This home movie features a number of Hopkins family celebrations and happenings around Texas in 1937 and 1938. The film opens with the wedding of E.B. Hopkins's eldest daughter, Amy, to Ted Fitch. Next, E.B. Hopkins tours the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas' Fair Park, focusing on buildings such as the Hall of State, the Centennial Building, and the Calvacade of Texas. Then, the film shows moments from Louise Hopkins' graduation from a Dallas-area boarding school, as well as the family's trip to Galveston for Mardi Gras. The Hopkins stay at the historic Galvez Hotel along the seawall. The film concludes with a visit to the University of Texas at Austin, where Louise was a student, during Round Up. Over the course of their trip, the Hopkinses view downtown Austin from the UT Tower, stop by the Texas State Capitol, and enjoy a parade featuring floats produced by various fraternity and sorority houses.
Petroleum geologist and oilman Edwin Butcher Hopkins was born to Andrew Delmar and Delia (Butcher) Hopkins in Evans, West Virginia on October 25, 1882. He attended the University of West Virginia, George Washington University, and Cornell University before beginning work in the geological department of the Mexican-Eagle Oil Company. He was married to Amy Myrtilla Longcope Hopkins of Lampasas, Texas in 1913 at a wedding in Dallas. After several years of work with Mexican-Eagle and rising to the rank of field superintendent in charge of production and exploration in Mexico, Hopkins moved to Washington, D.C. in 1916 to begin consulting work as a geologist and petroleum engineer. Hopkins moved to Dallas in 1929 with his wife and young family to establish his home and permanent office, and he began work with the Petroleum Finance Corporation of Texas, the Drilling and Exploration Company, Inc., the Highland Oil Company, and the American Maracaibo Company. Hopkins also served as vice president of the American Petroleum Geological Association and as a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. He was a trustee of the Dallas Art Museum, the Dallas Public Library, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hopkins wrote many technical papers about his discoveries and work as a petroleum engineer and geologist, distinguishing himself within his field. He and his wife had five children: Amy (who went by Mimi), Jane, Louise, Madeline, and Edwin, Jr. E.B. Hopkins died in Dallas on July 5, 1940.
The Texas Centennial was a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Texas independence from Mexico. Events all over the state commemorated the milestone, such as the Texas Frontier Centennial in Fort Worth and Galveston's Mardi Gras. Several existing buildings were commissioned for the centennial, including the Texas Memorial Museum, The Sam Houston Memorial Museum, The Panhandle-Plains Memorial Museum, and the Alamo Museum, among others. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio all vied for the chance to host the main exposition, but Dallas won due to its financial commitment.
The Central Exposition in Dallas was heralded as the first World's Fair held in the Southwest. It ran from June 6 to November 29, 1936, and again from June 12 to October 31, 1937. The festival's most visited attraction was the "Cavalcade of Texas," a pageant of Texas history. Another draw was the Hall of Negro Life, which was the first acknowledgement of black culture at any World's Fair. In the midst of moralistic and educational efforts, the midway also served as a space for drinking, gambling, and strippers, a sure way to make money at the height of the Great Depression. One of the most appealing parts of the exposition was the nightly lightshow where 24 multicolored searchlights that could be seen from miles away.
Famous visitors included President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gene Autry. The exposition served as a filming location for The Big Show, a 1936 western in which Gene Autry played himself. Over 6 million people attended the fair, and while that was below the projected figures, organizers were ultimately pleased with the boost to the economy and the recognition it brought Dallas.