BECAUSE I WAS BLESSED WITH THE GREATEST BIRTH, childhood, and adolescence in Terrell, watching The Last Picture Show was like a guest shot on This Is Your Life. [“Picture Perfect,” February 1999]. As an L.A. show-biz P.R. type in the early seventies, I breathlessly awaited opening night and sat alone that evening, feeling as though I was viewing a fast-forward look at an important phase in my life. The following evening, decked out in boots and my high school letter jacket, I treated nine friends to the show and a barbecue dinner. That evening will always remain an important memory in my life, for I had an opportunity to show friends that most special of places, Texas. Thanks, Peter Bogdanovich, for getting it all just right.
Twin Peaks, California
IN THE KERMIT SCHOOL SYSTEM, I moved from a feature performance in “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in the first grade to a lifetime of stage, film, and television acting. Along the way, of course, the Duke became a favorite, and there was no way of liking John Wayne without bumping into Ben Johnson [“Gentle Ben,” February 1999]. While in Texarkana working on The Town That Dreaded Sundown, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Johnson for a public affairs program. After passing along much-belated congratulations on his Oscar [for The Last Picture Show] and relating a story or two, I asked him about the tale—now legend, really—I had heard about his big break with John Ford, about his stopping a runaway team of horses on one of Ford’s films. All Ben said was, “Well, yes, that’s about the way it was.” He was an honest-to-God gentleman, a kind man, and a fine film actor to boot. I’m glad I knew him.
MY FRIEND ANDY MOYER AND I saw The Last Picture Show at the Granada in Dallas in early 1972, and later each of us made pilgrimages to Archer City while the Royal was still standing. In the early nineties we invested in the “laserdisc letterbox edition,” which was fascinating not only for the “director’s cut” of the film but also for the comments of many of the principals on a second soundtrack. The letterbox format may not be long for this world, but movie fans might like to know that this particular set is still on the market—you just have to look.
THE GETAWAY,” BY PAMELA COLLOFF, was disheartening [February 1999]. It is a sad day when a writer, or for that matter, anyone, romanticizes the escape of a convicted cold-blooded murderer. Do Texans really believe that Martin Gurule is a hero, a martyr? If so, they need to get out and vote to change the laws.
A RANT AND A RAVE FOR “the Getaway.” White text reversed on black is mighty hard on the old eyes. Ken Light’s photographs accompanying the article are tremendous. Give him more assignments.
OH, KREUZ MARKET…DOUBLE SCREEN DOORS that always say welcome, cutting knives on chains, doors and hallways blackened by smoke and time, pit heat that grabs you as you round the corner to place your order, rows of tables, old photos, stacks of oak, Rick sitting for a chat, that first bite of sausage…ah, Kreuz Market. And Nina Sells thinks that she can fill the void with Smitty’s [Texas Monthly Reporter: “Pit Split,” February 1999]. Go figure.
Pookie’s BBQ, Plano
IN HIS ARTICLE “TAKE NOTE” [Texas Monthly Reporter, February 1999], Joe Nick Patoski should have listed at least one more Grammy nominee from Texas—Voices of Change, a Dallas group nominated for Best Small Ensemble Performance for its recording of Voces Americanas. I’m sure the group would appreciate being included: A mention in Texas Monthly doesn’t happen any more often than getting a Grammy nomination.
SHOCK STAR” WAS TRULY A SHOCK [Texas Monthly Reporter, February 1999]. I can remember when people were outraged about Ozzy Osbourne, and now we have kids all over America watching “musicians” projectile vomiting and showing feces on a fork. America is not only accepting this but also making a sick, demonic man, Marilyn Manson, rich and even more powerful in his followers’ eyes.
MARILYN MANSON IS NOT A CULT BUT A SHOW, a wildly successful show. He is following a long line of shock rockers. One of the biggest, Ozzy Osbourne, is remembered for biting the heads off bats and relieving himself on the Alamo. Now this man is regarded as a legend in the rock world. I empathize with the professionals who have to deal with bad-apple teenagers. I believe the most important problem the Crime Prevention Resource Center must deal with is the alienation kids might feel in junior high and high school. Not fitting in with the “normal” cliques at school is difficult to deal with. These kids turn to music like Marilyn Manson’s. When they turn there, they find kids just like themselves. It becomes a sanctuary of sorts—and it’s completely normal. I bet ten years from now Marilyn Manson Will Seem More Like Hanson. Umm-Bop.
IN “SON OF OIL BUST” [Behind the Lines, February 1999] you say, “Across the state the total number of layoffs could be as many as 40,000 or even 50,000 people” and then go on a few sentences later, “West Texas oil towns will suffer yet again and Houston will feel some effects, but the rest of Texas should be unaffected.” Does Halliburton in Dallas or Baker Hughes of Houston only employ within the Dallas and Houston areas? What about South Texas? What about rural communities that are dependent on the oil business? What about the services provided by the tax revenue from the oil companies? Look into the budgets of schools in small towns and I think you’ll find many of them in financial straits. Take it further and you’ll find the economy of a large number of businesses greatly affected by the drop in oil prices.
Deborah P. Wagner
I REALIZE YOU CAN’T INCLUDE everything Leon Jaworski did in one article [Texas Primer, February 1999], but I do want your records to reveal the important role he played in another tragic and memorable event. I was the Texas Attorney General when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It became my responsibility to create a court of inquiry to investigate this murder. I appointed Leon Jaworski and Robert Storey of Dallas to be my special counsel in that inquiry. We coordinated our investigation with that of the Warren Commission. During this ten-month investigation, Leon unselfishly and exceptionally gave of his talents to our activities. I shall always be grateful to him for his all-out assistance to me and our state of Texas.