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Texas Monthly Reporter

By March 1974Comments

SCARIEST MOVIE EVER?

Austin movie makers Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel have made what they hope is the classic horror thriller. Truly terrifying movies are rare indeed. The trick is not merely to shock by using music, gore, or weird beings, but to create an atmosphere of fear, a much harder and more sophisticated task.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was made last summer around Taylor, and concerns a family who have been laid off from their jobs at the local slaughterhouse. They set up their own abattoir, lure hitchhikers and unsuspecting visitors to the old mansion, and continue practicing their trade until the meat shortage is over.

Leatherface, played by 6′ 4″, 300-pound Gunnar Hansen, a U.T. student from Iceland, operates the fastest chain saw in Williamson County and is the real meanie in the film. Most intriguing, however, is the grandfather, a paternal old ghoul who appears in drag as, yes, a grand-mummy.

The interior decoration of the classic house of horrors is slightly bizarre. Human bone mobiles hang from the ceiling. There’s a skin sofa and lampshades. Incisors and molars cover the floor like pecan shells.

It’s the real thing. Two human skeletons were shipped from India for interior props. A friendly dentist from Los Angeles supplied two shoeboxes filled with human teeth for the family’s carpet.

The realism caused unsuspected problems as the arc lights increased the room temperature (unnecessary in August) and the bones began to emit noxious odors causing cast members to bolt frequently for windows and doors.

Both men are veteran film makers. Hooper has shot and directed well over a million feet of commercials, documentaries, shorts, and features, including “The Heisters” and “Eggshells,” both of which won prestigious awards at New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta film festivals. Henkel wrote the script for Massacre and has worked with Hooper since “Eggshell” days. This is their first 90-minute, color, big-budget (under $300,000) feature-length movie. It premiers in Texas in April.

“The true monster itself is death. All the classic horror flicks —Dracula. Frankenstein, Psycho—have this in common. They have a unique way of getting inside you by setting up symbols that represent death; a graveyard, bones, flowers,” said Hooper.

“If you put them in the proper order then you create the most important aura known as the creeps.”

The most effective horror movie of the past ten years? “The Night of the Living Dead,” says Hooper. “It was a crudely made film but very effective. I doubt seriously if you’ll be seeing it on late night television any time soon.” Other nominees mentioned were Repulsion, Psycho, Legend of Hell House, and Rosemary’s Baby. Neither man had seen this season’s shocker, The Exorcist.

Their next project was predictable. “We want to do a broad comedy. Something very looney tunes and merry melodies,” said Henkel.

What about the ending, that bloodcurdling denouement, of Chain Saw Massacre, I asked. Both grimaced, refused to answer, and stared blankly at the floor.

DALLAS JUDGES JUDGED

The Judiciary Committee of the Dallas Bar Association recently took a poll of the Association membership on Dallas judges. Is he a man of good character? Does he act fairly towards litigants and attorneys? Is he punctual in opening court and keeping appointments? Questions of this nature culminate in the overall sum up: “Do you approve in general of the manner in which he has conducted the affairs of his court?”

To the last question, U.S. District Judge Robert Hill and Juvenile Court Judge Ted Robertson (98 percent) and Clarence Guittaro, Court of Appeals, John Vance, 194th District Court, and R. T. Scales, 195th District Court (97 percent) ranked highest in their fellow lawyers’ esteem. Fred “Red” Harris, County Court at Law Number Three, fared poorest with 72 percent replying no, we don’t approve. Snowden Leftwich, Jr., 192nd District Court (61 percent), F. W. Bartlett, Jr., Probate Court, (56 percent); and Ed Gossett, Criminal District Court No. 5, (44 percent) followed Harris. Eight hundred and eighty six of the 2352 members responded to the questionnaire.

AFTER THE PILL

Later this month two faculty members of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will report to a World Health Organization meeting in Geneva on their progress in developing a new type of contraceptive. Professor of obstetrics-gynecology Dr. Carl Pauerstein and Dr. Horacio Croxatto of the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, are co-ordinating a seven-nation task force charged with developing a means of altering the travel time of the egg through the Fallopian tube, and thus avoiding implantation in the uterus and pregnancy.

The new contraceptive will be designed for a woman to take after her first sexual encounter following the end of a menstrual period. Protection will be extended until the next period.

“It will differ from the still controversial ‘morning after’ pill and will probably not have the hormone content of today’s widely used contraceptive pill,” said Dr. Pauerstein. Commenting on the texture of the future birth control device, Dr. Pauerstein said that it may not be swallowed, but could be an intravaginal or intrauterine device that would release appropriate chemicals. The World Health Organization, partial funder of research, has set a deadline of 1976 for completion of the team’s work.

TENNIS WITH THE STARS

Beginning in May, the CBS Tennis Classic will unfold for 16 weeks on Sunday afternoon television. Each week such players as Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Cliff Richey, Marty Riessen and Cliff Drysdale will eliminate each other until sometime in September when the winner will collect $12,000.

As with most things on TV , it is not as it seems. The whole thing was filmed in one furious week of tennis at the Lakeway World of Tennis resort west of Austin on Lake Travis.

The Texas social tennis set gathered together in mid-January to watch 16 of the world’s best players lob and serve ana cuss and dink (a soft shot without pronounced spin which drops just as it comes over the net) until San Angelo finally triumphed over Australia. During these “summer” matches, the chill factor on the court at one point was 26 degrees.

This latest chic tennis sprawl will have 50 courts—indoor and outdoor&#151 106 condominiums (half are sold; prices range from $60-92,000), celebrities (John Connally, Charlton Heston, James Franciscus, Alan Shepperd, Larry Temple), a private club, something called a tennis think tank, and Cliff Drysdale as resident court wizard.

Co-owners Al Hill, Jr., Ivan Irwin, Jr., and Lamar Hunt have successfully created an aura of exclusiveness about the place. Houston, Austin, and Dallas heavies have bought 400 full memberships at $1500 apiece plus $14 a month and Lakeway Tennis officials expect to close it out soon when the roster reaches 2000.

Even if you have the dough, your application must be approved by the three-member Hill-Irwin-Hunt membership board, and you know how hard that is.

Court surfaces are Layco and Grasstex. Instructors are plentiful. Food in the private dining room is not exactly your BLT and a fountain cherry coke.

The other half of Lakeway World of Tennis is owned by Alpert Corporation of Dallas and Atlanta. President Bob Alpert (Dallas) and Chairman of the Board Maurice Alpert (Atlanta) already have under construction Peachtree World of Tennis, the world’s first home-suburban tennis center located on the northern outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia.

DEER ME

The 1973 deer season in Texas was mediocre at best, reports the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Deer harvest tallies were impressive only in the Panhandle, Trans-Pecos, and North Central portions of Texas. Rodger McKown of El Paso reported two huge deer killed in Brewster County: one field-dressed at 242 pounds with a 32-inch spread, the other field-dressed at 205 pounds.

Parks and Wildlife biologists reported a 20 percent decrease in the Rio Grande Valley, average hunting in Southwest Texas and the Edwards Plateau, and poor body conditions and harvest in the usually excellent counties of Bexar, Bandera and Wilson.

Biologist Walt Daniel of Fairfield reported from the Killeen area a buck with antlers measurng 24 ½ inches on the inside killed near Fort Hood.

DAILY DOUBLE IN DALLAS

In his excellent book of essays, In A Narrow Grave, Larry McMurtry describes Dallas as “self-righteous, conservative, the city of the instant put-down.” He goes on to add, “nowhere else in the state does one find so many bitter, defensive, basically insecure people in positions of power.”

Later, McMurtry described the two Dallas newspapers as, “languid and establishmentarian.” Both statements were defensible in 1968 when his book was published, but the winds of change are blowing strong through Texas’ second largest city.

Tom Johnson, 32, came to town last August 1 to take over as executive editor of the city’s perennial step-child newspaper, The Dallas Times Herald, and the newspaper business hasn’t been the same since. Johnson, a poor Georgia boy, worked harder than the rest to be first. He earned a bachelor of journalism from the University of Georgia, a master’s in business from Harvard (during which he co-authored a book on automated newspaper techniques), and in 1966 became the youngest special assistant ever to serve the President of the United States.

Johnson returned to Austin with the late President in 1969 and served as vice president of the family’s business interests in Texas until L.B.J.’s death last January.

While working for the President, Johnson was approached by executives of both Dallas dailies about a job. Joe Dealey and Joe Lubbin of the News offered him a very lucrative position. The late Albert Jackson and publisher Jim Chambers did likewise at the Herald. Johnson went with the Herald.

Since then, word around the posh, private clubs on top of the bank towers and in the hotels is that the new editor was “out to get the Dallas establishment to build up the Herald’s sagging reputation,” as a wealthy realtor recently told me.

“Not true at all,” says Johnson. “I want to make this paper not only the best in the city but the best in the Southwest. In reporting, for instance, that means no sacred cows. No one in this city gets special treatment.”

Many of Johnson’s changes so far involve nothing more than common sense, a trait much admired by his previous boss. He moved his office from the executive first floor to the newsroom’s fourth floor where reporters and staffers can visit him and, just as important, he can participate in the gathering of the day’s news. Ideas and suggestions are solicited and acted upon. Previously excluded reporters are asked to sit in on editorial conferences and other management meetings.

However, the greatest changes have been in newsgathering techniques. There is a new emphasis on investigative reporting and with being first with a fast-breaking story. In the past, in-depth investigative journalism has rarely been in evidence on either paper. As one man at the Herald put it, “Before, it wasn’t de-emphasized. It just didn’t happen.”

Johnson, aided by his city editor, Bill Hankins, now has special reporting teams assigned (0 ferret out and develop longer news stories.

More important is the instigation of a new technique in covering newsbeats such as county and city offices, federal agencies, and education. Under the modular system four or five rotating reporters are assigned to a general beat like the courthouse. The single reporter covering the same beat for the News is thus double-teamed on a fast news day.

AIRPORT RUNS AMUCK

Most Dallas News reporters aren’t running scared, but morale in the news room is low and they are worried. As one reporter put it, “For the first time in the eight or nine years I’ve been here we are suffering because of the competition. The fourth floor (executive offices) has to realize we must have more reporters and pay better salaries or we will soon become a second-class paper.”

From Senior Editor Griffin Smith, Jr., comes this report:

The popularity of the new Dallas Fort Worth Regional Airport is at a low ebb among air travelers, as every newspaper-reading, TV-watching Texan already knows. First-day passengers stumbled out of the four widely-separated terminals with glazed expressions, rather as though they had just seen the Gorgon.

Some had. Complaints of mangled and lost baggage were common. The Airtrans system of trains connecting the terminals malfunctioned in an imaginative number of ways, causing some passengers to miss their connections entirely. In no time at all the national news media discovered that the dollar-bill-changing machines returned only 95 in coins. Since the Airtrans system required passengers to deposit 25 exact change before boarding (for reasons that remained unclear, except that it allowed the operators to pass along to the passengers the inconvenience of finding that exact change, rather than providing it themselves), and since every public telephone in the terminals required 25 rather than a dime, (even for calls to another terminal within sight of the phone) the changing machines got more of a workout than might have been expected.

By week’s end some of the baggage problems had been solved, but the rest of the indignities persisted. Nagging fog slowed operations. The coin-changers themselves became something of a cause celébre. Judging from the articles in the Morning News, most Dallasites were mortified—not because such little devils existed in Dallas’ own airport, not because they skimmed a whopping five percent off the helpless customer’s money, not even because they had been solemnly exposed on the CBS Sunday News, but because they had been ridiculed—ridiculed!—on the Tonight Show. Shame and scandal Dallas had endured and could endure again: but Johnny Carson’s derision was more than civic pride could bear. Mayor Wes Wise promised to check into the situation.

Mayor Pro Tem George AIlen on the other hand, called a press conference to declare that “What should be the crowning glory of this entire region for years to come has been marred by nit-picking criticism.” He defended the coin-changers (“Those machines cost a bunch of money”) and he supported the 25 fee for Airtrans service. “People don’t have to use Airtrans,” he said—prophetically, as it turned out. “They can run.”

Passengers at the airport on Friday afternoon, January 25, were confronted by an Airtrans system that had stopped operating altogether. Among them was a Texas Monthly editor who decided to put Councilman Allen’s suggestion into practice and walk from the American Airlines terminal to his connecting flight at the Texas International terminal, rather than wait for a fleet of Surtran buses which were, according to airport employees, on the way to take the frustrated passengers where they wanted to go.

The first thing Texas MonthIy’s obedient walker learned is that there are no sidewalks connecting the terminals. The pedestrian just takes his chances out there in the airport freeway along with whizzing cars, trucks, and buses. A man on foot elicits some round-eyed stares from motorists, and one is well-advised to glance regularly over his shoulder just in case a careening bus seems to want precisely the portion of the roadway he is currently occupying. An adroit sidestep into the adjacent mud is then called for.

The mud; that is the second thing: the mud. Unless one wishes to carry the freeway bit to its absurd conclusion and spiral around the cloverleafs and graceful curving driveways (strolling into the parking lot with a flourish), it is eventually necessary to leave the autostrada and take a shortcut across vast and mucky plazas upon which the landscape architects clearly intended that no human foot should ever be set. Soil that is congenial to St. Augustine grass clings energetically, it seems, to one’s shoes.

A brisk walker wearing cleated shoes can, if he survives, make the trip in about fifteen minutes. Anyone who takes Councilman Allen’s advice and runs the distance could consider going over Niagara Falls in a barrel for an encore.

The promised Surtran buses, apparently never did arrive. Some of the luckless passengers hailed a Surtran Taxi for the 90-second drive between terminals, only to discover that the drivers were charging—and getting—a $3 fare for the trip.

By the first of February, fog experts were speculating that the airport was in fact creating its own fog—the Manhattan-sized reaches of plowed, treeless, humid earth converting the whole region into a giant fog machine. Even the airlines themselves were beginning to get goosy about the place. A large poster behind the Texas International counter in Austin lured travelers with a winsome reminder that Airtrans could be avoided by making connections on the same Airline.

“When you’re flying to Los Angeles,” it said, “the last thing you want is a tour of the new Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport.”

ALGEA OR FADED SHAMROCK?

No Texas town, with the exception of Shamrock, does up Saint Patrick’s Day like San Antonio. With the help of the Paseo del Rio Association and a strong Harp and Shamrock chapter led by Hilton executive William Hunter, the Irish holiday gets its due.

Leading off the day before (Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m.) is a warm up street parade led by parade master Pat Dowd. Then on Sunday (also at 11 a.m.) the beautiful San Antonio River is dyed green for the boat parade and Irish entertainment at the Arneson River Theatre.

GOOD BYE RED BRICK ROAD

Fort Worth Star Telegram book editor Leonard Sanders has written a book about his city called How Fort Worth Became the Texas Most City. For years one of Cowtown’s most distinctive trademark has been its red brick streets.

They’re on the way out, says public works director Jack Graham. “It’s a shame we can’t keep them because they are unique and have a certain beauty. But the bricks themselves aren’t made any more and labor costs would be prohibitive in trying to replace them,” said Graham.

The problem lies underground. The concrete base cracks, the street sinks, and the bricks must come up. Nowadays, the bricks are replaced with four or five inches of hot mix asphalt and concrete, and become the property of either the city or the contractor doing the work.

“With increased wheel loads, more cars, and higher construction costs, everything is against keeping the bricks,” said Graham.

SECOND TOLL ROAD FOR METROPLEX

A spokesman for Wilber Smith Associates, the top traffic study-engineering firm in the United States, recently called the Trinity corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth, “the fastest growing corridor in the country.” Vice President Norman Wuestefeld calls growth in the Mid-City area, “phenomenal. .. the question is not whether to build anew toll road but how soon.”

Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff remains unalterably opposed to the proposed toll road because the easiest method of financing the highway would be retention of tolls on the present Dallas-Fort Worth Toll Road after it is paid for in 1977.

“I think it is cruelly unfair to the people in Mid-Cities who pay the lion’s share of these tolls to continue to have to pay after they were promised no more payments when the bond payment is finished,” remarked Vandergriff.

The proposed Trinity Route would parallel the present turnpike on the northern side of the Trinity River, running along the southern edge of the new Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and would stretch from the west edge of downtown Dallas 34 miles west towards downtown Fort Worth.

Is the new route necessary? Yes, says Dee Kelly, chairman of the Texas Turnpike Authority, the agency responsible for financing and construction, if the Texas Highway Department decides not to do the job.

“We will have bumper-to-bumper traffic in five years on the existing Dallas-Fort Worth Toll Road, making it similar to Stemmons Freeway in Dallas and the West Freeway in Fort Worth during peak traffic hours, an intolerable situation,” said Kelly.

Vandergriff disagrees and is skeptical of such studies. “The highway department hasn’t seen a need for increased arteries in that area until 1985. I am more comfortable with their planning than an engineering firm retained by the turnpike committee.

“Also, let’s give the new Interstate-20 (south Dallas-Tarrant Counties) a chance to work. The toll road should only be built when it is self supporting.”

Building two additional traffic lanes within the existing turnpike median was suggested, but experts say they would compound present traffic problems at terminal connections and other interchanges.

If the turnpike authority is given the go-ahead from Austin, bonds could be sold as early as January 1975, and the new Trinity Route could be ready by January 1978. Cost for the six-lane, toll operated highway is estimated at $222.4 million. If constructed as a non-toll freeway by the state highway department, the road will cost $234.9 million because of additional ramps and structures.

Mass transit systems have not been overlooked. The North Central Texas Council of Governments examined 15 possible transit routes and determined that the most feasible would be one sharing the proposed Trinity Route’s right-of-way. However, that terrain is considered not flat enough for the 150 mile-an-hour tracked air cushion vehicles which would be used.

RODENT ON THE MOVE

The state’s best rock and roll-country-western boogie hall, Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin is expanding its activities. Says impresario Eddie Wilson: “We’re expanding into audio and video production for two reasons. More national record companies want tapes of local Austin bands and more national talent wants to record live here after the success of the Commander’s album [Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen Live From Deep in the Heart of Texas] which was recorded here last November. Z. Z. Top, Steve Miller, Waylon Jennings, Mike Murphey, and Van Morrison all want to do live recordings here. The only one tentatively scheduled is Morrison in May,” said Wilson.

In the front section of the monstrous building, Wilson and partners are planning an art gallery. “We’re waiting on funding. It will be very democratic and we want to have photographs, sculpture, and paintings.”

Finally, Armadillo will be entering the graphics-image consulting field, advising companies on how to best market their products to the 18 to 35-year-old group.

Armadillo’s line-up for March:

March 1-2: New Riders of the Purple Sage.

March 15-16: Bruce Springsteen.

March 22-23: Michael Murphey, premiering his newest album, The Music of Michael Martin Murphey.

UPDATING SAN ANTONIO

San Antonio political activist Larry Travis is carefully moving ahead on revision of the San Antonio city charter. Architect-city planner Travis is chairman of the 27-member committee appointed by the present city council in a fourth attempt to revise the 1951 document. Travis is not at all sure of success.

“The mood of the people is against it. It is confusing to most everyone because of the constitutional revision sessions going on in Austin.

“On the bright side, the political make-up of our city council favors a change for a change. The present council is the first in a long while where the Good Government League [read conservative, affluent, north San Antonio] doesn’t have a majority.”

Here are some glaring inadequacies that Travis and his committee hope to rectify with the new draft:

Updated salaries for councilmen and the mayor. Today, city councilmen are paid $20 per session with a maximum take-home pay of $1040 a year. This eIiminates from officeholding everyone but the already afIuent. The mayor is paid an underwhelming $4040 a year for his time and services. Travis wants this changed to at least $6000.

The present nine members each represent 72,684 San Antonians and are elected at large. This is not as bad as Houston where nine councilmen each represent 136,978 citizens, but Travis would like to increase San Antonio’s council to 11, elected by district instead of at large. Each man would then represent 59,468 constituents.

Full recommendations go to the city council body May 2. They vote yea or nay on September 17. If the council approves, the new charter then goes for final approval to the voters.

COWTOWN’S TALLEST

Look for the dedication of the new 37-story Fort Worth National Bank Building the last of this month or early April. The $20-million, tallest-in-town structure’s opening ceremonies will feature honorary chairman of the board H. B. Fuqua, present board chairman Lewis Bond, and a descendant of Major K. M. Van Zandt, founder and president of the 101-year-old bank for 56 years. Oh yes, that 40-foot “stabile” in front is Alexander Calder’s “The Egle,” done in “Calder Red,” the creator’s favorite.

RETURN OF THE WORD

Sinners Beware! Hook up the Royal Telephone! Praise Jesus! Do unto others as you would have them do to you because the Brother Heumann Hour returns March 2, 11:30 p.m. (C.D.T.) over XEG radio, Monterrey, Mexico.

The fine art of black religious humor, largely spoofs of the radio evangelism racket, carried on by Brother Heumann and nine other bozos (all ex-University of Texas students) has been long awaited by fans who remember their previous Firesign Theatre raps of a year ago. It is all supported by contributions and comments so send your confessions to Brother Heumann, Box 4773, Austin, 78765.

BEHIND THE BOOKSHELF

This spring brings an unusually large number of new books and announcements of future literary projects from Texas writers. Out of Bill and Sally Wittlif’s Encino Press in Austin (of 70 books published, 40 awards for design and excellence in publishing) comes The Slave Narratives of Texas ($7.95) edited by Ronnie Tyler and Larry Murphey. Also from Encino, Bud Shrake’s new novel, Peter Arbiter ($7.95). Shrake also has completed “Royo County,” a screen play for David Susskind, and is awaiting the filming this spring of his excellent novel of Dallas and the Kennedy assassination, Strange Peaches. Producers will be Bob Chartoff and Irwin Winkler….Longtime Capitol reporters Sam Kinch, Sr., and Stuart Long’s Allan Shivers: Pied Piper of Texas Politics ($6.95) debuts March 2….Another book on a more contemporary Texas politician, John B. Connally, Portrait of Power ($9.50) by Ann Fears Crawford and Jack Keever is selling well….Ronnie Dugger, publisher of that fine bimonthly, The Texas Observer, has finished a mammoth work on The University of Texas and the state of American universities, Our Invaded Universities ($14.95), due April 2….Gary Cartwright, contributing editor to Texas Monthly, has almost finished his new novel, Thin Ice, for Fawcett. Due out this fall….John Graves (Goodby To A River) has his long-awaited Hard Scrabble ready for early May….Visiting professor at Princeton this year and next, Larry L. King’s (also a Texas Monthly contributing editor) newest collection of articles and essays, The Old Man and Lesser Mortals ($8.95) is selling very well across the country….Texas contributing editor to Rolling Stone Magazine, Chet Flippo, is working on a non-fiction volume on Texas country-rock music and performers. It’s tentatively called: Strangers By Birth….Also working on a book on the musician-writers themselves is ex-Iconoclast editor Jay Milner. Title-to-be is Honky Tonk Poets….Jesus B. Ochoa, Jr., of El Paso has published his first volume of poetry: A Soft Tongue Shall Break Darkness ($3.95)….Also from El Paso comes Elroy Bode’s third collection of essays, Alone in the World Looking ($8).

CHEERS AND OLES

Happy eighth birthday on March 18 to The Iconoclast, Dallas’ weekly newspaper that, through the years, has not only survived but endured. It has weathered occupation by radical gay libs, too-numerous-to-mention name changes, denial of press passes by city officials and, recently, a brush with Bill Lemmer, a 24-year-old ex-F.B.I. informer and cover subject for Harper’s magazine (Dec. ’72) who wanted a job.

Doug Baker, Jr., publisher, and Sean Mitchell, editor, are optimistic about the next eight years despite money problems and staff shortages. “We seem always to be a week away from bankruptcy, but always make it,” said Baker. Let’s hope so.

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

The Fourth Annual U.S.A. Film Festival (not to be confused with last year’s defunct U.S. Film Festival) begins at the Bob Hope Theatre on the S.M.U. campus March 25-31. This year’s honored director is Joseph L. Mankiewicz who will be on hand to see seven of his finest films presented.

He chose A Letter to Three Wives (1949), No Way Out (1950), All About Eve (1950), Five Fingers (1952), Julius Caesar (1953), Suddenly Last Summer (1960), and Sleuth (1972) to represent his career at the festival.

Director of the week’s film orgy Dr. Bill Jones has invited several of Mankiewicz’s favorite stars to attend including James Mason, Sidney Poitier, Bette Davis, and Michael Caine.

Again, three critics and one film consultant (Hollis Alpert, Judith Crist, Arthur Knight, and Barbara Bryant) will bring four films of their choice to be seen and critiqued.

If your eyes and rear can take it, twenty five dollars will get you in everyday, 9:30-5 p.m., or you can blind yourself each night from 6 p.m.-12 midnight for $30.

HOW NOW GROUND COW

Prepare the asbestos coating for the tongue, for the Third Annual Chili Cook-off held by the Houston Pod of the Chili Appreciation Society on March 30. If you happen by the Cullen Green adjoining the Whitehall Hotel after 10 a.m., you can try several varieties of the nefarious potion: Jo Ann Horton’s Mouth of Hell Chili; crayfish chili by Richard Joseph of the Gumbo King Restaurant, Cedar Rat Dingle Chili, or champion Rabbit Chili by the redoubtable Chill Lee and his Chilly Lillies of Study Butte (a suburb of Terlingua).

There is entertainment, a dance at the Whitehall the previous night, (one dollar, please), and handicraft displays. All daytime activities are free; money collected from the dance and the auctioned winner’s pot will be donated to the Burnett Bayland Orphan’s Home in Houston.

SCHOOLBOARD TURNS RIGHT

From our Houston observer, Wendy Haskell Meyer, comes this report on a new member of Houston’s school board: “Houston not only has a new mayor but four new school board members who are already seeking changes within the school administration reflecting their more conservative philosophy.

“When newly elected Mrs. Hazel Bracken recently stated her views on the role of women—namely, that women should be subordinate to men—local feminists, who have already been complaining that the Houston School District is top-heavy with men administrators (there is only one woman principal in the city’s 55 secondary schools and there are no women area superintendents), took issue with her.

“Although Mrs. Bracken said she would ‘feel more comfortable’ with men as top administrators, she said she would not let her personal outlook interfere in such cases. But just in case, four women’s rights activists, Gertrude Bamstone, Kay Whyburn, Peggy Hall, and Helen Copitka, have volunteered their services as a standing committee to advise the Houston School Board on sex discrimination.

“In a letter to board president Rev. D. Leon Everett II, these women promised to ‘assist Mrs. Bracken and other board members to resist personal bias in their decision, where matters of sex discrimination arise.'”

HUMORIST HUNKERS DOWN

Texas’ best known humorist, John Henry Faulk, and family move this month from Austin to Madisonville to escape what Faulk predicts will be an economic Armegeddon. “I think this country’s going to have a depression that will make the last one seem like Ned in the first reader. I’m moving to the country and become self-sufficient,” said the red haired, freckled Faulk. One milk cow, a few hogs, and chickens will be joining the Faulk family on their new seven-acre homestead on the south edge of Madisonville going towards Navasota.

WHILE YOU’RE UP GET ME A PLANTATION

Over 160 San Antonians will board America’s last overnight passenger river boat, the Delta Queen, on March 4 in New Orleans for a leisurely cruise up the Mississippi to Natchez and back to the Crescent City. The junket is sponsored by and a benefit for the Southwest Craft Center of San Antonio. Dr. and Mrs. Herchell Childers, Mr. and Mrs. Bev Coiner, and several artists rom the Center, including Carolyn Shelton and Margaret Pace, are among the passengers who also will see two days of the French Quarter before shufflin’ off to the levee. All aboard will hopefully return on the eighth.

JUST A COUNTRY LAWYER

Austin attorney Peggy Underwood is taking advantage of the capital city’s growing reputation as a mecca for country-western singers and writers who have found a home away from Nashville, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles. Many C. and W. artists feel that they are merely pawns in the inhuman business end of the music game: paying money for services not rendered; losing publishing and copyrights; and having contracts cancelled illegally.

Her efforts for the pickers and singers are similar to those of other attorneys around the country who represent the often-tangled legal and business interests of professional athletes.

Singers Billy Joe Shaver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Swan, and George M. Jones all have albums coming out late this spring, so business ain’t bad for Ms. Underwood.

BARESKINS RUN FOR SHEEPSKIN

The obligation is to amuse yourself, said S. J. Perelman, and I believe him. So do lots of college students, who for one reason or another, have picked “streaking” as chief amusement this season. No more silliness such as stuffing Volkswagons, swallowing fish, or panty raids.

Streaking is defined as running from one point on campus to another at a high rate of speed without any clothes on. It is usually a night event. There are no winners as such; losers are those who are caught and booked.

Time reported recently that the fad has caught on in Los Angeles among suburban housewives, who liven up an evening by stripping down and racing about the neighborhood to pre-arranged streaking centers. Makes sense to me.

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