Turns out the TV show Dallas
isn't the only thing this great city can claim. Plenty of things (and even some people) have been created here — everything from pedal pushers to a bottled scent that makes your shit not stink.
Here's our list of seven things (and one person) made in Dallas. And yes, Noble Prize recipient Jack Kilby is standing tall and proud on the page alongside such industrial giants as the lady who involuntarily invented capri pants.
Jack Kilby (integrated circuit)
This is one of those machineries some of our tiny list-appraising brains cannot grasp: the integrated circuit, also known as the microchip, eventually the foundation for that phone in your hand (and a million other technological conveniences). It was a sweltering summer day in 1958. Jack Kilby, a young Texas Instruments engineer, was too green for vacation privileges enjoyed by his senior coworkers. So he tinkered the days away, messing around with wires and transistors and glue — that is how the new guy at TI put together the world’s first integrated circuit.
Kilby later received the Nobel Prize in physics. A spokesperson on a TI tour says they called him the gentle giant because he was a tall, kind and brilliant man. “He’s pretty much a legend around here,” she said. He kept an office at TI in Northeast Dallas until his 2005 death.
Marion Van Gilder (pedal pushers)
Every woman in the world owns at least one pair of pedal pushers.
Despite their adeptness at making lean and lovely women look frumpy, capri pants (or pedal pushers, as they were known in their early years) are a staple of many female wardrobes. Women feel comfy in them, and sometimes we don’t give a shit if pants are weird if they are convenient and comfortable.
Sans the ass-pain of alterations, these are zip ready — they don’t drag if you’re short, and if you’re long legged, no one will question whether you are expecting a flood. Nope — they are just pedal pushers. Sure, you can look hot in capri pants. If you are January Jones, that is. And even she looks better in literally anything else.
The inventor of the pedal pusher pant did not intend to fashion a garment that might make a woman's leg look as if it belongs on a different woman’s body, nor did the 1950s fashionista have a thing for that pale white patch of skin between bobby sock and shin. Nope. An accident of magnificent proportions perpetrated the pedal pusher trend.
Designer Marion Van Gilder was overseeing the production of a large quantity of women’s pants in 1951. Someone placed the hemline-marker too high. So Van Gilder’s employers, Stockton Manufacturing in Dallas, wound up with 100,000 pairs of elfin-sized pants.
Instead of panicking for too long, Van Gilder, who liked to ride her bike, realized the short pants could come in handy — they would not catch in the spokes like normal pants. So she called them pedal pushers and sold them to big department stores including JCPenney and Sears, where you will still find them on the racks — beckoning with their matronly solace.
You will feel the pedal pusher magic — that breeze as it caresses the mid-calf area, while you ride your bike that you definitely have. Van Gilder died in 2009, and she left behind a function-meets-form fashion legacy that women, no matter what anyone says, will embrace forever.
Beaver Raymond and Johnny de la Valdene (Marshmallow Shooters)
Hitting your friends with food is no-fail fun. National Lampoon
knew it. East Dallas’ Raymond family was sure of it: The party will be fun if guests fire food at one another. Fact. But how could they kick it up a notch for eldest son Jake’s birthday bash? "I’ll tell ya how,” one can imagine father Beaver Raymond saying.
"Guns, that’s how.” And so the Marshmallow Shooter was born. Beaver and Jake, worked all night before his party to build almost 20 makeshift launchers. (Later, entrepreneur Johnny de la Valdene became a partner in manufacturing.)
To say the endeavor was a triumph would be like saying pedal pusher pants are not the most attractive. The Raymonds appeared on the Today Show
, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
. They made $4 million in 2008 and $7.5 million in 2009 on the shooters.
Mariono Martinez (frozen margaritas)
You knew the frozen margarita machine was made here in Dallas in 1971, right? By Mexican-American inventor Mariano Martinez, owner of Mariano’s, when he adapted a soft-serve ice cream machine? Right? If you did not know this, you need a Dallas history lesson, not listicles. You are excused if you just moved here — just head over to Mariano’s Restaurant, which is still going strong. The original machine retired to the Smithsonian after 34 years there.
Suzy Batiz (Poo Pourri)
You’ve seen the online commercials. You’ve giggled. And you’ve possibly purchased it — Poo Pourri spritzer. Spray on the toilet water before going-going, to prevent odor. Does it work? “Scientifically proven,” says the marketing material, avoiding the topic after that. But the true innovation existed in inventor Suzy Batiz’s relentless, smart, fun, prolific use of YouTube and social media to market her product. Therein lies her genius. In 2016, her company was worth $300 million. She turned a church in Dallas into her home, where she hosts pricey wellness retreats for women.
Bette Nesmith Graham (Liquid Paper, Michael Nesmith)
Bette Nesmith Graham brought into this world two things of interest — her son, Michael Nesmith, who became a member of the made-for-TV band The Monkees, and Liquid Paper.
Bette, a single mom, made her living as a secretary at Texas Bank and Trust, and she was busy, which was the impetus for the white liquid she designed to cover up flubs. Other secretaries and typists begged to buy it off her, so in the '60s, she started the company Mistake Out, which later became Liquid Paper. By the time she sold to Gillette for $47.5 million in 1979, her company employed 200 people and made 25 million bottles of Liquid Paper per year.
Ron Howard’s sperm (Bryce Dallas Howard)
Fun fact: Icon and director Ron Howard named each of his children after the place he or she was conceived, his daughter told ABC News. Wait, wait, wait: His daughter — the star of an ingenious Black Mirror
episode in which she absolutely kills it — is Dallas. Bryce Dallas Howard, made in Dallas.
Randy Brooks ("Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer")
The familiar twang, the drawl and opening line. You yearn to run — run as if a CrossFit-practicing IT
clown is chasing you. But you can’t. Coming home from your house Christmas Eve, you hear the words to "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." They are coming from your own mouth.
You are singing along now, God help you. They should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.
If you have a love-hate affair with this Christmas cult classic, get to know Randy Brooks — the song’s singer and writer. He made enough money on the song to send his kid to college. The knowledge that the silly ditty is his legacy gets him down a little bit sometimes. He knows he’s a one-hit wonder, he says when telling his story on the Oral Fixation stage. And when asked what else he hopes to be, he always answers, “A two-hit wonder.”