One steamy August morning, a D staff member drove into the office parking lot and came to a screeching halt. Why? She saw a giant wiener. In a bun. By the time she had parked her car, made it up to our 12th-story office, described the object and persuaded some of us to look out the window at the “wiener,” the giant hot dog had vanished.

We finally got to the bottom of the situation, but only after a number of rather embarrassing phone calls to our neighbor, the Southland Corp.,: “Hello, I’m calling from D Magazine, and I’d like to talk to someone about a possible big .. .you know . . . hot dog or wiener or something in your parking lot . . . Hello?” After at least 12 phone calls, we were finally connected with the parking lot guard, who admitted that he, too, had seen the wiener. He suggested that we call the local office of the Oscar Mayer Corp.

After some investigating, we discovered that the unidentified hot dog was an Oscar Mayer promotional device called “The Wiener Mobile.” Over 22 feet long and 8 feet wide, the “wiener” is actually a ’74 Chevy, and it’s the last of the company’s six such vehicles.

The Wiener Mobile cruised the streets of Dallas (except for a few short trips to Houston) from early April through early September for a variety of promotional appearances.

Its last local appearance was with the Southland Corp. during its 7-Eleven muscular dystrophy campaign.

After Labor Day weekend, an Oscar Mayer truck driver drove The Wiener Mobile back to the company’s national headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.

Steve Wolke, a local representative for Oscar Mayer, drove The Wiener Mobile often while it was in Dallas. He says it was “the most cumbersome hot dog I’ve ever driven.”

Rumor has it that after the folks at the national headquarters have cleaned up the wiener, it may be headed for the Smithsonian Institution.