Dallas Was Trying To Save Children All the Way Back in 1940

Paula Bosse has an interesting piece on her blog, Flashback: Dallas. You’ll notice certain parallels between current events and what was going on 75 years ago. Here’s how Bosse’s story begins:

In the summer of 1940, a group called The Children’s Evacuation Committee of Texas was organized to bring child refugees to Dallas, even if it meant sending a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to get them. Its chairman was local businessman George Edgley, a transplanted Briton who owned a music shop and performed around town as an actor and musician.

The group was formed in response to the heavily publicized plight of English children living under the constant threat of attack during World War II. The situation was of great international concern, and plans were drawn up to evacuate the children to safety.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Clayton Williams Runs For Governor

I sort of remember Bill Clements vs. Mark White in 1986, but the first Texas gubernatorial election to which I paid any measurable attention was state treasurer Ann Richards’ victory over West Texas oilman Clayton Williams in 1990. The GOP wasn’t yet the wholly dominant party in our state, but neither did the Democrats still hold the iron grip they’d maintained politically since Reconstruction.

My memory of the election centers on Williams’ TV ad in which he explained his plan to put drug offenders to work busting rocks in hard-labor boot camps rather than lounging around in luxurious prison cells. Behind him is shown a group of college students who were dressed up as convicts, swinging pick axes and shovels. I was in junior high school and not terribly political at the time, but I remember thinking that this guy was laying on the tough-on-crime schtick a little thick.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Backyard Yacht of Highland Park

The 4000 block of Miramar Avenue looks pretty normal — if “normal” can ever appropriately be used to describe a row of homes in Highland Park. It sits just off Lakeside Drive, with easy access to sickeningly picturesque Lakeside Park and Exall Lake. It’s a block away from Beverly Drive and Dallas Country Club as well.

The homes are a mix of traditional and modern designs, most valued in the $3 million-$4 million range. On the corner, technically on Lakeside, sits the 60th most expensive home in Dallas. At 4004 Miramar, you’ll find one of D Home‘s 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas for 2014. Across from that, at 4005, is a fairly unremarkable (by Highland Park standards) that’s valued at more than $3.1 million, with $2.5 million of that assessed for the land alone.

That lot looked very different 50 years ago.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Behind the Scenes at Billy Bob’s Texas

Amy Cunningham was a young editor on the staff of D Magazine when her boss, then-editor Rowland Stiteler, came to her with a “dream assignment.” She was to go undercover at Billy Bob’s Texas, the “world’s largest honky tonk” in Fort Worth, which had opened earlier that year.

It was thrilling to tackle a story modeled after Gloria Steinem’s famous stint at the Playboy Club and almost as pleasurable to know that she wouldn’t have to show up at the D Magazine offices to do any other writing or editing for seven whole weeks. All she needed to do was land a job as a waitress and take notes on cocktail napkins.

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The Late First Baptist Dallas Pastor W.A. Criswell Was Pro-Choice

Politico Magazine has a fascinating story on the rise of the Religious Right and its true origins. Contrary to popular belief, the movement’s genesis isn’t Roe v. Wade — it’s Green v. Connally. A year after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed its commitment “to work(ing) for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

None other than W.A. Criswell, First Baptist Dallas’ pastor, Robert Jeffress’ mentor, and a former president of the Convention, said, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Von Erich Family Wrestlers

Maybe the saddest fact about rereading Skip Hollandsworth’s February 1988 cover story about the series of tragedies that had befallen the Von Erichs is knowing now that the family’s heartbreak was far from over. At the time that Hollandsworth spent time with the famed professional wrestling clan they were still reeling from the deaths of sons David (from an intestinal disease in 1984) and Mike (suicide in 1987.) Kerry Von Erich was looking to stage a comeback after a motorcycle accident had kept him out of the ring for 16 months. Family patriarch Fritz Von Erich (aka Jack Adkisson) confessed that he was planning to get out of the business all together.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Murder For Hire

I didn’t know anything of the case of Robert Edelman until reading the story from the May 1988 issue of D Magazine about his acrimonious divorce from his wife Linda and criminal conviction for having plotted to have her murdered. I finished the article by Sally Giddens with the impression that Edelman — though a certified asshole — had been a victim of a scheme hatched by Joseph James Young, the private investigator he’d hired to follow Linda and find out whether she had a boyfriend. It is a crazy story, and you should most definitely read the whole thing, since it’s one of our 40 greatest stories.

So I was pretty sure that Edelman got screwed, but then I found out what followed.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: When Dallas Was a Four-Newspaper Town

Our latest honoree in our 40 Greatest Stories collection nicely complements an earlier entry, Blackie Sherrod’s 1975 article on legendary newspaperman Jack Proctor. Proctor even makes an appearance in Al Harting’s look at the glory days of the Dallas Dispatch, which ran in the August 1979 issue of D Magazine.

At one time the Dispatch was one of four dailies serving Dallas readers. Of course this was in the days before TV, not to mention the Internet and smartphones. People had to get their news somehow. So news boys stood on street corners with the latest editions, literally shouting “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!,” just like we’ve all seen in old movies. Not sure what people did in place of “liking” or “retweeting” their favorite content back then. Maybe just giving a thumbs-up sign to the newsie and tossing their paper to a bum on a bus bench when they’d finished with it?

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