HOW THE PUNKS CAME TO KICKERVILLE

One of the most curious aspects of a curious event, the Sex Pistols’ January 10 concert in Dallas, was the fact that the concert was staged at the Longhorn Ballroom, long-time bastion of North Central Texas redneckdom. It is difficult to conceive of a more distinctive cultural clash than British Punks in Kickerville. How in the world, we wondered, did Johnny Rotten and band end up in the Longhorn Ballroom?

Simple. It was an accident.

Doug Groom, son of Ballroom owner Dewey Groom, explains that not long ago they got a call from Stone City Attractions, an entertainment promo group out of San Antonio. The Stone City people explained that they were looking for a place in Dallas to book their acts, since their former outlet, The Electric Ballroom (just down Industrial Boulevard from the Longhorn), had recently closed down. The Grooms noted that their Ballroom is regularly closed on Monday and Tuesday nights and so would be available for special events then, citing January 9th and 10th as their next openings. Stone City said they’d take Tuesday the 10th. The Grooms said fine. But didn’t ask who.

A week before the concert, the Grooms discovered they were hosting the notorious, ill-tempered Sex Pistols. “Of course at first,” says Doug, “I didn’t know who the hell they were. Then we started hearing the bad stories and got on the line quick to Stone City. But they assured us it was all a bunch of publicity bull. Which it was. We didn’t have any problems. Stone City paid for all the extra security, but it wasn’t even needed.”

Considering the crowd of 1,800, the Ballroom cash register likely didn’t fare too badly. “Well, we didn’t lose money,” says Doug. “In fact we made money because of all the publicity we got. But never again.”

HEARD ON THE STREET…

. . . The public relations firm of Glenn, Bozell & Jacobs has recently hired Dallas socialite Annette Strauss. Considering Mrs. Strauss’ incredible track record as a charity and cultural arts fund raiser, many in the PR biz think that GB&J have pulled off the coup of the year.

. . . No less than the New York Times recently featured a story on Dallas native Hugh Prather. Prather, 40, grandson of the developer of Highland Park Shopping Village, at first followed the family’s Dallas real estate footsteps, but didn’t fare well and, at age 24, packed up and eventually landed in Santa Fe where he began writing. His three books (in the introspective, philosophical, self-help vein) are hot sellers. The Times calls him an “American Khalil Gibran.” “Nonsense,” says Prather. “I’m not a cult leader. I have no following.”

… Some months ago, many Dallas media people were surprised to find in their mail a complimentary “Key” to the new Dallas Playboy Club. They were even more surprised a few months later when they found in their mail a bill for $25 for the Key. A few days later, each received an apology for the incorrect bill. No wonder Playboy, Inc. is in trouble.

. . . Dallas News sports-writer Bob St. John, after many years of covering the Dallas Cowboys, is hanging up his cleats and taking over the Texana column vacated by Frank X. Tolbert. St. John’s replacement was uncertain at press time, but best guess from News sources was Carlton Stowers. Curiously, talk was that neither Stowers nor Steve Pate, the two prime candidates, was too excited about the job. Seems the glamour of the Cowboy beat is eventually outweighed by the tedium.

. . . Former Rebublican Congressman Alan Steelman has been working on a pilot for Channel 13 entitled “Here. Sir. The People Govern.” a documentary on how Congress works. Both Steel-man and the station had high hopes, with an eye on a series to be produced by 13 for PBS. But when station manager Ed Pfister reviewed the pilot, he was apparently disappointed and killed the project. The pilot alone Was a costly affair, and nobody seems quite willing to say what went wrong.

… Dick West recently retired as editorial director of the Dallas News, but he hasn’t disappeared entirely into the city’s shadows. Recently he resurfaced as foreman of the County grand jury for January. Interestingly, he will likely be foreman when the case of News reporter Don Fisher (p. 17) comes up for hearing. West is expected to remove himself from deliberations in that case.

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