Friday, October 14, 2011

Fair Park Auditorium

I knew that Pan Am Casino looked familiar. Now I know why. It's the Fair Park Music Hall in disguise. Originally called the Fair Park Auditorium, the music hall was built in 1925 at a cost of $500,000. It could seat 5000 people and was dedicated during the State Fair of 1925. The building is designed in the Spanish Baroque style with Moorish influences. The "Casino" sign was probably affixed for the duration of the 1937 State Fair.

See the Music Hall's site for more details on this great old building. I attended my first symphony at this place when I was in grade school and later I saw my first opera here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pan American Casino

Maybe the word "Casino" had a different meaning in the 1930. Maybe you couldn't use the phrase "dance hall".  At any rate, this building at Fair Park wasn't a gambler's mecca, but a venue for musical entertainments. Dance bands and orchestras were the order of the day, and at the beginning of the 1937 State Fair (in early August back then) the Rudy Vallee Orchestra played. For 50 cents you could buy a ticket to NOT dance.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Midway - State Fair of 1937

The Midway in color! Sideshows were still a big draw, and you can see "Monsters of the Lost Kingdom" on the left, as well as Ripley's "odditorium" in the foreground.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Midway - State Fair of 1936

The photo is not very revealing, although some art deco buildings are evidenced by the "tiered cake" coffee house under the Texaco sign (or was that a GLO cleaners building?" The sign for Little America peeks just above the horizon line at the left.

According to a 2006 Dallas Morning news article by Katie Menzer, there were some more colorful activities for fairgoers to enjoy. She says peep shows and dancing girls were standard fare from the 1800s up until at least the 1960s.

"At Sally Rand's Nude Ranch, 23 scantily clad girls played tennis and pingpong. They shared the stage with a pair of donkeys (the "dude ranch" part of the Nude Ranch). Gypsy Rose Lee strutted her stuff. And Corinne the Apple Dancer stripped almost to the core."

"Mlle. Corinne, apple-dancing star of the Streets of All Nations (she was actually from Kaufmann), performed as usual in nothing more than a g-string and a ball somewhat larger than an apple"Mona Lleslie of the Streets of Paris performed her customary rise from the watery depths in no more than a g-string and a heavy coat of olive oil."

I don't remember ANYthing like that from my visits to the Fair.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Big Tex 2

A view of Big Tex similar to one I posted in October 2009. The two shots are so alike I think they must have been taken by the same photographer on the same day. The credit on the other postcard was Stryker. There was a Fort Worth photographer, John Strkyer, who shot rodeo pics for postcards in the 40s or 50s. It's possible these two Strykers are the same person.

Friday, October 7, 2011

State Fair of Texas

Entrance to the State Fair, probably pre 1920. The Coliseum Building is on the left. Note the Interurban car at lower left. I wonder if it was Texas-OU weekend?

The Turntable Record Store

Located at 4228 Oak Lawn just south of the "T" where Herschel Avenue ends and across the street from the existing Faulkner's Fine Dry Cleaning.  The strip mall which lives there now looks new, so any original structures are probably long gone. Then as now, however, the location was home to a hodge-podge of ever-changing businesses.

In early 1944 you could find the Ki-Hi-Merry-Go-Round, a Kiwanis youth club, at this address, and later a Stauffer's System spa where you could tone muscles and reduce fat as you were massaged by a state-of-the-art contraption.

The Turntable opened February 2, 1945 and probably closed in the first months of 1951. Although its ads touted it as a "self selection record store" that carried RCA and Decca records, The Turntable's main business was probably selling radio consoles. (A friend told me, "Our parents didn't buy electronics; they bought furniture.") One item the store advertised was this Bendix "space saving" radio-record player for $179.95.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Downtown Trolley

Postcard depicting trolley. The car looks a lot like the ones used for the Interurban system. I am still researching where this scene may have been located. Wild guess is Main or Elm street.

I know I have not been posting lately, but I still have a lot of stuff in my files waiting, and hope to get some more things up.