s winner), Irving Harrigan & Tom Murphy (“Murphy and Harrigan Show,” KLIF), Jim Lowe (WRR), and Chem Terry (KRLD). 

So – Ted Cassidy? Yes, that is the same Ted Cassidy who later played “Lurch” on TV in The Addams Family (he also played “Thing”). He worked for WFAA radio for a few years and is a trivia answer in JFK-related quizzes regarding Dallas media coverage of the assassination.

cassidy-ted_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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BEST MALE VOCALIST

Nominees are: Mark Carroll, Marty Ross, Earl Humphreys (the previous year’s winner), Skip Fletcher, Charlie Applewhite, Ron Shipman, and Trini Lopez.

Skip Fletcher? Yes, a member of those Fletchers. When he wasn’t frying up corny dogs he did a little singing, and even released at least one 45.

fletcher-skip_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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R. J. O’DONNELL MEMORIAL AWARD FOR SHOWMAN OF THE YEAR

Nominees are: Tom Hughes, Paul Baker, Raiberto Comini, Lanham Deal, Norma Young, Pearl Chappell, and Lawrence Kelly. (The previous year’s winner was Charles R. Meeker Jr.) A few names there which should be familiar to aficionados of Dallas live theater.

hughes-tom_paul-baker_raiberto-comini_lanham-deal_norma-young_charles-meeker_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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Producers of the event were Breck Wall and Joe Peterson, creators of the naughty “Bottoms Up” revue, which is probably still running somewhere. Some biographical information on the pair (click for larger image):

wall-breck_joe-peterson_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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Master of Ceremonies was Tony Zoppi, who wrote a column about the local nightclub scene for The Dallas Morning News. Whenever I read his old columns, I think that he must have had the BEST job in town — writing about the Dallas nightlife scene when it was at its sophisticated and sometimes seedy Mad Men-era apex.

zoppi-tony_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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And — a bit of a change of pace — a little bio of real estate titan Leo Corrigan, who owned the Adolphus, where the show was being held — he was, unsurprisingly, receiving an “Appreciation Award.”

corrigan-leo_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

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And a couple of drawings of Dallas entertainment notables: Pappy Dolson, owner of Pappy’s Showland and legendary agent of strippers, and Joe Reichman, the leader of the Century Room orchestra who was billed as “the Pagliacci of the piano.”

pappy_pappys_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU

reichman-joe_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU

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A few interesting ads include a little “howdy” from Jack Ruby (who was well known to several of the people mentioned above, some of whom testified to the Warren Commission about their relationships with him). 

ruby-jack_new-carousel_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU

An ad for Villa Fontana, a gay club, formerly known as Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (The Bull on the Roof), then managed by Bob Strange. Gay clubs were illegal at the time, so you didn’t see a lot of ads for them. (I wrote an article for Central Track about some of the gay clubs in Dallas in the early ’70s — with photos — here.)

villa-fontana_gay-cllub_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU

And, the 24-hour greasy spoon known to generations of Dallasites, Oak Lawn’s Lucas B & B.

lucas-b-and-b_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_bw

Here’s the photo enlarged. Unless something earth-shattering has happened that I don’t know about, that great sign is still standing on Oak Lawn near Lemmon, long after the restaurant closed.

lucas-b-and-b_dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_SMU_det

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See the rest of the 44-page program — lots more photos, lots more nominees — in a PDF from the DeGolyer Library at SMU, here.

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Sources & Notes

All images are from “Dallas Entertainment Awards — 1961,” from the Diane Wisdom Papers, Archives of Women of the Southwest, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries; more information and a link to the fully-scanned program is here.

dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_cover_SMU_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

New Year’s Day in Dallas: Black-Eyed Peas and the Cotton Bowl Classic — 1960

new-years-day_cotton-bowl_football_shamrock-magazine_1959

by Paula Bosse

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What better time to share this seasonal article from the Christmas, 1959 edition of The Shamrock:

Next to a helping of black-eyed peas, about the most important thing to Texans on New Year’s Day is a good football bowl game. And to Texans, there is no bowl game more important than the Cotton Bowl contest played each year in Dallas. Many even would rather do without their “black-eyes” than to miss this annual grid classic. 

Texans have long been noted for their bragging and their love of football. In the Cotton Bowl game, they believe they have something which warrants a little boasting. Since 1937 when the classic was inaugurated, they have succeeded in showing the nation that they, too, can stage top grid productions.

There’s more to the Cotton Bowl Festival than a football game, however. The host city of Dallas resembles a three-ring circus during the week preceding the big game. The game is played on New Year’s Day except when that holiday falls on Sunday. In that event, it is played on Monday, January 2.

The list of events for Cotton Bowl Week this year contains something of interest for all visitors. The National Finals Rodeo, the first “world series of rodeo,” will be staged in the new State Fair Livestock Coliseum, December 26-30. The popular Broadway production, “My Fair Lady,” will be presented by the national company of the show in the State Fair Music Hall all during the week.

There will be a fashion show for the ladies and the Texas sportwriters will sponsor the annual Texas Sports Hall of Fame luncheon, honoring great athletes and coaches of the past. There will also be college and high school basketball tournaments, a tennis tournament, and a bowling tournament. 

The big event prior to the game will come on New Year’s Eve with the annual Cotton Bowl Festival parade through downtown Dallas. Bands will play, colorful floats will be displayed and the Cotton Bowl Queen will make an official appearance, along with the many princesses representing each school in the Southwest Conference. 

The Cotton Bowl game was conceived and originally promoted as a private enterprise by J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas businessman. The first game was played on January 1, 1937, and featured Texas Christian University and Marquette University. TCU, with L. D. Meyer scoring two touchdowns, a field goal and a conversion, defeated Marquette, 16 – 6. 

The classic eventually became a Dallas civic enterprise, produced under the auspices of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. The CBAA later became an agency of the Southwest Athletic Conference. Thus the Southwest Conference sponsors and controls the event, making it unique among all post-season games. The Conference voted in 1942 to send its championship team to the Cotton Bowl game as hosts. The opposition is chosen from the top teams in the nation. 

The Cotton Bowl Stadium has a seating capacity of 75,504 fans. At $5.50 a seat, that represents close to half a million dollars in receipts. Each competing team receives 39 per cent of the gate with seven per cent earmarked to be paid toward retiring the bonded indebtedness on the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The remaining 22 per cent goes to the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. After paying the expenses for the year, the Association gives the remainder of its income to the Southwest Conference. 

Thus each team in the eight-school league realizes a financial assistance from the annual classic. 

A helping of black-eyed peas and a serving of Cotton Bowl football are two items most Southwesterners like on their New Year’s Day menu.

new-years-day_cotton-bowl_football_shamrock-magazine_1959_b***

Sources & Notes

This article is from the Christmas, 1959 edition of The Shamrock, the quarterly publication of the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corporation; this magazine is part of the Southwest Collection, Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University — the entire issue has been scanned and may be viewed as a PDF here.

new-years-day_cotton-bowl_football_shamrock-magazine_1959_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Christmas at NorthPark — 1970s

xmas_northpark_trees_1971_instagramA familiar scene to Dallas shoppers

by Paula Bosse

NorthPark was the mall of my childhood — in fact, I don’t recall my family going to any other mall. I loved going there at Christmastime — to see the decorations, to watch a puppet show, to slide down those pillars, and, of course, to visit Santa. These photos from the Instagram feed of NorthPark Center are very nostalgic. 

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Above, 1971. How to get to Santa: take a right at the fountain, walk and walk (…and walk) — things start picking up the closer you get to Neiman’s — hang a right at N-M, and there he is!

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Admiring a snowman, ca. 1970.

xmas_northpark_snowman_1970_instagram

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Also admiring a “tree” suspended over one of the iconic NP fountains, ca. 1970.

xmas_northpark_fountain_1968_instagram

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If you’ve been to NorthPark at Christmas you’ve seen the aerial display of Santa and his sleigh being whisked away by flying reindeer. This is NorthPark Center’s caption from Instagram: “Flying high over Neiman Marcus Fountain Court, the vintage Candy Santa and Pecan Reindeer installation has been a special part of NorthPark’s holiday tradition since 1965. The handcrafted display, consisting of real pecans, almonds, red and black licorice, marshmallows, sour cherries, raisins, and other candies, portrays Santa and his reindeer on their way to deliver presents to children all over the world.” Those pecan-studded reindeer really fascinated me as a kid. (The photo below is undated.)

xmas_northpark_santa-and-reindeer_instagram

1970:

xmas_northpark_girl-reindeer_pinterestvia NorthPark’s Pinterest page

1972:

xmas_northpark_santa_sleigh_1972_instagram

They’re still flying high, to the delight of 21st-century children:

xmas_northpark_santa-and-reindeer_color_present_instagram

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And, lastly, what every child saw before and after a holiday visit to NorthPark. When your car pulled into a parking spot you were filled with excited anticipation, and when you left, you were over-stimulated and exhausted. But happy.

xmas_northpark-parking-lot_ca-1974_instagram

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

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Sources & Notes

Unless otherwise noted, all photos from the Instragram feed of @NorthParkCenter

See many, many more Flashback Dallas Christmas posts from years gone by here.

xmas_northpark_trees_1971_instagram_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Bob Lilly, Chap Stick User — 1968

cowboys_bob-lilly_chapstick_1968-ad_2

by Paula Bosse

Must’ve been the Moistutane®.

cowboys_bob-lilly_chapstick_1968-ad_1_ebay

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Sources & Notes

Ads found on eBay.

cowboys_bob-lilly_chapstick_1968-ad_2_det

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Gene de Jean Lifts a Curse on Dallas — 1970

gene-de-jean_WFAA_090470Curse lifted — all in a day’s work…

by Paula Bosse

On Sept. 4, 1970, at the corner of Commerce and Ervay, a “white-magic warlock” named Gene de Jean conducted a ceremony to lift a heinous curse placed on Dallas in 1963 by a somewhat vague “malevolent black-magic coven” — this curse, which, uncoincidentally, preceded the JFK assassination, had apparently hung over the city for 7 long years. Fortunately, the media had been alerted, and we have film footage of the historic occasion in which a mysterious warlock lifted a nasty curse which no one in Dallas knew had been cast in the first place.

Do-gooding warlock Gene de Jean arrived in a “velvetized Cadillac” (a Cadillac COVERED IN BLACK VELVET!) with a be-robed bell-ringing acolyte, and, with Neiman-Marcus in the background, he uttered a few incantations and proclaimed the curse lifted. He also “blessed” a few random people in the crowd for good measure before walking back to the waiting velvetized warlock-mobile, his job done. In his wake there was much rejoicing and/or confused looks exchanged on Commerce Street. Thank you Mr. de Jean!

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In something of a kill-joy article, the Associated Press revealed that “Gene de Jean” was a warlock stage-name. In non-warlock life he was Gene McIntosh, mild-mannered Houston psychologist. When pressed by the reporter, Gene said that it was “pure coincidence” that the Texas Association of Magicians was wrapping up its 25th annual convention 2 blocks away at the Statler Hilton (which can be seen in the background of the footage). So, yes, Gene McIntosh and Lee Thompson (the bell-ringing “acolyte”) were well-known Houston magicians/illusionists in town for a magicians’ convention. And — why not? — a friendly curse-lifting.

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Here’s the footage — at the 12:19 mark — captured by a WFAA-Channel 8 News cameraman for posterity.

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And a few screenshots of the warlock in action.

gene-de-jean_WFAA_090470_1

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gene-de-jean_dallas_090470-shutterstock_ferd-kaufmanAssociated Press photo by Ferd Kaufman

gene-de-jean_WFAA_090470_velvetized-caddySeriously — how do you cover a car with velvet?

Voilà! Curse lifted!

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Doing a little research, I have to say, when I came across the photo below, I felt a twinge of betrayal. Or at least disappointment. It shows Gene de Jean on the streets of Milwaukee (Milwaukee?!!) in June, 1970. The guy in the sunglasses is also seen with him in Dallas. The caption of this photo: “A self-described warlock (male witch) in black flowing cape bestowed a blessing right here in Old Milwaukee Tuesday. Gene De Jean blessed the city and a number of passersby at N. 3rd St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. He was in town for a magician’s convention.” Was it all just a schtick, Gene? And I thought we had something special.

gene-de- jean_milwaukee_june-1970via Wisconsin Historical Society

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Sources & Notes

Video and screenshots are from the WFAA NewsFilm Collection, G. William Jones Film Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University; the footage is from Sept. 4, 1970 and can be found on YouTube here (clip begins as the 12:19 mark).

When I posted a version of this on my Facebook page a few weeks ago, David B. commented with a couple of informative links about Gene McIntosh (who died in 2006): this overview of his career as a magician, and this tale of a stunt he performed while driving from Houston to Dallas in 1959, blindfolded the whole way. RIP, Gene.

gene-de-jean_WFAA_090470 sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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.

sfot_dallas-magazine_sept-1959_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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