Biggest hit at January’s apparel market was the $300,000 fashion show put on by leading Hong Kong clothing suppliers. Lines represented in the show amounted to a who’s who of fashion: designs from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Yves St. Laurent, and Christian Dior, among others. Apparel Mart execs were especially pleased with the show: Hong Kong spent ten times the cost of the average market show to impress Dallas buyers, a sign that Dallas is now recognized worldwide as a major fashion market.
Most observers feel Police Chief Don Byrd did exactly the right thing when he cancelled a widely publicized meeting with county Democratic chairman Ron Kessler to discuss the chief’s 1980 bid for the sheriff’s office. The Byrd candidacy had already stirred enough headlines; any more publicity might have put the 50-year-old chief in line for serious conflict-of-interest charges: After all, candidates can be compromised, and it’s not especially healthy to have the city’s police chief owing political favors.
Those close to county politics blame Kessler, not Byrd, for the premature publicity. Apparently the young county chairman, stinging from widespread criticism of his leadership ability and the countywide losses by Bob Krueger and John Hill in last fall’s election, tried to pump up morale in the party ranks by spreading the Byrd rumor. Insiders say Kessler leaked the rumor to the press at every opportunity, and was the prime force pushing for the meeting with Byrd.
Dallas-based TM Productions, the largest producer of jingles in the nation, is expanding its horizons. The company, the brainchild of Tom Merriman and Jim Long, recently wrapped up production of a massive anthology of album rock, spanning the 12 years from Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album to the present. The anthology, produced at a cost of $300,000 and containing 48 hours of music, has been syndicated to 150 radio stations nationwide for airing this spring. Ron Nicol, TM’s director of special projects, says the recordings will probably be played four or five years, grossing TM ’ at least $2 million.
TM is also cashing in on the disco craze, packaging all-disco programming for stations across the nation, and participated in a stereo simulcast of this year’s Grammy awards.
More strife at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: This time the troublemaker is book critic Leonard Sanders, who after a decade of service to the Fort Worth daily quit in a huff last month. Sanders managed to leave something of himself behind – a nine-page resignation letter which he tacked to the newsroom bulletin board. The letter stayed up only five minutes, but that was long enough for reporters and management alike to get a piece of Sanders’ mind.
Sanders complained, among other things, that the Star-Telegram and its owner, Capital Cities Corporation, reduced journalists to “the lowest common denominator.” He also characterized Cap Cities as “the K-Mart” of American journalism. He wound up the letter by saying he didn’t need the paltry wage the paper paid him, and that the pain of working for the organization wasn’t worth his salary.
Sanders may be the first journalist in history who can actually back up those words. It seems that as book editor, Sanders grew well enough acquainted with the spy/mystery formula to produce his own thriller, The Hamlet Warning. The book turned out to be a major success for a first novel: It made a couple of bestseller lists, won a paperback contract, and was purchased for the big screen. Sanders says he has more novels and screenplays in the works. It’s possible – just possible – that one of them may have something to do with a big-city daily newspaper.
“I just went up to Mr. Crow and asked for the job,” says 31-year-old interiors whiz Trisha Wilson of her part in Trammell Crow’s lavish $60-million Anatole Hotel, “After listening to some of my ideas he said ’Okay, you’re hired.’ ” Crow must like what he sees. Ms. Wilson, who only a few years ago was advising Greenville Avenue restaurateurs on where to hang their plants, will design four more hotels for Crow. After that, she says she’d like to get into something really big, “maybe a full-scale resort development.”
Mustang Mania marches on. The SMU athletic department scored yet another triumph recently with two packed houses for, of all things, swimming meets – first a standing-room-only sellout against Indiana (the first SMU swim meet sellout in four years) and then a near sellout against USC. Seems the screams make a difference – SMU won upset victories in both. The crowds, around 3000 for each meet, netted the athletic department $20,000. Who says football is the only sport that pays its way?
That lady lawyer who’s been popping up on the TV series “Eight Is Enough” is Dallasite Joannie Prather, whose Hollywood career has finally taken off. Joannie, 28, is slated to do eight segments of the highly rated series before leaving for Ireland this spring to film an as yet untitled movie with Rod Taylor.
American League umpire and baseball showman Ron Luciano was in town recently to do a Mercantile Bank commercial. While he was here, we asked him to give’ us a quick pre-season rundown on the Texas Rangers. Luciano, in his own inimitable style, offered these insights:
Al Oliver: “Al’s a nice guy,but does he talk? He’s neversaid a word to me in twoyears. Either he’s a deafmute or he doesn’t likeme.”
Richie Zisk: “Now that we have a Polish pope, I have to treat Richie with utmost respect.”
Oscar Gamble: “I wish Oscar’d cut his hair. I’m always afraid his helmet is gonna fly off and hit me in the head.”
Buddy Bell: “I’m glad Buddy’s here, cause 1 don’t think Buddy deserves Cleveland.”
Bert Campaneris: “Campy’s too short to play baseball.” Bump Wills: “I like his father.”
Mike Jorgensen: “He’s a nice man. But he bats left, throws left, talks left, and thinks left. I don’t think he has a right side of his body.”
Dock Ellis: “Is he still here?”
John Matlack: “The National League usually sends us bad guys, but this time they slipped up and sent us. a good guy.”
Fergie Jenkins: “I don’t think Fergie believes he ever threw a ball.”
Doyle Alexander: “Doyle always looks like a spider out there on the mound, looks like he’s got eight arms. And he’s wild with all eight.”
Doc Medich: “Doc’s gonna be a great doctor someday. The sooner the better.”
Sparky Lyle: “1 like Sparky, but he keeps spittin tobacco on my shoes.”
Jim Kern: “I think he’s good, but I’m not sure – I haven’t ever seen his pitch. I have to umpire his fastball by sound – sounds high, sounds low. . .”
Jim Sundberg: “Sunny’s a great ballplayer. How come you still got him?”
Pal Corrales: “If he manages like he coaches. . . Hey, I can’t say anything nice about a manager.”
Brad Corbett: “Brad thinks his ballplayers are like his plastic pipes – they need to be flushed all the time.”
That ought to put the new season in perspective.
KLIF management explained the recent dismissal of London and Engelman, its high-priced morning team, as a “cost-cutting move.” That will probably be true in the long run, but right now the financially strapped station is taking a bath on its experiment with the two DJs.
John London and Ron Engelman didn’t come cheap – they demanded and got $35,000 a year apiece when they signed on last fall – and they aren’t leaving cheap either. We hear that the pair, who have now gone on the payroll of KULF in Houston, will receive five months’ severance pay. Add that to the $30,000 the station spent promoting the team, and KLIF’s total tab for the London and Engelman experiment comes to $70,000 or so.
Sports fans: tired of rooting for second-place finishers? Here’s your team: the South Oak Cliff High School Golden Bears girls’ basketball squad. Consider the stats: Their season record (at this writing) is 33-0. Their winning streak over two seasons is 54 in a row. Sample scores: SOC 103, Kimball 22; SOC 99, Carter 15. Last season SOC averaged 107 points per game, their opponents 30. Coach Gary Blair (“I got the job by accident – nobody else wanted it”) has put together the biggest winner in town. What’s more, tickets are no problem. “Our student body,” says Coach Blair, “has shown zero interest. Our home games have drawn anywhere from 20 to 50 people.” But it’s not all for naught – six out of six seniors graduating from last year’s state championship team got college athletic scholarships. Go Bridgett, Go Vicki, Go Pat, Go Kim, Go Norita, Go Priscilla, Go Ramona, Go Traci. . . .
Here’s an interesting bit of Dallas trivia from the New York Times: The Dallas Yellow Pages charge a steeper advertising rate than any other phone book in the nation. The price? A tidy $5052 per quarter-page display ad, compared, for example, to the $4300 per quarter-page cost of the Manhattan phone directory. No obvious explanation for the markup here, though the Times quoted an ad exec as saying, “What do you expect in oil country?”
Word of a major reorganization at Southwestern Bell: In recent months Southwestern officials have quietly leased additional office space on Akard for a soon-to-be-announced affiliate, Texas Bell. Insiders say the shift is an attempt to improve service to the growing Texas market, which had begun to overwork the Southwestern staff.
The real reasons the Republican Party chose Detroit over Dallas for its national convention? Party insiders say there were two: One, because of prior commitments at the Dallas Convention Center, the GOP couldn’t have held its convention here until August, which party leadership considered too late. Two, some observers feel GOP leadership was worried that potentially embarrassing faction-fighting might break out if the convention were held here. Dallas is one of the most solidly Republican counties in the nation, they point out, and with the prospect of a three-way battle among Ronald Reagan and Texans John Connally and George Bush, tempers were bound to flare. Detroit, on the other hand, is considered neutral territory for the party.
George Toomer, Dallas artist-designer-illustrator, was eating breakfast one morning and started thinking about his grandmother. He missed her. “Remembei when you were a kid,” he said to his companions, “how great it was to go over to your grandmother’s and she’d cook a big meal for you? All her specialties and always a couple things that you never ate anywhere else. Boy, I really miss that.” So a few days later, George ran this ad in the Dallas News:
To date, half a dozen grannies have contacted George to offer their services, grannies with great granny names like Lena, Lucille, and Ruby. All applicants have expressed confidence, competence – and honesty. Wrote one, “Hi Buffalo George: I’m answering your ad because it’s kooky and I’m curious. I am formerly from the hills of R-Kan-Saw and I can cook Granny’s Way with one exception – biscuits – eat one of mine and go swimming, you will never come back to the surface.” George can’t decide which granny to hire, so he’s going to dine with all of them.