DALLAS/FORT WORTH: Country music at the Big D Jamboree, women pilots
who flew for the Air Force generations before they were accepted members
of the military and a group of fatherless boys from Fort Worth
who raised the visibility of high school football and the spirits of
the nation during the Great Depression.
These are the stories presented in Nowhere But Texas 2, KERA’s second
collection of extraordinary stories about ordinary Texans. Nowhere But Texas 2
airs at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 9, 2008 on KERA-TV and
continues in the tradition of celebrating the innovation and imagination of
the bold Texas spirit. The program
will rebroadcast at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, September 13, 2008.
Nowhere But Texas 2 uses archival footage and current interviews
to tell the stories of Texas communities, the people and the circumstances
that give them a special place in Texas history. Nowhere But Texas 2
was produced and directed by Linda Stogner with producer, Therese Powell.
“Through locally-produced programs like Nowhere But Texas, KERA
is preserving the stories of North Texas and sharing them with the
next generation,” says Rick Thompson, executive producer of the project.
“The documentary takes a film-style approach, allowing authentic Texans
to tell the story instead of a narrator.”
In addition to the hour-long television special, the DVD version of
Nowhere But Texas 2 features a collection of related bonus material.
The DVD will be available as a Thank You gift during KERA’s September
television membership campaign.
The Dallas Sportatorium was a popular center of entertainment in its early
days. It opened in 1935 at the corner of Industrial and
Cadiz Streets in Dallas. Originally launched as a wrestling arena, the
4,000 seat auditorium became home to the Big D Jamboree in
the 1940s. The weekly country music show, in the spirit of the
Grand Ole Opry, featured national favorites including
Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash along with
local child star Sunshine Ruby. The program was broadcast
over KRLD Radio. The Sportatorium hosted wrestling matches from the mid-1960s
until the 1990s before falling into disrepair. The building
was demolished in 2003.
During the height of World War II, many women left their jobs and household
chores to accept a supporting role in the U.S. war effort. It was an
unprecedented time in American history when men fought overseas and women
kept the state-side service moving. In Sweetwater, Texas, 1,830 women trained
to become pilots through the experimental Women’s Airforce Service Pilots
(WASP) program. Some 25,000 women applied nationally but only 1,073 ultimately
got their wings. Those who made it tested airplanes, towed targets for
anti-aircraft artillery practice and delivered new planes to military bases
from 1942 to 1944. Although they received the same military training
as their male counterparts, the women had no military status and
did not receive benefits. More than thirty years later, when the
Pentagon announced that the U.S. Air Force Academy was about to
open its doors to the “first” women pilots, the WASP protested. They were
incensed that their service in WWII was being ignored. In the fall of 1977,
with the help of Senator Barry Goldwater, Congress voted to grant the
WASP of WWII military status and full veteran’s benefits.
High school football has long been played beneath the Friday night lights,
but the drama was never higher than when the Mighty Mites came to play. The Mighty
Mites were the sons of deceased Master Masons who played for The Masonic
Home and School on Fort Worth’s southeast side. Small but agile, the team
gained a secret weapon in Coach Rusty Russell. When he joined the team in 1927,
he taught them how to use short passes and trick plays, leveling the playing
field with their larger rivals. In 1932, the Mighty Mites tied with
Corsicana for the state championship. Although they lost on penetrations
giving the state title to Corsicana, these underdogs established themselves
as the toughest team in the league, lifting people’s spirits in the midst
of the Great Depression.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM
The Nowhere But Texas 2 production team includes Rick Thompson, executive producer,
Linda Stogner, producer/director/editor, Therese Powell, producer and Sylvia
Komatsu, executive in charge. Other members of the team include
Bob Perrenot, art director, Tom Pribyl, graphic designer, Mary Beth Boehm,
on-line editor and Gila Espinosa, associate producer. The original signature
musical score was composed and produced by Mack Price.
KERA is a not-for-profit public broadcasting organization that is independently
owned and operated in North Texas. The station’s services include
original television and radio productions, national public television and radio programs,
online information and resources at www.kera.org and an educational
resource center that develops outreach programs for children, families
KERA productions have earned the highest accolades bestowed by the broadcasting
industry, including Peabody, duPont, Emmy, Clarion (Association of Women in
Communications), Gold Camera Award (the U.S. International Film and
Video Festival), Texas Gavel (State Bar of Texas), Anson Jones for
In-Depth Television (Texas Medical Association), International Health
and Medical Award for Community Health, Chicago International
Film Festival's Silver Plaque, Lone Star Emmy, INTERCOM Competition’s
Gold Plaque, American Association of Museums’ Gold Muse Award,
National Telecommunications and Education Association, and many more.