January 04, 2015 Slideshows » Arts

15 More Tidbits of San Antonio Trivia 

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Iconic San Antonio sportscaster Dan Cook helped popularize "the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings." Cook uttered the phrase during a broadcast of a NBA Playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Wizards in 1978. For a while, the phrase's origination was attributed to Cook, but the sentence appeared in print in a Dallas newspaper two years prior. Many experts now consider it a Southern colloquialism, but Cook is still credited with helping to popularize the oft-used expression by introducing it to a wider audience.
The original location of the giant boot sculpture at North Star Mall was in a vacant parking lot near the White House in Washington, D.C. The boots are the work of Austin artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade, whose oversized sculptures in the 1970's exposed national and international art audiences to Texas culture. "Junkyard Dog," another work by Wade, is on display at Alamo City Salvage off Somerset Road.

The Big Chief statue in front of the Red McCombs dealership off Loop 410 is an example of the iconic Muffler Men made by International Fiberglass in the 60's and 70's. Of the over 500 promotional statues made by the company during that period, less than 200 still stand today. His original name was Chief Pontiac when he stood above the Superior Pontiac dealership off Broadway in the late 60's.
Big Red was named by a San Antonio golf caddy in 1969. The soda, which was developed by Waco chemists Grover Thomsen and R.H. Roark 1937, was originally called Sun Tang Red Cream Soda. The company changed the beverage's name to Sun Tang Big Red Cream Soda in 1959, but a decade later, the San Antonio bottling plant president changed the name of the product after overhearing a caddy refer to the drink as "Big Red."

Speaking of golf, in 1975 at the 103-yard fifth hole of SA's Riverside Municipal Golf Course, five-year-old Cody Orr became the youngest person ever recorded to hit a hole-in-one.

Country music legend Johnny Cash met his first wife, Vivian Liberto, in 1951 at a local skating rink while he was undergoing training at Lackland Air Force Base. The couple wed in 1954 at St. Anne's Catholic Church off Fredericksburg Road.

First they were the Dallas Chaparrals, then the Texas Chaparrals and finally the San Antonio Spurs, but along the way, they were also the San Antonio Gunslingers. That was the team name the owners had decided upon for San Antonio's professional basketball team, but before they played their first official game in Hemisfair Arena in 1973, the team name was changed to the San Antonio Spurs. It's said the last minute change was the result of a team naming contest, but, as Mental Floss points out, team owner Red McCombs was born in Spur, Texas.

The first Lone Ranger feature film held its world premiere at the Majestic Theatre in 1956. San Antonio was the inaugural stop in Clayton Moore's first nationwide tour as the popular Western character.

A San Antonio native is responsible for one of Elvis Presley's most iconic moments. Alex Romero was born in San Antonio in 1913 after his mother escaped political unrest in Mexico. He choreographed the classic title dance sequence from "Jailhouse Rock" and conceived the costumes and set design for the number. The sequence is regarded by many music historians as the forefather to the music video and one of Presley's greatest moments on screen.

It could have been San Antonio, Jefferson. Texas had the option to slit itself up into as many as four separate states when it joined the union. The southwest region of the state from the San Antonio River onward was proposed as the state of Jefferson in 1870. Fortunately the idea didn't catch on.
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Tim Duncan had hopes to compete in Olympic swimming. As a child in St. Croix competed with the U.S. Virgin Islands national swim team in the 50-, 100- and 400-meter freestyle races, and he had hopes to earn a spot on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team in Barcelona. But Hurricane Hugo and the death of his mother sidelined his competitive swimming ambitions, and he turned his attentions to school and basketball instead.

The invention of clumping cat litter is credited to William Mallow a polymer chemist who worked at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. In his four decade career, Mallow contributed to the development of a number of household and commercial products, including Scoop Away Clean cat litter and heat resistant tiles for the space shuttle. He also helped perfect the formula for liquid paper, which was invented Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of Michael Nesmith of the Monkees.

April 9, 1976 will forever be known as "Great Tamale Incident," the day President Gerald Ford at tamal with the husk still on during a re-election campaign stop in San Antonio. But that isn't Ford's only encounter with the Mexican food item. San Antonio's Goa's Tamale Factory made the president a four-and-a-half-foot, 70-pound tamal as a gift for the bicentennial. The massive mound of masa was frozen and delivered by an armored vehicle.
It's one of San Antonio's most notorious legends, and depending on how the story is told, it is often wrong. Ozzy Osbourne did not pee on the Alamo in 1982. He actually peed on the Cenotaph in the middle of Alamo Plaza, which is actually worse when you think about it, considering it's a monument to the fallen defenders of the Shrine of Texas Liberty. So there's two things the Alamo doesn't have: a basement and a urine stain made by the lead singer of Black Sabbath.
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Iconic San Antonio sportscaster Dan Cook helped popularize "the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings." Cook uttered the phrase during a broadcast of a NBA Playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Wizards in 1978. For a while, the phrase's origination was attributed to Cook, but the sentence appeared in print in a Dallas newspaper two years prior. Many experts now consider it a Southern colloquialism, but Cook is still credited with helping to popularize the oft-used expression by introducing it to a wider audience.

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