Billy Mack Is A Detective Down In Texas

Pantsless Santa and a student enjoying the March sun at the Union
Pantsless Santa and a student enjoying the March sun at the Union

If you know those lyrics, you should be clapping your hands together right now.  The Steve Miller Band’s “Take the Money and Run” topped the charts in 1976, and that’s our focus year today.  I was flipping through a 1976-77 University of Texas at Austin Cactus, one of many yearbooks in my collection.  What struck me the most was the level of unkemptness.  If that’s not a word, I hereby decree it is now.  Everything looked chaotic, in need of antiseptic wipes, hairbrushes, and ironing boards.  The 1970s just needs a darn good scrubbing.

If you weren’t alive then or were too young to recall, let me offer you this glimpse into what life was like as a student in central Texas during the year before Elvis collapsed on the toilet.

During the bicentennial year of 1976, the presidential elections intensified between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.  On campus, the Absurdist Group drafted an Arts & Sausages platform.  These are not typos.  Pictured is a rally for student government.  


This next picture of student government (next to an icon of what appears to be Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses, which did not exist yet) shows bralessness, early male pattern baldness, and an overzealous male giving the “Hook ‘Em, Horns” sign.


Here you see a computer from the research department.  Fitting this on your lap at Starbuck’s was cumbersome at best.


The Tavern was a great place to socialize and blow off steam, back when the drinking age was 18, which seems CUH-RAZY in retrospect–allowing high school seniors to be hitting the saloons.  But I guess if they were old enough to go die in Vietnam, they should be allowed to knock back a few gin and tonics before shipping out.


The pic is not askew.  The SEVENTIES were askew.  What is he looking at?  I’d say her chest, but her chest is identical to his.  Maybe he’s taking in the scent of her Ban Roll-On.

The Texas Tavern also offered bowling.  Check out the form on this hunk.


And no college bar is complete without its “Disco Night,” which showcased the talents of diverse DJ’s.


But university life wasn’t all fun and games; a shuttle bus drivers’ strike left students stranded at the bus stops.  New “scab” bus drivers feared violent strikers.

G019Below is a portrait of The Crow’s Nest, a group formed in 1949, open to any Navy ROTC Midshipmen with a 2.0 GPA.  The mission was to develop leaders and future Naval officers.  Per the yearbook, “the mascot is any likely sea bird such as the penguin or albatross.”  Was the entire yearbook staff stoned when they edited this?

G007If you really peer into this, you’ll see not only the YMCA being performed, but knives and swords at each other’s necks, a man in aviator glasses, a Greek Fisherman’s cap, and a jogging jacket, a gentleman in a nice blazer and his underwear taking a swig from a bottle, a cowboy taking a hit off a fatty–not to mention Los Tres Amigos at the bottom.  Mercy.

Frat life seems much more tame by comparison.  Note the gender roles being broken down as Wayne prepares a pot of chili for Wendy (whose Farrah Fawcett wings seem to be experiencing an uprising of their own).  How could she resist the charms of such a hairy beast and his blow-dried tresses?


This next glimpse of campus life has no caption.  With the exposed brassiere, I can only guess that it’s a feminist rally gone awry.  We may never know.

G021And so ends our window into the dirty grime of The Bicentennial.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

15 thoughts on “Billy Mack Is A Detective Down In Texas

  1. What great photos and an interesting look at the seventies! Thank goodness those hairstyles and fashion have dissapeared. I dread the day those blow dried tresses (on guys) make a return…


      1. Haha. I was five in 1977. And, hmmm, I was never EVER a fan of those hair dos. You should have seen the one my paretns burdened me with. I had a fringe (bangs) that started from half way back of my head. Took me until I was 20 and went overseas without getting a haircut for eight months to get rid of that bloody thing! lol


  2. the computer pic seems to include: a resident Nerd (ummm..hello?..pointing at myself), the magnotron 90000X (only to be replaced by the magnotron MTV edition), a typewriter (just in case the newest edition of HAL9000 word breaks down) and a console.(that’s just for show to impress people with suede patches on the elbows of their blazers) If blinking lights and people in their pajama’s were included then the pic could easily be mistaken for a scene in the Original Star Trek. (throws up volcan gang hand sign) Live long, and prosper yo


    1. You are waaaaay better than I am at dissecting that shot, so I cannot argue. I wonder why models have to be 9000 with so many zeroes. Why can’t it be the HAL9? I guess that sounds weak. Whatever happened to suede patches? Why did that ever start? Did professors get some work comp-related typing injury to their elbows? Now you have me wondering.


  3. I LOVE this post! Proving once again I need to spend more time here on your blog kerbey. (I am so homesick for Texas—I have probably said that too many times of late)
    ’76 was a good year. I enjoyed it. By late ’77 I was in the Sinai desert, but…. I was with a whole lotta Texans, so it was OK.

    “The 1970s just needs a darn good scrubbing.”
    But, that was the charm: Nothing was ‘sanitized for your protection’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know, LA, I just got another ’75 yearbook, and everyone looks unbathed again. Stringy hair, cut off blue jean shorts, and more Lone Star cans than I can count. And just so you don’t get too homesick, the sweltering heat is making us want to move!


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