Homer Henderson's I Want A Date With A Cowboy Cheerleader.
In the mid-'90s, Phil Bennison was something of an underground Dallas sensation. Even at the height of his popularity, his cassettes and singles were somewhat hard to find.
Still, under his Homer Henderson stage name, he managed to earn nicknames like “Homer's Amazing One Man Band” and “The Pride of Beckley Avenue.” And, in one of his more notable songs called “I Want A Date With A Cowboy Cheerleader,” he was fairly blunt about his position in life.
Now, typically, this is the place in the column where we rhetorically ask “But what can this song tell us about Dallas?” Thing is, the name of the artist and title of the song already tells us a great deal.
For one thing, Bennison's stage name comes from the intersection of Homer Street and Henderson Avenue. He purportedly adopted the moniker in homage to his girlfriend's clothing store, Emeralds to Coconuts, which is located near the crossing.
But that area, located in one of Dallas' oldest historic districts, has plenty of other historical significance.
For instance, in the early '60s, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby lived in an apartment house on 4727 Homer Street.
JFK conspiracy theorists like to point to the fact that, living across the street from Ruby at 4740 Homer, was George Bouhe, the biggest benefactor of Lee Harvey Oswald's family.
Though Ruby was charged with Oswald's murder in '63, he claimed to have never met Bouhe. The fact that both apartments shared a common pool, however, is enough to cast a shadow of doubt in the minds of many a JFK conspiracy buff.
Ruby, of course, was a man who seemingly knew everybody in town during that portion of Dallas history.
But despite Ruby's standing in town and the popularity of his Carousel Club downtown, another key character involved in this song's history claimed she never worked at Ruby's Carousel Club, despite her history as a stripper.
“The Carousel had a bad connotation,” infamous Dallas stripper Bubbles Cash revealed in an interview with Hustler magazine. “The girls weren't on their best behavior. They did some hookin' outta there.”
Cash is, perhaps, the most flamboyant figure in Dallas Cowboys fandom. Paid by one of the clubs she worked for to attend every home game, she is known for an especially incendiary appearance in the stands of a '67 game at the Cotton Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons. That day, she caused a stir with a provocative showing that involved two sticks of cotton candy. She was said to have been noticed even by players on the field.
It caused such a commotion, in fact, that team president Tex Schramm eventually revamped the image of the Cowboys cheerleaders to more closely mirror Cash's attention-grabbing ways.
It's widely accepted that the Baltimore Colts became the first NFL team to have cheerleaders with their '54 squad. But the Cowboys followed suit relatively quickly in '60 with a mixed-gender squad called the CowBelles and Beaux, which were made up of local high school students.
After Cash's “performance,” though, Schramm decided to debut a new squad for the Cowboys' 1972 Super Bowl-defending season.
He enlisted the help of Texie Waterman, who owned a popular dance studio in Casa View, to audition and train a new squad of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Their focus on beauty and highly-skilled jazz dancing revamped the cheerleader image to its modern form. Their highly-recognizable uniforms also helped transform them into “America's Sweethearts.”
Designed by Paula Van Waggoner, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniforms have gone through only six changes in the last 40 years.
At the time, Waggoner worked for one of Lester Melnick's 11 specialty clothing stores in Dallas. Like most of his peers, Melnick was mentored by Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus fame, and whose reach of influence in Dallas' fashion landscape spanned far beyond his own stores.
Currently, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are the most recognized squad around the globe.
Not only have they made more overseas trips to entertain U.S. troops over the last 25 years than any other entertainer or group, but they pull in an additional $1 million in revenue for the team through appearances and endorsements.
In short, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have become a strong brand in their own right, and this is a fact that, like Homer Henderson, Schramm was fast to realize.
And yet, in a somewhat ironic twist considering his inspiration for the squad's revamped image, Schramm would later sue Pussycat Cinemas Ltd. for copyright infringement in 1979.
He claimed their film Debbie Does Dallas harmed his brand's image. LOL.