About This Blog

This blog features: neighborhood restaurants, nearby restaurants, downtown restaurants, Casa View Shopping Center, nearby shopping, Downtown shops.

I will first list places and my connections with them. For the spirit of completeness, I will then list other places, known to me but not visited. I choose not to list the unknown.

I like the section entitled Places I Wish I Had Visited.

My focus is places and locations which existed from 1953, when I moved to Dallas, until 1965, when I graduated from high school. This list will continue with my college years, until I turned 21. I left Dallas in 1969 and, as I did not return except to visit my parents until 1973, my memory of East Dallas ends at that time.

Some categories were easy to separate – restaurants and shopping. Some experiences are not so easy to categorize, but are still meaningful. They may be all lumped in together, and then teased out as other connections are made.

Music wise, we may have thought we were born of the “wrong generation.” I always thought the older generation (i.e. 3 to 4 years older than me) had a richer and deeper experience.

But we, the beginning of the Baby Boomer generation, had it best – stable family life, rising expectations for the middle class and parents who wanted to give so much to their children, which most did not have in their childhood. We were left to play and roam outdoors to make our own fun. We had the best toys and the best music.

And yet we lived in tumultuous times – the Cold War, Civil Rights, Integration and the Kennedy Assassination through the killings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Hopefully we came out as loving, caring, sharing adults whose experiences made us better people and gave us the ability to show appreciation and gratitude for the neighborhood and experiences which enriched us and our loved ones.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Downtown Dallas in the Early 60s

The Downtown Dallas Burlesque scene was comprised of three clubs.  Barney Weinstein owned The Theater Lounge, his brother Abe owned The Colony Blub, and a Chicago transplant named Jack Ruby owned The Carousel Club.

The Colony and Carousel were located across the street from the Adolphus Hotel and separated by a parking lot serving patrons at both clubs.  The Theater Lounger was located on Jackson street, a five minute walk south.

Ruby was trying to play catch up with the Weinsteins, who had been anchored in Dallas long before him.  the clubs operated by the same rules shared the same crowds, were visited by the same police, were governed by the same entertainment guild, and sometimes shared dancers.

Ruby first opened his club on Commerce Street as The Sovereign Club, offering private memberships which allowed members the privilege and convenience of being served mixed drinks.

But it didn't work.  BYOB was uniformly preferred.  So, with a little ink and a new look, The Sovereign Club became The Carousel Club.

Beverly Oliver performed originally for The Theater Lounge at age 14 as the Masked Debutante.  the Colony Club and The Theater Lounge staggered Amateur Night and showtimes, which provided the Weinsteins the flexibility of sharing their dancers.

She had met Jack Ruby during this time, introducing herself as Bixie Bonham.  She became a singer at Abe's Colony Club and never took her clothes off.  She never performed at Ruby's club.

A new theme park had opened which a school teacher friend, Richard McMahan, told Beverly about.  he has worked there the previous summer and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When another friend, Joe Pooyey (Johnny Dallas), told her they were looking for singers, she decided to try out for the auditions.

With her experience she thought the job was in the palm of her hand, and a few minutes into her song and dance, it was - she became a singer at The Crazy Horse Saloon.  The show was 40 minutes long, with a 20 minute break, 10 shows a day.

She was fired after a Six Flags official found out that she had performed at a downtown Dallas club.  She talked with Abe and became a singer at The Colony Club.

The Colony Club was located at 1322 1/2 Commerce Street across from the Adolphus Hotel.  The 1/2 in the address meant there were stairs involved.  The staircase leading up to the club was covered with thick, plush red carpet, interrupted by a small hallway.

Even though Beverly was a singer, she had to follow the rules the dancers followed:  two girls could not be on stage at the same time, no flesh-colored G-strings and no aureolas showing around the pasties.  No pubic hair at all.  No touching one's breasts  No crotch-grabbing.  No tips.

The third floor also accommodated the dressing rooms and a shower.  There was one community dressing room for all the dancers.  Beverly, Wally (the comedian) and Chris Colt had a private dressing room.

Everyone relished their favorite dancers, but Chris Colt and her "forty fives" brought men in by the truckloads.  Chris favored short western skirts, white boots, and standing still, she had a flair for getting everyone's attention.  She was well-sculptured.  There wasn't a blemish on her entire body.

Bubbles Cash, another blonde bombshell, drew crowds from clear across Texas.  She was so gorgeous that men did double-takes to ensure that she wasn't a mirage.  Toi Rebel, spice and nice.  A delicate, saucy and tempered young woman she was a stick of dynamite who every man wanted to pick up and take home.  Rounding out the top dancers was Toni Turner.

Beverly often met Jack Ruby after work.  Jack would stay up all night and then go have breakfast at Denny's over by Love Field, the Dobb's House on Cedar Springs, or at Lucas B & B on Oak Lawn.

The Egyptian was inconspicuously nestled in the middle of a cluster o retail stores on Mockingbird Lane, across the street from the Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant.

A landmark restaurant the Egyptian served hot Italian dished to a unique cross-section of who's who and who's not in Dallas  Crowds were always spilling out of the small sheltered entrance onto the sidewalk outside.

Most everyone knew the Egyptian was a gathering place for the Mob, or so the rumor was whispered.  Most people didn't know how the rumor actually got started or if it was really true.  But, whatever, it added to the atmosphere.

The covered foyer to the restaurant was brick, painted in the colors of Italy.  The dining areas were served by two red doors separated by a brick column.  The door on the left was the main entrance.  The door on the right was an exit for some or a  one-way private entrance for others.

The inside of the restaurant was cozy: black linoleum floor, black Formica table tops, trimmed in aluminum.  As you walked in, there were seven booths on the right, another four booth were lined up against the wall on the left and six tables spaced tightly in between.

A full service bar, with seven bar stools, operated at full speed in the left corner across from another large booth.  Each booth had an individual jukebox attached to the wall.  A lot of change clanked to the bottom of the coin boxes by people mistakenly thinking they were going to hear the words to the music.

Three-quarters of the way down the right inside wall of the restaurant, just before the last booth, was the entryway to the back dining lounge.  It was actually a side dining area but was referred to as the back room.

The short hallway heading back to the front door to the other dining room was littered with black-framed pictures arranged in a casual gallery which over the years spilled out into the dining room.

--Nightmare in Dallas

Following excerpts are from:

Nightmare in Dallas, Beverly Oliver with Coke Buchanan.  Extreme Service, first printing Oct 1999.  Second printing Aug 2003.

Beverly Oliver has "The Babushka Lady" of Kennedy Assassination fame.  She was a personal friend of Jack Ruby, married to a Mafia figure and a key witness to the Kennedy Assassination.

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