Runners can’t stand those cyclists; those cyclists yell at the joggers, joggers complain when called “joggers,” overly long dog leashes clothesline kids, Parkies are building a boathouse (I know, it’s not entirely updated intel, but play along) … summertime at White Rock Lake can be chaotic. But before any further bellyaching, travel with us, if you will, to spring 1977, when shit got really cray.
This is why we can’t have nice things …
Grainy, silent footage indicates that it began as an idyllic afternoon at White Rock Lake. Languid sailboats dot the sparkling water. A lanky guy, chambray sleeves rolled to his elbows, clutches a beer in one hand and floats a football with the other. His shaggy-haired recipient canters — past Frisbee flingers and bicycle pedalers — along the shoreline in threadbare trousers and a muscle T.
More than a hundred vehicles line Lawther Drive and its tributaries (almost certainly resting after a see-and-be-seen cruise around the pond). Standouts such as a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and a 1977 Trans Am, both yellow, undeniably advance the movie-set feel.
It smacks of something from Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused.” But the cast of characters numbers in the thousands.
This landscape represented a typical weekend here in the ‘70s — White Rock Lake was the place to be on a sunny day.
… officers arriving to aid the patrolman were greeted with a barrage of rocks, beer bottles and any other handy objects … By 4 p.m. tactical officers from every part of the city had been called in.
But some say things were never quite the same after March 6, 1977. About 18 minutes of footage from that day is stored on the Texas Archive of the Moving Image website.
A waiflike woman in high-waist bell-bottom jeans crosses the lawn. The breeze flutters her flat golden hair as she turns to observe some off-camera action. A defiant expression transforms her lovely face.
The camera pans to the object of her ire — a group of uniformed police officers.
The police first arrived to break up fights that had erupted among parkgoers, officers then told The Dallas Morning News.
About the same time, a motorcycle cop gave chase and arrested a man for riding the hood of a moving car.