Thursday, March 25, 2010

On The Road with Old Red and Spanky's Pants

The Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture at 100 Henderson is a great place to spend the afternoon in downtown Big D. If you've walked Dealey Plaza and tired of the JFK conspiracies, take time to see the whole story of Dallas in a very informative and entertaining venue. The building itself was the Dallas County Courthouse built in 1891 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and recently went through a complete restoration. Here's just a peek of what Old Red has to offer.

The exterior of the museum is a finished with a combination of rough hewn gray and red granite, hence the name "Old Red."

When you enter the ground floor lobby, this icon from Dallas' past greets you. In 1934, the Magnolia Oil Co. erected its trademark neon Pegasus on the Magnolia building's roof to celebrate the American Petroleum Institute's annual meeting. The rotating winged horse came to represent the city and became one of its most recognizable landmarks.

An impressive wrought iron staircase leads to the second floor museum and old court rooms located on the upper floors.

A closeup of the stairway illustrates the "Lone Star" state theme of Texas.

One of Dallas's most iconic symbols was the television show Dallas, to the embarrassment of most actual Texans, and the Ewing family. One of the exhibits features J.R. (Larry Hagman) Ewing's Stetson hat.

Highland Park is/was Dallas's swankest suburbs and soon to be home of "W" and Laura Bush.

Texas International Pop Festival, held Labor Day weekend just two weeks after Woodstck, was the brainchild of Angus Winn,III, the founder of the Six Flags Parks chain. Artists at the festival were Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Canned Heat, Chicago, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Freddie King, Grand Funk Railroad, Herbie Mann, Incredible String Band, James Cotton, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Nazz, Rotary Connection, Sam and Dave, Santana, Shiva's Headband, Sly and the Family Stone, Space Opera, Spirit, Sweetwater, Ten Years After and Tony Joe White. Son of Bethel, an online book about the event, is available to read: here.

The handcuffs worn by Lee Harvey Oswald on the morning he was shot by Jack Ruby. So I guess you can't totally get away from that fateful day in November 1963.

George "Spanky" McFarland, born in Dallas in 1928, was a child star of the Hal Roach Our Gang series from 1932 to 1938. Any kid watching early TV knows the whole gang of Spanky, Alfalfa, Darlene, Buckwheat,etal. from the countless reruns aired on local kiddie shows. After serving in the Air Force and unable to find work in "the industry" as an adult, Spanky worked at a soft drink plant, a hamburger stand, and a Popsicle factory, and later hosted "Spanky's Clubhouse," on KOTV in Tulsa. His last movie was the Aurora Encounter with Longview, Texas native Mickey Hayes. His final TV appearance was in 1993 on the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".
Well That's it in a nutshell, Okey-Dokey.

Here's more of the Old Red Museum.