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Don Julio

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Everything posted by Don Julio

  1. Dickie Jones and the Skyliners were a Houston group. The saxophonist, George Ogg, still lives in the Heights. The rest are deceased. The were the houseband at the Autotel Blue Room in 1946-47.
  2. Thanks, I forgot that this was briefly touched upon before. Is anyone able to scan the pic that appears in the 1972 AIA Guide?
  3. I'm trying to find out more about the Autotel Blue Room, one of Houston's premier venues for live music in the 1940s. It was a huge club (capacity 1000 downstairs and 1500 upstairs) located at 1515 McCarty. There is a motel at 1519 McCarty today, though it appears to be a modern construction and not a renovation of the older courts. The building that housed the Blue Room and cafe is gone. This area of McCarty (where it terminates at Clinton Drive, directly north of the Ship Channel turning basin) was, during the '40s, heavily trafficked since it was then the 'Beaumont Highway' (Highway 90) and the main route into Houston from the east, plus there were tons of sailors, longshoremen, and workers from the ship channel converging on McCarty@Clinton every night. There were lots of 'courts' along this stretch and several music clubs, of which the Autotel was the biggest. There are still a couple left even now (for Tejano music); the Harbor Lights (which has been there since at least 1941) remains open at 2327 McCarty, though it is no longer a live music venue. The Autotel Blue Room lasted from about 1942 to about 1957. It then became 'La Terraza' for another decade or so. A listing in the 1973 city directory has it as the 'Coronado Club.' My questions: Does anybody here remember McCarty Drive in the '40s or '50s, or the Autotel? When did construction begin on I-10, and when was it completed? When was the building at 1515 McCarty torn down? What is a good source of information on the Ship Channel during the WWII era? Here is a linen postcard of the 'Port Houston Autotel' circa 1942. Here is a picture of Dickie Jones and the Skyliners at the Autotel Blue Room, 1946.
  4. I've lived here almost my entire life and have never been in the tunnels. Have I missed anything? Am I wrong to suspect that the tunnels expanded in the '60s and '70s with the unstated purpose of keeping the professionals segregated from all the bus-riding riffraff (like myself) up on the streets? This would also explain why information on the tunnels is not prominently posted on the streets.
  5. This thread need not turn into a discourse on race-based class structures or 'yuppieism.' Can we stick to the subject, specifically, the Washington Theater? Everybody knows that Houston enforced Jim Crow laws on local businesses until the 1960s. What is somewhat surprising in this one example is that it seems to demonstrate that there existed a white audience for black stage shows in Houston as early as 1925.
  6. There is still a small section (about 1/2 block long) of Odin Street on the map. Thanks for this info. It appears that the Washington Theater was located on the small section of Odin Street that remained.
  7. True, but it's still unusual to see an advertisement for a club in 1925 explicitly state, "For White People Only." Perhaps they felt they had to do so because they primarily featured black entertainment. It seems probable that there were also shows for a black clientele, but these were not advertised. At any rate, it's not generally documented that there even was a white audience for "low-down blues" in Texas circa 1925. The 1927 ads that say "Special Show for White People" imply that the theater had liberalized its policy, or at least its language, by that point. It's pretty hard to conjure a mental image of the Fifth Ward in 1925. Odin Street itself is today just a clump of weeds.
  8. Has the history of the Washington Theater been fully explored here? It appears that this was a live music theater active in Houston in the mid-to-late 1920s. What makes it interesting is that from the advertisements, it featured African-American musical talent but catered to a white audience. It was located at 2711 Odin Ave. in 1925, then moved to 2737 Odin in late 1926. Does anybody have a photograph? Here are some of the ads, all from the Houston Press: 1/27/1925: Broadway Rastus including the original Liza Girls - For White People Only 4/7/1925: Sledge and Sledge All Colored Review with the famous comedian Pot Licker -- coming next week Sippie Wallace, famous blue singer - For Whites Only 4/15/1925: Sippie Wallace - Okeh Record - Greatest Blue (sic) Singer - Note: Sippi (sic) "totes" a mean contralto voice, just suited for low-down blues - "Whites Only" 4/20/1925: "Footlight Follies" - All-Star Colored Artists with Esther Bigeou, Okeh Record Singer, and former leading lady with Broadway Rastus - Assisted by Will Eldridge and a Big Chorus 1/13/1926: McGann's Ragtime Stompers - Girls, Girls, Girls - 25 people with their own Jazz Band 1/12/1927: Mamie Smith, Victor Record Artist and her gang of 25 Broadway Negro Stars (no "Whites Only" designation) 2/9/1927: Original Dusty Murray and his Strutting Along Company presents "Chocolate Town" - A merry musical revue - Jazz band - Dancers - Hear this broadcast 11:15 Wed. over KFVI 2/17/1927: Wiley and Wiley, Blues Singers - Exclusive Okeh Record Artists - Bo Kelly, Musical Tramp - Chavers and Chavers, They make musical instruments laugh - Special Show for White People 3/10/1927: George Williams and Bessie Brown, Columbia Record Stars and their New York Revue 4/7/1927: Big Jazz Band - 30 people - Whitman Sisters
  9. I live down the street from the Parador. Unfortunately I'm not rich or important enough to attend any of the 'gala events' frequently going down there, but I have admired it from afar for years. One can easily imagine that, during the era it was built, Alameda was lined with Mediterranean style buildings like this. Needless to say, nearly all are gone now. The only downside is the other three sides of the intersection are incredibly depressing (a gas station that's been boarded up for years, a stove warehouse that's been closed forever, and a loan shark/check cashing joint. Talk about destroying the ambiance of the Parador. I just can't believe some real estate visionary can't jump in and make better use of all three blocks.
  10. Feeling adventurous, I actually stayed at the Montague Hotel for a few days last September. That was a little scary. As far as the "renovations" the owner boasted of, they were proceeding at a snail's pace. At the rate they were going, the renovation would've been finished in 2075. So, I stayed in one of the unrenovated rooms, and it was the most uncomfortable bed ever...even worse than the Downtown YMCA (where I've also stayed!). I don't think I actually got any sleep the whole time. And no, the "shady" characters had not vacated the premises...since the rooms weren't equipped with phones, residents had to either use the pay phone, or ask the desk clerk to use the hotel courtesy phone. As I was checking in, some youngish guy was begging the clerk to let him use the free phone in loud, extreme language. He was obviously a drug addict and a psycho. So...it's sad that places like this just go down the drain, but after staying there I had to conclude that the Montague's days were numbered...and I was thankful for it.
  11. Albino Torres was one of the most respected musicians in Houston during the 1940s and 1950s. I'm pretty sure he was classically trained and may have played with the Symphony for a time, but I don't know much about him otherwise. Most of the time he led his own orchestra. I don't think they made any recordings, but an older friend of mine who heard them a few times assured me that they were a top-notch band who played from written arrangements. He said they mostly played to 'high society' dances. They played at the Empire Room at the Rice Hotel during the '40s. Wish I could go see a band like that play there now!
  12. No, but I vividly recall many trips to the King George/De George Hotel Grill back in the 'skid row' days in the early 1990s, well before the 'revitalisation' of that area. The hotel is still standing, but the grill has long since closed. You could run into some real characters there, including the staff. It may have been grungy and run down, but it sure beat the hell out of some 'sports bar'...
  13. When did KILT go on the air? I know it was the mid-1950s, but I'd to get a more exacting date.
  14. No, but I've got some. Send me your address and I'll mail you a CD. Are you serious? Those clowns don't have anything like this. Arhoolie is the only record company who reissues Tejano music from the vintage days. They have one CD with an Alonzo recording on it: http://www.arhoolie.com/titles/376.shtml
  15. TQN = Texas Quality Network From the Handbook of Texas Online: "In 1934 the state's four largest stations, WBAP in Fort Worth, WFAA in Dallas, WOAI in San Antonio, and KPRC of Houston, formed the Texas Quality Group Network. The stations were connected by telephone lines, established the capacity for simultaneous broadcasts, and commanded a combined night-time power of 101,000 watts. A major factor in the push to share programming was the popularity of the Light Crust Doughboys radio show. The Texas Quality Group Network (or TQN) also featured other regular programs such as "Riding with the Texas Rangers" sponsored by Kellogg and the "Pepper-Uppers" for Dr Pepper. TQN eventually included stations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana and continued broadcasting into the 1950s."
  16. Great pic! What was the name of this orchestra? And who is who? This topic could occupy hundreds of posts... So far I've posted 176 photos from my collection of Texas string bands and orchestras 1930s-1950s (including many Houston groups) on Flicker, in case anyone's interested: http://flickr.com/photos/30643196@N00/
  17. I always assumed that Houston had a "red light district" in the early 1900s, but have never found a mention of one anywhere. It was the local author and historian, Mack McCormick, who revealed that it was located in the Fourth Ward area and was called "The Reservation." He did extensive research on this in the 1960s and interviewed several old-timers who remembered it. There was still one remaining "sporting house" operating at that time. I understand it was located in the area that later became the San Felipe Courts (Allen Parkway Village). Does anyone else know anything about "The Reservation"?
  18. The Heartbeats album dates from the late '60s. They made it when John Hill was still in the band; he is pictured on the cover. What is it about doctors and music, anyway?
  19. It was across the street from a honky-tonk called "Sixth and Studewood Dine and Dance." All the local "western" bands played there plus quite a few touring acts like Faron Young, et al. A friend of mine vividly recalls a sign posted on the wall of the Polish Hall in the sixties: "Women in slacks not allowed on the dance floor." Classic.
  20. Does anyone have any info or a photograph of the Southern College of Fine Arts? It was located in a three-story mansion on Lovett Boulevard (torn down years ago of course). A lot of local musicians such as Bob Dunn went there in the 1940s on the G.I. Bill. Supposedly it was connected to St. Thomas University. I'm not aware of any existing photograph. I'd also like to know when it opened and closed.
  21. There's lots of great songs about our beloved city. Some that come to mind are: Juke Boy Bonner - Houston (The Action Town) Juke Boy Bonner - I Live Where the Action Is Juke Boy Bonner - Struggle Here in Houston Shelly Lee Alley and the Alley Cats - Deep Congress Avenue Shelly Lee Alley and the Alley Cats - Houston Blues Bar X Cowboys - Houston Shuffle Prince Albert Hunt - Houston Slide Walter Cowboy Washington - West Dallas Woman Rob Cooper - West Dallas Drag Bull Moose Jackson - Houston, Texas Gal Link Davis - Big Houston Link Davis - Bayou Buffalo Benny Leaders - Houston, Texas Blues Joan Brooks and Paul Brown - Headin' Back to Houston Bill Guyton - Humble Road Boogie Art Foster - Houston, Texas Looise Burgess - Astrodome Song Terry Lee - Houston, My Home Town (KNUZ promo) ...among others
  22. Is the original building still there? What is it now? I remember going to Local Charm many times in the early '90s.
  23. Tell us more! It's impossible to look through any Houston newspapers from the '60s without those great, lurid, tantalizing Paris Theater "sexploitation" film ads jumping out at you. I have a bunch of those ads that I should post here. I'm sure every Russ Meyer, David Freidman et al. grindhouse classic must have played there back in the day. I've wondered who went there and what it was like. Located so close to UH, it must have attracted a lot of students, but I'm sure the dirty ol' men were everpresent, as well. This page of David Friedman films on video/DVD amply demonstrates what was on tap at the Paris: http://www.somethingweird.com/cart.php?tar...category_id=328
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