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Old 04-12-2001, 01:49 AM
Kepi Kepi is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 589
It never ceases to amaze me that you can find the answer to almost any question on the Internet – no matter how trivial the question may be.

So I’m listening to the original Broadway cast recording of The Most Happy Fella from 1956. If you’re not familiar with the musical, one of the big production numbers is “Big D”, in which two supporting characters discover that they both hail from the same hometown – Dallas.

In the intro to the song, the female character, in trying to pin down that the male character was indeed a fellow Dallasite, sings “Would you mind sayin’ ‘Crazy Crystals’?” to which he replies “Would you mind sayin’ ‘Neiman Marcus’?” Now, Neiman Marcus I get. By the mid-fifties, Neiman Marcus had become synonymous with Dallas, so I understand why Frank Loesser, the composer and lyricist, would use that as a point of reference.

But I was confounded by ‘Crazy Crystals’. I’ve lived in the Dallas area since my birth in 1964, and I’ve never once heard of Crazy Crystals. I was intrigued as to why Loesser would use that as a Dallas reference.

So, I was preparing to post “What were Crazy Crystals?” in GQ on the hope that someone, such as Eve or Ukulele Ike who seem to have this vast knowledge of early 20th century American pop culture, would know the answer. But before I did, I decided to do a Google search just to see what would come up.

Sure enough, I’m directed to this site. It turns out that Crazy Crystals were a quack medicine peddled nationally during the Great Depression by the proprietors of the Crazy Water Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas (which is about 100 miles west of Dallas), a health resort of national prominence in the early 20th century. They were sold over NBC radio in the first national programs broadcast out of Texas, which also featured an up-and-coming actress named Mary Martin.

So, I have my answer as to what ‘Crazy Crystals’ were, thanks to this wonderful thing we call the Internet. It’s like having a whole library at your fingertips.

Now, if Eve or Ike or anyone else would still like to answer a question or two, here ya go:

Were Crazy Crystals so ubiquitous in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and so linked with Texas, that your average 50s theatergoer would immediately “get it” when this line was sung? And if so, why did Loesser associate them with Dallas specifically, since they came from Mineral Wells?
Old 04-12-2001, 06:26 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 30,734
According to the book Border Radio (a history of the semi-legal, Mexican, cross-the-border radio Superstations), Crazy Water once owned it's own Mexican Radio Station. It was so overpowered that it's all-English broadcasts could sometimes be heard in Chicago & New York during daylight hours, & all the time at night.
"True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, in writing what deserves to be read."
~~~ Pliny the Elder


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