Billy Rose presents-- Casa Mañana by Jan Jones

By Jan Jones

In 1936 as Texas ready to have fun its centennial—100 years after the conflict of San Jacinto—Dallas used to be selected because the website of the respectable exhibition. Plans have been less than approach for a modest Frontier Days social gathering in fortress Worth—until Star-Telegram writer and civic booster Amon G. Carter stepped in. Carter thought of the naming of Dallas because the professional website a gross miscarriage of justice and was resolute to get even through mounting a convey that might at once rival the professional event—and pull vacationer funds into citadel worthy. to place his social gathering jointly Carter employed flamboyant Broadway manufacturer Billy Rose. the end result was once fortress Worth’s Frontier Centennial, a fantastic conglomeration of agricultural shows, sideshow nudes, an old-time Wild West exhibit, Rose’s musicalized circus Jumbo, and a parade of Broadway and vaudeville expertise led by way of characteristic artiste, stripper Sally Rand.

The centerpiece for this extravaganza used to be the dinner theater, Casa Mañana, with the world's greatest revolving level surrounded by means of a tank of water on which it appeared to waft, over twenty fountains, and geysers of water that shot into the air at strategic periods. The construction featured over thirty Spanish-style arches, used to be 320 toes in size, and contained the world’s longest bar, a truth of which Rose used to be inordinately proud.

But it was once the revue in this brilliant level that really made theatrical background. On beginning evening, Paul Whiteman raised his baton and bands swung into the fanfare. there have been interpretations of the St. Louis World’s reasonable, the Paris Exposition of 1925, and Chicago’s 1933 Century of growth Exposition. Texas “Sweetheart number 1” wore a $5,000 gold-mesh dress, and Sally Rand wore just a large opaline balloon. On establishing evening while the orchestra performed “The Eyes of Texas,” the viewers rose to its ft making a song, whistling, and cheering. “Texans,” wrote one critic, “are no longer given to well mannered applause.”

The Frontier Centennial and its sequel, the Frontier Fiesta, closed after in basic terms short seasons (1936 and 1937), the second one season reduce brief by means of controversy and court cases. Rose left castle worthy below a cloud, educated by means of urban fathers that his providers have been now not wanted. Undaunted, he went directly to turn into a multimillionaire with nearly mythical prestige as a theatrical producer.

But citadel worthy was once by no means back a similar after the Frontier Centennial . . . and thoughts of that competition linger this day, even supposing the constructions have been in the past razed.

Today an everlasting theater-in-the-round, thoroughly named Casa Mañana, is found at the centennial grounds. well liked by citadel Worthians, it could actually purely echo the beauty of the original.

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Van Zandt,Fort Worth pioneer and civic leader who moved to the city shortly after the end of the Civil War, homesteaded the site in 1872. Van Zandt and others led the struggling frontier community during its transformation into an important crossroads of the southwestern cattle industry. The Van Zandt section lay on the eastern edge of what had been Camp Bowie, an army training base established in 1917 during World War I and then abandoned at war's end in 1918. 18 Representatives of the North Side went so far as to accuse city council members of holding closed-door meetings with Amon Carter, who already held an option on the Van Zandt homestead.

The Lonely Hearts Club," 100 pretty girls in black satin dresses, stood by to entice unattached male customers onto the dance floor. 24 There was only one problem with all this success. Rose, unable to raise capital on his own signature and unwilling to capitalize on his wife's name, had sought out gangsters to back his venture. The move was not that unusual, but unlike owners of other mob-backed clubs, he insisted on original music, top quality entertainers and relatively low prices. The strategy brought in plenty of business but cut heavily into profits.

The visibility afforded Rose by his recent club ventures helped him to solicit legitimate backing from a prominent young member of New York society, John Hay "Jock" Whitney. Jock Whitney, a regular at Casino de Paree, who had earned his nickname playing polo, was part of a three-generation dynasty considered the aristocracy of American horse racing. Whitney himself had numerous show business interests and was heir to a family fortune estimated to be $100 million. His grandfather, William Collins Whitney, had amassed a huge fortune in street railways and served Page 22 as secretary of the navy under President Grover Cleveland, and his mother was the daughter of John Hay, secretary of state under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

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