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Roadside Headlines
Archive: June 2002
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Mr. Mojo Descendin'
June 19, 2002

Good Mojo

A long-time Calvert resident will be buried today after dying more than 80 years ago.

Mojo, whose real name is unknown, has remained unburied in the central Texas town since his body was discovered some 8 decades ago. As the story goes, the black teenager had hopped a freight train passing through Calvert and died when he either fell or jumped from the locomotive into a creek.

Officials tracked down the boy's family two months later, but the family was unable to pay the $103 necessary to bury him. So, Mojo remained in the funeral home where he has been ever since, through transfers of ownership and moves from building to building. Rumor has it that Mojo even avoided being purchased by P.T. Barnum.

For years, the curious have been able to visit Mojo and get a look at his mummified face through a window in his casket. Today, however, Mojo will finally be buried. The town's residents are sad to see him go, but most believe it's the right thing to do.

Mojo's funeral will coincide with Juneteenth, the anniversary of the 1865 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. Services are planned for 2 p.m.

Photo reprinted with permission from The Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Theme-Park Event Gives Birth to New Roadside Attraction
June 17, 2002

Improved Steel Shell

Rarely do corporate theme parks benefit roadside tourism, but Six Flags Over Texas deserves some recognition for a recent contribution.

As reported below, Six Flags brought together some of the best offbeat attractions from across the state for its Best of Texas Festival. To commemorate the occasion, the park brought in metal sculptor Marc Rankin from Strawn to construct the World's Largest Armadillo.

Rankin wasn't offered any money to build the enormous creature, but he was excited to have so many people see his work. Completed on-site outside the entrance to Six Flags, the giant 'dillo was built from part of a concrete-mixer truck. He weighs in at 4.5 tons and measures 45 feet head to tail.

The brand-new attraction is up for sale and will hopefully go to a buyer who will put him on display in a small town just off the highway.

In related news, armadillo racing will be held in the park, courtesy of Sparky Sparks, the self-proclaimed King of Armadillo Racing. Unfortunately, pari-mutuel betting in Texas is only legal in horse racing.

Read the Best of Texas FestivalSpecial Report.

Related Information: 

Metal Sculptures by Marc Rankin
The Sparks Agency

Sometimes the Attractions Come to You
June 9, 2002

Before heading out to see The World's Largest Jackrabbit or Poteet's giant strawberries, you'll probably want to call ahead. They just might be on holiday.

Six Flags Over Texas is playing host to many of the state's most famous roadside attractions during its Best of Texas Festival. Along with Odessa's jackrabbit and one of Poteet's big berries, the park has brought in the World's Largest Fruitcake, the World's Largest Killer Bee, the Largest Skillet in Texas and a nearly life-size replica of the Alamo.

Even Old Rip, the miracle horned toad who survived 31 years inside a courthouse cornerstone, was carried from his Eastland display window by pallbearers and taken to Arlington in a hearse. Reportedly, it was the first time Old Rip had left the courthouse since he was kidnapped in 1971.

Before the town of Eastland would let their beloved reptile go, however, Six Flags head of security Cal Brim had to take the Old Rip Oath, in which he was made to promise to "promote, preserve, protect and defend to death the truth of the story of Old Rip."

Although Old Rip will attend for only a couple of weeks, the rest of the celebration is scheduled to run through Aug. 11.

Thanks to Kevin Doyle for the story lead.

Read the Best of Texas Special Report.

Related Information: 

Poteet: Strawberry Capital of Texas
Old Rip: Miracle Horny Toad
Six Flags Over Texas Shows and Events
Eastland Visitors Guide

Drink One for Mrs. Milkovisch
June 6, 2002

Texas Twisted has just recently received news that Mary Milkovisch, widow to the man who created Houston's Beer Can House, has passed away.

Mary's husband, John Milkovisch, spent 18 years covering their home in some 39,000 beer cans, the contents of which he drank himself. John died in 1988, but his wife Mary continued to live in the house until last fall, when she moved into a nursing home. Mary passed on in March.

Fortunately, the Orange Show Foundation had the foresight to purchase the Beer Can House when Mary moved out. The foundation, which holds the annual Art Car Weekend in Houston, is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of folk art, and is working to turn the house into a museum and exhibiton space dedicated to the Milkovisches.

The foundation hopes to reopen the Beer Can House to the public sometime next year.

Related Information: 

The Orange Show Foundation

Remember the Alamo, Eh
June 3, 2002

There has been talk for some time of a new movie recreating that infamous battle at the Alamo. And it looks now like it will definitely be filmed in would you believe it? Texas.

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer paid a visit to Texas back in March to scout filming locations for what would soon become the setting for the most famous battle in Texas history. But, at the time, the Lone Star State was only one spot being considered for their project. Until just recently, there was the possibility that the defenders of Texas independence would battle General Santa Anna in Canada.

Canada was a possible choice due to the lower production costs involved, but Howard has said that he's pushing for Texas. And there are now reports that a recreation of the town of San Antonio de Bexar is under construction on a private ranch about 30 miles southwest of Austin.

No official announcement has been made concerning the project, but for now, Texans are happy that the flag flying over the Alamo won't be sporting a maple leaf.

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