Posted by & filed under 1980s.

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins today at sundown. Tonight families will gather for a seder to commemorate the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus. But the gatherings and perhaps the meal will look and feel a little different this year than in years past. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent stay-at-home quarantine orders throughout the world, it’s unlikely that extended families will be able to gather in person for Passover or the Christian holiday of Easter, on April 12th. Many families are planning to use technological tools, like Skype or Zoom, to connect with loved ones on this holy day, something that would have probably sounded like science fiction in 1984! 

More footage of Passover seders can be viewed in the Portal to Texas History

How are you adapting Passover (or Easter) this year? Let us know in the comments. 

Posted by & filed under 1980s.

On this day, thirty-five years ago, the popular Wendy’s slogan, “Where’s the Beef?” made headline news at NBC 5/KXAS, with reporter Jack Helsel taking the story. This catchphrase was introduced by the fast food chain restaurant Wendy’s, in 1984, to distinguish itself from competitors. The original commercial, a snippet featured in Helsel’s news report, is about three elderly ladies dining at the “Home of the Big Bun,” and exclaiming “Where’s the beef?!”

This simple advertisement started a popular culture movement where promotional  items like bumper stickers, frisbees, and clothing were hot selling items. The slogan grew to be so popular that our own Texas news reporter sat down with a McDonald’s Big Mac, a Burger King Whopper, and a Wendy’s burger to finally answer this age-old question, “Where’s the Beef?” After pulling out a ruler and scale, Helsel declared that the Whopper had the largest patty, the Big Mac had the taller patty, and that both burger patties weighed more than Wendy’s patty. Helsel ended his new report by asking, not “where’s the beef,” but “where’s the taste?” 


Posted by & filed under 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s.

Business Executive, presidential candidate, philanthropist and life-long Texan, H. Ross Perot has passed away today at 89. A look back through the archive tells a powerful story, and provides evidence for all he will be remembered for. Here is a look at some the stories that are known, as well as some that may have been forgotten.


The earliest mention of Perot in the news archive is from 1969, when Perot donated $2.4 mil to the Dallas Public Schools.


That same year Perot gave $1 mil to the Dallas Area Boy Scouts council to support a membership drive. 


Perhaps one of the most remembered things Perot did in his career was successfully orchestrate the rescue of Electronic Data Systems employees from Iran in 1979. Footage of the news conferences following their rescue is available in the news archive. 

[News Clip: Ross perot] on The Portal to Texas History.


Perot received the Winston Churchill Award in 1986 for his bravery in rescuing EDS employees, and for his ongoing work in providing aid to American POWs in Vietnam. Prince Charles awarded the medal to Perot at a ceremony in Dallas.

[News Clip: Winston Churchill Award] on The Portal to Texas History.


On November 3, 1992, Presidential candidate Ross Perot cast his vote at the Walnut Hill Recreational Center in North Dallas.

[News Clip: Perot] on The Portal to Texas History.


Maybe one of the strangest clips in the archive has to do with a barber shop that offered $5.00 Ross Perot haircuts… you know, tapered on both sides and back…

[News Clip: Ross Perot haircuts] on The Portal to Texas History.




Posted by & filed under Uncategorised.

On June 27 Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the court. Subsequently, President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, one of Kennedy’s former clerks, to fill his seat. Republican leadership in the Senate are hoping to hold Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in late August. As Kavanaugh’s confirmation process begins, we wanted to take a look back at the confirmation hearing for the man who is leaving the vacant seat that Kavanaugh hopes to fill. 

Kennedy was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on November 11, 1987 to fill the seat vacated by Lewis F. Powell’s retirement. He was the third person nominated by Reagan to fill the position after Robert Bork was rejected by the Senate and Douglas Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration earlier in 1987. Kennedy’s hearing before the Senate judiciary committee was held December 14-16, 1987. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1988. 

As can be seen in this news story from December 14, 1987 on Kennedy’s hearing, concern over Roe v. Wade and women’s issues were as critical to Kennedy’s appointment as they will be for Kavanaugh’s. 

[News Clip: Kennedy hearings] on The Portal to Texas History.

Posted by & filed under 1970s.

In honor of Pride Month, UNT Special Collections is sharing previously unseen footage of LGBT civil rights activist Harvey Milk during an appearance in Dallas. On June 10, 1978, 40 years ago this week, the Texas Gay Conference V was in full swing at the Royal Coach Inn near Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas. Under the theme of “Setting Sites on Human Rights,” the conference invited several gay civil rights activists. Among them was the newly elected member of San Francisco City Board of Supervisors, and first openly gay elected official in the entire state of California, Harvey Milk. 

UNT Special Collections recently sent 2,000 UMatic tapes from our NBC 5/KXAS Television News collection for digitization. As we sort through the 50,000+ digital news clips that will come back, we may not always immediately catch the gems we have preserved. Fortuitously, Morgan Gieringer, head of Special Collections, recognized Harvey’s familiar face even though he is not named on air. Even more incredibly, Morgan discovered the video exactly 40 years to the day it was recorded! What are the odds? 

The first clip is the packaged segment by reporter Noah Nelson, featuring an interview with Milk and Rev. Larry Hemp about LGBTQ+ youth, their future and hardships, and the second clip is the b-roll footage, or outtakes, from that segment. The b-roll footage has an extended portion of the Harvey Milk interview in which he says that he wants young gay people “to have hope, and know that they can become doctors and lawyers,” and with playful self-deprecation adds, “and politicians… God forbid.”  Five months later, on November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk was assassinated by fellow city supervisor Dan White in San Francisco, California.

[News Clip: Gay (Rights conference)] on The Portal to Texas History.

[News Clip: Gay (Rights conference)] on The Portal to Texas History.

The Texas Gay Conference V is further documented in UNT Special Collections’ LGBT Collection archives. The personal papers of Steve Wilkins, founding member of the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and co-chair of the Texas Gay Conference V, are housed within the Resource Center LGBT Collection

Prior to his assassination on November 18, Milk discerned that he might be killed and made a tape recording to be played in the event of his death. The closing statement on that tape is, “All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

Posted by & filed under 1990s.

Archival footage from the NBC 5/KXAS Television News Archive was used extensively in the first episode of ABC’s true-crime miniseries “The Last Defense.” Archivists at UNT worked closely with producers at Lincoln Square Productions to conduct footage research, digitize original archive tapes, and identify relevant footage for Episode one, featuring Darlie Routier.

In 1997, Darlie Routier was sentenced to death for the murder of her two sons. The murders, which occurred in Rowlett, Texas in 1996, captured the local public’s attention for many months. NBC 5/KXAS–TV captured extensive coverage of the case beginning with the discovery of the murder and continuing through an investigation and trial. Between the Jun 6, 1996 discovery of the murders, and the February 4, 1997 verdict in the Routier case, NBC 5/KXAS created over 160 news segments about the case. These have all been digitized and are available on the Portal to Texas History, and some will be featured in the ABC production.

Darlie Routier will be featured in the first episode on “The Last Defense” a series which examines death row cases and the American justice system. Routier has maintained her innocence for 20 years on Death Row.  


Reaction from Rowlett

[News Clip: Rowlett Stabbing pkg] on The Portal to Texas History.


Darlie Routier Verdict

[News Clip: Routier (Death penalty) VOSOT] on The Portal to Texas History.

Posted by & filed under 1950s, 1960s, 1980s.

Audie Murphy was born near Kingston, Texas in 1924 and enrolled in the military on his eighteenth birthday in 1942. During his lifetime he received every medal of valor which the United States can bestow, appeared in 45 motion pictures (acting in a starring role in 39 of them), and wrote a best-selling book which was later turned into a successful motion picture.

It is not surprising that Murphy appeared frequently on in WBAP newscasts. Murphy made frequent appearances in Dallas and Fort Worth to promote his films and participate in Texas Amy National Guard events. Considering his dual status as war hero and movie star, he had many reasons to be recognized. In honor of Audie Murphy Day (May 12, 2018) we are highlighting several of the broadcast news scripts from the WBAP archive which mention Murphy. Unfortunately, none of the film footage related to these scripts has been digitized and it remains in its original 16mm film format . Please contact UNT Special Collections if you would like to sponsor digitization of original news footage featuring Audie Murphy. 

The marriage of Audie Murphy to airline attendant Pamela Archer in Highland Park in 1951 is the first recorded instance of Murphy in the WBAP archive.
News Script: War-hero wedding, April 24, 1951

In 1953, Murphey starred in two films distributed by Universal Pictures, Column South and Tumbleweed. He also found time to attend the Arlington State College Intercollegiate Rodeo which took place May 10, 1953 at Audie Murphey arena in Euless.
News Script: Sul Ross takes rodeo honors, May 10, 1953

Several weeks later, Murphey made another local appearance, this time with several other well-known Western movie stars include Gene Autry, Pat Butram and Dorothy Malone. The appearance, at the Palace Theatre in Dallas, was part of a benefit performance for victims of the Waco-San Angelo tornado.
News Script: Stars, May 24, 2018

In 1950, Murphey joined the Texas Army National Guard as a captain of the 36th Infantry Division. He participated in Guard activities as a drill instructor during new recruit summer camps. He appeared on the news during the first week of camp on July 5, 1953 as Texas Governor Allen Shivers inspected the troops at Fort Hood.
News Script: Shivers reviews 36th division, July 5, 1953

In 1955, Murphy made an appearance in Dallas to promote a new movie To Hell and Back, based on the best-selling autobiographical work written by Murphy about his wartime experiences. He played himself in the movie.
News Script: News briefs, August 19, 1955

The WBAP news crew caught Murphy again in 1962 as he was flying into Love Field for a short trip to Dallas. Murphy told the news that he would be “just loafing, playing golf, and visiting with friends,” during his trip. Murphy had just completed filming for a western called Six Black Horses. Murphy was also having his portrait painted by artist Dimetre Vail.
News Script: Audie Murphy , March 12, 1962

Murphy made an appearance in Fort Worth in 1967 alongside Congressman Olin “Tiger” Teague, where he talked to over two thousand high school students attending an event at TCU. Following the event, Murphy, who was 42, was reported to have been “swamped” by girls seeking autographs, while Congressman Teague and the other speakers stood aside
News Script: Tiger Teague. January 27, 1967

Murphy was tragically killed on May 28, 1971, when a private plane on which he was a passenger crashed into a mountain in Virginia. Murphy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas contains exhibitions of Murphy-related memorabilia, and is home to the Hunt County War Memorial featuring a 10-foot bronze statue of Murphy. KXAS News covered the opening of the Audie Murphy Museum in 1987.
Audie Murphy Museum, January 21, 1987


Posted by & filed under 1980s, Uncategorised.

Star Wars fans rejoice! It’s May 4th, an excellent excuse to show off your memorabilia and wish your friends “May the 4th be with you!”

If only we could celebrate by taking a ride in the spaceship recliner featured in the 1982 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, complete with a mini bar and wireless phone.

A recliner built to look like a spaceship. It spun in a circle.

Take a look at the chair in action in the following news story on the 1982 Christmas Book. Also featured in the video: dog sunglasses! 

[News Clip: Neimans] on The Portal to Texas History.

Posted by & filed under 1980s.

Today is #NationalPuppyDay so we’re bringing you a story about a puppy, only this Puppy is a bear! 

After “nipping” a man, Puppy the Sun Bear was charged with a potential death sentence. The judge did not sentence Puppy and he was allowed to live out his days scarfing down his favorite snacks of fruit and Dr. Pepper in a DFW backyard. 

All of our remaining undigitized UMatic tapes (1,924 total) are currently at an off-site vendor. We’re very excited to begin showing you more footage from the late 1970s and 1980s soon, including the first story that aired about Puppy in 1983. 

[News Clip: Bear trial] on The Portal to Texas History.