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Don Julio

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Everything posted by Don Julio

  1. Thanks for this tip. I have sent an email to MFA. I hope everyone else does the same.
  2. Riverside is my home and no, it's not for sale. (Since I rent and don't own. ) Seriously, I've been looking for that documentary but can't find it. Anybody on here know where I can score a copy?
  3. Great story. You kids in the '40s and '50s didn't know how good you had it. A trip to Howard's Fun Shop sure beat the heck out of Nintendo.
  4. Astonishing info on Howard Campbell and the magic shop. Doc, do you or Bev remember anything about Howard being in the record business? In 1950-51 there was a record company operating in downtown Houston called "Phamous." The address on the label was 908 1/2 Travis. I looked this up in the 1950 city directory: this was the location (at that time) for Howard's Fun Shop. The bizarre / fascinating aspect of this story is that everyone on the label was blind. The labels to the records always read, "Blind Troubadors." Here is what the Phamous label looked like:
  5. Not defunct per se, but I really miss the original 1923 James Coney Island on Walker & Main. The chili is still as good in the newer locations, but the faux 'retro' design makes me vomit. The original was the best! Why oh why did it have to close?
  6. ...and I wouldn't mind having that glorious neon 'Coffee Shop' sign that offsets all of the beyond-hideous condos now dotting Washington Ave. This is truly horrible news. The Pig Stands here, and in SA and Beaumont, were the last of the old-time diners still left in South Texas. When I moved back to town a few months ago, this was one of the first places I headed to. Now the corner of Washington & Sawyer will just be another #@*&! condo... I'm joining the Taliban...
  7. Here is a thumbnail (click on it to get a full size image) of another early view of Hotel Cotton. Taken from the essential book, "Houston's Heritage Using Antique Postcards" by Joy Lent (1983).
  8. I'll be returning to Houston next month for a temp job that lasts through December. So I need to find a place to stay for three months basically. It'll be fun getting back to my old stomping grounds. Are there any suggestions on hotels / furnished apartments in the general downtown area that are safe, clean, quiet, and $500/month or less? (Also, that have safe parking.) I have no idea where to begin on this. Any / all suggestions welcome. Thanks, Don Julio
  9. I seem to recall the bottom floor was in use as a cosmetology school years ago. The upper floors have been empty forever. Can't believe nothing's been done with it.
  10. May I join the chorus of those applauding this superlative restoration effort? So nice to see a General Manager as enthused and committed as George Kalas. These pictures are great also. Keep 'em coming! I recall passing by the Montagu in the 1980s many a time en route to the original James' Coney Island around the corner. Always lots of risky clientele hanging around out front. Don Julio
  11. Yep, I've found this to be essentially true, sadly. They are caught up in their soap opera fantasies...narcissism rules their world. A lot of good men are single and miserable because they just cannot deal with this BS.
  12. www.78rpm.com Nauck's Vintage Records in Spring is the world's largest dealer in everything 78 rpm -- records, turntables, gear, you name it. You can get a high quality 3 speed turntable for $300. DON'T buy a "retro" turntable at some consumer electronics place like Conn's if you plan on actually hearing the music off of a 78 rpm record. They are outfitted with cheap needles for modern vinyl microgroove records -- 78s sound like garbage on these, because 78s were cut with standard groove width (3 mil) and require a 3 mil needle to be properly heard. Good turntables like the kind Nauck sells have interchangable cartridges to you can play any kind of record from 1901 forward.
  13. "Houston, The Action Town" by Juke Boy Bonner. In my record collection I have the Colt .45s theme song from 1962. Talk about cool. Shoot 'em down, Houston Colts! We're in the game to stay... Unfortunately I don't remember the rest. It sure kicked the crap out of Journey.
  14. When I lived in Houston I used to have my hair cut at the Greyhound Bus Station barbershop. The hours were to my liking: basically all day and into the night. The price was to my wallet's liking: $6, later inflation adjusted to $8. The main guys there were Reuben (morning/afternoon) and Mr. Green (evening). Does anyone know if they are still there?
  15. Well, I'm a native Houstonian, lived there 34 years...all but one year of my life...but I left. (Not for Austin.) And I cannot say that some great romantic sentimentality is punishing me for my decision. A big reason why: from an early age I've been a preservationist at heart, and it crushes me to see building after building felled on a routine basis in Houston (or at least boarded up and never reopened). I mean, there is virtually zero consciousness on the part of the community at large that these things are worth preserving, both from nth-generation Houstonians as well as newcomers. Zero. So I felt completely out of place there. Maybe I'm just completely out of place everywhere. What is lost by not having the Shamrock Hotel, Lamar Hotel, Metropolitan Theater, the original James' Coney Island on Walker (with the giant handpainted menu), and dozens of other examples? Nothing, if you've never been to those places or grew up in a family where conversations often harkened back to some warm personal anecdote occuring at those spots. Nothing, if your father didn't take you there when you were a kid and talk about how he used to go there when hotdogs were a nickel (another JCI anecdote). Sure Houston has great museums, opera...by the way the nosebleed seats at Jones Hall start at $25. Most of the supposed "great cultural events" working class joes like me couldn't afford. Nor did I feel they were particularly cultural. Elegant, yes; but not cultural in the truer, older sense of the word.
  16. Yes, if memory serves, it was originally Bailey Bros., then one of them left and it was just "Bob Bailey"... The problem with the archive while it was still in family hands is that it was super expensive to order prints. Something like $30 for a 5x7 or an 8x10. I ordered a few over the years but it was kind of frustrating knowing there were thousands and thousands that you would never even see. The calendars were OK but of course they always concentrated on "celebrities" visiting Houston (little interest to me). But Bailey's archive was so much more than that...countless images of local theaters, bars, night clubs, diners, you name it, going back to the '20s. It really is an incredible collection. As to the question why the city or UH didn't purchase the collection...you must be confusing Houston with some place that actually gives a damn about it's past.
  17. Did it really close? The website is still up: http://www.cottonexchangebar.com/index.html There was never much of a "crowd" any of the times I went there, either. But I don't believe the soundtrack was affecting the crowd size in any way (except that I would have gone a lot more had it not been for the hip-hop garbage). My guess is that people couldn't deal with the $8 martinis. I hated paying that, too, on my $10/hour salary, but I did it to "bask in the history" of the room like their website says.
  18. I hope it's OK to vent about Houston bars too. You know what I hate? When somebody spends tons of time and money beautifully restoring a room to late 19th century/early 20th opulance, then decides it would be a really cool idea to play hip-hop/techno (or whatever this computerized non-music is called) all night every night. The offender is the Old Cotton Exchange Bar. I would love to patronize this place, despite the high prices, but I just cannot. It's painful. The soundtrack. Occasionally they play something appropos to the environment...Basie, Sinatra, or Ella. But the hip-hop never seems to be far behind. I just don't understand the mentality of an ownership that would allow this. Can anyone sympathize with my plight? Or am I just too "out of it"?
  19. Thanks for posting these photos. What elegance there was in the ordinary back in the early 1900s. The "Ladies' Parlor" was a nice touch. The Brazos Hotel was mentioned in a biography of William S. Burroughs, "Literary Outlaw." I think Burroughs' "gangster" buddy from NYC Herbert Huncke (also mentioned in Kerouac's "On the Road") stayed there or scored marijuana there circa 1947, when Burroughs was living north of Houston in New Waverly.
  20. The Autotel "Blue Room" was a famed live music spot in the 1940s for western swing bands. Everybody from Bob Wills on down played there. There were live broadcasts from there on stations like KATL. It did not have a seedy "whorehouse" reputation at that time. That came later.
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