Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
80° F Dallas, TX


The year in review: our best-selling cover, our worst hate mail, and less
By Ruth Miller Fitzgibbons |

What can you say about the year that just was? A year that saw Danny Faulkner set the cause of dyslexia back ten years… Dick Motta prove that he could quit and chew gum at the same time.. .Governor Bill Clements perfect the art of talking out of both sides of his mouth?

Still, it wasn’t all bad. Consider what we’ve gained: a pirouetting Russian defector. Momentum Place, Kevin Sweeney, Sfuzzi, Alley Cats, A. Kenneth Pye.

Sure, some of us went belly up, but I still see a few Mercedes kicking around, don’t you? Let’s keep things in perspective. Around here, feast or famine, boom or bust, we always celebrate thusly: our annual Best & Worst of the year, beginning on page 49. And in keeping with tradition, here are a few of the highs and lows behind the scenes at D Magazine.

Best-selling cover: Not surprisingly, our best-selling cover was May, “Death & Gossip In Highland Park.” There we unraveled the mystery surrounding Highland Park’s Sandra Bridewell, an attractive, ambitious woman who left town in a swirl of rumors concerning the deaths of her three husbands and best friend. Approximately 87,991 of you lusted after the sordid details, and I can’t prove this, but I’ll bet the copy machines at grocery stores from Knox to Northwest Highway racked up record sales, too.

Worst-selling cover: Apparently, fewer of you care about status-seeking than we thought. The big loser of 1987 was April’s “Desperately Seeking Status: Making It As a Celebrity in Dallas.” Too bad so many of you missed it; it was a darn good issue.

Best blooper in print: Thank you, A.J. Covaleski of Fort Worth, for catching this geographical glitch. He writes, “Just read ’Treasure Isles’ by Lucie Nelka [November 1987]. Believe she had too many pinacoladas. St. Lucia is not below the equator.” Nelka replies: “You’re quite right, although it seemed hot at the time.”

Worst blooper in print: A new feature in our “Inside Dallas” section, which we dubbed “Hot Property,” inadvertently trespassed on a trademark slug registered by Metropolitan Home magazine (or so, at least, they claim). Okay, all you David Let-terman fans, you know what’s coming next: we need a new name, something like Torrid Terra Firma.. .or Sizzling Chattel…

Most distressing communique from a local politician: Will we ever, ever forget the day that mayoral candidate Billy Jack Lud-wig wrote to protest his exclusion from associate editor Sally Gid-dens’s story on the major candidates in last spring’s mayoral race? I quote in part, “Your theory is if I put an ape up there to run and out spent the rest of the folk in the race he be the best one for the mayor.” Fortunately for the survival of the language, not to mention the city, she be the best one for mayor.

Best reaction to the most distressing communiqué from a local politician: A DISD elementary school principal gave copies of Ludwig’s letter to all of her language arts students to demonstrate the consequences of not mastering grammar.

Worst hate mail: The most agitated response to a story in D came not from our controversial coverage of the shooting death of policeman Gary Blair and the rookie cop who provided damaging testimony against him (“The Private War of Rodney Clark” June 1987), though that story caused an uproar in the police community. No, the loudest cries of outrage followed a pejorative portrayal of Arabs rendered through the eyes of several local gonzo pilots who circumnavigated the globe in a prop plane. Ugly Americans they were, and for their insensitivity-and ours-we apologize.

Best reaction to a Thumbs Down: We don’t really expect the objects of our monthly raspberries to weigh in on our side. But when we thumbed David Lane, president and general manager of WFAA-TV, for replacing Channel 8’s 6:30 p.m. newscast with “Wheel of Fortune,” he sent this terse reply; “I agree.”

Best move by a former D staffer: D founder Wick Allison, who last year unveiled Andrew Wyeth’s “Helga” paintings, has scored again: in January 1989, Allison will share the reins of the conservative political journal, National Review, with its founder, William F. Buckley Jr.

Best reason we had to celebrate at year’s end: Once again, D was honored by the Press Club of Dallas with three Katie awards: for the staff-produced special issue, “A Day In The Life Of Dallas”; for executive editor Chris Tucker’s incisive probing of drug testing, “The Yellow Peril”; and for Mark Donald’s sensitive portrayal of the cop who broke the code in “The Private War of Rodney Clark”

Best reaction to our restaurant coverage: Cafe Pacific owner Jack Knox has evidently had it with our emphasis on la cuisine nouvelle. He sent us a bogus menu for his “new restaurant” that amounted to a descent into nouvelle hell. Offerings included buckwheat ravioli with blueberry pumpkin filling and lemon-thyme butter and mesquite broiled crème brulée.

Worst reaction to our restaurant coverage: “Articles like your cover story of February 1987, A Guide to Romantic Restaurants and Seductive Bars,’ support and encourage the moral decline of Dallas,” wrote Lanay Hartmann of Dallas.

Most pitiful press release: Everybody’s got to make a living, but Wayne Schaffel was paid to send us this: ’It’s not every day that you read about the restroom facilities at the Convention Center.” (So far, so good.)”.. .they opted for the Convert-A-Malic hand roll towel dispenser system to reduce litter and pilferage (you’d be surprised how many people walk away with paper towels and tissue rolls). I will call you next week to see if this is a story you’d like to pursue. ..” Funny, he never did.

And finally, the “We Wish You Wouldn’t” award for the worst story idea: This one goes to John Gratton, who sent, unsolicited, a manuscript titled, “A Large Number of Things Are Wrong With Chocolate.” The article included little-known facts such as “it is the drug of choice for many of the pudgy” and “the mere thought of chocolate increases the respiratory rate.”

Ah well, on to another year.

initially, the contribution/reimbursement inquiry would have ended within a few weeks.

Finally, I don’t know where you’re getting your information that the DA’s office doesn’t pursue consumer fraud cases; the Major Consumer Fraud Section of the Specialized Crime Division, consisting of three prosecutors and three investigators, currently has 73 felony indictments and 216 investigations pending, and has obtained 114 convictions so far in 1987, resulting in restitution of more than $1,217,000 to victims of consumer fraud in Dallas County. Next time, please do your readers the courtesy of getting your facts straight.

Theodore P. Steinke Jr.

Assistant District Attorney

Dallas County District Attorney’s Office

No Laughing Matter

For a first-rate magazine such as yours to stoop to an ethnic joke would be unheard of; nevertheless. Skip Hollandsworth in “Inside Dallas” |”I Hear the Fair Lady Singing,” November] glibly slips in a fat lady joke that equates female human beings size Large and Extra Large with Sherman tanks. Fat women have apparently become the scapegoats of modern society’s neurotic idea of beauty, one that has spawned a rash of new medical and psychiatric disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, bulimarexia. Thumbs down to D for condoning the type of low humor that contributes to the illness of a fashion-crazed era that glorifies Size 8 as the only measure of beauty. As for Mr. Hollandsworth, what metaphor can he furnish for the size of his brain and the breadth of his viewpoint?

Carolyn McClellan


I was absolutely shocked and amazed at item number two of the “Twelve Dallas Ghost Stories” [October] concerning the Delta crash. It is unclear what the motive was-perhaps your idea of “humor.” The result, however, was complete revulsion on the part of every single person to whom I have showed this portion of the article. Real people died in the tragedy of Delta 191. .. real people with families and friends all over this country. Did it even enter your “brains” that this kind of joke is extremely painful to thousands of loved ones? I am sure this is especially true for crew members and others within Delta Air Lines.

Carol Sue Ray

Fayetteville, GA

Related Articles

Cover Story

The Dallas 40

How the city came to the most exciting point in its history. Forty stories over 40 years.
By D Magazine

Souvenir of Dallas

"The Mighty, Mighty Hands of Mayor Tom Leppert"