The 1975 Bum Steer Awards
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Fooled you, didn’t we?
Well, those women on the cover were rightfully horrified. Once you start tallying it up, it becomes clear right away that 1974 did not give us the best of times. There was the gasoline shortage, the power shortage, inflation, recession, and just about everything that could be visited upon us short of pestilence and famine.
John Connally’s star sank and Lloyd Bentsen’s star rose, and Dolph Briscoe’s star laid low. Presidents Stephen Spurr of The University of Texas at Austin and Paul Hardin of SMU were fired under highly questionable circumstances, proving once again that academic communities charged with instilling high ideals into youth are among the world’s most cutthroat places. The year started out with Coastal States Gas in the news for its role in the Central Texas energy crisis, and ended with Southwestern Bell under fire for allegedly conducting illegal wiretapping and rate fixing. Meanwhile oil companies racked up record profits.
Had enough? Well, all that stuff you knew about already. Turn the page and find out just what else went on in Texas last year. Maybe we should secede, after all, and turn all this local madness into our national character. There is one bright spot, however. The Texas legislative circus is back in session. Now that’s what we call exposing ourselves.
FIRST REMOVE THE MOTE FROM YOUR OWN IOTA
“The public has no right to know the details concerning the firing of Stephen Spur… His dismissal has not hurt the university one iota.” —A. G. McNeese, chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents.
I THINK, THEREFORE, I IS
Dr. George Reid, assistant superintendent for secondary operations in the Dallas school system, ordered works by Hemingway, Salinger, Faulkner, Joyce, Golding, Kesey, and Arthur Miller taken off the shelves of school libraries.
CHEESE IT, THE COPS
Dallas Police Chief Don Byrd fired four vice-squad cops and suspended four others for forcing women being questioned for prostitution to pose bare breasted for snapshots.
BUT YOU CAN HAVE THE COFFEE TABLE AND THE SOFA
Texas prison officials refused to loan Huntsville’s electric chair to Louisiana for two executions.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO FEED IT AND IT DOESN’T TALK BACK
Thieves stole a 165-million-year-old, 15-pound fossil leaf from The University of Texas.
CRIMESTOPPERS TEXTBOOK #286: REPORT ALL TATTOOED KNEES TO PROPER AUTHORITIES
A young lady told Game Warden Glen Phelps she didn’t know the man he was trying to serve a warrant to for a fishing violation and was about to close the door when Warden Phelps spotted the man’s name tattooed on her knee.
IN HELOISE OR THE KITCHEN?
A fire and explosion destroyed the kitchen of syndicated columnist Heloise, who gives advice to housewives. San Antonio firemen attributed the cause to accumulated gas.
STAY AWAY FROM HIS SPEECH ON EARTHQUAKES
During a speech by El Paso Congressman Richard White on occupational safety and health legislation, a wall collapsed, injuring three men in the audience.
I BAPTIZE YOU IN THE NAME OF MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE & WARM
Dallas Jail Chaplain Jim Williams baptizes new converts in the jail’s bathtub.
THE 1975 JOHN J. AUDUBON AWARD
Commenting on the area’s endangered whooping cranes, Mrs. Louise Sharp, formerly justice of the peace in Port O’Connor, said, “I’d like to see them all dead.”
WHO WAS THAT HOODED COON?
The Texas Fiery Knights of the Ku Klux Klan endorsed a black man for justice of the peace in Houston.
VENI. VIDI. HEE-HEE
While robbing a Dallas grocery store, Gary Shaw began laughing so hard that he shot himself in the leg.
While awaiting sentencing in the Harris County Courthouse, Samuel Sanchez began removing tiles from the floor, only to plunge through the ceiling into the courtroom of Domestic Relations Judge Wells Stewart.
A southeast Houston supermarket was fined for selling chickens advertised as whole fryers that actually had only one wing.
MR. LAISSEZ-FAILURE OF 1974
One-time financial wizard James Ling lost control of his company, Omega-Alpha, after the corporation was placed in receivership. O-A lost $17 million for the year—considerably less, however, than the $59 million lost in 1973.
EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR (RET.)
Last year, B. H. Amstead, University of Texas-Permian Basin president, ordered all 1300 copies of the school paper, The Windmill, fed into the school’s paper shredder because they contained a letter critical of the UT system’s board of regents; fired the student editor, Joel Asbery; reassigned Brigadier General H. W. Hise, UTPB director of development, to study the feasibility of growing grapes in West Texas after Hise told state officials state money was used to build a miniature golf course and duck pond on the UTPB campus; finally fired Hise altogether. Amstead later resigned.
OLD ORANGE BOOTS IS BACK
Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby arranged for Frank Sinatra to receive two pairs of orange cowboy boots, a hat, and a membership in the Texas Navy.
IN YOUR HEARTBURN YOU KNOW HE’S WRONG
“A Texan doesn’t know his chili from leavings in a corral,” according to Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
COVERUP OF THE YEAR
Several Texas papers, including the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Post, and the Austin American-Statesman, touched up their movie ads for The Night Porter by drawing a bra on Charlotte Ramping.
The Dallas Times Herald printed the real thing . . .
But the Houston Post came up with something black . . .
And the Dallas Morning News with a few frills.
STONED FOX GUARDS HENHOUSE
A display of narcotics and dangerous drugs was stolen out of the lobby of the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Austin.
YEAH, JERRY, BUT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY?
Sergeant Jerry Verdi, a decorated Viet Nam veteran from Lackland Air Force Base, received a bad conduct discharge and a $300 fine for disobeying an order to quit wearing a wig that covered a shrapnel scar.
THEY WERE ONLY GOING TO SHOW HIS FACE ANYWAY
An on-the-air vasectomy to be performed on San Antonio television newsman Foster Morgan was cancelled because of a misunderstanding with doctors.
CUSTER DIED FOR THEIR SINS
A former employee of the American Indian Center, an agency established to prevent discrimination against American Indians, says he was fired because he is an Apache and the Center is run by Comanches.
NEWS FLASH! 85 PER CENT OF DALLAS FIFTH GRADERS ARE ON THE LITTLE RED WAGON
A Dallas school-district survey showed that fifteen per cent of fifth graders drink whiskey, beer, or wine at least once a week.
YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT. EVERY DAY HALDEMAN AND EHRLICHMAN WOULD GET DRESSED UP LIKE THIS AND…
Special prosecutor Leon Jaworski returned to his Houston law practice after President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.
BUT ONLY IF HE CAN COACH, TOO
The University of Plano offered Alexander Solzhenitsyn a professorship at its still-to-be-opened Washington, D.C., campus.
THEY CALL IT RAIN, JUDGE
Having lived in the artificially-controlled atmosphere of the Houston Astrodome since 1966, Astro-czar Judge Hofheinz is moving back into the real world, to a mansion in River Oaks.
WE HAVE IT MADE
Houston lawyer Burrel Rowe paid $2000 for a 1939 issue of a “Superman” comic book.
Jeff Browning of Dallas paid $110,000 for a 1933 Isotta Fraschini auto for his wife, Suzie.
Houston florist Joe Blanton created a map of Texas 18 feet by 17 feet made of more than 30,000 yellow roses and chrysanthemums that weighed 1000 pounds and cost $12,000.
Phyllis Morrow of Houston bought a $48,000, 225-piece bone china dinner service in England. Coffee cups cost $168 each.
PSST! COMRADE! WRIGHT’S ON AT MIDNIGHT! PASS IT ON
Fort Worth Congressman Jim Wright read his book, You and Your Congressman, to Russian audiences over Voice of America.
ONE CAN OF DUTCH CLEANSER TO:
Anne Lynch, who became the first female Red Raider at Texas Tech, and Karen Pospisil, who was named outstanding cadet the first year women took ROTC at Saint Mary’s University.
WONDER IN ALICE-LAND
Duval County Judge Archer Parr won re-election last fall despite being sentenced earlier in the year to ten years in the penitentiary and fined $60,000 for perjury.
BUM HERD AWARD
Texas legislators spent 3.5 million dollars and seven months to write and reject a new constitution.
CAR 54, WHERE AM I?
Dallas Sheriff Clarence Jones had a tough year: $4 million in forfeited bail bonds and 64,000 unserved warrants were discovered; a $40,000 civil suit judgment was entered against him for illegally jailing a man for 37 days; a civil suit was filed against him by three deputies; and District Judge Ted Akin found him guilty of contempt of court and assessed a suspended fine of $500.
WHERE DIME BOX LEADS, WILL CHASE MANHATTAN FOLLOW?
The First State Bank in Dime Box was one of the first banks in the nation to lower their interest rate from 12 to 11 ½ per cent. The Dime Box bank also accepted Ol’ Jubilee, a hunting dog, as collateral.
ALPO! ALPO! POLICE!
A bandit successfully robbed the Peoples National Bank of Houston using a can of dog food and a clock.
BUT FOR BANKS SHE GOES FORMAL
A woman wearing only panties and a blouse exchanged eleven shots with a Houston U-Totem manager before he finally captured her.
AND THEY’VE PUT A CAMEL IN THEIR TANK
In order to save gasoline, Exxon USA has replaced the limousines in their car fleet with standard Cadillac sedans.
THE SOT WEAVE FACTOR
Chapter two, in which we find super-regent Frank Erwin again arrested by Austin police for Driving While Intoxicated after his black Cadillac was stopped after slaloming down Red River Street.
THAT’S BECAUSE NUMBER 49 WAS A HORNY CAMEL
Forty-eight horsemen, re-creating the Pony Express, took a packet of letters from Pecos to Fort Stockton in two hours and 33 minutes. A letter traveling the regular mails took 23 hours to cover the same 54-mile trip.
The $50,000 state dinner at the Southern Governors Conference at Lakeway featured strolling fiddlers and a parade of white-gloved black waiters.
WIN ONE FOR E=Mc2
Rice University football coach Al Conover customarily employed such locker room inspirational tactics as ripping legs from tables, yelling “Throw a fit! Throw a fit!,” dragging in coffins, and tossing firecrackers in the shower. Big Al’s team finished the season 2-8-1.
REPORTS OF MY WHERABOUTS HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED
Dallas County Criminal Court Judge James Guthrie, absent from the bench for most of two years because of illness, lived in Colorado while still drawing his annual salary of $33,120.
WOULD YOU BUY A USED KARMA FROM THIS GURU?
The Astrodome Corporation has filed suit against teenaged Perfect Master Guru Maharaj Ji for skipping town without paying a $14,000 bill for his Millennium ’73.
THE RING WAS FOURTEEN CARROTS AND THE PREACHER SAID, “LETTUCE PRAY”
Kris and Susan Karl were married in the Dallas Seven-Eleven Store where they met when he was the manager.
GOD GIVES WACO THE BIRD
On April 13, ninety pelicans fell from the sky and were dashed on the waters of Lake Waco. Later that day, 33 more fell into a lake near Cranfills Gap.
No one wants to buy the town of Langtry, which is for sale for $750,000.
IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS, HE WAS EATEN BY AIRTRANS
Dr. James Parker shoulder-blocked another passenger in order to be the first passenger to deplane at the new Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
WACO GIVES BURKA THE BIRD
Texas Monthly Associate Editor Paul Burka called in September for the private schools of the Southwest Conference to get out of the league and form their own, de-emphasized football competition. Burka used Baylor’s failure to win a conference championship since 1924 as the symbol of how the private schools no longer stood a chance against the large public institutions. Three months later, Baylor won the Southwest Conference title.
ONLY 3230 LOCKS MORE AND I’LL HAVE THE WHOLE SET
A lock of Napoleon’s hair was stolen from the “Collection of Hair” in the Humanities Research Center of The University of Texas.
WHAT’S THE EGG FOR?
A recipe from the San Antonio Light for sweet and sour meatballs calls for:
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 26-ounce catsup bottle
1 32-ounce bottle of ginger ale (diet or regular)
1 handful of uncooked oat meal
TOO MANY CROOKS SPOIL THE BROTH
In Beaumont, City Health Inspector Sandra Pady filed a complaint against Police Chief Willie Bauer for operating the jail kitchen without a health permit.
NO, NO, YOU IDIOT! I SAID FLY INTO THE GARAGE
In Dallas, a police helicopter and a garbage truck collided behind the southwest county police substation.
WE KNOW BETTER
Editors of the Austin American-Statesman said their newspaper stank because the ink contained too much sulphur.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Barry Hegason ate live snakes at a Fort Worth carnival.
SURE IT GOT MAD. HE CALLED IT A COP
Paul Marshall of Van Zandt County was awarded $4146 in damages after a neighbor’s boar hog attacked him, bit him, and trapped him in his outhouse.
WHAT WILL THEY USE ON THE SPOONS NOW?
Thieves are stealing $6000 to $10,000 worth of grease from Fort Worth area cafes each week.
THIS KEEPS OUT EVERYONE BUT BARRY HEGASON
After business hours, San Angelo welder Ellis Motl hides rattlesnakes around his shop as burglary preventors.
DIDN’T YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM WATERGATE?
University of Texas Chancellor Charles LeMaistre destroyed his notes on why he fired UT-Austin President Stephen Spurr. Then he claimed three months later that a tape recorder did not pick up a crucial conversation in which he allegedly tried to get UT-Permian Vice President Richard Thompson to take the blame for the questionable activities which led to the resignation of that school’s president.
EVEN YOUR BEST FRIENDS WON’T TELL YOU
An unidentified man walked into eight Amarillo bars, telling the bartender he had a COD package, and collecting about $30. When the bartenders open their packages, they each found a bottle of mouthwash.
TAKE A DAY OFF, FRED
While visiting the south of France, Houston Mayor Fred Hofheinz said, “The Mediterranean coastline is beautiful, but I like Texas. There is nothing like a sunrise over a rice field.”
MINING THE STORE
Neiman-Marcus will build its new San Francisco branch near Union Square after first demolishing the famous and historic City of Paris department store.
DAVY CROCKETT DIED FOR THIS?
The painting which hangs in the Alamo depicting its famous siege uses the faces of John Wayne, Richard Widmark, and Lawrence Harvey to represent the Texas heroes who died there.
WE LIKE NED FOR HIS CHARMING MANORS
Two Austin rent houses owned by County Attorney Ned Granger failed to meet minimum standards for plumbing, wiring, and construction.
BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY
Wayne Gindrup, a chemist for the Jones-Blair Paint Company, was fired after he was charged with using the company’s laboratory to make super-hallucinogenic drugs.
THE RICHARD NIXON “I AM NOT A CROOK” AWARD TO:
Governor Dolph Briscoe for calling a press conference to deny he was mentally ill.
State Representative Paul Ragsdale qualified for food stamps because of his $400 a month salary.
CHEAP PSEU-VENEER AWARD TO THE MERCHANTS OF:
Grapevine, Texas, for their plans to renovate downtown Grapevine using Hollywood-type storefronts in Western, Early American, French, and English designs.
WRIGGLIN’, WRITHIN’, AND RHYTHMETIC
Twenty-five teachers answered this Dallas Times Herald ad: “Dancers wanted, exotic, topless, or go-go, make up to $400 a week, Dallas Independent School District.”
WELCOME TO ODESSA, CRADLE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Odessa’s plans to celebrate the nation’s 200th birthday include 940 separate events outlined in a single-spaced type-written book that weights two pounds. Its celebration ends in December, 1976, five months after everyone else has ended theirs.
WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR
Homicide Lieutenant C. E. Jordan had this to say about Austin’s crime rate: “I wouldn’t say we’ve had a high number of murders. It’s the law of averages just evening things out. Last year, some of those shot should have died. Several of them are in rest homes and wheel chairs. This year, the close ones are just getting called the other way.”
SO THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE DOING
At the start of the historic but abortive constitutional convention, Chaplain Carlyle Marney announced that “This convention is an opportunity for every delegate to prove his manliness.”
WE KNEW THE ENERGY CRISIS WAS GETTING SERIOUS WHEN:
Three prostitutes undressed in the downtown market of Nuevo Laredo and marched naked to the international bridge as a protest against being confined to Boys Town, where they said motorists would no longer drive because of the gasoline shortage.
CHUTZPAH IN UNIFORM
In spite of a rash of bad publicity surrounding their spying on Dallas pilot Robert Pomeroy, the Department of Public Safety is asking for $60,000 more per year for surveillance and for an additional twenty men in their intelligence section.
FARTHER MY GOD FROM THEE
George Havens of Dallas, topping out at four feet, eleven inches, claims to be America’s smallest evangelist.
HE PROBABLY WASN’T KOSHER
Scuba diving near Corpus Christi, John Withers was swallowed head first all the way up to his rubber fins and then spat out by a huge jew fish.
An ear specialist told an audience of the Texas Medical Association in Houston that heavy drinking, sexual intercourse, or a combination of the two can cause deafness.
TWO TIN CANS AND A STRING TO:
James Nowlin, a state representative from San Antonio, whose name was left out of the state governmental listings. The directory assistance operator lists him as “Jack,” and the phone company charged his account with $100 worth of calls that were made by Representative Jim Maddox.
HI, SNAKES! I’M JIMMY! I’M ANNETTE!
The Fort Worth City Council voted to buy thousands of “juvenile mice” to feed the snakes at their zoo.
MEANWHILE 23,970 MILES AROUND THE WORLD IN DALLAS
One out of two houses in Dallas has rats, according to the Texas Rodent and Predatory Animal Control Service.
Mrs. Janet Nichols and Mrs. Paula King of Richardson have 1000 subscribers to their publication, “Let’s Gossip,” a synopsis of fourteen TV soap operas.
LINE ‘EM UP BY THE PALM TREE, DRESS ‘EM UP IN SWEATSHIRTS, CHECK ‘EM OUT IN THE SOCIAL REGISTER, AND GAS ‘EM. THEN SHRED THIS MEMO
The University of Texas system spent funds specifically earmarked for educational excellence on paper shredders, a decorative palm tree, social registers, orange sweatshirts, and tear gas.
I’M ELSIE. FLY ME TO MANILA
Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos personally welcomed a jet liner from Texas carrying 290 heifers and five bulls to expand his country’s cattle production.
AT LAST! A POLITICIAN WHO BACKS UP WHAT HE SAYS
Dallas mayor Wes Wise posed for this photograph to stimulate use of the city’s bus system. Shortly thereafter his only car, a 1966 Volkswagen, was seized to help pay off his debts.
OSCAR’S THE GUY WITH ONE BARE FOOT
San Antonio jail guards became suspicious when they saw a long pole hanging out a window, and more suspicious when a woman tied a sock-full of marijuana on the end. “Okay, Oscar!” she yelled before the cops arrested her.
THE BUM STEER AWARD
UT Regents accepted $50,000 from an anonymous donor to design, sculpt, cast, and erect a statue of Bevo.