Monday, June 26, 2017

Texas Marvels


As you can see above, it's not uncommon for this blog to highlight comic book issues that take place in, or feature, the great state of Texas.  But sometimes there's not enough in the issue to warrant a full blown blog entry.  So here's a couple of quick hits from our pals at Marvel:

We start with Frank Castle, the Punisher.  He visited the Lone Star state awhile back with his pal Spider-Man but this time he's going to have to eat his barbecue by himself.  But that's okay, that's the way he likes it.  There's a reason they call it a "One Man War on Crime."   And this's gonna be a massacre:

When he hears about a bad hombre in Houston who's pulling the old S & L scam in Houston, Frank decides it's time to head south to dish out some punishment.  Unfortunately, he and his sidekick have a fairly limited understanding of Texas geography:

Well, as you can imagine, with the Punisher there's always plenty of bang bang punch punch.  Suffice it to say, the bad guys were thoroughly punished.   Our next stop takes us to Big D for less violence and more moodiness.

This issue of X-Men took a break from the usual action packed melodrama for some non-action packed melodrama.  The main story primarily takes place while Storm (from the movies) convalesces in home/offices of Forge (not from the movies).  And where might that be?  The fictional Eagle Plaza in the non-fictional city of Dallas:

Most of the story takes place indoors but occasionally you get a peak at the skyline.  Most comic book artists skimp on skylines and just add one or two recognizable buildings in.  So when you see a comic story taking place in Dallas, you can be sure that, at the very least, you'll get a few shots of Reunion Tower:

And sometimes that can be enough.  We head east for our next stop but there's a little bit of a set up.  You remember the movie Logan's Run, right?  Well, as happens from time to time, it got a comic book adaption from Marvel.

You may remember that we covered how the film was shot in the North Texas area and it made use of unique settings like the Fort Worth Water Gardens.  Here's what they normally look like:

And here's what it looks like in the movie:

And, you guessed it, here's what it looked like in the comic:

So there's a quick trip around Texas via the funny book pages.  You never know when your town will be the backdrop for a vigilante dispensing justice or a sci-fi struggle.  So be careful out there.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Check Your Local Listings

Years ago, when people actually watched television shows on their television, it was necessary to know what was coming on when.  And the primary way to do that was to check your local listings.  That meant actual newspapers.

It was the 80's and without DVRs, the internet or program guides, the shows on the handful of available channels were difficult to keep up with.  So on an evening in a year like 1982, here's what your viewing options might look like in the DFW metroplex:

This was back when networks would show actual movies.  It used to be a thing.  You could have also seen actual TV shows like Square Pegs, M*A*S*H and Cagney & Lacey.  This was also the heyday of independent local channels.  In the 80's they were your go-to channel for for programming like Abbott and Costello movies, Godzilla films and a ton of arbitrary older content that you just don't find that much any more.

The programming of stations like these also consisted of a ton of classic TV reruns.  You'll notice that KXTX was airing the original Star Trek at 10:30.  In addition to shows like Hogan's Heroes and Little House on the Prairie (which were both also airing that night), Star Trek was a mainstay on Channel 39 for years and I spent a lot of my childhood staring at the space opera on that very channel.

That childhood was also spent watching quite a bit of Saturday morning cartoons.  So here's a look at what a Dallas area youngster had to choose from in 1982:

Again, this is the kind of thing that just isn't done anymore.  While we have entire networks devoted to showing cartoons 24/7 today, it wasn't always like that.  There was a time when cartoons were relegated to weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

In addition to a mega-block of the Smurfs, you also had old friends like Popeye, Spider-Man and Bugs Bunny.  If you want to see Bugs today you have to go to Six Flags.  That guy has practically disappeared.  At the time there was also a trend for live action shows to have animated counterparts.  That's why you had cartoon versions of The Dukes of Hazzard, Lavern & Shirley and Gilligan's Island in the form of Gilligan's Planet.

Saturday mornings were the best but cartoons were around the rest of the week too.  Let's turn over to Channel 21:

It's easy to forget how popular the Jetsons used to be.  It looks like the show was on 7 days a week.  KTXA also showed old favorites like The Little Rascals, a.k.a."Our Gang," He-Man and Inspector Gadget.  That's more than enough to prevent healthy, able bodied kids from going outside and playing.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that there was TV before the 80's so as a bonus here's an ad for American's most trusted newsman, Walter Cronkite, in the 1960's on Channel 4 back when it was known as KRLD (it's now KDFW):

And that's the way it was...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: Dairy Palace


 Years ago, as I kid, I showed Black Angus cattle at a variety of livestock shows across Texas.  Every summer brought us to the Van Zandt County Fair in Canton, TX and one of the definite highlights was getting burgers and ice cream at the Dairy Palace.  So it was with the high expectations of nostalgia that I return there for lunch.

The place has been in business since 1984 and has a reputation of serving real food with real ingredients.  And it's not just the livestock show crowd that fills the booths.  Every First Monday this is the place to be.  And of course, the Canton regulars and I-20 travelers keep the place hopping in between.

The menu is surprisingly extensive for a burger joint.  Sandwiches, salads, tacos and breakfast items are all in the mix as well as a daily special but, for me, the main event are the hamburgers.

But even then, there's a lot going on.  They grind their own beef in house but there's several more options.  They've got a big selection of wild game burgers including wild boar, elk, venison and duck.  On my latest trip I went with the Bison Burger:

Too bad it doesn't photograph anywhere near as good as it tastes because this thing was phenomenal.   The huge patty (it dwarfed the bun...not that I minded) was perfectly seasoned and clearly fresh off the grill.

One of their mantras is that they begin preparing your food after your order and "The little bit of wait will be worth it!"  But I thought the order was turned around fairly quickly...and I was there with a six year old!  And after the burgers, she was ready for dessert.

 The "Dairy" in Dairy Place means ice cream.  And in Texas, "ice cream" means Blue Bell.  You can get an assortment of frozen treats like banana splits, sundaes and shakes but sometimes you just want a scoop or two on top of a cone.  They also offer Plano based Henry's Homemade Ice Cream and Chef's Line Ice Cream if you want to try something different.

As you can probably guess, we left satisfied.  So if you're traveling along I-20 with an empty belly, make your way to Canton for some old fashioned refreshment.  And if the timing is right, pick up some antique "junk" at First Monday or stop by the Livestock Show to support youngsters like this little punk from the 80's: