Q & A

Q Whatever happened to those wonderful Art Nouveauish statues of nymphs with windblown hair that used to sit in the fountains on Bishop Boulevard at SMU?

A As always in such matters, there’s an Official Explanation, and then there’s the Truth. The Official Explanation is that the statues, donated by an influential alumnus, were made of materials that didn’t stand the weather well, so they were taken down and put in storage where they will probably stay, since the damage is said to be irreparable. The Truth (of the “if you quote me, I’ll kill you” variety) is that the SMU art department was embarrassed by the statues, finding them of inferior artistic quality, and certainly not a match for the works by Henry Moore, Maillol, Giacometti, and other sculptors in the courtyard of the Owen Art Center facing the mall.

Q How many restaurants are there in Dallas and how many are added each year?

A According to the City of Dallas Environmental Health Department, there are more than 2,600. About 300 to 400 new restaurants open each year, but aren’t exactly “additions” because nearly that many also sell out or fail. So many options are available to Dallas diners that local restaurateurs are under constant pressure to keep the doors swinging.

Q Why do airlines base bargain passenger rates on the length of stay? It costs them the same to fly me out and back whether I stay six days or eight.

A Bargain rates for stays of seven days or more are aimed at vacationers and first-time travelers, who would probably travel by bus or auto but for the special air fare. The cutoff also eliminates the business traveler, who is going to fly regardless of the ticket price, but who rarely stays as long as seven days.

Q Whatever happened to Shanghai Jimmy?

A Chili rice lovers of the world, rejoice: Shanghai Jimmy is back. Jimmy, who operated various restaurants and dance halls in China before World War II, settled in Dallas after the Communists took his property. Jimmy’s chili rice was a gastronomical legend here between 1953 and 1963. After a 12-year vacation, Jimmy has been trying to get back in business since 1975. His most recent location (on Elm) was torn down in favor of a parking lot only a few weeks after he moved in. But now he’s back at 1920 Main, near Harwood, where he shares quarters with Hannah Weiner, whose specialties are German sausage, stuffed bell peppers, potato salad and potato soup. Why did Jimmy move in with Hannah? “I liked her potato soup,” he says. “Not many people can make a good potato soup.”

Q What’s happening at the old Har- ris Shopping Center in Oak Cliff?

A Sanger Harris abandoned the facility in favor of Red Bird Mall a couple of years ago. The center’s owner, Arthur Kramer, sold the property to the Dallas Independent School District for $1.5 million. The DISD has remodeled part of the center and is conducting regular classes for kindergarten through the 6th grade. Students were taken from two overcrowded Oak Cliff schools, and remodeling is being undertaken to add facilities for 9th through 11 th grades.

The facility has indoor gardens and an area for raising live animals is on the drawing board. Music and dance classes are offered and special “talented and gifted” classes have been proposed. The City of Dallas operates a clinic in the center and a few businesses are still open there.

Q There was a bad wreck on R. L. Thornton Freeway the other day, and because of the heavy Saturday afternoon traffic it took the ambulance 35 minutes to get to the injured. The ambulance drivers had to walk the last part of the way. Why don’t they use helicopters?

A You pose an interesting question, which apparently hasn’t been fully explored. As it stands now, the Fire Department has responsibility for providing emergency services within the City of Dallas, but it has no helicopters; the Police Department has helicopters, but no emergency service responsibility.

According to the Fire Department, the problem is by no means limited to Saturday afternoons; traffic slows ambulance responses to nearly all freeway accidents. Perhaps the use of helicopters would create additional hazards. Or maybe the fact that all.

of the police helicopters are stationed at Redbird Airport on the far southwest side of the city renders helicopter use impracticable. But the question certainly merits more research than has been done to date.

Q Why doesn’t someone do something with the lovely old theater on Knox Street, across from Weir’s? It looks like it would make a great theme restaurant.

A Appearances can be deceiving. The roof has caved in and the building is actually nothing but a shell. The theater is for sale as part of a package that includes the structures housing four adjacent businesses. The asking price is $ 175,000. The owner has had one offer that would involve long-term financing, but he’s holding out for a cash sale.


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.