This month, three of the original Six Frogs Over Tango sculptures are returning to the rooftop where they became legends—a source of fascination and targets of a humorless bureaucracy.
The dancing frogs once beckoned patrons to the ’80s nightclub Tango at 1827 Greenville. Now that site is a Taco Cabana. And it turns out that Tim Taft, CEO of the local parent company, Fiesta Restaurant Group, and Todd Coerver, COO of Taco Cabana, are two very hip cats.
“Tim and I were talking about the revitalization of Lower Greenville and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to track down those frogs as an homage to that earlier time on Greenville?’” says Coerver.
Back in the early ’80s, Shannon Wynne contracted artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade to fabricate six 10-foot frogs, all playing instruments, that would dance mechanically atop his nightclub, Tango. Shannon’s father, Angus Wynne Jr., created Six Flags Over Texas and the sculptures became known as the Six Frogs Over Tango.
Taco Cabana has purchased the three frogs that have been at the Carl’s Corner truck stop on I-35. (The other three are at Chuy’s restaurant in Nashville.)
“The troublemakers are coming back to Dallas,” says a clearly delighted Daddy-O Wade from his home in Austin. “It’s just too bizarre, isn’t it?”
On June 26, Taco Cabana is hosting an ’80s-themed patio party called Throwback Thursday. The frogs will be placed by one of those Dallas BIG signs for photo ops with the guests. “We’ll actually have the frogs on the ground,” says Coerver.
In the middle of the night, a crane will come in and hoist them on the roof.
At 9 a.m. on June 27, Taco Cabana is hosting a media unveiling with Daddy-O in attendance.
Right after the frogs went up in 1983, the manure hit the air-circulating device. The Dallas Sign Control Board of Adjustment declared them a commercial sign and said they would have to be removed. After an appeal, the frogs were allowed to stay.
“This time, we’ve cleared everything ahead of time,” says Coerver.
The amphibian sculptures are currently in Cleburne where muralist Stylle Read is giving them a loving restoration before they come home.
“Now the three frogs have a great ending,” says Daddy-O. “They’re back where they started. You can’t write a story better than that.”
By: Alan Peppard