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Tuesday, March 29, 2016


This first item is roughly a month late, and the image quality isn't as good as I'd like it to be, but I saw this map on Facebook and thought it was informative.  It shows the Alamo as it looked in February 1836 with an overlay of modern streets.

As you can see, the Alamo was much larger than we imagine.  I think the State of Texas has acquired the land on the west side of the plaza where Ripley's is located.  I think their intention is to eventually reconfigure the plaza so it's closer to its layout in 1836.

I recently read Blood of Heroes by James Donovan and finally understood that the main entrance to the Alamo complex was on the south side, where Jim Bowie's room is noted on the map.  The other thing I didn't realize is that the main part of the battle did not occur at the west wall.  The north wall and east wall were the site of the most intense attacks on the final day.  An attack from the south and a late surge at the west wall occurred at the very end.
A fellow who posts photos on Facebook under the name Traces of Texas posted the following, which show Rollover Pass in 1957.  (The pass is on Boliver Peninsula several miles east of the ferry landing.)  

I never realized that Rollover Pass got its name from smuggling.  The pass was a strip of land where the peninsula was at its narrowest.  Smugglers would land their boats in the surf and then roll barrels over the narrow spot and reload other boats with their contraband and haul it into Galveston Bay for distribution at various rendezvous.  Smugglers skirted customs at the Port of Galveston which patrolled the mouth of the bay between Galveston and Boliver.

Apparently, the pass was dredged on private land in 1955.  By 1957 it was a hot spot for fishing, as these photos attest.  Actually, it's still a good fishing spot, judging by the photos I see on Facebook.
Rollover Pass in 1957.

Rollover Pass in 1957.
Some of you may have read recently, that Schlumberger is moving its US headquarters out of Houston to Sugar Land.  I found this article in the September 1956 issue of The Imperial Crown, announcing Schlumberger's purchase of 1,300 acres of land in what eventually became Sugar Land's industrial park north of Highway 90A.

I had forgotten Schlumberger came to Sugar Land that long ago.
I could have sworn I saw Milkdrop Moe on Houston television when I was a child, but based on what I've found on the Internet, he was gone before I could turn on a tv set.  Here's what Earl Blair posted on Facebook:
Milkdrop Moe with Uncle Ned.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MILK DROP - I've been watching Houston television, off and on, since 1951. In those distant days, KPRC-TV was the only station telecasting blurry, black and white images to the rabbit ears perched precariously atop our 14" family Philco.

My very favorite Houston television personality from that time, was a large, talking milk drop -- yes, talking milk drop -- named "Milkdrop Moe."

Along with his human counterpart, Uncle Ned, Milkdrop's fifteen minute daily show basically served to introduce Crusader Rabbit animated cartoons and sell Sanitary Farm Dairies' milk. What could possibly provide a better endorsement of milk to a six year-old mind like mine, than first-hand testimony from a milk drop?? And one that peppered his salesmanship with a bounty of bon mots, to boot.

Noteworthy is fact that Crusader Rabbit was the very first animated cartoon series from Jay Ward, then partnered with the show's creator Alex Anderson, who later delighted television viewers with Rocky, Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle and dozens of other memorable animated cartoon characters. It was also the first cartoon series designed specifically for television. The initial episode—"Crusader vs. the State of Texas"—aired on KNBH (now KNBC) in Los Angeles on August 1, 1949.

Inside the cramped costume was talented comedian, Bobby Lauher (sometimes spelled Larr professionally). Lauher (1930-73) was born in Illinois, but grew up in Houston. A popular personality on KPRC-TV, he also teamed with Johnny Royal for that station's local comedy show, "The Guys Next Door." He found greater fame as part of Ernie Ernie Kovacs' ensemble and as a comedy writer providing laughs for Rowan and Martin and many others.

As memorable as Milkdrop remains in my mind, the show was only on the air for two years, 1952-53, and was a local Houston creation, which made finding memorabilia difficult. I located images of a badge and personal appearance flyer, but a photo of the pasteurized personality had proven elusive for decades.

That is, until this morning when, in one of my endless Internet searches, happened, purely by chance, to come across the below photo. Here, then, for all of you old enough to remember, is Milkdrop Moe and his pal, Uncle Ned. (See photo above.)