Monday, October 31, 2011

A Tribute to the Big Horn Mountains

Here's a real quick video tribute to the beauty and majesty of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. He visited there earlier in the year during Geo-RoadTrip 2011.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Location #3 "The Good Guys" go Downtown

Here we go again: Another episode of "The Good Guys," another Dallas shoot location. This time Thanksgiving Tower in downtown served as a bank that was going to be robbed. Here's the getaway driver's car parked out front:

Jack and Dan have the place staked out and as Jack waits in their sweet Trans Am, you can see the Press Box Grill behind him. A lot of times in TV shows and movies they don't shoot different angles of the same scene in the same location but this place really is across the street from Thanksgiving Tower.

Once the bank robbery is foiled you can notice the unique tiles that are in front of the building:

You can also see that they put up their own signage for the show ("Dallas Trust & Loan") which is not there in real life:

More shooting locations coming soon! (I'm really starting to get into this show.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

On Location #2 "The Good Guys" in South Dallas

It's time, once again, to hit the streets and find the physical locations where our favorite TV shows and movies were shot. We're going to do another episode of the short lived Fox series "The Good Guys" (I told you there would be several of these).

In episode #4 "the Dim Knight," an out of town chemical supplier (who sells to meth labs) stops to grab a hamburger while his beleaguered translator talks on the phone.

The real location for this scene is Mr. Charlies Hamburgers on Good Latimer & Hickory in Dallas. This is not far from the Deep Ellum shooting location we mentioned earlier.

Normally I'd give a recommendation from the menu but even though I've driven past it several times I've never actually eaten there. But any place with a giant cartoon hamburger painted on the side of the building has GOT to be good.

Later our heroes Jack and Dan track a suspect to a sleazy motel. The real location for this scene is in fact, a real life sleazy motel! It's off of I-35 at Overton just south of downtown Dallas.

I had always assumed that this place had been shut down for years but when I stopped by there was a maid cleaning the rooms.

The iconic sign is easy to spot from the highway and made a great backdrop for the scene.

In the episode the boys find a guy trying to cook meth in one of the rooms. I didn't knock on any doors because it looked like a place where people would cook meth. So great job to the location scouts who picked it!

Tune in next time for some more interesting locations in your own backyard!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marking Time #10: Texas Rangers and the Fence Cutters

There's a ton of history at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame & Museum in Waco. Outside you'll find monuments like this one to George Erath a former Ranger and one of the orignal surveyors of the area.

You'll also find this Historical Marker which brings us to today's "Marking Time."

It reads:

Before 1875 in Texas, cattle roamed over thousands of acres of public land, and free grazing became a tradition. After 1875, however, an increasing farm populace tended to protect crops and other property with barbed wire fences which were resented by stockraisers. Cattle losses in drouths of the 1880s provoked such widespread cutting of fences that the Texas government recognized this as a crime and in 1884 enacted laws and measures to curb the practice.
Texas Rangers were dispatched by the Governor at the call of County Judges and Sheriffs to apprehend the fence cutters. They operated from the Red River to the Rio Grande, and from the Panhandle to the Pine Woods of East Texas. Disguise and concealment were required, and one of the Rangers who won praise for his work pronounced it the most disagreeable duty in the world. The vigorous effort went on for some years. Finally, however, stockmen who had wanted to restore the open range were won over to fencing their own lands and using windmills to water their cattle herds. The Texas Rangers had in one more instance helped to stabilize life in the West.

Here's some video we shot a few years ago about the museum:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On Location #1 "The Good Guys" in Deep Ellum

It feels like it's just about time to start up a new semi-regular feature here on the ol' blog so we proudly present "On Location" where we show pictures of various locations that we've stumbled upon that have been featured in TV or films.

Today we take a look at an episode of the short lived Fox series "The Good Guys" (they shot in Dallas so get ready for plenty of these types of entries) that was shot in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas.

In the pilot episode there is a shoot out at a pawn shop. The actual location was on Commerce Street and Crowdus Street and is currently vacant:

From this angle you can see that it is right next to the former "Coyote Ugly's" (which is now also currently vacant).

Behind our heroes, Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks' son), you can see St. Pete's Dancing Marlin (I recommend the Cobb Salad, it's awesome...and HUGE) and the Angry Dog (get the hot dog...hold the onions). You can also see part of the downtown skyline.

And once the bad news goes down our boys hit the street. The bulk of this section of the street is vacant but the windows with the blue trim belong to Buzz Brews (I haven't eaten there yet so I don't have any recommendations. Although they serve breakfast and I definitely like that).

Tune in next time for more locations that we accidentally find!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marking Time #9: The Dallas Zoo

Today's "Marking Time" takes us to one of our favorite places to see our furry, fuzzy and feathered friends: The Dallas Zoo!

The original location of the Zoo was where Old City Park a.k.a Dallas Heritage Village is today and only started with two deer and two mountain lions.

The marker reads:

The Dallas Zoo traces its history to 1888, when the city purchased two deer and two mountain lions and placed them in pens in the City Park. In the 1890s, with the support of Dallas citizens, the City Council provided funds for the zoo, and additional animals were bought for the collection.
The zoo was located in the City Park (now Old City Park) until 1910, when the animals were moved to the newly acquired Fair Park. Under the leadership of Zoo Commissioner William H. Atwell, the zoo's collection was enlarged and improved, and a new site was purchased in Marsalis Park in Oak Cliff.
In the 1920s a special Zoo Commission was created by the city, and the collection was further developed with the acquisition of numerous specimens from famed game hunter and trapper Frank Buck. During the depression years of the 1930s the zoo facilities were upgraded with the help of the Federal Works Progress Administration Program.
The Dallas Zoo Society was organized in 1955. By the 1960s the zoo had become a popular local attraction, and more improvements were made. Still popular with both Dallas citizens and tourists, the zoo continued to entertain and educate the public.

Here is some video we shot a few years ago about the "Lacerte Family Children's Zoo" portion of the Dallas Zoo:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Marking Time #8: Mineola, TX

Today the small East Texas town of Mineola provides us with our "Marking Time" entry.

This is one of many towns that sprang up thanks to the railroad.

According to the marker:

Since its establishment in 1873, the community of Mineola has been tied historically to the railroad and transportation industries. The Texas & Pacific Railroad planned to connect Longview and Dallas by rail, and began building west in 1872. Meanwhile, the Houston & Great Northern Railroad built northward from Troup. Several communities developed near anticipated depot sites, though they declined when the two railroads joined. The site was named Mineola; various stories recount the naming of the new settlement.

Additional rail lines soon connected to Mineola, which experienced impressive growth. The rail brought new residents, including a number of immigrant families, and made Mineola a shipping center for agricultural Wood County. The growth sparked the establishment of various institutions, including a newspaper, the Mineola Monitor; churches, beginning with St. Paul’s Baptist Church in 1871; a city cemetery, founded in 1873; a school system started in 1875 and becoming public in 1881; and First National Bank, which organized in 1898. An 1888 fire destroyed 18 buildings downtown, but the community quickly recovered.

In the early 20th century, transportation continued to affect Mineola, as the federal government built U.S. Highway 80 through the town. In 1929, the Texas 7 Pacific terminal in Longview relocated to Mineola; many families resettled here, sparking population and commercial growth. The railroads continued to be vital to the community until they declined in the 1950s.

In 1996, Amtrak revived passenger service to Mineola, restoring the town’s bond with rail. Today, Mineola continues to be a leading community in Wood County and east Texas.

The marker is found in the middle of town along with several items of railroad memorabilia.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marking Time #7: Fort Worth Stock Yards Entrance

Strap on your boots because today's "Marking Time" takes us to the Fort Worth Stock Yards. There is a ton of history at the stock yards so we won't even try to cover it all at once. In fact, we'll start at the beginning...or the entrance:

Ok, so this one is an Historical Medallion as opposed to an Historic Marker but just go with it:

The text reads:

Spanning Exchange Avenue, this gateway to the Fort Worth Stock Yards was completed in 1910. Constructed by the Topeka Bridge & Land Co. for the Fort Worth Stock Yards Co., it was a significant feat of concrete work for that era. The columns are 22 feet high and 13 feet in circumference. The sign is 36 feet long and 4 feet high. The entrance is a significant landmark in this historic area of Fort Worth. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1985.

We've also got some video at the Stock Yards that we shot a few years back for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marking Time #6: Downtown Tyler

Courthouse Square in downtown Tyler has is full of history...and fountains.

So once again we get a double-shot of historic markers:

This one reads:

In area opened 1839 to white settlers by Republic of Texas victories over Cherokee Indians whose trails led the way to good springs, fine farmlands, useful salines. The first Legislature of the state of Texas named the town (founded 1846) for President John Tyler, who signed the resolution annexing Texas to the United States.
Originally a farm market, Tyler in early years had few men of wealth, but by 1860 was known for good schools, churches and cultured citizens. Several men here raised and commanded troops in Civil War. After mid-1863 this was transportation headquarters for Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy. It had an ordnance factory and was site of Camp Ford -- the largest P.O.W. post west of the Mississippi.
In 1870s important as site of railroad shops and roundhouse. Developed industries, manufacturing, fruit and vegetable packing, shipping, expanding economy.
Furnished Texas with statesmen, including Governors Richard B. Hubbard (in office 1876-1879), O. M. Roberts (1879-1883) and James Stephen Hogg (1891-1895).
Upon discovery of nearby East Texas oil field in 1931, became investment, banking, servicing center. Home of Tyler Junior College; Annual Rose Festival.

And this one chronicles the first county agricultural extension agent:

At a time of low crop production and depressed farm economy, Smith County became the birthplace of the County Agricultural Agent concept. This occurred in an historic meeting Nov. 12, 1906, in an opera house near this site. Present were Dr. Seaman A. Knapp of the United States Department of Agriculture, County Judge S. A. Lindsey, and some 44 local leaders-- many belonging to the Tyler Commercial Club which sought to underwrite farm improvement.
Smith County that day appointed Wm. C. Stallings (1842-1916) the first county agent in Texas and the first in the nation to serve only one county.
Three years earlier the first cooperative farm demonstration program was begun on the Walter C. Porter property, Kaufman County. That successful application of scientific farming operations and appointment of Stallings (an outstanding farmer of the Dixie community, west of Tyler) were first steps toward establishment of the County Agricultural Agents' system, now known the world over as the Cooperative Extension Service. Today its educational programs further development of agricultural and human resources in both rural and urban areas.

The park area also contains several veteran memorials:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marking Time #5: Eastland County

Today's "Marking Time" entry take us to Eastland, TX where we get a double-shot of historical markers:

The one of the left reads:

"County seat, Eastland County. Named for William M. Eastland--Texas War for Independence hero who was in Mier Expedition against Mexico, and was executed in "Black Bean" lottery at Rancho Salado in 1842.
Most noted early local people were Comanches, who resisted occupation of area by white settlers. The last recorded Indian raid in county was in 1874.
Eastland was named county seat in an election on Aug. 2, 1875. With 250 people it was incorporated on June 6, 1891, and W.Q. Connellee was elected as mayor.
After a discovery in 1917, one of the fabled oil booms of Texas occurred nearby, with Eastland center for legal matters. With oil priced $2.60 a barrel, many wells flowed at 10,000 barrels a day. The city quickly grew to 25,000 people; 5 banks prospered.
Coming here to seek "black gold" were celebrities, including evangelist Billy Sunday, circus owner John Ringling, sports figures Jess Willard, Tex Rickard.
An international wonder-story happened here: the old courthouse cornerstone was opened (on this site) in 1928 to reveal survival of "Old Rip", a horned toad placed there with other mementoes on July 19, 1897.
Continuing oil production, agricultural processing and clay products bolster the present economy. "

And the one on the right:

"First known Eastland area inhabitant was Frank Sanchez (d. 1867), who grazed herds here in the 1850s. The United States in 1853 established Army posts at Fort Phantom Hill, in present Taylor County, and Fort Belknap, in present Young County, giving the frontier protection against hostile Indians. This opened a modest influx of settlers, including families named Bell, Birden, Birt, Blair, Ellison, Fitzwaters, Flannagan, Gilbert, Herring, Highsaw, McGough, Mansker, Melburn, Oliver, Owens, Richards, Shirley, Singleton, Upton, and Wyatt, from "old states" of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. The county was created, but not organized, in 1858. The U.S. Census for 1860 showed 99 residents. When Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, and Army garrisons withdrew, many pioneers left or took refuge at Blair's Fort, in southeastern part of the county.
Post-Civil War settlers included such leaders as Dr. Edwin Daniel Townsend, who arrived from Kentucky in 1871. The county was organized in an election held Dec. 2, 1873, with Merriman designated county seat (in violation of legislation creating the county). In 1875 the government was moved to Eastland, founded that year by investor Charles U. Connellee (1851-1930)."

Eastland has few interesting claims to fame like the 6-ft. x 10-ft. mural made from over 11,000 stamps at the post office:

But, of course their most well known resident is "Old Rip" the world famous horny toad:

Old Rip is a local legend and his coffin resides in the Eastland County Courthouse where people come from all over the world to pay their respects. (He was also the subject of one of our documentaries).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marking Time #4: Texas School Book Depository Building

Today's "Marking Time" entry takes us to downtown Dallas and the former Texas School Book Depository Building, the site of the assassination of JFK.

The location now houses the "6th Floor Museum" and chronicle's the life and death of President Kennedy.

The Historical Marker reads:

This site was originally owned by John Neely Bryan, the founder of Dallas. During the 1880s French native Maxime Guillot operated a wagon shop here. In 1894 the land was purchased by Phil L. Mitchell, president and director of the Rock Island Plow Company of Illinois. An office building for the firm's Texas division, known as the Southern Rock Island Plow Company, was completed here four years later. In 1901 the five-story structure was destroyed by fire. That same year, under supervision of the company vice president and general manager F. B. Jones, work was completed on this structure. Built to resemble the earlier edifice, it features characteristics of the commercial Romanesque Revival style.
In 1937 the Carraway Byrd Corporation purchased the property. Later, under the direction of D. H. Byrd, the building was leased to a variety of businesses, including the Texas School Book Depository.
On November 22, 1963, the building gained national notoriety when Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth floor window as the presidential motorcade passed the site.

The area is a part of Dealey Plaza and contains a statue of George Dealey, former publisher of the Dallas Morning News.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Marking Time #3: World's Richest Acre

Today's installment of "Marking Time" takes us out to East Texas where they had quite an oil boom awhile back. The HUGE amount of drilling is commemorated by the "World's Richest Acre" Park:

Which also has a State Historical Marker which reads:

Part of fabulous East Texas oil field discovered in 1930. This 1.195-acre tract had first production on June 17, 1937, when the Mrs. Bess Johnson-Adams & Hale No. 1 well was brought in.
Developed before well-spacing rules, this block is the most densely drilled tract in the world, with 24 wells on 10 lots owned by six different operators. This acre has produced over two and a half million barrels of crude oil; selling at $1.10 to $3.25 a barrel, it has brought more than five and a half million dollars.
A forest of steel derricks for many years stood over the more than 1,000 wells in downtown Kilgore, marking the greatest concentration of oil wells in the history of the world. Dozens of these derricks still dot city's internationally famous skyline.
Since 1930, the East Texas oil field has produced nearly four billion barrels of oil. It now has more than 17,000 producing wells, and geologists predict a future of at least 45 years for this "granddaddy of oil fields." Its development has attracted to the area many diversified industries and a progressive citizenship with a high degree of civic pride.

And as luck would have it we have a video for this one that we shot a few years ago:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Marking Time #2: World's Largest Jackrabbit

Today's Marking Time entry is the pride of Odessa, TX: The World's Largest Jackrabbit!

The marker reads:

True plains Rabbit. Lives only in the west. Burro-like ears gave him his name. color is protective, blending with sand and dry grass. Very long legs make him a swift runner, clocked at speeds to 45 miles and hour. Object of hunts with Greyhounds. Was prized by plains Indians for food and fur. to white man a reminder of desert-hard life. In drouth and depression, meat source for thousands. Subject of tall tales. Actual hero of world's only Jackrabbit Rodeo, in Odessa, May 1932.

You can see how it maintains it's "World's Largest" status by towering over geologist Devin Dennie.