EDITOR’S NOTE The Best & Worst of B&W

Two D Magazine traditions, both dating to the days of founding editor and publisher Wick Allison, have such a devoted following that no other D editor has dared to fool with them.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, as many of you have told me, is one of those creatures. Its look has changed over the years, but the content has remained the same: short, pithy statements about Dallas at its worst, And best.

And then there is the ultimate in commentary: the annual Best & Worst issue. Journalistically, it’s a nightmare, but that’s because we’re attempting a 12-month critique of the substance and style of the city. B&W is a metropolitan milepost cemented in humor, cynicism, opinion and research. As the city goes, so goes B&W.

I hadn’t fully appreciated this until I reread the first issue of B&W from January 1977, Placed alongside our newest B&W, it reminds us that some things never change and, thankfully, some things do.

Herewith, a few of the ironies, bad calls and on-the-money wisdom:

WINNERS & LOSERS

BEST BEST: Joe Miller was working for somebody else when he was named Best Bartender in 1977. He remained a legend until 1992, when his wife Finally closed his bar several years after his death.

WORST WORST: In 1977, Half Price Books seemed less than promising to the editors: ’’Your chances of finding an interesting book are less than your chances of finding an interesting spider web.” Obviously, Dallasites didn’t agree; owner Ken Gjemre went on to great success, as executive editor Chris Tucker notes in his column this month (page 17).

FROM WORST TO TOP DOG: In 1977, the Texas Rangers’ Toby Harrah led all American League shortstops in errors. Last season, the Rangers named Harrah interim manager when Bobby Valentine got the ax.

BEST THEN, BEST NOW: Southwest Airlines won a rave in 1977 as a great Dallas/Fort Worth stock. Need I say more?



Losers Then, Unimaginable Now

worst worst: Under the listing of Historic Site in 1977, D said this about The Texas School Book Depository: “Won’t somebody please buy it and demolish it? We could use the parking space.” In 1992, attendance at The Sixth Floor Exhibit hit a record high.

WORST OF THE BEST: Among categories in the 1977 issues: Best Place to Pick Up a Sugar Daddy; Best Sexy Underwear (for women, rated by Dick Hitt and Kevin McCarthy); Best Girl Watching Site.

WORST THEN, WORST NOW: “Metroplex. Perhaps the ugliest word ever coined by an adman.” Yes, Yes, Yes.

THE WORST WAS YET TO COME: In 1977, the “business deal” that D blasted was 5944 Luther Lane. “This is a 12-story turkey-perhaps the biggest office building bust in Dallas history. This $3 million building has been standing virtually unoccupied for two years. Why? It has no central air-conditioning. The plan was for each tenant to provide his own.” Now we know where the ’80s guys got their smarts.



WINNERS THEN, UNBEARABLE NOW

WORST: The Best Amusement Ride award went to Airtrans at DFW. “It has to be late at night when there are no other passengers. Scooting along with no driver, watching the doors open and close for no one at each stop, and gazing on the eerie, empty nighttime fluorescence of the airport can give you more of a futurama kick than anything Disneyland’s come up with. It’s only 25 cents and you can ride all night long.”

Makes you wonder how the 1993 B&W will read in 2009. Happy New Year.

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