Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bad postcard of the week: 'Big Tex,' the rather awkward symbol of the Texas State Fair

"Big Tex" had some issues in 2012.

The problem with this week’s gloriously bad postcard isn't necessarily the awful and awkward cowboy statue, though we’ll get to that.

It’s everything else going on.

Let’s start with the writing on the back to set our scene:

Directing State Fair Crowds, Dallas

“Big Tex,” symbol of bigness of Texas and the State Fair, is 52 feet tall. His size 70 boots are nearly eight feet high and he wears a 75-gallon cowboy hat.

“A champion midway ballyhoo expert, Big Tex is directing the vast crowds to the myriads attractions of the Fair, especially the Cotton Bowl, where 75,000 football fans respond to his clarion call.”

I’m not sure you can make myriad a plural, but let’s move on.

Starting with our two Texans with their arms on hips and backs to the camera. We can only surmise that they are standing there in slack-jawed awe at Tex. Or they are wondering what in the heck is going on with his hands.

Is that a man purse on Mr. Plaid? I’m hoping that’s a camera bag or binoculars holder. Or maybe it’s a newfangled holster. This is Texas, after all.

Next, what’s with the piles of garbage on the berm? Hey, Texans! Clean up your mess! We’re trying to take a postcard photo here!

Now let’s get to Tex. Hard to tell what’s happening with the left hand, and to whom is he shooting the “come over here” finger wag?  It’s like Tex is of two minds, saying “Stop!” with one hand and “Come hither” with the other. That’s creepy.

Tex has kind of an odd shape, too. He’s got a bull-sized abdomen supported by calf-sized legs – bow-legged ones, too. And skinny jeans are not a good look on any guy.

I did some research. It turns out that Tex’s girth stems from his first life as a giant Santa, intended to lure shoppers to Kerens, Texas.

The novelty wore off, and the statue was repurposed to become a giant cowboy.

There were some problems at first. After the first fair appearance, he got a nose job and changes to correct what some people thought was an inappropriate wink. He also was given a moving mouth so he could talk to fair-goers.

More changes in the 1990s, when his hand was made to wave at passers. He also got a new neck that allowed his head to move.

Now for the sad part: In 2012, a fire started somewhere inside Big Tex. We went up in flames as onlookers watched in horror. The damage was extensive.

But fear not. State Fair organizers have promised a new Tex in place for this year’s event, which kicks off next month.

1 comment:

wmrharris said...

Definitely a find. Off hand, I think maybe the thought is that myriad = mermaid. Or hard liquor: one two, or who's counting?