I came across this photo this morning, for sale on eBay. For obvious reasons -- and, yes, that's said to be an actual car sitting in Santa's lap -- it became My Obsession of the Day. Ad insists it was taken in '54 at Porter Chevrolet in Dallas; that's what the handwritten note on the back says, anyhow. But I asked my dad: Where was Porter Chevy? He didn't know. A friend of his says he vaguely recalled its existence, but that "it wasn't around long." I'd ask the old directories at the downtown library, but the J. Erik's closed today. Of course it is.
So, then, to the historians -- M.C. Toyer, to be specific, of the Dallas Historical Society. I asked if he could consult his directories. Moments ago he sent back this reply:
Porter Chevrolet is not listed in the November 1954 Greater Dallas Telephone Directory.Which may be more information than I'll ever need about the greatest picture of the biggest Santa Dallas has ever known. But I'm eternally grateful nevertheless.
A quick search of The Dallas Morning News Archives lists Porter Chevrolet at 5526 E. Mockingbird (across from Dr Pepper) until March 1954 when the dealership was sold and became Parish Chevrolet at the same address -- Parish Chevrolet is listed in the 1954 Directory.
John Porter then acquired a Pontiac dealership in Fort Worth.
Update Saturday morning: A very good Friend of Unfair Park sent me a stack of articles from 1953 about this particular Santa, whose tragic tale somehow managed to disappear from local lore.