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JUSTICE IN EL PASO
Southern California mystery writer Ross McDonald in his best book, The Goodby Look, has his world-weary private eye hero Lew Archer lament, “I have a secret passion for mercy . . . but justice is what keeps happening to people.”
Richard Wheatley’s justice for filing a misdemeanor complaint against El Paso Mayor Fred Hervey and Mayor Pro Tern Ruben Schaeffer for allegedly conspiring to avoid a quorum under a section of the Texas Open Meetings Law was to be fired from his job as a television news reporter and anchorman on the El Paso NBC affiliate, KTSM-TV.
Wheatley is no bilge of idealism or a firebrand radical. He is conservative in politics; he likes being a part of the Naval Reserve and lives at home with his mother who he enjoys and respects.
During the two years he worked for KTSM he won several Associated Press awards, several local news film awards, and had more than a few NBC stories aired nationally. The station executives have not used incompetence as a reason for his dismissal.
The story begins early this year. The new law prohibits elected officials from gathering in groups of more than two to discuss or conduct city business without posting a public meeting notice 72 hours before the day of the meeting, complete with agenda.
Enter the mayor. When the good citizens of El Paso elected Fred Hervey they got themselves a businessman above all else. President Richard Nixon once said, “If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world?” The moral and business philosophy behind that statement would be vigorously embraced by Mayor Fred Hervey.
Among other things, the millionaire mayor owns a giveaway shopper newspaper, a radio station, a chain of drive-in restaurants, and started the Circle-K convenience stores in the West, now 700 strong. His civic and personal economic philosophies complement one another exactly. The business of El Paso is business, the pesky press be damned.
On January 4 Hervey allegedly stood in the door of his office with regional federal transportation official Ed Foreman and said, “We’re going to meet with you and only one alderman so we won’t have the press in here. Then we’ll meet at 11 a.m. with the press.”
Wheatley and veteran El Paso Herald-Post city beat reporter, 43-year-old Wayne McClintock, were shut out.
The Herald-Post, over the signature of editor Pete Lee and reporter McClintock, sent a letter of protest. Hervey responded with a declaratory suit, calling tor Lee and McClintock to pay expenses should Hervey win.
Then on January 24, during a scheduled city council meeting, alderman E. H. Baeza brought up an item not on the agenda as prescribed by the open meetings law. Wheatley protested but the council continued, saying they were merely going to discuss, not decide. This flies in the face of an opinion made earlier by City Attorney John Ross, Jr., for the benefit of the El Paso Civic Center, which specified that any meeting must stick to agenda items posted 72 hours in advance of the day of a meeting.
At this point Wheatley asked his station to take up the legal gauntlet. They refused, saying it would destroy their reputation as an objective news organization. He then made his decision. He would exercise his rights as a citizen to legally petition the government to correct what he considered a violation of the law.
On January 28 Wheatley filed misdemeanor complaints alleging that the mayor and mayor pro tern conducted closed sessions, and conspired to meet without a quorum.
That afternoon Schaeffer appeared before Judge Robert Galvan with a covey of the mayor’s “team”—Manny Morales, E. H. Baeza, and Don Henderson—standing close by lending moral support. The defendant’s attorney, Joseph Calamia, asked that the warrants be treated as a summons because of the “exemplary character” of the defendants, thus assuring the two city officials of not being fingerprinted, mugged, and booked like common criminals.
Granted, said County Attorney George Rodriguez, after questioning from Judge Galvan. Unusual, said Sheriff Mike Sullivan, but it had happened before. Mayor Pro Tern Schaeffer paid his $750 bond and left the courtroom.
Hervey, who had been out of town, surrendered to Sheriff Sullivan the next day and also bypassed the procedure of booking and fingerprinting. He paid his $750, said “no comment” to reporters, and left with an April 9 trial date.
The wheels had been set in motion for the first test of the state’s open meetings law. Does the public have a right to be informed on meetings of their elected officials, or not?
The El Paso media apparently doesn’t give a damn. “Give Light and People Will Find Their Own Way” reads the motto of the afternoon Herald-Post. To date, no editorial supporting Wheatley, and only a few letters to the editor praising the newsman’s efforts constitute the “Light.” The same sorry record is true for the morning Times. To date, not one El Paso television station has supported, or condemned, Wheatley’s action. Only in The University of Texas at El Paso’s student paper, The Prospector, has a thorough airing been given.
Things went from can to can’t for Wheatley. On the evening of January 29 he received a telephone call from KTSM news director Jeff Gates telling him his reportorial duties were over. Wheatley was to be in charge of the news wire and photo-facsimile machines. He was to do busybody work—cleaning, ripping off the wirecopy, repairs—a job that could be performed well by a mature Rhesus monkey.
On February 12, Wheatley was fired. To date, no reason has been given by either Tri-State Broadcasting President Karl Wyler, Executive Vice-President Jack Rye, or News Director Gates.
In a February 6 memo to personnel, Rye stated that management “felt that Wheatley had destroyed his objectivity and objectivity is one of the most important qualities a news reporter must maintain.” Rye further explained to employees that Wheatley had indeed asked the station to take the legal action he eventually took, but that, “we refused on the same grounds that caused us to look with disfavor on his action . . . obvious loss of objectivity.”
Richard Wheatley meanwhile ponders his next move, and with flagging optimism, awaits a further display of justice on April 9.
MAYOR AND THE MUSIC
Not long ago on a Sunday afternoon we accompanied the new mayor of Houston, Fred Hofheinz, his wife, Mac, and their 11-year-old son, Paul, to a ten-hour, eight-band progressive country music festival in Hofheinz Pavilion. It was for the benefit of the local Pacifica station, KPFT-FM, and they were benefited some $21,000 worth.
Progressive country music differs from old timey, Grand Ole Opry country music in that instruments usually associated with country bands—violin, banjo, pedal steel guitar, dobro, mandolin, are added to the basic four-piece rock and roll ensemble (base, rhythm and lead guitars, and drums). Piano and organ show up frequently in each group.
Whether it is Lefty Frizzell or Commander Cody doing the singing, the subjects remain the same: love, prisons, trucks and mother.
The mayor is out of the young, earnest, accustomed-to-power mold: in character cool and collected; in appearance slight of build, with dark eyes and hair and a boyish grin that always brings a “why he’s too young to be mayor,” comment from older folks. Hofheinz earned a PhD in economics and a law degree from The University of Texas before coming back to Houston to manage his family’s entertainment empire.
Hofheinz owns a Martin D-18 guitar on which he pounds out Jimmy Rogers and Hank Williams tunes after he has ended the ribbon-cutting, speech-making, and council-presiding for the day.
His Honor’s assigned seats were second row center (seats 9-13) but his Huckleberry Finn look-alike son Paul quickly moved up to empty seat 12 on row one with a new Wollensak 3M recorder to insure himself the best possible visual and aural vantage point.
Paul has become the George Plimpton, Jr., of Houston, acting out all children’s fantasies. He has been a flyer with Ringling Brothers’ finest trapeze act, the Flying Gaonas; he has boxed with Ali, played horse with Wilt Chamberlain, touch football with Jim Brown, batted against the Astros’ finest, operated the giant electric scoreboard at the Astrodome, and now is working on a novel. “It’s not autobiographical because an 11-year-old kid just hasn’t done that much,” he says seriously, pulling back a lock of bright red hair from his eyes.
Mac married the mayor 12 years ago while both were students at The University of Texas and he was planning a career in teaching. She is intelligent, blonde, doesn’t smoke or drink, and relishes privacy and hot sun in that order.
Last summer, Paul and sister Tracey made up the entire gentile population at Echo Hill Camp near Kerrville, owned and operated by the parents of perhaps the most progressive country singer of all, Kinky Friedman, who appeared later in the day minus all but one of his band, the Texas Jewboys.
The mayor arrived shortly after 2 p.m., dressed in a tan, western-cut shirt and pants, and boots, and accompanied by his omnipresent guard, Officer Don Weaver of the Houston police department. He planned to stay an hour, leave and dedicate the Lonnie E. Smith Library in Houston’s predominantly black third ward, and come back for some more music before his next engagement.
Five or six thousand of Houston’s cosmic cow persons and gamboling youths gathered inside Hofheinz’s theater-in-the-round to hear Austin’s Jerry Jeff Walker kick off with his own classic, “Mr. Bojangles.” “Up Against the Wall Red Neck Motha” was next, and after a rousing five- or six-song set, Jerry Jeff and his nine-piece band packed up for a quick trip to Phoenix for an engagement that night.
Officer Weaver enjoyed himself immensely, tactfully ignoring the fog-like conditions caused by several thousand marijuana smokers. Asleep At the Wheel, a western swing band from Austin, struck up “Choo Choo Boogie” and won Weaver’s heart. “Shoot, they play Bob Wills better than Bob Wills,” he said with a grin from ear to ear.
The most exciting moments of the music marathon were provided by longtime San Antonio singer Doug Sahm (see page 46), playing with an excellent Austin group with my favorite name, Freda and the Firedogs. Sahm could probably hypnotize a chicken with his infectious Tex-Mex music, and the audience swarmed toward the stage like hornets round a jam pot as Doug yowled, “Texas tornado, yew ole son-of-a-gun.”
At 11:15 Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong introduced country music guru Willie Nelson (beardless this time) who sang an hour’s worth of his own songs. Close up you can see friends’ names carved in his guitar: Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Billy Joe Shaver, Joe Jamail.
Earlier, emcee Jim Franklin, a sartorial triumph in a Texas flag, ski goggles, Armadillo-head helmet and black cape, sallied from the wings and introduced the Mayor, who received an enthusiastic whoop and holler. As Franklin asked Hofheinz to stand and take a bow, he and Officer Weaver were pulling away from the Pavilion, headed toward the Whitehall Hotel for a meeting with the Japan-Texas Association.
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
Important court dates scheduled this month: Former House Speaker Gus Mutscher’s bribery conspiracy case will be heard on April 10 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Mutscher’s appeal, along with those of former aides Rush McGinty and Tommy Shannon, will be heard together. All three received five-year probated sentences in 1972 for conspiring to accept loans and stock deals from Houston promoter Frank Sharp. . . . Frances T. Farenthold’s proceeding against Governor Dolph Briscoe, accused of violating a new state election law, will be held April 8 in Austin. Briscoe is accused by Farenthold of violating the new law by soliciting contributions prior to his appointment of a campaign manager. Briscoe contends that the money solicited for the dinner before his appointment last October 19 of a campaign manager will be used only to help retire his 1972 campaign deficit.
FILM FLAM MAN
Former Texas Film Commission Director Warren Skaaren reports that movie makers in Texas this spring have been busier than a horsefly at a polo game. Dallas film producer Martin Jurow has found East Texas to be an ideal locale for two horror flies. He is finishing up At the Stroke of Murder near Leigh (that’s near Marshall) witli an all Texas cast. Premiering this month is Don’t Hang Up, starring Eddie’s daughter, Susan Bracken. You will recognize Jefferson and Marion County in this one. … A major production produced by David Parridines for David Frost, Leadbelly, begins rolling soon on locations near Austin and Navasota. Director Gordon Parks, Sr. has talked to musician Isaac Hayes and Sounder star Paul Winfield to play the legendary Texas blues singer. . . . Veteran producer Stanley Jaffee begins shooting Dallas author A. C. Greene’s book, The Santa Claus Bank Robbery on location in Cisco where the slapstick holdup occurred just before Christmas, 1927. . . . Texas Star Productions, headed by Dallasite Bob Kurtz, goes to Palestine to begin work on Tumble Down Dead. . . . Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, and Michael Sachs star in Sugarland Express, premiering this month. Critics already are praising Bill Atherton’s (Ms. Hawn’s husband) performance.
BLIGHT TURNED BRIGHTER
It is a place in the city where B the landscape is more important than the characters, which cannot be said of many urban areas. The Vieux Carre in New Orleans and sections of Charleston and Savannah qualify. And so does the King William Historical District in San Antonio.
Dominant in this landscape are 75 or more Victorian homes of the late 19th century in various stages of restoration, ranging from the lavish Morton/Polk/Mathis House to dilapidated anachronisms waiting to be born anew.
The three streets comprising the heart of the district are a wilderness of turrets, chimneys, balconies, and porches resting among trees. It is a landscape that does not nourish avarice or greed. There is a monolithic poise about the neighborhood, a quietness that makes King William an oasis of calm near the city’s hub.
To hurry would destroy the spirit of the place. This spirit is its charm and the reason San Antonians are rediscovering this decayed inner-city section.
The San Antonio River winds southward from downtown, forming the northern boundary of King William. The city’s River Corridor Commission’s preliminary plan is for further landscaping and development of the river through the neighborhood, hopefully to be finished before the bicentennial celebrations in 1976.
The exodus of San Antonians from the area toward the suburbs began after World War II, and continued until the mid-Sixties. During the war, those who lived in the bigger homes received tax breaks from the government for converting their homes to apartments because of the housing shortage. Some remained duplexes or single apartments, but since 1970, more and more owners are reconverting to single family dwellings.
Homes in the area reflect almost every major architectural influence from the 1860s to the 1920s: neoclassical, European, native, Victorian, Greek Revival. This classic example of Greek Revival began as a one-story house but was remodeled by Louis Oge in 1881. Today, it is an apartment house owned by Marshall Steves.
While many followed their fortunes north to Terrell Hills, some recognized the beauty and historical value of the area and moved in. Mr. and Mrs. William Watson bought their 144-year-old, one-story home in 1948. In 1944, Mr. and Mrs. George Isbell moved into their beautiful two-story stone home, built in 1878. Mrs. Carrie Steves still lives in one of the three Steves homes in the King William area, a magnificent two-story structure that has seen three generations of this well-known San Antonio family.
Miss Margaret Gething, a decorator specializing in historical restoration and the person largely responsible for the designation in 1967 of King William as the first historical district in Texas, moved to 409 East Guenther to begin restoration work along Washington, Madison, and King William Streets.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Gething, Ted McAllister, and others interested in King William’s preservation, the area has survived onslaughts from rapacious city councils, pseudo do-gooders, and progress in general.
Influential and interested citizens have helped along the way. Texas premier architect O’Neill Ford moved his architectural offices to 528 King William in 1955. Wealthy bachelor Walter Mathis began restoring the first of four houses in the area in 1967, one of which (at 401 King William) is one of the section’s most extravagant.
Today, not only has flight away from the neighborhood stopped, but an unprecedented number of San Antonians are clamoring for real estate. Younger couples such as Mr. and Mrs. Jay Monday, architect and designer John Larcade, and architect Bruce Duderstadt, have bought and are restoring homes in the King William district.
On Saturday, April 27, King William Street will be closed off from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. for the King William Fair. There will be German and Mexican food, an art show, craftsmen working, music, and for two dollars, a tour through four homes.
REMEMBER THE ALAMODE
If you have been spurned and tossed aside, your performances not exactly playing to boffo grosses lately, and you’re tired of being greeted everywhere with the welcome accorded a typhoid carrier, well, your Winter of the Long Knives is over. Snap to and check the cut of your jib because it’s San Antonio Fiesta time.
For the 83rd time, the city adjourns for ten days (April 19-28) to whoop and frolic and cut up and generally run hog wild.
Every wholesome activity known to man unfolds somewhere in San Antonio during the next ten days including six parades, a Mexican rodeo, a 100-mile bicycle race, airmen and WAFs passing in review, a college rifle championship, and a young girl’s synchronized swim group. Yeah!
HILLBILLY HEAVEN IN AGGIELAND
Willie Nelson has really done it this time. Tired of losing money on his July Fourth music festivals, the popular Austin-based singer has got him some sure-nuff businessmen to direct this year’s extravaganza.
This year, Willie tried to escape the heat, he really did. “Willie Nelson’s Easter Parade of Country Rock” was scheduled for April 13 at Rio Vista, south of Cleburne, but the law got increasingly uneasy. Cleburne’s first massage parlour has just opened and Sheriff Cliff Benson didn’t relish an onslaught of country-western freaks on top of an expected deluge of sex “preverts.”
So Willie and Dr. John Young of Athens, together with three men from Bryan—Judge Bill Vance, Jim Campise, and Tony Joe Varisco—have put together the granddaddy of all country western music festivals.
“The Willie Nelson Second Annual Fourth of July Picnic” will be held July 4, 5, and 6 at Texas World Speedway in College Station from noon to 11 p.m. each day. Eight dollars a day or twenty bucks for all three days gets you in to hear ||| continuous music on two stages. The management guarantees no intermissions.
Here is the three-day line-up that reads like the American Federation of Musicians’ directory: Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Rita Coolidge, Lefty Frizzell, Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Rich, Bill Monroe, Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings, Sammi Smith, Johnny Rodriguez, Charlie Pride, Tom T. Hall, Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Murphey, Doug Sahm, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, John Prine, Kinky Friedman, Roger Miller, Ray Price, Kenneth Threadgill and others. Leon and Willie will play each day.
Send your money for advance tickets to: Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic, Inc., Box 9500, College Station, Texas 77840.
On July 1, 1954, local Jaycee president Charles Ringler, and Dick Mitchell, president of the then Texas Neon Sign Manufacturing Company, hit the switch and a 71/2′ X 13′ neon American flag high atop the old county courthouse in Fort Worth lit up for all to see. Sky rockets, pin wheels, and roman candles paled that July 4th before the 1400-pound, light-bulb blazing flag.
But it was not to last. Protests poured in from the American Legion and other outraged Cow-towners who felt it was not a “real flag,” as one old timer I talked to put it. “It was metal, it was ugly, and you couldn’t raise or lower it. Hell, it was no flag a’tall.” The once-glowing Old Glory has been destroyed, but it remained aloft until 1961 when it was finally removed the same cumbersome way it was erected.
MANDATE FOR MARTY
Despite spending a million dollars in its news effort alone, Dallas’ WFAA-TV, Channel 8, companion station to the Dallas Morning News, consistently lagged behind the two other major stations in the Metroplex area.
It was embarrassing that the ABC affiliate station that ranked second in the nation (behind San Francisco) in major market news programming ranked last in the ARB and Nielsen rate books. Last fall, more viewers watched the six and ten p.m. newscasts on WBAP, Fort Worth’s Channel 5; and on the noon news, the public preferred the Dallas Times Herald‘s KRLD, Channel 4, and WBAP to their wealthy colleague on Young Street.
The whiplash of blame fell on several backs, one of the first being the broad back of former anchorman Don Harris. Harris was controversial, a born devil’s with the uncomfortable position. advocate who felt comfortable His forte was in hosting a show like News 8, Etc., where he could question provocative guests and establish something more than the usual witless doggerel heard on similar shows.
Harris had two strikes against him. First, as an anchorman, his ratings were awful. Second, he wanted to continue as anchorman. But the third strike took him out. A $40,000 consultant study showed that his prickly personality adversely affected viewers. They didn’t like him. General Manager Mike Shapiro offered him News 8, Etc., but to remain as anchorman was out of the question. Harris presently is weekend anchorman at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
Next to feel the sting was News Director Travis Linn. Linn was an excellent television journalist. He was in line to become president of the Radio and Television News Directors Association and was a pleasant fellow to work for. This was his problem, according to the bosses. Linn needed a pinch of Vince-Lombardi-like discipline added to his managerial technique. Management felt the news product was too loose. Assignments were made without serious regard to individual newsmen and women’s talents. So today Travis Linn is assistant to the chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District.
Shapiro finally found the man to take charge, to calm the waters and get WFAA moving again. Marty Haag was given a mandate: do what you will but make us number one.
Haag was born in a journalist’s town, Columbia, Missouri; he earned journalism degrees at the University of Missouri and Columbia, and then knocked around newspapers and television stations in San Angelo, Dallas, Fort Worth, New York, and Los Angeles before becoming assistant news director at CBS’s most successful station, WCBS in New York. While at Columbia, he had the good sense to marry a beautiful blonde Dallas girl named Betty Lynn Wall who was also working on her master’s in journalism. Ms. Haag is now working towards her doctorate at SMU.
Haag arrived last August and almost immediately fired a gaggle of employees. Then he went to work gathering a new staff. He hired KRLD’s Bob Sirkin after seeing a particularly strong story on video tape. From Tulsa came Mike Miller. From WSB in Atlanta came Bruce Halford whose specialty became politics. Also from WSB, Haag got Carl Twentier to be his executive producer. Raben Matthews came from Walter Cronkite’s CBS news, and from Oklahoma City he hired Dave Goldberg as his chief cameraman.
So far, not a quiver from Shapiro, Ward Huey, or any other brass at the station. Most felt that the general brouhaha around the station signaled that staffers were excited for a change, and that perhaps the vipers were being struck from the bosom.
“When I arrived, the film techniques used at WFAA were not as sophisticated as they should have been. It reminded me of film shot five years ago, 30-second clips with the anchorman’s voice over the silent film. Our film packages today are more complicated. Without getting too technical that means two strands of film with the reporter’s voice on one and the film on the other,” said Haag.
“Also, the station was too preoccupied with television news stories that were considered news five years ago. Seven-Eleven robberies, auto wrecks, shoot-outs. I really don’t think that most of the million-plus people in this Metroplex area are that interested in tabloid-style journalism.”
Despite the influx of new faces, there has been only a slight increase in news people. Haag now commands a staff of 14 reporters, six or seven writers, and four film editors. He has tried to reassign staffers according to ability rather than dramatically increase the numbers.
Haag kept the same anchormen during this transitional period. Murphy Martin, once an $80,000-a-year aide to Ross Perot during the POW-MIA era, has loosened up and actually sounds human rather than one of the Chosen.
After engineering these deeds, Haag turned to reportorial techniques. He assigned reporters to cover specific “beats” as newspapers do. He got into consumer news: managing money, defective products, shoddy ad techniques. Haag claims that no big advertiser with the station or the News has tried to kill a story but acknowledges that it probably happened before he arrived.
Most important, he wanted to begin originating stories. “So many times television stations pretend they are advancing a story when really they are asking themselves, ‘How can we take this story off page one of the morning newspaper and make pictures for it?’
“I don’t want to do this. I want to talk about stories with a hard news edge that no one has done. For instance, after that terrible fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I had Bob Sirkin look into the city’s fire codes for skyscrapers. Well, there isn’t too much there and almost no instructions for fire drills. Also, many of these buildings use heat-seeking elevators. You can send one up by just putting a cigarette lighter next to the button. How would you like that if you were inside and the upper ten stories were on fire?”
Rumor had it around town that Haag ran into executive censorship over an eight-minute film story on the town’s prostitutes. The word at one of the other stations was that it was unbalanced, that the clip portrayed Dallas’ streetwalkers as being all black and that WFAA heavies squelched it for fear that it might upset the black community, already hot over an erroneous banner headline and story in The Dallas Times Herald.
Haag replies: “That just isn’t true. What we were concerned about was the balance because it was easy to film the black prostitutes on South Ervay, but hard to document the white call girl operation. We had this very visible part of the story but, of course, that’s only half of it. The other half is the white call girl operation of North Dallas and all we had there was film of a vice squad officer cruising the area and talking with our reporter Mike Miller about how the operation worked.
“But there was no attempt by management to stifle a thing. One of the black girls we interviewed gave us the names of four or five clubs where white streetwalkers hang out, so we went there and followed it up with pictures.”
The future holds hard work for WFAA-TV and Marty Haag. The latest ARB ratings showed the station still at number three at both six and ten p.m. Nielsen showed them second in each time slot.
“The feeling upstairs,” says Haag, “is that they want this station to dominate the market like WSB does in Atlanta. That would be extremely hard to do in a large, heterogeneous area like Dallas-Fort Worth, but I think we can be number one. No doubt about it.”
LORD & TAYLOR COMES TO DALLAS
Good news for the sartorial feather preeners, the exaltes of fashion in Dallas. On April 8, the 148-year-old (15 years older than Dallas) prestigious clothing store, Lord & Taylor opens the doors to its 125,000 square-foot showcase in North Park Shopping Center.
It is the first of two Texas stores, the other to open in October in Houston’s Galleria II. Unique in many ways, the store will snip not the traditional ribbon, but a rope of roses. Lord & Taylor executives Harry Murray, president, and William Lippincott, chairman of the board, are flying in from New York City for the occasion.
No ridiculous chin music about gimmicks, fads, show biz or cheap thrills is coming from Dallas manager John Bumstead. “Since 1826 Lord & Taylor has stood for simplicity, elegance, and understatement. It is probably slightly more conservative than most Texas stores. We will vary our lines somewhat because of the Texas climate, but essentially it will be the same as our New York line.”
Bumstead worked in Dallas at Titche’s before joining Lord & Taylor to manage its store in Garden City, Long Island. “I am very glad to be back here in Texas for more than the obvious reasons. The energy crisis and the weather back East are impossible. I did learn a lot about the retail business in New York, but Texans are so nice and I do love Dallas. My kids went to Hillcrest High School and I feel very lucky to return here for Lord & Taylor’s Texas debut.
“Our store is different than any other similar enterprise. The buyers have almost total control over our lines rather than the advertisers as is normally the case. In 1972, our buyers made 83 trips to Europe and 19 trips to the Far East to keep up with the seemingly constant changing collections.”
Not only do they know their cheviot from seersucker, they are no tyros in merchandising. Besides being the first retailer to move onto Fifth Avenue (in 1903), perhaps the world’s most famous shopping boulevard, Lord & Taylor was the first to open a college shop; first to serve a quick lunch to shoppers; first to use signed art in advertising; and first to commission undergraduate design students to create clothing which was actually manufactured and sold by the store.
“Our customer is who counts at Lord & Taylor,” continued Bumstead. “We are flying down from New York our lady directs gift wrapping to teach our Texas employees the Lord Taylor gift wrapping method. They are the last to touch purchased item and it must absolutely correct before leaves the store.”
Some now-famous designers had nothing but a rumor to stantiate their existence before being introduced to the American public by Lord & Taylor. Here are some of the names: Emilio Pucci, Donald Brooks, Ferragamo, Rudi Gernreich, Anne Fogarty, Dorothy Cox, Walter Albini.
Most major Dallas merchants get a look around at a cocktail preview on Thursday, April 4. Then there is a grand show on Sunday, April 21. The Wadley Institute of Molecular Medicine will benefit from a $50-a-plate, invitation-only fashion show with original script, music, and cast of 30 entitled “A Retrospective Presentation of Fashion Through the Years.” All done by Lord & Taylor for charity.
MANKIEWICZ MAKES IT PERFECTLY CLEAR
“I don’t think I will direct another national campaign. If I do I might be thought of as a | professional.” So says Frank Mankiewicz, who, with Lawrence O’Brien, is considered the professional political campaign tactician.
Mankiewicz was in town recently tub thumping Perfectly Clear, his new book which traces Richard M. Nixon’s political career from his first election to Congress from California in 1946 through Watergate.
Perfectly Clear‘s thesis is that, with the possible exception of the presidential race in 1968, Nixon has never won a free election. In his California campaigns he began assembling the team all America is by now familiar with—Chotiner, Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Ziegler, Chapin, Kalmbach—and they “made California a political laboratory—as the Germans had made Spain—for the testing of methods and techniques. The blitzkrieg would I come later.”
Perfectly Clear stands up under charges of partisanship and sour grapes. It is well documented, easy to read, and provides a valuable overview to the present horrors of tape erasings, tax evasions, and illegal political contributions.
Here is a sample of Mankie-witticisms and observations from a recent interview:
“. . . the momentum for impeachment cannot be stopped. There isn’t anybody in the U.S. that has ever been for impeachment who has changed his mind and is now against it. All switches are the other way.
“… I went to U.C.L.A. with John Ehrlichman and we got along fine. He was chairman of the Inter Fraternity Council and I was editor of the student daily. We were on opposite sides of the fence on most issues but he had a sense of humor in those days, something he has lost along the way. Like John Connally, he married the homecoming queen.
“… Before the Watergate Committee, Haldeman was sweet and gentle as a lamb. Ehrlichman, the more humane of the two, was damn the torpedos, tough as hell.
“. . . What may have sealed Nixon’s doom was the Harris Poll showing Gerald Ford could beat Ted Kennedy. The GOP leaders are now thinking he is expendable and they don’t need the guy anymore. Of course, some Democrats now are thinking let’s keep him in there.
“. . . The members of the Washington press corps should all wear a sign that reads: ‘Warning! Thin reed.’ They remind me of the Washington Generals, the traveling basketball team whose job is to lose to the Harlem Globetrotters and make them (the Globetrotters) look good. Their job is to lose gracefully to the President.”