He and I had chatted about my high-school memories of LLOVE, and we were always going to jointly do a LLOVE post but never got around to it. Chalk this one up to finishing up old business ... and to honoring a promise to an old friend.
After the other airlines left DAL for DFW, the Love Field terminal—other than the Southwest counter and gates—was empty. Really, really empty. After-the-neutron-bomb empty. So the City of Dallas, needing a use for the facility, adopted the concept of putting a roller-skating/ice-skating/dancing/movie-watching/junk-food-eating entertainment center in the old terminal area. Today this would sound totally insane, but let’s put the idea into context. The complex opened in 1975 at the dawn of the disco craze, when everybody was on the dance floor; roller skating was suddenly cool again; women’s figure skating was becoming incredibly popular (led by rising star Dorothy Hamill), and mirror balls were everywhere—so how could this idea fail? (Sarcasm intended) The concept was simple: offer “young people” a place to hang out, inexpensively, and have fun.
And it was WONDERFUL.
Admittedly, my opinion is colored by the facts that I was 15 when this place opened, and I went there a lot. In fact my high school senior all-night party was held there (shout out to the Irving High School Bicentennial Class of 1976!). Trust me, you don’t know your classmates until you see them damaging their young bodies skating to the thumping beat of hot songs like “Boogie Fever,” “Love Rollercoaster” or “Disco Lady” under flashing lights at 4:00 a.m. The movies were second-rate, and the food was forgettable—but, for the mid-70s, the place was a BLAST for teens growing up in Dallas County.
LLOVE was a party from the second you walked through the front entrance. As you entered the main door of the Terminal, you were treated to disco music as you paid your admission ($3 or so) at the ticket booth. The ice skating rink filled the cavernous main terminal lobby. It was HUGE, totally covering the historic map of the world on the floor (which has been restored). The Zamboni was housed in the back of the Lobby, where the 1960s-era barbershop was. To the left of the ice rink, where our ticket counter was until recently, was a three-screen movie theatre. Awesome second-tier movies … I remember watching The Way We Were, and every female in my high-school class sobbed in unison! (Yes, it’s tear-jerker!)
Upstairs, above what is now the new security checkpoint, was The Grill snack bar and the dance hot-spot—the Rainbow Room. Teenagers in platform shoes and Farrah Fawcett hairdos danced the night away! “Boogie Fever … I think it’s going around…”
Back on the lobby level, to the right of the ice skating rink was the Arcade, with pinball machines and arcade games like Ski-Ball and Whack-A-Mole. Just past that, where the new ticketing hall is now, was the roller-skating rink. It had a HUGE mirrored ball over the middle of the rink, and the flashing lights and smoke machines all combined to make this a 70’s disco teenager’s dream-come-true. Queue the Johnnie Taylor song “Disco Lady,” and let’s all Couples Dance!
By 1978, LLOVE had closed. The City of Dallas didn’t make any money off the venture, so it was terminated, although a whole bunch of us had a heck of good time while it was open. In the end, LLOVE was a totally bizarre, yet wonderful, footnote in Dallas Love Field’s evolution. My disco memories of life in platform shoes and leisure suits may not be pretty, but LLOVE won’t be forgotten. Perhaps the coolest thing is that where LLOVE was, the new LOVE is emerging.