James Corley Dies: On his 72nd birthday, James “Buster” Corley, a founding member of Dave & Buster’s entertainment business, which combines a restaurant with a sizable video arcade to offer a taste of Las Vegas, passed away in Dallas.
The business acknowledged his passing. The man who was shot died at a hospital after sustaining “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to the police, who responded to a complaint of a shooting at a residence in the 6600 block of Yosemite Lane. Although Mr. Corley lived in a place on the block, the police were unable to identify the man.
Kate Corley, Mr. Corley’s daughter, confirmed his passing and said that dad had suffered a stroke four months prior that had “severely damaged the communication and personality area of his brain.”
According to Dave & Buster’s spokeswoman, Mr. Corley was not actively managing the business when he passed away. With more than 150 sites across North America, Dave & Buster’s has found success by bringing together a variety of popular pastimes, such as watching sports, eating burgers, and playing video games.
And unlike Chuck E. Cheese, which has long been a favorite birthday destination for kids, Dave & Buster’s would show that it can also appeal to adults who enjoy racing simulators, air hockey, and arcade games.
Through a maze of brilliant, vibrant lights, the restaurant allows patrons to race friends or win tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.
David Corriveau, the Dave in Dave & Buster’s, passed away in 2015. When they both ran shops on the same street close to the Capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the 1970s, he and Mr. Corley got to know one another. While Mr. Corriveau owned Slick Willy’s World of Entertainment, Mr. Corley owned Buster’s, a restaurant.
According to Mr. Corley, in a 2020 interview with the podcast “Pardon My Take,” there was a walkway that connected the two businesses, and the men noted that customers would go to Slick Willy’s to play games, then over to Buster’s to dine and drink.
He remembered their idea: “What we need to do is combine these two locations, scale them up, promote them more widely, and start this thing.”
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In 1982, the first Dave & Buster establishment in Dallas opened its doors in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse. (The corporation claims that Dave & Buster’s, not Buster & Dave’s, was called due to a fatal coin flip; however, Mr. Corley claimed on the podcast that the legend was false and that a friend had come up with the name.)
Despite beginning as business partners, Mr. Corley and Mr. Corriveau “along the line became great friends” and godfathers to each other’s children, Mr. Corley stated on the podcast.
Mr. Corley’s “pioneering spirit and unshakable belief that ‘everyone is somebody’ created the groundwork for providing food and games to millions of Dave & Buster’s customers over the past 40 years,” the firm said in a statement.
Jim Corley, who worked in advertising, and Nancy (Wentworth) Corley, a nursing home administrator, welcomed James Winston Corley into the world on January 2, 1951, in Brookhaven, a small town in southern Mississippi.
In 1980, he wed Leacy Suddath. There was no immediate information about survival besides Mr. Corley’s daughter.
According to Mr. Corley, his father’s best friend gave him the moniker Buster when he was a baby.
He claimed that, before majoring in business in college, he thought about changing the nickname to something more prestigious, such as J. Winston or J.W. But he was delighted his father persuaded him to change his mind.
It probably never would have succeeded if we had given it a name other than Buster’s in my honor, he claimed.
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