Texas High School Hotshots: The Stars Before They Were Stars Review
By Alan Burton
Who Were They Then?
Texas has produced a large number of celebrities. For years, we here at TexasCooking.Com have maintained a comprehensive list of Notable Native Texans born in Texas, (the only one of its kind on the Internet to my knowledge). Alan Burton's new book Texas High School Hotshots has a new take on this idea by showcasing over 200 people who attended high school in the Lone Star State.
The book's sub-title is
The book organizes the listings by region of the state - north, south, east and west. Rather than alphabetically, Burton groups people by high school, which adds an interesting touch. I've never really thought of actor Randy Quaid as a Houstonite. He graduated from Houston Bellaire in 1968. One the same page, below Quaid's listing we learn that singer Kenny Rogers graduated from nearby Houston Jefferson Davis high school in 1956.
Most listings include current photographs of the celebrity, as well as their photograph from their high school yearbook. It also includes their year of graduation.
Opening the book, turning to the chapter on North Texas, the reader can page to Highland Park High School and read about movie actress Jayne Mansfield, Law & Order actress Angie Harmon, ex-Texas governor Bill Clements, Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker and 1982 (failed) Presidential assassin John Hinkley, Jr.
Burton opens the book with some speculations on the meanings of high school yearbooks. He's also scoured them to create a number of interesting lists, including extracurricular activities, cheerleaders, and "hotshots who were classmates."
There are more lists: Hotshots who dropped out and later earned their GED, Hotshot Transfer Students, Hotshots Who Attended Private Schools, People Who Later Changed Their Names, Infamous People (serial killers, cult leaders, etc.) and Texas High Schools Where Movies Were Filmed - plus lots more.
Burton includes interesting supplemental information giving the reader insight into many of the Texas high schools. He not only includes a section on celebrities who participated in sports, but also includes a table of Texas High School football championship winners going back to 1920. There are many photographs taken directly from the yearbooks, beyond the single yearbook face photo. For example, there is a photograph of Professional Golfer Ben Crenshaw practicing while on the Austin Stephen F. Austin golf team. We see actor Matthew McConaughey grinning with two classmates from a yearbook advertisement.
The frequent quotes and interesting trivia make this book stand out. Texas High School Hotshots is a fun and entertaining book documenting the history of many notable native Texans.