PaperCity Magazine

September 2017 - Dallas

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Page 149 of 163

As TACA celebrates its 50th anniversary this month with a black-tie gala at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, we look back at its surprising television debut — a wild, dial-for-dollars televised auction in 1967. I t's 1967, and phones are ringing off the hook at TACA's live TV auction — the first televised event of its kind in Dallas. Viewers clamor to place bids on everything from exotic vacations and evenings out to sports equipment and live animals, with all of the proceeds ($60,000 raised) going to the Dallas Theater Center, TACA's fi rst benefi ciary. What was on the auction block? Item 1227 was an armadillo valued at $500. "… a registered armadillo, which is better than an unregistered armadillo. BY LISA COLLINS SHADDOCK TACA IN TECHNICOLOR A LOOK BACK: Plays dead," read the auction catalog. Item 3911 came from the now-shuttered fashion boutique, Gazebo — a design-at- home ensemble of black-and-white crepe. "It's man-made, it's exciting," said the description. Even the Dallas Cowboys ponied up, donating a Don Meredith jersey worn by the quarterback. When co-founders Evelyn Lambert and Jane Murchison stumbled across a group in Seattle raising funds for the arts through the then newfangled television medium, they knew they had to bring the concept home. The duo joined forces with powerhouse fund-raisers Sis Carr, Virginia Nick, and Virginia Linthicum, and before long Dallas was dialing in, too. The following year, influential connections were tapped and over- the-top donations secured to make the auction even bigger, this time adding the Dallas Civic Opera to its list of benefi ciaries. So began an upward path that TACA would follow for the next half a century, funding dozens more arts organizations with each passing year. To date, that's $27 million to 167 performing arts organizations. TACA auction catalog, 1967 Frank Lloyd Wright, center, with Dallas Theater Center execs in Dallas to oversee the building of the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 1950s (DTC was TACA's first beneficiary.) Annette Strauss working the TACA TV phones

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