Terribly embarrassed by the article, city fathers staged a rally at which the sheriff joined the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in pouring out 5,000 gallons of contraband hooch into the gutter. Unfortunately some inebriate tossed a match into the river of highly flammable fluid.

By the time the Fire Department was able to bring the conflagration under control, 20 automobiles had been set on fire and several buildings damaged.

Nevertheless, Dallas did a pretty good job over the years of keeping order, mainly by keeping everything in-house. In 1946, according to Congressional testimony, the Chicago mob made repeated efforts to take over the rackets in Dallas, at one point sending down a strong-arm committee made up of mobsters Daniel Lardino, James Wineburg, Paul (Needle Nose) Labriola and Marty (The Ox) Ochs.

Welcome to Dallas, where the Bible Belt meets the garter belt.
Welcome to Dallas, where the Bible Belt meets the garter belt.

The four horsemen from Chicago were intercepted and sent packing by local law enforcement before they even got a toe in the door. Later, when Wineburg and Labriola were executed with piano wire and Ochs by a method unknown, some believed it was because they had allowed the Chicago mob to be humiliated in Dallas.

Which was not to say Dallas did not want any wiseguys around. Just not too wise. Maybe the best example—a guy who was just the right fit for Dallas—was Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ruby had mob ties, but not big ties. He was small-time but not a punk. Ruby owned a series of failed strip joints but eventually became proprietor and maitre d' of the Carousel Club, a successful place for a while that was sort of a prototype for today's "gentlemen's clubs" in Dallas.

In a 1964 book called Dallas, Public and Private, author Warren Leslie said: "Ruby never lived outside the law. He lived on its fringes.

"He was a second-rater, and he knew it and hated it. For him, recognition and approval were necessities, not just from people in general but from people in authority."

There should be a statue.

Dallas faced what was probably the most difficult adjustment in its cultural history in the 1980s and '90s, as the old-fashioned nekkid bar, with its B girls and backroom dice games, gave way to a whole new industry of clubs that were able to operate freely and openly, unhampered by old taboos.

Maybe a little too freely. In the '90s the clubs exploded and seemed to be totally out of control, in terms of when and where they could operate and what could go on, a most un-Dallas situation.

A great deal of political activism, law enforcement activity and civil litigation was devoted to reining the club scene back in. And it worked, for the most part. Not that things are totally buttoned-down now, but the current club situation in Dallas is much more in keeping with the city's history.

Take The Lodge, for example. Most people consider it the city's top topless club, offering a polished atmosphere somewhere between a genteel hunting lodge and Topkapi Palace. Gorgeous women dance in not-quite-naked attire, all within the letter and thread of the law. The club itself operates in compliance with the requirements of all zoning, liquor and cabaret laws, according to proprietor Dawn Rizos.

She didn't always have such smooth sailing. During the topless battles of the 1990s, Rizos operated at another location where nearby homeowners wanted her gone. She moved in 1996 to the current location on Northwest Highway, about three miles from Love Field Airport, so she wouldn't have to attend any more hearings at City Hall.

"You have to work so hard to keep any business afloat, in good times or in bad times," she says. "You put so much of yourself into it. You're the last one to get paid. To do all that and then have the emotional headaches that come with those sorts of negative meetings, it's not worth it."

She says she thinks the city likes her now, because she's got all the right zoning and does not have angry householders nearby.

"I think they view us as the most conservatively managed of the lot," she says, "which is true. All of our girls are over 21. We breathalyze all employees at the end of every shift. We don't leave any stone unturned that might let something bad happen."

See, that's all it takes in Dallas. Good management. You can run a topless club or a mosque. Just run it right. I don't see that as hypocrisy. To me that's full service, body and soul.

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4 comments
TexMex
TexMex

Another well written article from Sir Shutze.

jenn
jenn

now if only people outside of dallas would read this...

TittyluvinBaptist
TittyluvinBaptist

BAZOOM!....no wait bosooms...aw hell..TITTIES!!!!!!! YEEE HAH! er....AMEN!

Perpetual Warfare
Perpetual Warfare

Wow you mean that there are different kinds of people living in Dallas and everyone isn't some stoned hippie libtard "journalist's" terror-fantasy of religious redneck stereotypes?

 
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