Remember the Bagdad! A Very Rare Look at One of the Area's Oldest Forgotten Hotspots.
A few days ago I got a message from a gentleman named Steve Parrino. He mentioned that he too is a native of Dallas and that his family has been here since the 1890s. Said he's a fan of the history-of items I like to post here and that he wanted to share something special. I'll let him take it from there.
I was recently going through some family memorabilia and came across a 1929 promotional piece for the Bagdad Supper Club. I expect you know about the place, an opulent nightclub on Fort Worth Ave. in Grand Prairie that opened in 1929 and went through ups and downs until it burned in 1952. ...
It billboards the appearance of Phil Phillips and His 14 Californians. My dad, Ted Parrino, also born in Dallas, was one of the Californians. The Phillips outfit was the second group to perform at the Bagdad (the first group, which opened the place in January '29, was only there a few weeks). Dad was a longtime musician (piano and accordion), who played in large and small dance bands and eventually fronted his own group. He toured the western U.S. in the 20s and 30s. In the 40s he settled back down in Dallas and played many spots in town including the Baker, the Adolphus, the Dallas Athletic Club and Dallas Country Club. He became program director at KRLD radio, but continued to play into the (and his) early 70s.
Steve was kind enough to pass along that promotional piece, in which, on the second page, you'll find Ted Parrino -- he's the fifth guy from the left, sitting in a chair, his right hand perched on his left wrist. It follows, as do three pages from an interview Ted did with SMU prof Ron Davis in 1973. Says Steve, "He interviewed dad for what is now the Ronald Davis Oral History Collection on the Performing Arts in SMU's DeGolyer Library." My great thanks to Steve -- I'd heard of the Bagdad, but, till now, had never seen it. Or, for that matter, the Bagdad Beauty Chorus.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.