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George and Sam at
the Fort Worth Frontier Centennial

or
Tu Casa Mañana es Mi Casa Mañana


by George Lester



"If you want education, go to Dallas.
For entertainment, come to Fort Worth." - Billy Rose

"Dallas has all that historical stuff,
so we don't have to worry about that."- Billy Rose
Sally Rand's Nude Ranch
Sally Rand's Nude Ranch
Photo Courtesy Amber Di Giovanni
The year was 1936 and I was ten. We traveled out west in one car to meet our two brothers that lived in Wink, Texas. In the car were the other three brothers (including me), two sisters, one with a baby and my dad making the arduous trip long before the days of air-conditioning.

I remember the highlight of the trip as our stop in Ft. Worth where we spent the night and took in the Casa Mañana show at the fair grounds.

My dad and my adult brother decided see the Billy Rose production called Sally Rand's Nude Ranch.* It was very mild by today's standards compared to what you now see on television. My brother Sam was only a year older than me, so our dad gave us money for the rides while they went to see the show.

We chose to start with the Ferris wheel. On our first ascent we discovered something the producers of the event had overlooked. From high above we could look down onto the roofless show below and see all the scantily clad ladies. We kept riding until we ran out of money. I don't think we ever told our dad why we liked the Ferris wheel so much.


© George Lester
September 1, 2003
See also:
Sally Rand and Yesterdays ‘House of Tomorrow’ by Clay Coppedge
News that Sally Rand would come to Texas for the Forth Worth Frontier Centennial in 1936 was met with outrage by some and curiosity by many. Her reputation, gained at the 1933 World Fair in Chicago in 1933, preceded her...
*Sally Rand's Nude Ranch as well as the entire story of Fort Worth's rival Centennial is described in detail in Amon: The Texan Who Played Cowboy for America by Jerry Flemmons (Texas Tech Press, 1998).

The "Ranch" was described as "18 girls - each dressed in boots and a hat with a green bandana and a skirtlet." To add to the ranch effect - each girl was "branded" (rubberstamped) with a large SR in the appropriate place.

Sally Rand reportedly made $1000 a week. More importantly - she made a name for herself - as did the then unknown Billy Rose.
Photo Courtesy Amber Di Giovanni http://www.sallyrandshows.com/

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