The Bagdad was Dallas’ ultra fashionable nightclub during its sporadic existence. Between 1929 and 1945, the club was open only intermittently as it passed through several bankruptcies and sales.
Loated ten miles west of Dallas at the intersection of U. S. 80 and Bagdad Street in Grand Prairie, the nightspot’s Glory days ended in 1953 when the building burned to the ground.
Built in 1928, reputedly with Chicago money, the lavish Middle Eastern motif of the Bagdad Supper Club was highlighted by a $10,000 silk ceiling canopy imported from Istanbul. The club opened on Thanksgiving Day just eleven months before the Great Crash of 1929. It was known as an opulent and palatial facility that offered dining, dancing, and music.
In 1947 renowned African-American actor and director Spencer Williams commissioned Henry Warren ‘Red’ Calhoun for the score of his film Juke Joint. Additionally, Calhoun had a supporting role in the movie as the orchestra leader of his “Jitterbug Johnnies.” Juke Joint was filmed in South Dallas and inside the Bagdad Club in Grand Prairie as well as in San Antonio at Don’s Keyhole, the club owned by Don Albert. Calhoun’s wife Gene stated her husband’s “work in the movie earned him $25 to $30 a day,” which was a considerable amount during that time. Calhoun also had a minor role in the musical Woman’s A Fool (1947), filmed at Dallas’s Rose Room. Anne Bell, Calhoun’s sister, joined the group as a vocalist in 1956.
The Dallas Morning News reported on April 20, 1953 that the Bagdad, once a swanky night club and recently renovated as an art center, was destroyed by fire Sunday morning with an estimated loss of around $1,150,000, the bulk of that in irreplaceable antiques. No one was seriously hurt.
Photo courtesy Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald. Text courtesy Dallas Morning, Handbook of Texas Online and City of Grand Prairie.