Thursday, January 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022
49° F Dallas, TX


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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens might as well have written his “Tale” in a high-rise condo on Turtle Creek, stroking his beard and thinking back on 1982. But since, as far as we know, he doesn’t plan a sequel, we’ll welcome the privilege once again of looking down from our 12th-floor suite on Central, saying it ourselves: It was a year filled-as they all seem to be-with bests and worsts, boons and burns, foul luck and fortune. We discovered again that our city is at once good, bad and beautiful. Cruel, kind and cunning. We realized that the line between best and worst, first-rate and folly is thin-one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. So our task was tedious. We spent weeks in dubitation, vacillation, hesitation-sorting through bagels, barbers and billboards. We’ve been both put off and enchanted, charmed, chagrined and somewhat abashed by what goes on between our city’s limits. But there’s no question-today at least-that we wouldn’t trade Dallas for New York or Chicago or Eclectic, Alabama. And that this January issue, our annual festival of thoughtful ambiguity and playful pasquinade, is our favorite. This is the month we climb onto that pompous throne of judgment and, with marathon staff meetings and much cause for dissent, choose the Best. . . and the Worst. . . of our hometown.


BEST: The annual gathering of tubas in Thanks-Giving Square. They boom forth festive Christmas carols.

RUNNER-UP: Councilman Max Goldblatt’s casette recording played at a City Council meeting during his campaign for a monorail study. The country/western tune he played went something like “If Mickey Mouse can have a monorail, why can’t Max?”

WORST: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ exercise album, In Training with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Ugh.


BEST: The mad rush to gobble up the two-for-one tickets offered by Braniff in a last-gasp effort to improve the cash flow before the well went dry.

WORST: In a classic case of incompatible programming at the State Fair of Texas, the fireworks display and the Belgian horse parade were scheduled at the same time. The Belgian horses, with feet the size of beer kegs, stampeded into the crowd.


BEST: D/FW Pet Resort. The pets get their own suites with themes such as Hawaiian or Mexican and are invited to sit on the couch in a den and watch TV.

RUNNER-UP: The Terrace Suite at the Mansion.

ALMOST AS GOOD: The new Dallas County Jail. Since it cost us $62 million and has a full-sized basketball court on every other floor, it ought to be.


BEST: “Rover – Please come back, your bowl is waiting. Dog Catcher.” (Fort Worth Star Telegram, 2/14/82)

WORST: “If I don’t get candy, or even a rose, you can take this paper, and stick it up your nose. T.W.” (The Dallas Morning News, 2/14/81)


BEST: The sign in front of a barber shop on Knight Street: “We are barbers. We give only regular, short haircuts, burrs and flattops.”

WORST: After Garland City CouncilmanGary McVay and former CouncilmanCorky Crowder got into an election-night fight that resulted in a split lip andbruised jaw for McVay, Crowder wascharged with misdemeanor assault.McVay said the squabble began whenCrowder “came up and started with some abusive language referring to my canine heritage and sexual preferences.”


BEST: Whatever happened to Dallas’ crew of Guardian Angels?

WORST: Gubernatorial candidate Bob Armstrong’s idea to speak to Dallasites on the subject of transportation while perched in an air balloon. On the day of the event, the wind was blowing too strong, so Armstrong didn’t show.


BEST: Elliott’s, 5308 Maple. This place is straight out of Mayberry RFD. Every gadget imaginable is offered, and we’ll bet a drill bit to a dustpan that if you can’t find what you need, at least three eager employees will offer to find it.


BEST: The Longhorn Ballroom’s good ol’boys.

WORST: Freshman coeds at SMU.


BEST: A date with KVIL’s Ron Chapman, won by Lisa Davis in the station’s “Win a Date with Your Favorite Person” contest. Ron never kept the date, and Lisa sued for $15,000 in damages.


WORST: Paul Selby, 19, and a friend spied a stray cougar wandering around on Car-roll Street at 2:45 one morning. Since the animal wore a collar, Paul decided there would be no danger in petting him. The cat showed him differently when it slashed the young man’s arms, legs and chest. Paul was treated and released from Parkland Hospital, commenting, “but it looked friendly.”

EVEN WORSE: A blind burglar had his girlfriend lead him to houses and help him break in so that he could feel around until he found something to steal. Neighbors suspected something was amiss when they saw a stranger carrying a television set bump into a tree.


BEST: The Whale and Ale Room, Spanish Galleon restaurant, Medallion Center. Happy hour runs seven days a week, the drinks are a threat to Joe Miller’s reputation and there’s something free to eat every night, ranging from oysters on the half shell to Swedish meatballs. Add a wide-screen TV for sporting events, a huge built-in aquarium running the length of one wall and supersoft lounge chairs, and you’ve got a little bit of low-budget heaven. Best of all, no Beautiful People have ever been seen here.

WORST: The Red Horse Lounge, 2403 N. Henderson. It’s filled with swaggering low-riders and loud, hairy bikers. And those are the women.


TIED FOR BEST: Steve Louden and Joe Priore. Steve Louden Motor Works, located at Stemmons at Koyal, consists of a team of real artists. Every service includes a 50-point check and status report to let you know the condition of every part of your car. Priore runs a BMW fix-it shop in his backyard. We admit he’s rather specialized, but he’s very good; so far, advertising has been only through word of mouth.

BEST IN THE HONESTY CATEGORY: Jerry Campbell Automotive, 2519 Henderson. Need we say more?


BEST: “Osburn Customers Only, Violators Risk Indigestion.” At Osburn Furniture Company, 5614 E. Mockingbird-next to Campisi’s.

WORST: “To give you faster and better service, please relinquish your seat as soon as possible.” At Herrera Cafe, 3902 Maple. With its six-booth dining room, Mexican-music jukebox and great food, Herrera is a place you like to spend some time, even when it’s crowded.


BEST: High school pals Donny Moore and Lester Elliot founded D & L Paint Company several years ago and do general renovation, papering, painting and other decorating work. Customers say they are craftsmen of a vanishing breed.

RUNNER-UP: Jerry Phillips of Phillips Diversified Construction. This guy can put up your walls (or whatever) ahead of schedule and under budget.


BEST: A Farmer’s Market plant vendor’s advice to a customer, upon purchasing a 3-foot-tall prickly cactus. As she was carrying it away, the wise man suggested, “If it starts to fall, let it.”


BEST OF ALL: “This Blood’s for You,” Parkland Blood Mobile, 5116 Harry Hines.

ALMOST AS GOOD: “If your hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to us.” Medallion Barbers, 341 Medallion Center.

RUNNER-UP: “For people who don’t lead a spotless life.” Fishburn Cleaners and Laundry, 3200 Ross.

WORST: “For a mount you can be proud of.” Dallas North Taxidermy, 8023 Skillman.


BEST: Signs posted along Central Expressway: “Minimum Speed Limit 45 mph.”

WORST: When the state ordered the Den-ton County Jail to reduce its population, County District Attorney Jerry Cobb ordered his staff to do everything in their power to get inmates out of the crowded cells. Men accused of attempted burglary, a man facing three felony counts of drunken driving and two people charged with selling metham-phetamines were released after their bonds were drastically reduced. But Cobb assured the public that the leniency would not extend to those people considered dangerous to society.


BEST: The new Dallas YMCA, at the corner of Ross and Akard.

WORST: Phil Cobb’s brick street renovation on McKinney.


BEST: The renovation of the notorious XXX-rated Fine Arts Theater in ever-so-respectable Snider Plaza into a legitimate stage theater.

SECOND BEST: Mrs. Patterson of 3924 Hawthorne Ave. She rides around and picks up trash in Oak Lawn and hands out trash bags.


BEST: Ron Kessler, attorney with Jones, Day Reavis & Pogue, talking about the importance of fund-raising to a political candidate: “Money can legitimize a gorilla.”

WORST: During his campaign for congress, Fort Worth native Jim Bradshaw tired of being criticized unfairly. The mudslinging got so bad, Bradshaw said, that it made him feel “like a Tylenol salesman.”


WORST: The Ku Klux Klan endorsement of Mark White as their candidate for governor in the primary election. EVEN WORSE: Apparently looking for a candidate who was whiter than White, the Klan endorsed Bill Clements in the general election.

EVEN WORSE: Apparently looking for a candidate who was whiter than White, the Klan endorsed Bill Clements in the general election.


BEST: Howard B. Law, 1015 Elm St.

WORST: Trickey and Trickey, 2630 W. Freeway, Fort Worth.


WORST: The lawsuit filed by the parents of Michelle Denise Wolfe against Van Alstyne Middle School, north of Dallas, for failure to elect their daughter to the eighth-grade cheerleading squad. The Wolfes said the judges were incompetent. “You don’t want to groom your best animals and take them to the show and have a jewelry salesman select the best,” Michelle’s father said.

EVEN WORSE: A gun-toting Dallas woman entered a Hillcrest High School classroom and threatened the teacher, who had allegedly mistreated the woman’s daughter.


BEST: James Mackey claimed that he and a friend had been cutting wood with a chain saw when he slipped, cutting off his hand. Mackey’s wife drove him to the hospital; the friend was supposed to follow with the hand but never showed. Mackey thinks his buddy must have been frightened when he threw the hand into a dumpster.


BEST: The Galleria’s billboard illustrations by artist Pat Nagel.

WORST: The Pia Zadora billboard on North Central. The near-nude has caused several near-accidents.

WORST OF ALL: Words can’t express how tired we are of the huge painting of chiropractors Ty N. Talcott and Michael Martin on the southbound side of North Central.


BEST: Bagelstein’s, 810 Spring Valley. Prices range from a 30-cent plain to a 75-cent variety with a generous hunk of cream cheese to the deluxe $2.50 bagel with lox and more.


BEST: After a woman vacationing on Padre Island hid $4,000 worth of jewelry in a specially designed beer can/safe, her husband unknowingly placed the can in an ice chest and carried it out on the beach. When a friend couldn’t open the can, he pitched it on the sand. Later, two Dallas boys found it and attempted to throw it into the Gulf, only to have the top fly off and topaz, gold chains and diamonds come spilling out into mid air. The boys scrambled after the jewelry and eventually returned it to the sobered woman.

WORST: A beer is a beer is a beer is a beer until you taste new Texas Select, a nonalcoholic “pop” brew.


WORST: The Garland police department. When 38-year-old Jessie Thomas thought a child might be trapped inside the blazing apartment unit next to his own, he threw a wet towel over his head, burst into the flaming apartment and bravely made a thorough search for the child (who, actually, was elsewhere). Afterward, when he moved his truck away from the scene, officer B.L. Baker gave him a $31 citation for backing over a fire hose.

EVEN WORSE: When Thomas’ explanation of his act of heroism and subsequent shakiness proved ineffectual, he drove off, only to be detained again by Baker, who handed him a $21 ticket for making an improper start from a stop sign.


WORST: Money Mart, any location. The cost the first visit is $1 for a check cashing card, plus 50 cents to process the card. Then you pay 1 percent of your check each time you return for cash.


BEST: When Dallas City Councilman Ricardo Medrano decided to show slides of Industrial Boulevard strip joints during a Wednesday city council briefing, he apparently thought the sight of such vulgarity would encourage council members to support his crusade to ban the establishments. Another approach might have been more appropriate: Several of his cohorts responded by shouting “Focus . . . focus!!”


BEST: Smith Homes. Though forewarned that no one would pay $40,000 for a barebones, 1000-square-foot-house in Southeast Dallas, Smith Homes decided to gamble. Apparently, a market had developed from somewhere – the entire 167-house subdivision sold-out in two weeks.

WORST: Winn-Dixie. The grocery chain abandoned its cash-dividend promotion in favor of a lottery-type contest based on the final score of each week’s Dallas Cowboys football game. The new program was set in motion and heavily advertised just before the players went on strike.


BEST: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Place. But be forewarned that they are likely to have the kiddies along.


BEST: Dallas police officer Thomas D. Bowers used CPR to breathe life back into a 2-year-old Oak Cliff boy who had been accidentally shot by his brother.

WORST: An Arlington police officer accidentally shot and killed a fellow officer while several off-duty Arlington cops were on a drunken spree, riding in a jeep and shooting at city property.


BEST: Since Judge Pat A. Robertson believes that most kids in Highland Park who receive citations for minor offenses such as speeding wouldn’t have to pawn their home-video sets or throw newspapers in order to pay a paltry $100 fine, he sometimes employs stiffer means of punishment. So far, more than 2,000 juvenile offenders have been asked by Robertson to apologize in 250-word, well-researched essays.

WORST: One of Judge Robertson’s penitent 16-year-olds wrote: “I read some literature about speeding and learned my lesson. If a slower speed was maintained, children that were hit by cars last year could have been prevented.”


BEST: Yale Boulevard, going south onto Central. On this ramp you get your own, personal lane – no rubbernecking, no squeezing between 18-wheelers, no ridiculous stop-and-go signals.

WORST: The tollgate to the Dallas North Tollway, since the toll was doubled. Without that bit of banditry, we would have chosen the entrance to Loop 12 North that enters about 50 yards before the exit for Irving Boulevard, forcing a cross-through of exiting traffic.


BEST: Jerry Leonard’s at Prestonwood.

WORST: The Polo Shop in Highland Park Village.


WORST: For a while there, if you’d had a few too many, you could call a service called “Safety Ride”: they’d come scoop you up after a long night of hearty partying and take you safely home. But the fees for the service were so high you had to get plastered at least 20 times a week to get your money’s worth.

RUNNER-UP: A former Chamber of Commerce employee suggests that a new organization be formed to counter the effects of the national organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). The new organization, DAMD (Drunks Against Mothers who Drive), would see to it that barricades would seal off each end of the bar zone on Greenville Avenue each weekend. Drunks would then be allowed to weave freely throughout the enclosed area, safe from the throngs of sober drivers.


BEST: Overseas Motors, 7010 Lemmon. Car payments can be pretty traumatic, so you may as well go to a dealer who’ll treat you right. Customers here sip coffee or tea from bone china cups and saucers and help themselves to cream and sugar from a beautiful silver service. If you need something a little more powerful to help you sign the first check, there’s a good selection of liquor stored in Waterford crystal decanters.

RUNNER-UP: Miars on Lemmon Avenue. Service is quick, and there are more guys working on your car than there would be if it were abandoned on Stemmons after dark.


BEST: Vegetable plate at the Bluefront Cafe. The price is $2.95 for four vegetables, bread, beverage and Ruth’s homemade cobbler. Underground at One Main Place, downtown.

RUNNER-UP: John’s Cafe, 2724 Greenville across from Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill. For breakfast John serves up more than you can eat, and it’s only $1.50.


BEST: In SMU’s sociology department: Wealth, Status and Power.

RUNNER-UP: Sociology 4399, offered at SMU between semesters. The course is designed to examine the ceremonial aspects of drinking through firsthand observation in a broad selection of Dallas bars.

WORST: Psychoneuroendocrinology of Reproduction, University of Texas Health Science Center. No wonder they don’t have a basketball team.


FORWARD: Dallas’ beautiful new Central Public Library.

BACKWARD: Cadillac Fairview’s destruction of the Woolf Brothers Building before plans were in place for a new structure at that location.

NOWHERE: Woodall Rodgers Freeway. It’s been under construction for how many years now?


BEST: KABOOM (on a Pinto).

WORST: It’s a tie, and one wonders if they have ever met: RU12 (seen in Oak Lawn) and IMRU (on a Subaru Brat).


BEST: The Dallas Times Herald headline of Saturday, June 20, 1982: “Firefighters, Texas Rangers, team up to help burn center.”

ALMOST AS GOOD: Happy Hour Preschool, 5017 W. Lovers Lane.

BEST OF ALL: Sign at University of Texas Health Science Center near construction on its library: “Danger, Falling Objects Do Not Enter.”


BEST: The Piano City Council’s attempt to define “beehive.” While considering an amendment to the city’s animal control ordinance that would prohibit residential property owners from keeping more than two beehives, discussion was halted for two weeks while council members attempted to understand just what a beehive was.

WORST: Beth Ellen Rosenthal, a food writer for Parkway magazine, who stumbled upon an unusual truth at the Inn of Country Sonshine, a first-class restaurant just south of Piano. “The classic filet of red snapper,” Beth wrote in her review, “was shaped like a fish.”


BEST: The Wednesday noon self-serve frankfurter feed at Willie’s Lounge, 1105 S. Beacon. Owner Willie Rouse puts out pounds and pounds of free ham, lunch-meat, cheese and sandwich fixings each day, but Wednesday features the incomparable Rudolph’s franks from the historic Elm Street market and sausage factory of the same name. Buy a 75-cent tap beer and tip well if your conscience gets the better of you.

EVEN BETTER: The Thanksgiving Superfest in front of City Hall. Dallasites donate turkeys and all the trimmings. J. David Moeller has organized this feast for any and all interested parties for 12 years.


BEST: Jalapeno mayonnaise at the Stoneleigh P, 2929 Maple.

WORST: When Darrel R. Prater was being booked at the Grand Prairie City Jail for public intoxication, he saw another man who was being booked remove a diamond ring. Prater grabbed the ring and put it in his pocket. Accused of the theft, he swallowed the $1,500 piece of jewelry. At last report, jail guards were administering laxatives and monitoring Prater’s progress.


BEST: One football fan was so aggravated by the NFL strike that he climbed up KRLD’s huge three-dimensional football billboard on Stemmons and let the air out of the ball.

WORST: When Balch Springs City Councilman Gary Kettner was asked by Balch Springs Mayor Billy Wood to step outside, he thought he and the mayor were going out for coffee to discuss their civic differences. The mayor, who struck Kettner twice on the back of the neck, obviously had something else in mind.


BEST: Don and Dianne Malouf finally told their friends why they sold their elegant old house on Turtle Creek: It was haunted. Mrs. Bert DeWinter, who died in 1972, was the previous owner of the house, and the Maloufs claim she never left it. The late Neiman-Marcus milliner was known best for her elaborate parties; the Malouf family claims the late society woman made it known “that we could never compete with her extraordinary taste in decorating and entertaining.” The Maloufs say that some of Mrs. DeWinter’s jewelry strangely appeared on a table during one of their parties and that the curtains of their bedroom occasionally stood straight out. A former Jesuit priest suggested that they try exorcism, but the Maloufs were afraid that might hurt the grand old Bert.

REACTION IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITYWORST: The day that Dallas advertising firm Popejoy and Fischel lost its large account with Grandy’s Country Cooking, company executives didn’t want to have to explain so they told their employees not to answer the phones.

EVEN WORSE: When two area cabdrivers arrived at the curb at the same time to take one passenger to D/FW airport, an argument arose concerning which cabby had the right to the woman’s business. Thinking quickly, the Terminal cabby solved the problem. He pulled a .45-calliber pistol out of his car’s trunk and pointed it at his Yellow Cab competitor. The woman felt obliged to ride with the Terminal man.


BEST: Bachman Lake. The well-tended course around the lake has it all: three miles through flowering trees, other joggers for comfort and a sno-cone stand at the end. Why not White Rock Lake? Its two courses are nine and II miles long, and they don’t have St. Bernards for rescue when you give-out halfway around the course.

WORST: Around the Cotton Bowl after Madison High School loses a football game.


BEST: Richard D. Eiseman (pronounced “ice man”), jeweler.

WORST: (but not because we don’t like her) Leathel Hughes (pronounced “lethal”), a clerk in the pharmacy at Eckerd’s on Mockingbird.


BEST: A 3-foot-wide oak tree bravely stood its ground and finally stopped a driverless bulldozer that had cut a three-mile path of destruction in Fort Worth. When a 17-year-old would-be joyrider hot-wired the contraption (which had been left at a road construction site), he bit off more than he could chew. After the dozer hit its first tree, the boy bailed out; but the metal monster kept going, only to clip an 18-wheel tractor-trailer as it crossed I-30, shear the top off a moving Toyota, demolish an International Scout and smash a barn.

WORST: The man who, upon sighting the runaway offender, grabbed his shotgun and fired five times.


BEST: Ross Perot Jr.’s helicopter flight around the world.

WORST: The University Park police department’s suggestion that their new patrol cars be Mercedes Benz. Those German automobiles are just so much more efficient.


BEST: Jay Vincent’s strong performance in averaging 24.9 points in the 61 games he started for the Dallas Mavericks after Mark Aguirre was sidelined by injury.

WORST: When investigators arrived to search the attic of the home of William R. Davis, 6311 Richmond, in an effort to determine the cause of a fire, they discovered 26 pounds of marijuana.


BEST: Believe it or not, Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine.

WORST: Mr. Greenstreet’s peanut butter fiascos.


BEST: White Rock Lake area, near Garland Road and Winsted Drive. An old fish hatchery and spillway have been allowed to return to the nice thickets beloved of wintering sparrows (white-throated and white-crowned sparrows) and the rufous-sided towhee. And wintering ducks, like the ruddy, can be seen on the lake nearby.

WORST: The wooded area west of the University of Texas Health Science Center. The trees are full of rookeries where herons and egrets roost – big birds make a bigger mess. Forget the binoculars; bring a gas mask!


BEST: Selling popcorn beneath One Main Place. Dan Stallings sets his own hours, always has a long line of people waiting for popcorn and says he grosses close to $75,000 a year.

RUNNER-UP: We don’t have the figures on how much she makes, but from our perspective, Eloise Ballard, the shoeshine lady in One Main Place, does the best job. Not only do your shoes sparkle, but she also has a wonderful magazine library for her customers to browse through as she buffs and burnishes their dogs.

WORST: The people who have to deal with angry folks who’ve had their cars towed.


BEST: La Tosca, 7713 Inwood.

WORST: The Lemmon Avenue Kwik Wash. One customer there began to load his chosen tub with dirty laundry, when what did he see in the bottom of the washer but spaghetti noodles stuck to the sides of the machine and an icky, green-speckled glob coiled up in the bottom. Mama, mia!


BEST: Residents of the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Winnetka Heights say the $600,000 gymnasium that the Salvation Army wants to construct in their neighborhood would lessen the area’s historic character; they’re worried that since the center would close at 11 p.m., the men and women from the gym would be left on their streets with nowhere to go.

WORST: Highland Park Presbyterian Church, which would not allow children dressed as E.T. and Miss Piggy into their Halloween party – fantasy characters, officials said, were not appropriate.


BEST: Las Colinas.

WORST: Houston.


BEST: The Donut Hole, Ridgeroad at Highway 205 near Chandler’s Landing. It’s built in the shape of – what else – a huge doughnut. They say the doughnuts are home-baked and they take personal checks. Could it be paradise?


BEST: Bwana Art. It’s free and very weird.

WORST: Haute. Never mind the sloppy writing and editing, this new Interview rip-off is so insider-oriented that its editors frequently don’t even bother to identify the people in their party pix.


BEST: Jim Collins’ gracious speech after being defeated by Lloyd Bentsen.

RUNNER-UP: Gov. Bill Clements’ Memorial Day canoe chase down Turtle Creek to recapture one of his prized black Australian swans. After the bird had been swept over the waterfall south of Beverly Drive, Clements determinedly led a rescue party that included his two grandchildren and a Department of Public Safety officer. The high-speed chase culminated in the safe return of the unruffled swan.


BEST: Lawyer John Danish’s insistence that his client, Daniel Goodwin – a.k.a. Spider Dan, the man who scaled Dallas’ tallest building – was in “a state of intense transcendental meditation” and therefore temporarily insane when he used suction cups to scale the 56-story First International Building.

WORST: Lame duck Agricultural Commissioner Reagan Brown, who blamed “food poisoning” for his slip in calling Booker T. Washington “that great black nigger.” The deviled eggs made him do it?


BEST: The creation of Dallas’ waterwalk, a half-mile-long series of interlocking pools of water in the west end of down-town. The late architect/developer Donald Jarvis, a founding principal of JPJ Architects Inc., envisioned a cost-effective lure for shops, businesses and buildings.

WORST: Deputy Mayor Pro Tern Fred Blair’s insistence that City Council members get free tickets to any entertainment event held at a municipally owned facility. He maintained that free admission was not a question of privilege, but of purpose. What triggered Blair’s concern? His inability to walk unchecked into Reunion Arena to see Diana Ross in concert.


BEST: The City of Irving provides well for its mayor, Bobby Joe Raper. His job rates him a key to a Texas Stadium “inner-circle” box – one of the exclusive luxury suites that have sold for as much as $600,000.