Lower Greenville Avenue was “rockin’ and hoppin’” Thursday evening as Dallasites welcomed the Tango Frogs back home.
Thirty years ago with the closing of a Lower Greenville nightclub, The Tango Club, the iconic frogs that were born to dance and play musical instruments atop the building were suddenly homeless.
The frogs, pollywogs of famous Texas artist, Bob “Daddy-O’ Wade, had already been targeted by the Dallas Sign Control Board of Adjustment who said the frogs were “signage, not art,” and must come down. Wade won that battle, but then, when the club closed after only being opened for a few years, the frogs had to be re-located anyhow. .
They began a new gig in the country at a place on Interstate 35 near Hillsboro, Texas known as Carl’s Corner, a popular truck-stop along the highway between Dallas and Austin. And yes, Carl’s Corner was also made famous by Texas legend Willie Nelson and the 4th of July concerts and picnics that were held there for many years.
Eventually, there was a fire at Carl’s Corner and many folks speculated that the frogs had met with disaster and burned up in the fire. Others thought that the frogs had been sold off to various enterprises. In any event, many people who had loved the band of amphibians had lost touch with them.
No more speculation is necessary in the saga of the Tango Frogs. Three of them were spiffed up and delivered to Chuy’s restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. to bedeck the skyline of that city. The other three frogs (two of them embraced in a two-step and one playing the horn—a brand new horn) returned home to Dallas and Lower Greenville on June 26, after nearly thirty years of being away.
Their new home is Taco Cabana at1827 Greenville Avenue where the Tango Club once stood.
“Our patio is once again their pad,” was the theme of the Thursday Throwback party at Taco Cabana where the frogs were on display for photo taking and up close viewing.
“It’s great to have the frogs back home,” said Todd Coerver. Coerver is now Chief Operating Officer of Taco Cabana but he is from Dallas and he remembered the frogs from the eighties. “I was only in high school back then and couldn’t even sneak into the Tango Club, but I remember the frogs,” he said.
It was a party for everyone at Taco Cabana. A disc jockey was on hand playing music from the eighties era. The Ropin’ Jokin ‘Cowboy was there teaching rope tricks to a new generation of kids who were meeting the frogs for the first time.
Wade attended the party with his wife Lisa. He chatted with friends and the press and posed for pictures with the frogs.
Carl Cornelius, wife Linda, and their kids and grandkids drove up from Carl’s Corner to be on hand for the celebration.
Dallas historian, author and storyteller, Rose Mary Rumbley, a resident of the M-Streets Lower Greenville neighborhood was at the party honoring the frogs.
“The frogs were a sensation when they were here in the eighties,” Rumbley said. “People came from all over to see them, and they will likely come again.”
Dallas resident Cherrie Oakley remembered the Lower Greenville nightclub. “I saw Tina Turner live at the Tango Club,” Oakley said. “When we heard the frogs were coming home, we had to come,” she said.
Bill Anderson, director of training for Taco Cabana said the frogs had meant so much to so many people that it was great that Taco Cabana could bring them back.
When the party was over at about 8:30 Thursday night the frogs were carefully maneuvered to the top of Taco Cabana.
They were unveiled at a press conference at 9 a.m. Friday morning. Wade presented Fiesta Restaurant Group CEO Tim Taft and Coerver with a piece of artwork for their role in bringing the frogs home.
“I’m happy about this ending,” said Wade. “It looks like this could be the place where the frogs remain.”