A Tar Heel tradition in blue & white

A Chapel Hill “Rite of Spring” will be carried out in Charlotte this year. Head Football Coach Larry Fedora will take his Tar Heels to the Queen City for the 70th anniversary Blue-White football game because the renovations being carried out at Kenan Stadium will not be completed in time for the game on Saturday, April 11, 2015. [4/11/15 Update: according to GoHeels.com, the team is calling this a “open spring football scrimmage,” adding “Carolina will not have a traditional Spring Game in Chapel Hill due to ongoing repairs to the Kenan Stadium playing surface.”]

The annual spring game goes all the way back to 1946 when then Head Coach Carl Snavely put his post World War II squad on display in Kenan Stadium.  Hugh Morton, as you might have suspected, photographed some of these early contests.  Unlike his negatives for UNC basketball’s version of the Blue-White game, which are identified, Morton did not label his football negatives for the spring outing.  I turned to newspapers looking for articles and images, then looked through hundreds of unlabeled negatives; Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looked over news reports from the Daily Tar Heel, Greensboro Daily News, Wilmington Morning Star, and Charlotte News.  The result? Jack’s piece for today’s post on the beginnings of a Tar Heel tradition . . . and a few more identified negatives than we had beforehand.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium.  Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice's freshman year when he played on the White team.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium. Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice’s freshman year when he played on the White team.

Thirteen days after UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely got his Valentine wish that Charlie Justice would “come out for the team,” a practice game was held in Kenan Stadium between the Tar Heels and the Guilford College Quakers coached by Doc Newton. About a thousand students showed up despite the cold, damp, windy weather. The students were surprised when Snavely sent his team onto the field and Justice remained on the sideline. The modified format game gave Guilford the ball first and they did well. When the Tar Heels took over the ball, it was at their own 34-yard-line. On the sideline, Snavely snapped, “Justice, try tailback for a while.”  As Justice ran onto the field, the crowd came to its feet. The Quaker defense dug in. Justice was on trial.

As everybody suspected, Justice got the snap. He started out to his right, then peeled off between the tackle and end, and was into the secondary. Two Quaker linebackers missed tackles, and now Justice was in position to size up the safety man. He ran directly at this last line of resistance, applied a head and shoulder fake and breezed past, then angled into the end zone. There was stunned silence in Kenan Stadium as the onlookers tried to figure out what they had just seen. Then a spontaneous cheer went up.

The United Press story in the Greensboro Daily News issue of February 28, 1946 said: “If his initial showing is any indication, Charlie Justice, the University of North Carolina’s new football star, can expect to cause opponents plenty of unrest.”

As the 1946 spring practice came to a close, Coach Snavely along with the University Monogram Club staged something new. They divided the 70-man football squad into two teams for a special game in Kenan Stadium. It was billed as the first annual Blue-White game and was played on May 4, 1946 before 2,000 top-coated fans. Charlie Justice, who had gotten a lot of ink in the papers by now, was assigned to the White team.

The Blue team got the ball first but after about two minutes, they punted. On the first play from scrimmage, with the ball at the White 35, Justice took off around right end. To quote Yogi Berra, “it was déjà vu all over again.” This time the play covered 65 yards. The White team went on to win that first Blue-White game 33 to 0. The ’46 Tar Heels finished the season 8-1-1 and it was “Happy Times are Here Again” in Chapel Hill.

Word of the successful 1946 Blue-White game spread quickly and when the 1947 game rolled around, 7,000 fans turned out on a warm April Saturday.  The ’47 game had all appearances of a regular game as two squads of 41 players each met in Kenan on April 26, 1947. Unlike the ’46 game, this game was a tight, hard-fought contest with the White team winning in the end over the Justice-led Blue team 7 to 6.  Place-kicker Bob Cox made the difference. It would be Charlie Justice’s only Blue-White loss.  Although the 1947 Tar Heels lost 2 games—one to Texas and one to Wake Forest—and they chose not to accept a bowl invitation.  Coach Snavely often said he thought his ’47 Carolina team was his best.

By April 29, 1948, Carolina had completed all of its spring practice and work was under way by the Monogram Club for the third annual Blue-White game to be staged in Kenan on May 1st.  Once again, Coach Carl Snavely divided his troops into two teams: the White team to be coached by Jim Gill, and the Blue team to be led by Max Reed.  This time 10,000 sun-baked fans came out to see what the ’48 Tar Heels had to offer.  As it turned out, they had plenty to offer.  The White team with Justice and Art Weiner at the controls scored three touchdowns in the first half and added two more in the second, making the final 35 to 7. The third annual Blue-White game introduced a new Carolina tradition.  Head Cheerleader Norman Sper presented for the first time on the East Coast the 2,000-student Carolina Card section.  They performed eight different stunts, to the delight of the crowd. The 1948 Tar Heels were undefeated: a tie with William & Mary was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. The stage was set for the final season of the “Charlie Justice Era,” but it would not be Charlie’s final Blue-White game.

The Charlotte News published a three-image montage of Morton photographs after the 1948 Blue-White game.

The Charlotte News published a three-image montage of Morton photographs after the 1948 Blue-White game.

Here’s a PDF of the above news clip: CharlotteNews_19480503_p6B.  Only one negative from this trio has been located thus far:

Dick Bunting throwing a pass during 1948 Blue-White game, which may be the first Hugh Morton photographed.  Newspapers articles examined thus far for the two previous Blue-White games do not include photographs, and Morton did not identified the vast majority of his UNC football negatives.

Dick Bunting throwing a pass during 1948 Blue-White game, which may be the first Hugh Morton photographed. Newspapers articles examined thus far for the two previous Blue-White games do not include photographs, and Morton did not identified the vast majority of his UNC football negatives.

The format for the fourth Blue-White game in 1949 was slightly different from years past. Upperclassmen like Justice and Weiner made up the Blue team, while freshman made up the White team.  A Kenan Stadium crowd of 12,000 sat through a first-quarter rain and saw Justice run for one touchdown and pass for two as the “old guys” beat the “rookies,” 21 to 6.

"Hailed By Coach Snavely, Charlie Justice" is the caption headline for this photograph in Wilmington's Morning Star on May 3rd, 1949.   The caption read (in part), "Tackle Bill Kuhn next fall will be the first Wilmington boy in a number of years to be on North Carolina's starting team. . . .  Coach Snavely and Charlie Justice both maintain that Kuhn will likely be one of Carolina's greatest tackles if he continues the fine play he has displayed during spring practice."  The Charlotte News also published this photograph.  The crops are slightly different in each newspaper; the crop here is a similar to those.

“Hailed By Coach Snavely, Charlie Justice” is the caption headline for this photograph in Wilmington’s Morning Star on May 3rd, 1949. The caption read (in part), “Tackle Bill Kuhn next fall will be the first Wilmington boy in a number of years to be on North Carolina’s starting team. . . . Coach Snavely and Charlie Justice both maintain that Kuhn will likely be one of Carolina’s greatest tackles if he continues the fine play he has displayed during spring practice.” The Charlotte News also published this photograph. The crops are slightly different in each newspaper; the crop here is a similar to those.

Special guests for this game were 5,000 high school students from across the state.
Photographer Hugh Morton attended several Blue-White games over the years. His classic shot of Justice at the ’49 game (seen at the top of of this article) is a scene many had come to expect in their Sunday papers.

Dick Bunting (#30) carries the football within the grasp of a tackler during the UNC Blue-White game played on April 30, 1949. This photograph, cropped tightly as a vertical to focus on the runner eluding the tackler, appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2nd.

Dick Bunting (#30) carries the football within the grasp of a tackler during the UNC Blue-White game played on April 30, 1949. This photograph, cropped tightly as a vertical to focus on the runner eluding the tackler, appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2nd.

Here’s a PDF of the article and two photographs as they appeared in theMay 2nd edition of The Charlotte News: CharlotteNews_19490502_p4B

Hugh Morton's photograph of Bunting as it appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2, 1949.

Hugh Morton’s photograph of Bunting as it appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2, 1949.

The 1949 Tar Heels lost three games during the season but still won the Southern Conference title and played in the 1950 Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.

May 6, 1950, UNC’s Monogram Club staged its fifth Blue-White with yet another format change. This time it was the “Old Grads,” vs. the 1950 varsity.  As you might guess, Charlie Justice and Art Weiner were co-captains for the “Grads.” 19,000 fans endured 90 degree temperatures and saw Justice steal the show once again, carrying the ball 12 times.

Uncredited photograph in Wilmington's Morning Star on May 7th, 1950.  Could this be a Hugh Morton photograph?

Uncredited photograph in Wilmington’s Morning Star on May 7th, 1950. Could this be a Hugh Morton photograph?

The “Choo Choo” had five punts for an average of 51 yards-per-kick.  The star for the varsity was sophomore tailback Ernie Liberati who just happened to be the subject of Hugh Morton’s photo in the Greensboro Daily News issue of May 7, 1950.  Morton, in an impromptu interview with Daily News Sports Director Smith Barrier said, “Fish are beginning to bite around Wilmington.”  With all the big guns gone, the 1950 Tar Heels struggled, posting a 3-5-2 record for the season.

UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), backfield coach Charlie Justice, and running back John Gaylord (#25). See the photograph above with Kuhn as a freshman, when Justice and Snavely praised his abilities in Wilmington's Morning Star.  (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), backfield coach Charlie Justice, and running back John Gaylord (#25). See the photograph above with Kuhn as a freshman, when Justice and Snavely praised his abilities in Wilmington’s Morning Star. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

On April 28, 1951, the UNC Monogram Club staged the sixth Blue-White game in perfect football weather before 11,500 fans in Kenan Stadium. The varsity (White) vs. freshmen (Blue) format was in place once again, and as before the varsity proved to be too much for the “rookies.”  Coach George Radman’s White team won 32 to 21. Radman’s assistant coach was Charlie Justice, participating in his sixth Blue-White game. Justice was on Snavely’s staff during the 1951 season before returning to his duties with the Washington Redskins for his second Redskins season in 1952.  The ’51 Tar Heels finished the season with a 2 and 8 record. Snavely would have only more season with the Tar Heels.

The Blue-White games just kept on coming and in the1962 game, the Monogram Club brought back the 1950 format with the Varsity (Blue) and Alumni (White). At age 37, Charlie Justice participated in his seventh and final Blue-White game. On April 7, 1962, Justice was used as the Alumni punter and got off punts of 35, 40, 39, 37, and 19 yards. The headline in the Greensboro paper on April 8, 1962 read, “Justice Booms Punts Again,” and the headline on page 219 in the 1963 UNC Yearbook, “ Yackety Yack,” read “Choo-Choo Returns for Alumni Game.”

So, when UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s 2015 Tar Heels take the field at Rocky River High School in Charlotte at 1 pm on April 11 for the 70th anniversary Blue-White spring game, I choose to believe that Justice, Weiner, Snavely and Morton will be together again, watching a Tar Heel Tradition in Blue and White.

Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith (1921–2014)

Arthur Smith passed away one year ago today.  At the time, I hurriedly started a V2H blog post to mark the occasion.  As I worked on it I kept finding more and more interesting material . . . and April 3rd slipped farther and farther into the distance before I just could wrap it up. It’s been sitting in the unpublished drafts section of the blog ever since.  Then a week or so ago, volunteer Jack Hilliard sent me post about Arthur Smith for use today.  After I finished working on Jack’s piece I dusted off this post, cleaned it up, and published it today even though it could use some more work.  The result? A twin bill!  This post is mine; the “special connection” post is Jack’s.  We hope you enjoy today’s double feature.

For many, if not most, Arthur Smith may not be a household name.  Have you seen Deliverance—or played an “air banjo” version of the well-known version called “Dueling Banjos” from the memorable scene in that 1972 movie?  If so, then you have a piece of Arthur Smith in the fiber of your being because Smith is the original writer of that song, which he played and recorded with Don Reno as “Fuedin’ Banjos” in 1955.

Arthur Smith and the Cracker-Jacks, probably 1952.

Arthur Smith (front, with guitar) and the Cracker-Jacks, including Ralph Smith (rear left, with accordion), Tommy Faile (rear, second from right), and Sonny Smith (rear, right) posing in front of a brick wall. A detail of Smith’s face appears in an advertisement for the Fifth Annual Azalea Festival in March 22, 1952 issue of THE STATE magazine. Arthur Smith and the Cracker-Jacks performed during the festival on March 29th.

Arthur Smith was born in Clinton, South Carolina in 1921.  The 1930 United States Census enumerated his family in Flat Creek Township in Lancaster County on April 4th, just a few days after Arthur’s 9th birthday.  He is the son of Clayton S. Smith and his wife Viola Fields, both North Carolinians by birth.  In the 1930 census Arthur had two older and two younger siblings: Ethel, age 13; Oscar, 9; Ruby, 7; and Ralph, 6.  Clayton’s occupation is listed as a weaver in a cotton mill.

The most likely matching “Arthur Smith” in the 1940 census shows Arthur as one of three lodgers at home of what looks like Dixon G. and Sybil Stewart (the census taker’s handwriting is difficult to read) at 442 Kennedy Street in Spartanburg, S.C.  Stewart and the lodgers all have their occupation listed as “Advertise” and written (again hard to decipher) in the Industry column is “Radio” and what looks like “Vine Herb.”  This is a nugget for a future researcher to resolve.

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Arthur Smith was already an accomplished musician well before “Fuedin’ Banjos.”  When Smith was in eighth grade, he and brothers Ralph and Sonny formed a Dixieland jazz band called The Arthur Smith Quartet.  At the beginning their financial prospects were bleak.  Smith said during an interview with Don Rhodes for his article “Arthur Smith: a Wide & Varied Musical Career” in the July 1977 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited,

We nearly starved to death until one day we changed our style.  We had been doing a daily radio show in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as the “Arthur Smith Quartet.”  One Friday morning we threw down our trumpet, clarinet, and trombone and picked up the fiddle, accordion, and guitar.  The next Monday we came back on the radio program as “Arthur Smith and the Carolina Crackerjacks.”  My brother, Sonny, came up with the name.  The Carolina was because we were from South Carolina, and the Crackerjack part came when Sonny found that the word according to the dictionary meant one who is tops in his field.

This would probably be as good a place as any in this story to state that there is no definitive biography Arthur Smith, and much of what is on the Internet or in print is anecdotal, sketchy or brief, and with a fair amount of rehashing of what someone else had already written.  Pulling this post together has been a bit of a challenge, so please leave a comment with corrections or clarifications.

When Arthur Smith was in tenth grade, the group made their first recording during a field recording session for RCA Victor in 1938.  According to one discography, the recording date was 26 September 1938 at the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Rock Hill, S. C.  Smith recalled in the booklet The Charlotte Country Music Story, that their best song from that session was “Going Back to Old Carolina” (Bluebird Records recording B-8304).

Smith must have paid attention to the school books, too, because he was the class’s valedictorian.  Smith had an opportunity to attend the United States Naval Academy after graduation, but he declined because he knew he wanted to be a musician.

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The band’s success grew and at some point in time, possibly 1941, Smith moved to Charlotte when he and the Crackerjacks became regularly featured on WBT’s country music radio programs, among them probably Carolina Barndance.

As with most born in this era, however, WWII brought disruption and the Crackerjacks disbanded.  All three brothers served in the military, Arthur Smith in the Navy.  He played in his military band, and it was there that he wrote “Guitar Boogie,” his breakthrough recording that sold more than a million copies in 1945.  After the war, the Smith revived the Crackerjacks.

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I’ve not found mention of how Hugh Morton and Arthur Smith met, but I hope those that might know will comment below.  Morton photographed Smith with and without the Cracker-Jacks (that variant spelling, with and without a hyphen, was often used) on several occasions over many years.  Both were born in 1921, and both served in the military during World War II; Morton as a photographer and cameraman in the United States Army 161st Signal Corps, Smith in the United States Navy.  The photograph at the top of this post dates from 1952, used to promote the Azelea Festival in WIlmington that year.

Smith and Morton may have met earlier, however, at Singing at the Mountain in 1950.  In his book with Edward Rankin, Making a Difference in North Carolina, published in 1988, Hugh Morton recalled that it was around 1950 that Singing on the Mountain had a “big boost” in attendance.  Singing’s co-founder Joe L. Hartley soon thereafter gave Smith the designation “Music Master” for the annual event because Smith “played a major role in inviting other outstanding musical groups.”  Singing on the Mountain was already growing crowds prior to 1950.  A brief article about the 1949 “Singing” published in the Watauga Democrat noted that 25,000 people had attended, the largest crowd to date.  The following year, an article in the 29 June 1950 issue of the Wautaga Democrat about that year’s singing described the previous Sunday’s event: “One of the musical highlights during the beautiful summer day was provided by Hillbilly Headliner Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks from Columbia Broadcasting System and Radio Station WBT, Charlotte. . . . Highway patrolmen reported that during one period around noon, the highways leading to this convention were crowded by cars bumper to bumper, stretching four miles in one direction and three in the other.”

Morton wrote in Sixty Years with a Camera,

Arthur Smith is one of my dear friends, and for thirty consecutive years he was the singing master for “Singing on the Mountain” at Grandfather.  He of course wrote the Number 1 banjo song in the world, “Duelling Banjos,” [sic] and the Number 1 guitar piece “Guitar Boogie.”  He is also a very religious man, and he plugged the daylights out of the “Singing” and brought big crowds.  Mr. Joe Hartley, the founder and chairman of the annual event, thought that his homemade sign out on the highway attracted the people.  He never did understand that Arthur Smith’s promotion of the program on television was the reason for the huge crowds.

The next two photographs below may not have been published before this post.

Arthur Smith playing his guitar at Sining on the Mountain, date unknown.

Arthur Smith playing his guitar with the Cracker-Jacks at Singing on the Mountain, at MacRae Meadows near Linville, N. C. The date for this negative, one of four extent made at this performance, is unknown. Arthur Smith and the Cracker-Jacks first performed at the 1950 Singing.

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Unidentified group portrait of Arthur Smith with other musicians circa 1960s.

There’s no identifying information about this group portrait of Arthur Smith and the Cracker-Jacks. The colors, clothes, and art styles all seem to be singing 1960s. Can anybody identify people, place, time, or event? Was this photographed on the television set at WBTV for either “Carolina Calling” or “The Arthur Smith Show?”  Groovy points will be awarded for proper identification of this photograph.

Hugh Morton photographed Smith on numerous occasions, including many made for record album dust jackets.  Notice the photography credit for Hugh Morton on back of the following album’s cover . . .

Arthur Smith Great Country and Western Hits_album cover

An Arthur Smith recording from 1965, from the Southern Folklife Collection in Wilson Library.

Verso of Arthur Smith Great Country & Western Hits

Verso of the album Arthur Smith Great Country & Western Hits showing credit to Hugh Morton for the cover photograph.

Hugh Morton may be the photographer for Smith’s LP album The Guitars of “Guitar Boogie” Smith published by Starday Records in 1968.  There is a 4″ x 5″ color transparency in the Morton collection that is an extremely similar pose to that on the album.  Smith moved his hands slightly but his facial expression looks to be identical.  I prefer the hand positioning in the one not used on the cover because his right hand is concealed.

Arthur Smith posing for album cover portrait for "The Guitars of Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith", circa 1968.

Arthur Smith posing for album cover portrait for “The Guitars of Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith”, circa 1968.

Interestingly, CMT used a tightly cropped pose from this sitting in its obituary of Smith.  The image source is Getty Images.

There’s a lot more Arthur Smith images to parse through in the Morton Collection, more than can be featured in this post.  Needless to say, when someone writes the definitive biography of Arthur Smith. the Hugh Morton collection is a “go to” collection for visual research.

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ANY RELATION? The 1940 United States Census enumerated a James Arthur Smith, age ten months, living with his family on Florida Street in Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina.  James Arthur was the second son of Broadus E. and Annie Mae Smith.  He had an older brother Edward, age 4 years old.  The census taker’s handwriting for his father’s name is hard to decipher, but a Google search revealed a Broadus E. Smith who wrote four church hymns.  Is this is likely connection.  Broadus’s occupation is listed as a carpenter in the building construction industry.

 

 

Another special connection with another legend named Smith

In February we shared a blog-post about the special connection that Hugh Morton had with Legendary UNC Basketball Coach Dean Smith.  Today, April 3, 2015, on the one-year anniversary of the death of another legend named Smith, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard shares the special connection Hugh Morton had with Music Legend Arthur Smith.  In case you landed here first, be sure to check out today’s other post on Arthur Smith by Stephen Fletcher, the second half of today’s doubleheader.

Arthur Smith and band "The Crackerjacks" performing on an outdoor stage at "Singing on the Mountain" gospel festival, Grandfather Mountain, Linville, NC. L to R: Ralph Smith, Sonny Smith, Don Lear, Arthur Smith. Photograph illustrates article about Smith, "Another Tar Heel Booster," in September 2, 1950 issue of THE STATE magazine, with caption that says Smith is "singing his original composition, 'Foolish Questions.'"

Arthur Smith and band “The Crackerjacks” performing on an outdoor stage at “Singing on the Mountain” gospel festival, Grandfather Mountain, Linville, NC. L to R: Ralph Smith, Sonny Smith, Don Lear, Arthur Smith. Photograph illustrates article about Smith, “Another Tar Heel Booster,” in September 2, 1950 issue of THE STATE magazine, with caption that says Smith is “singing his original composition, ‘Foolish Questions.'”

When the folks at Grandfather Mountain staged their 90th Singing on the Mountain festival on June 22, 2014, they dedicated the event to Arthur Smith. Smith had passed away a little over two months before on April 3rd, just two days after his 93rd birthday.

Smith and his “Crackerjacks” had served as Music Masters of the event from about 1950 through the early 1980s.  I think it’s safe to say that Smith had a standing invitation from his dear friend Hugh Morton to be a part of every Singing on the Mountain.  During the 1960s and ‘70s, Smith was responsible for inviting his friends Johnny and June Carter Cash in 1974 and Rev. Billy Graham in 1962, plus many other famous names.  Smith was the featured speaker at the 1991 event.

The 2014 speaker was noted evangelist Leighton Ford who had been the main speaker at the event in 1969 and 1989.  Ford built his ‘14 message around the words of some of the gospel songs Smith had written over the years. In an interview before the event, Ford said, “I do plan to include some of Arthur’s songs and thoughts in this, because our faith is a singing faith.”  Legendary Charlotte television broadcaster Doug Mayes introduced Rev. Ford.  Mayes had helped Clyde McLean serve as the chief announcer on The Arthur Smith Show, which was taped at WBTV, Channel 3 in the Queen City.  Mayes also shared some of his memories of Smith and the “Crackerjacks.”

The 2014 musical lineup included a noon tribute to Smith by his son, Clay, and “Brother Ralph” Smith’s sons, Tim and Roddy, playing instrumentals with David Moody of The Moody Brothers.  Vocalist Keith Dudley offered several of Smith’s most well-known hymns, and George Hamilton IV, who performed with Smith for years, came in from Nashville and his job as backstage host of the Grand Ole Opry to sing Smith’s most famous hymn, “Acres of Diamonds.”  The Cockman Family of Sherrills Ford, NC added several of Smith’s secular hits including “Feudin’ Banjos” and “Guitar Boogie.”

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Arthur Smith (center, with banjo), posing with his band "The Crackerjacks." Back Row (L to R): Tommy Faile, Wayne Haas, Kaye Murray; Front Row (L to R): Ralph Smith, Carl Hunt, Arthur Smith, Carlene "Sam" Howell, Jim Buchanan. Possibly taken on the deck of the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C.

Arthur Smith (center, with banjo), posing with his band “The Crackerjacks.” Back Row (L to R): Tommy Faile, Wayne Haas, Kaye Murray; Front Row (L to R): Ralph Smith, Carl Hunt, Arthur Smith, Carlene “Sam” Howell, Jim Buchanan. Possibly taken on the deck of the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C.

Arthur Smith and Hugh Morton go back a long way.  There are pictures in the Morton Online Collection of Smith and his “Crackerjacks” at the 1952 Azalea Festival in Wilmington and a decade or so later on the deck of the Battleship USS North Carolina.  But it was in 1962 that the Morton–Smith “team” set out on its most famous project.

In the mid-1950s, the National Park Service was preparing for the final 7.7 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the state planned to gain, by its power of eminent domain, a portion of Grandfather Mountain in order to build a road higher on the Mountain than Morton wanted.  Here’s how Morton described the situation in his 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina:

To accommodate the requested “high route,” the state condemned additional land and we protested to Chairman A.H. Graham of the North Carolina Highway and Public Works Commission. . . The Chairman promptly arranged for a hearing before the State Highway Commission for the National Parks Service and me.

Almost immediately I received an invitation from WRAL-TV, in Raleigh, to debate the Grandfather Mountain right-of-way controversy with National Parks Director (Conrad) Wirth. . . Later I was notified that Wirth was bringing his engineer, and suggested I bring my engineer or lawyer to even up the sides of the debate.  I had neither engineer nor lawyer.  So I invited my friend Arthur Smith . . .

Wirth obviously did not know Arthur Smith when I introduced them, and was unaware that he performed daily in nearly every television market in the southeastern United States, including WRAL-TV.  The Park Director and his engineer spoke first. . . I made a brief statement and then Arthur Smith, in his Southern drawl said, “When a man like Hugh Morton owns a mountain and loves it like he does, it don’t seem right for a big bureaucrat to come down here from Washington and take it away from him.”

The telephone switchboard at WRAL-TV lit up with support for our position and it was soon obvious that Conrad Wirth had lost the debate. . . . The State Highway Commission voted to return the illegally condemned land.

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Hugh Morton almost never promoted himself, but he did try once, with a little help from a few of his friends.  Hugh’s longtime friend Charles Kuralt described the start of that effort at the 1996 North Caroliniana Society Award ceremony.

On December 1, 1971, in the shadow of the Capitol in Raleigh, surrounded on a chilly day, by shivering pretty girls in shorts wearing “Morton for Governor” hats and carrying “Morton for Governor” signs, with Arthur Smith playing “Guitar Boogie” for the crowd, with Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice on hand to declare “I have been on Hugh’s team all my life,” Hugh Morton formally declared his candidacy for governor.

Morton chose to withdraw his candidacy a couple of months later.  It was likely the only occasion when the Morton–Smith duo failed to achieve its goal.

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Ralph Smith, Don Ange, Jackie Schuyler, Dick Schuyler, Maggie Griffin, George Hamilton IV, and Arthur Smith at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Taken on 1973 trip Hugh Morton took to the "Holy Land" along with musicians George Hamilton IV, Arthur Smith, Ralph Smith, and others, possibly for filming of television special.

Ralph Smith, Don Ange, Jackie Schuyler, Dick Schuyler, Maggie Griffin, George Hamilton IV, and Arthur Smith at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Taken on 1973 trip Hugh Morton took to the “Holy Land” along with musicians George Hamilton IV, Arthur Smith, Ralph Smith, and others, possibly for filming of television special.

In March of 1973, Arthur Smith took his syndicated television program to the Holy Land to record shows in Nazareth, Jericho, Mt. Sinai, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and of course at the River Jordan. The group also visited Rome.  Morton, along with wife Julia and daughter Catherine, went along to take photographs that were later used for album covers.

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Arthur Smith and North Carolina governor Jim HuntNorth Carolina Governor Jim Hunt called Hugh Morton in March of 1981.  The Governor wanted a 3-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax to finance road improvements.  Morton, as always, stepped in to help.  Hunt had polling data that said support for the gas tax was weakest among blue collar workers and farmers.  The Governor’s plan called for Morton and retired Charlotte banker C.C. Hope to lead an effort to change the opinion of that segment of the population.  Well, Hugh Morton had better idea. Rather than banker Hope, why not recruit Arthur Smith?  Morton believed that a country music legend like Smith would do better than a banker when trying to convince blue collar workers and farmers to support a gas tax.  Smith agreed to take on the challenge.  The plan worked; on June 26, 1981, the legislature approved the tax.

Also in 1981, Morton completed work on the award-winning film The Hawk and John McNeely.  The music track for that film was done by Arthur Smith and the film was narrated by Woody Durham, “The Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels” football and basketball teams.

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Musicians Arthur Smith (far left), Raymond Fairchild (second from left), and others performing at the dedication of the final piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, N.C.

Musicians Arthur Smith (far left), Raymond Fairchild (second from left), and others performing at the dedication of the final piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, N.C.

It was a beautiful September day in 1987 when the Blue Ridge Parkway was officially opened for traffic to travel the entire 469.1 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties.  The dedication ceremony brought together again Arthur Smith and Hugh Morton.  They had come full circle, from that famous debate 25 years before in Raleigh, to the official dedication at the Linn Cove Viaduct on September 11, 1987.

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Almost five years later, on September 2, 1992, another celebration took place at Grandfather Mountain.  This time it was the 40th anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge.  Many familiar faces turned out for this party as well: Kuralt, Justice, and of course Arthur Smith with guitar in hand to entertain the crowd.

Arthur Smith was best known for his music, but he was a serious Bible student and Sunday school teacher throughout his career. In a January, 1992 book titled Apply it to Life, he shared his practical applications of the Scriptures. By combining his favorite verses of Scripture, humorous stories that he had collected over the years, and ten of his most popular inspirational songs, he was effectively able to apply the messages found in Scripture to one’s everyday life.

“He had a very strong faith and considered being the musical host for the ‘Singing on the Mountain’ to be part of his ministry,” said Harris Prevost, vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

According to Hugh’s wife Julia, Hugh and Arthur had only one serious disagreement during their long friendship.  That disagreement came during the campaign to get “Liquor by the Drink” in North Carolina.

Both men were teetotalers, but Morton saw the tourist value in Liquor by the Drink and fought hard to get it approved.  He was finally successful in 1978 without Smith’s support, but he never lost Smith’s respect.

*****

From Swinging on the Bridge to Singing on the Mountain . . .

From the Azalea Gardens in Wilmington to the Holy Land and Rome . . .

From the Deck of the “Showboat” to the Linn Cove Viaduct . . .

Hugh Morton and Arthur Smith stood shoulder-to-shoulder carrying out numerous projects and celebrating others across the state of North Carolina for more than 50 years.  And on this day, one year after Arthur Smith joined Hugh Morton once again, I choose to believe that their special connection continues.

Hugh Morton and Arthur Smith during their March 1973 trip to the Holy Land.

Hugh Morton and Arthur Smith during their March 1973 trip to the Holy Land.

Epilogue:

When The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte published its 2002 book The North Carolina Century: Tar Heels Who Made a Difference, 1900-2000, they chose a Hugh Morton portrait of Arthur Smith to support the Smith profile.

UNC in the NCAA Regional Semifinals once again

On March 18th, 2012 Bill Richards, a colleague who worked in the library’s Digital Production Center, passed away unexpectedly while watching the Tar Heel’s basketball team defeat Creighton University in the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper.  In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information.  In 1998 he started working in Library Photographic Services, but continued shooting for Sports Information into the 2000s. I am dedicating this blog post, as I have each year since his departure, to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.

As many also know, Dean Smith, UNC’s revered basketball coach, passed away in February.  Hugh Morton’s last photographs made at an NCAA tournament were of Dean Smith’s final press conference after UNC’s 1997 tournament semifinal loss to Arizona in Indianpolis.

In advance of tonight’s Sweet Sixteen match-up between UNC and Wisconsin in Los Angeles, today’s blog post looks at Morton’s many trips to the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This is one of Hugh Morton's photographs from his first NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the 1946 championship game between UNC and Oklahoma A&M, played in Madison Square Garden in New York City.  On the court from Oklahoma A&M are #90 Bob Kurland and #85 Sam Aubrey. From North Carolina are #4 Bob Paxton, #13 John "Hook" Dillon, and Bones McKinney (only arms and legs are visible).  The Aggies won 43–40.

This is one of Hugh Morton’s photographs from his first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 1946 championship game between UNC and Oklahoma A&M, played in Madison Square Garden in New York City. On the court from Oklahoma A&M are #90 Bob Kurland and #85 Sam Aubrey. From North Carolina are #4 Bob Paxton, #13 John “Hook” Dillon, and Bones McKinney (only arms and legs are visible). The Aggies won 43–40.

Here’s an interesting factoid from Obscurityville: photographer Hugh Morton was a UNC freshman when the NCAA held its very first men’s basketball tournament in March 1939.  Clemson defeated Maryland in the 1939 Southern Conference Tournament; it was Wake Forest, however, with the conference’s best regular season record that the NCAA selected for its eight-team national championship tournament. Wake Forest lost its opening-round game to Ohio State, 64–52.

There was no representative from the Southern Conference in the NCAA tournament the following year.  In 1941, UNC lost to Duke in the Southern Conference Tournament, but the NCAA nonetheless selected the “White Phantoms” (the UNC basketball team’s nickname) for its first trip to the national tournament—the only team selected from the twelve southeastern states.  During the regular season UNC had posted a 14–1 conference record and were 19–9 overall.  UNC’s NCAA tournament appearances that year were of two extremes.  They lost 26–20 to Pittsburgh in their opening game played in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Yackety Yack yearbook copywriter called it UNC’s “worst exhibition of the year.”  The Yack writer then described UNC’s following night performance in the Regional Third Place game as “a sterling display of southern basketball in losing to Dartmouth, 60–59, in the last few seconds.”  All-America George Glammack scored 31 points.

In 1942, Morton’s last year as a UNC student, Duke captured the Southern Conference crown.  A series of three blog posts on A View to Hugh recounted Morton’s extensive coverage of that tournament. The NCAA did not select Duke, however, as one of the eight tournament teams.  In 1943, in what would have been his senior year, Morton was instead a private in the United States Army.

Not until 1946 did a Southern Conference team return to the NCAA tournament.  UNC took that honor all the way to the championship game in Madison Square Garden.  With his photographic skills now honed by his military experience in the 161st Signal Corps,  Hugh Morton photographed the championship match-up, which the Tar Heels lost to Oklahoma A & M 43–40.

Eleven more years transpired before the Tar Heels’ next appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1957.  Coach Frank McGuire led UNC to an undefeated season and the national title in the basketball season that became known as “McGuire’s Miracle.”  Morton did not attend UNC’s games during that tournament, but he did photograph the team’s return at the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

The frequency of Morton’s attendance at NCAA tournament games began to increase in the mid 1960s.  Here’s a list I’ve compiled thus far (it’s “go to press” time!) of Morton’s trips to NCAA tournament games, with some links to the earlier images.  Did I miss any?  If so let me know and I’ll update the list.

  • Duke’s defeat of Connecticut in the 1964 East Regional Final played in Raleigh’s Reynolds Auditorium.
  • UNC’s victory over Davidson in the 1968 East Regional Final, also played at Reynold’s Coliseum.
  • UNC’s 1969 “Final Four” loss to Purdue in the national semifinal played in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The 1974 national semifinals played in the Greensboro Coliseum, where North Carolina State upset of UCLA in the first round of the Final Four.  Morton photographed the game from the stands, from where he also shot some of the Kansas versus Marquette contest.  Morton did not photograph N. C. State’s win over Marquette for the national championship.
  • 1975 first round win over New Mexico State played at the Charlotte Coliseum.
  • The 1977 “Final Four” games versus the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Marquette University played at The Omni in Atlanta.
  • UNC’s 1981 championship loss to Indiana at Philadelphia.
  • UNC’s 1982 championship victory over Georgetown at New Orleans.
  • UNC’s 1983 defeat of Ohio State and its loss to Georgia in the East Regional Final played at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
  • UNC’s 1987 loss to Syracuse at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
  • UNC’s 1990 upset over number one seed Oklahoma in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
  • UNC’s 1993 national championship win over Michigan, 77–71, in New Orleans, and UNC’s games in Winston-Salem and East Rutherford, New Jersey.  It seems Morton did not photograph its opening round game versus East Carolina also played in Winston-Salem.
  • UNC’s trip to the 1995 Final Four in Seattle
  • Morton’s final trip to the NCAA tournament was to see UNC play at Indianapolis in the 1997 Final Four.

A Special Connection

Today, February 19th, marks the 94th anniversary of Hugh Morton’s birth.  Nine days from today, February 28th, would have been legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith’s 84th birthday.  As many if not most of you know, Smith passed away earlier this month on February 7th.

In between those two birthday observances will be a third celebration.  On Sunday afternoon, February 22nd, there will be a very special gathering in the Dean Smith Student Activity Center on the UNC campus to celebrate the life of Dean E,. Smith.  There will be players and former players . . . coaches and former coaches . . . students and former students.  And I choose to believe there will be a very special section that will not be visible to those of us in the arena—and Smith, Bill Friday, and Hugh Morton will be seated there.  All present will come together to honor the man who symbolizes what is known as “The Carolina Way.”

To mark all three occasions, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the special connection that exists between Hugh Morton and Dean Smith.

Dean Smith signaling "Four Corners" during his 879th, and last, victory as head basketball coach at UNC.  Hugh Morton photographed this scene during the Eastern Regional championship game played against Louisville at Syracuse, New York.

Dean Smith signaling “Four Corners” during his 879th, and last, victory as head basketball coach at UNC. Hugh Morton photographed this scene during the Eastern Regional championship game played against Louisville at Syracuse, New York.

Dean Smith, Coach, Teacher, Role Model

—chapter title in Making a Difference in North Carolina by Hugh M. Morton and Edward L. Rankin, Jr.

Soon after Dean Smith arrived on the UNC campus in 1958, he was introduced to Hugh Morton, a longtime friend of the university and its basketball program.  Three years later, when Smith was appointed head coach by Chancellor William Aycock, Smith continued the free photographic access policy that the previous head coach, Frank McGuire, had offered Hugh Morton.  Morton took advantage of that access.  Over the years Morton came up from the North Carolina coast and down from the North Carolina mountains to Chapel Hill to photograph Smith and his championship program.

At the present time, there are nearly 200 images of Smith and hundreds more Carolina basketball action shots in the online collection of photographs by Morton.

For the book Making a Difference in North Carolina, Hugh Morton contributed an eight-page chapter about his friend Dean Smith.  The piece contains eleven pictures of Smith, including one that was to become a Morton favorite.  [Editor’s note: for this occasion, we rescanned Morton’s favorite negative of Smith using our high-end Hasselblad film scanner. It’s much improved!]

Hugh Morton's favorite photograph of Dean Smith, cropped as it appears in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina. Clicking on the image will take you to the scan of the entire negative.  From there you can see other shots made by Morton in the same room, and then explore other photographs of Dean Smith.

Hugh Morton’s favorite photograph of Dean Smith, cropped as it appears in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina. Clicking on the image will take you to the scan of the entire negative. From there you can see other shots made by Morton in the same room, and then explore other photographs of Dean Smith.

In his 1996 book Sixty Years with a Camera, Morton described that famous Smith image:

My favorite picture of Dean Smith is this one (above) made right after UNC won the national championship in 1982 in New Orleans. Except for that net around James Worthy’s neck, you wouldn’t know that Carolina had won.  Everybody was wrung out and fatigued.”

Then, seven years later in his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, Morton further described the picture adding, “Sports Information Director Rick Brewer is looking at his watch, fearful that the story will not make East Coast sports page deadlines, and Coach Smith and Jimmy Black are just plain tired.  They were waiting to be interviewed by the media.”

At a slide show during UNC’s “Graduation/Reunion Weekend” in May of 1989, Morton explained how he got in position to take the famous picture.

There was mass confusion on the floor after the 1982 Championship game as the security folks tried to get Coach Smith and his team off the court.  Coach Smith grabbed me by the arm and said ‘stick with me.’ He then turned to the security guard…pointed at me and said ‘he’s with us.

An earlier blog post recounts the closing moments of that game and includes a link to the broadcast (that’s now no longer functioning) where near the very end you can see Morton on the court near Smith.

Roy Williams, Dean Smith, Bill Guthridge, and Matt Doherty during the 1993 "Final Four" NCAA tournament.

Roy Williams, Dean Smith, Bill Guthridge, and Matt Doherty during the 1993 “Final Four” NCAA tournament.

Another Hugh Morton favorite slide show photograph can be found in Hugh’s 2003 book on page 200.  The image shows Coach Smith with three other coaches that would eventually be UNC head coaches: Bill Guthridge, Matt Doherty and Roy Williams.  This photograph is discussed the blog post “Back at the Top . . . Back in the Bayou.”  On page 198 of the same book, is the opening photograph of this article, taken at the final game Dean Smith won as a Tar Heel—his final victory, number 879.

Of the many books published about Dean Smith and his basketball program, I think it’s safe to say that Hugh Morton played a part in the finished product of most of them.  An excellent example would be Barry Jacobs’s 1998 book, The World According to Dean:  Four Decades of Basketball as seen by Dean Smith.  The book contains 23 Morton photos and the front cover image. (Judging from Smith’s tie on the cover photograph, it also looks to be from his final victory game.)

On June 2, 2006, the evening following Hugh Morton’s death, WBTV, Channel 3, in Charlotte presented a special Morton tribute.  Veteran BTV broadcaster Paul Cameron anchored the program.  During the show several of Morton’s friends were interviewed including Dean Smith, live by telephone from his home in Chapel Hill. Coach spoke of Morton’s loyalty to his University and the basketball program and said, no matter what the weather, Morton always seemed to be courtside and ready for game day.  In addition, Coach Smith paid tribute to Morton’s family, his wife Julia in particular, and said he called often during Morton’s illness and spoke with him when he was able.

Since Coach Smith’s death on February 7th, there have been dozens and dozens of beautiful tributes written in newspapers and delivered on TV . . . many of which were supported by Morton images.  I choose to believe that there will be additional Morton images of Dean Smith taken Sunday afternoon.

You may use the search box at the top of the blog to search for additional  A View to Hugh blog posts that include Dean Smith.

This Saturday is a good day to go to New Bern

Carraway Gardens at Tryon Palace, New Bern, N.C.

Carraway Gardens at Tryon Palace, New Bern, N.C.

If you live in the New Bern area, there’s still time to see the exhibition “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective” at Tryon Palace—and tomorrow, Saturday February 7th, would be a good time to visit.  Why . . . ?

  • The historic sites have free admission! Saturday is “Free Day: Working 9 to 5” at Tryon Palace. Normally tickets are $20.00, but on Saturday you can explore the Governor’s Palace, historic homes, gardens and the nearby New Bern Academy Museum for no admission fee. Trade demonstrations will allow you to explore jobs and trades from eastern North Carolina’s past.
  • There will be discounted passes to the North Carolina History Center’s permanent exhibits.
  • I will be giving my talk, “Hugh Morton’s Rise to his Photographic Peak,” at 2:00.

If you are a UNC alumnus, there is also a special “meet-and-greet” reception (details and RSVP) at 1:00.  The gathering, sponsored by the University of North Carolina Alumni Association, will provide a chance for alumni to mingle and socialize, and I’ll l be there to talk and answer questions informally about the Morton collection, the Bayard Wootten photographic collection (she was a New Bern native), the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, the Wilson Special Collections Library, or photographs in general.

Can’t make it tomorrow? No worries . . . yet.  The Hugh Morton exhibition will be on display at Tryon Palace through February 22nd.

Coach “K” wins number 1000

Composite of three Hugh Morton photographs of Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski in recognition of his 1,000 career victory.

Composite of three Hugh Morton photographs of Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski in recognition of his 1,000 career victory.

With Duke’s win over St. John’s on January 25th, Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest head coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history, became the first head coach to reach 1,000 victories: 927 at Duke and 73 at Army.  Coach “K” has been the head basketball coach at Duke University since 1980.  He has four NCAA National Championships on his resume and was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Over the years Krzyzewski has often been a photo subject of Hugh Morton. In addition to the three photographs used for the composite above, there are thirteen additional photographs in the online collection.  A View to Hugh sends sincere congratulations to Coach Krzyzewski on this career milestone victory.

Hugh Morton retrospective at Tryon Palace in New Bern

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Gertrude Carraway at Tryon Palace, New Bern, North Carolina, 1962. The State named Tryon Palace administrator Gertrude Carraway its “North Carolinian of the Year” for 1962, and used a similarly posed portrait by Morton on its 5 January 1963 cover.

The exhibition “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective” opens for its fourth venue on Saturday, January 10th at the North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace, 529 South Front Street in New Bern, NC. The exhibition runs through February 22nd, which is just a few days after what would have been Morton’s 94th birthday.

Current plans call for me to give my accompanying lecture “Hugh Morton’s Rise to His Photographic Peak” and a gallery tour on Saturday, February 7th—details to follow once they become finalized.

Ambassador William C. Bullitt visits UNC, 1941

William C. Bullitt, speaking at Memorial Hall, Univeristy of North Carolina, Chael Hill, January 7, 1941. Photograph by Hugh Morton; cropped detail by blog editor.

William C. Bullitt, speaking at Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, January 7, 1941. UNC President Frank Porter Graham listening on stage in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton; crop by blog editor.

At this time of danger each American must ask himself each day not what he can get from his country but what he can give to his country, and must ask himself each night: “Have I given enough?”

—William C. Bullitt, 7 January 1941

Eleven months to the day before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor—William C. Bullitt took to the UNC Memorial Hall rostrum.  The audience filled the auditorium to capacity.  Fronted by an NBC banner and flanked by two NBC microphones, National Broadcasting Company aired his speech across the nation.  Soon thereafter, it traversed the world by shortwave.

William Christian Bullit Jr. isn’t a household name in households today, but it was during his time.  Some readers may recognize the surname from the Brinkhous-Bullitt Building on the UNC medical campus, built in 1973 and named in 1983, in part, for James B. Bullitt, who became chair of pathology in 1913.  William C. and James B. were cousins, and during his visit the former stayed at the latter’s home in Chapel Hill.

William Bullitt’s biography is much too long and complex for this blog, so please see the bibliography at the end if you want to learn more.  Bullitt is the subject of three biographies held by Davis Library.  Biographer Michael Cassella-Blackburn called him, “perhaps the most charming, thoughtful, and devious person in the interwar and early postwar years of Soviet–American relations.”

A member of Yale’s class of 1912, Bullit’s classmates voted him their “most brilliant.” He also won two of the student’s most valued social awards—a Phi Beta Kappa key and a membership on the Yale Daily News editorial board.  He was also “tapped” for a membership in the secret society Scroll and Key.  He was a member of the Mince Pie Club, a forum for wit and satire, along with his close college friend Cole Porter.  (Some sources say they co-founded the club, but there was a Hasting Eating and Mince Pie Club in the 1890s, so others can resolve that distinction.)  As a student Bullitt also overextended himself so widely that he suffered from exhaustion and had to delay his senior year to recuperate before graduating in 1913.

Bored and tormented while studying law at Harvard in 1914, Bullitt sailed to Europe in June with his mother after the passing of his father in March. They chose to visit Russia and were in Moscow when Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive of the Austria–Hungary, and Ferdinand’s wife in Sarajevo.  As the events leading to the Great War unfolded, the Bullitts left Moscow and Europe—but not until September, witnessing the early rumblings and preparations of World War I in Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, and London.  Those weeks in Europe significantly set the tone for the remainder of his life.

Returning to his hometown of Philadelphia, Bullitt soon obtained a newspaper job at The Public Ledger as a police beat reporter.  Bullitt also submitted articles on the war, and their high quality gave rise to a stellar journalistic career—so much so that President Woodrow Wilson solicited his advice on several occasions.  In December 1917 Bullitt became assistant secretary of state.  In 1919 he was a member of Wilson’s peace conference delegation and the president sent Bullitt to Russia as a special emissary to develop a peace plan with Vladimir Lenin.

In December 1923 Bullitt married Louise Bryant.  It was his second marriage, her third.  If you have seen the movie Reds (1981) then you may have recognized her name, for her second husband had been journalist John Reed—the couple portrayed by Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty—who wrote on the Russian Revolution as an insider and died in Russia in 1920.  During Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency Bullitt became the first United States ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1933, and ambassador to France in 1936.

In late July 1940 FDR asked Bullitt to deliver a foreign policy speech in Philadelphia on August 18th, knowing Bullitt would speak on the growing threat of the European war to the United States.  This would afford FDR a chance to asses the national mood.

The Bullitt quote from his call-to-action speech in Chapel Hill that begins this blog post sounds like a harbinger of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech twenty years later.  In fact, it’s a refinement from Bullit’s Philadelphia address:

When are we going to say to them [the U. S. government] that we don’t want to hear any longer about what we can get from our country, but we do want to hear what we can give to our country?

FDR and Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles vetted Bulliitt’s Philadelphia address, and had two million copies printed for distribution.  Essentially he said, “America is in danger.”  The isolationist United States Senate pillared Bullitt. The New York Times applauded.  The movement to war soon escalated.

Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact on 27 September 1940—just one week after UNC freshman Hugh Morton and fellow students walked onto campus to begin their school year, and only eight days before Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie in the presidential election that kept him in the White House for his third term. After the election, Bullitt wrote his version of the customary pro forma, post-election letter of resignation on November 7th, to which Roosevelt replied, “Resignation not accepted.”

Sometime during the fall semester, the UNC students’ International Relations Club, led by president Manfred Rogers, invited Bullitt to speak in Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall.  Originally scheduled for December 10th, the December 3rd issue of The Daily Tar Heel announced that Bullitt needed to postpone until January 7th because “of pressing duties in Washington and a physician’s order that he remain inactive for three weeks.”

Behind the scenes, however, other events offer a truer picture. Roosevelt either deliberately or accidentally placed Bullitt in a situation where he decided he had no choice but to announce his resignation as ambassador on November 13th.  As Bullitt biographers Brownwel and Billings deduced, “Roosevelt chose to be devious.”  Bullitt had come to learn indirectly that FDR was going to appoint Admiral William D. Leahy to the post.  Bullitt called the president on November 9th: “I thought you said this afternoon that I was to remain as ambassador to France and go off on holiday until December 15.  It’s [the Leahy situation] all over town now and puts me in a fine spot.” FDR replied, “Bill, believe it or not, I forgot all about it.  It’s entirely my fault.”  On December 28th Bullitt sent a note to Roosevelt asking that his resignation be accepted. On January 7, the day Bulitt spoke at UNC, FDR wrote, “Your letter of resignation as ambassador to France is before me.  It is with great reluctance that I accept it.”

As biographer’s Brownell and Billings wrote, “Once Bullitt was cut loose from the government, he spoke out loudly and often, starting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Members of the head table during the International Relations Club dinner held before William C. Bullitt's speech. Left to right are Josephus Daniels, Bullitt, IRC president Manfred Rogers, Frank Porter Graham, and two unidentified women. This cropping is almost the same as the photograph was reproduced in the Yackety Yack, with just a touch more taken off the bottom.

Members of the head table during the International Relations Club dinner held before William C. Bullitt’s speech. Left to right are Josephus Daniels, Bullitt, IRC president Manfred Rogers, Frank Porter Graham, and two unidentified women. This cropping is almost the same as the photograph was reproduced in the Yackety Yack, with just a touch more taken off the bottom.

On Saturday, January 4th, 1941 in the DTH‘s first issue following winter break, one of three top-of-the-page headlines announced, “IRC Makes Extensive Plans For Bullitt Address Tuesday.”  In the accompanying article, the IRC disclosed that many prominent North Carolinians would attend, including North Carolina Governor Clyde Hoey; Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels; Henri Haye, French Ambassador to the United States; Jonathan Daniels, editor of The News and Observer, Governor-elect J. M. Broughton; Julian Price, president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance; [UNC Professor] Archibald Henderson, head of the William Allen White Committee for the Southeast [i.e., southeast chapter of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies]; and South Carolina Governor Burnet R. Maybank.  Rogers reported that “a majority of 750 invitations mailed to city mayors and chamber of commerce officials over the state had been accepted.”  Rogers anticipated a capacity crowd and urged students to arrive early to get good seats, and he expressed their good fortune because Bullitt had selected UNC from among 250 requests from other schools and organizations.  A $1.25-a-plate banquet at the Carolina Inn at 7:00 p.m. would precede Bullit’s speech with faculty and a select group of students receiving special invitations.  Other students who wanted to attend could contact Rogers.  The women’s dormitories house mothers even granted a curfew extension until 11:00 “so that coeds could hear the speech” scheduled to begin at 9:30 (pushed to 10:00 two days later).  Rogers said Bullitt’s speech would be so important that photographers from magazines Life and Time and the Associated Press, “together with state photographers, had made plans to take pictures.”  (I reviewed issues of Life and Time published shortly after the speech and uncovered no coverage, written or photographic.)

Sunday’s DTH also had a front-page article on the upcoming speech.  Rogers stated “that recent reports from Washington” indicated that Bullitt’s talk would compliment FDR’s now-famous “Arsenal of Democracy” fireside chat on national security of December 29th.  On the morning of Bullitt’s visit, however, DTH readers learned the topic of the speech would be “America and the War.”  Bullitt was “expected to sound out specific administrative aims instead of delivering a Roosevelt-supplementary address” because the night before the president delivered his “Annual Message” to the United States Congress—known today as FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech.  The IRC moved the starting time to 10:00 so that NBC “could air the entire speech,” and dignitaries would now begin their remarks at 9:30. Ironically, state radio stations would not carry the address, but Raleigh’s WPTF would broadcast a transcription later in the evening.

Daily Tar Heel Staff Photographer Jack Mitchell got the news assignment, which took him to the airport to capture Bullitt’s arrival with the UNC welcoming committee—and two front-page photographs for the next day’s DTH.  Morton, it seems, covered Bullitt’s visit as Photography Editor for Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook.  Four surviving Morton negatives document the dinner and the speech, one of each event appear in the IRC yearbook section. The DTH reported that Bullitt met with students in the Institute of Government building at 5:30, but no surviving photographs of that event have surfaced in the Morton collection.

Full view of another negative shot at the IRC dinner.

Full view of another negative shot at the IRC dinner.

What effect did Bullitt’s speech have on UNC students?  Here are two perspectives you might want to pursue if this question interests you.  The first can be found in the DTH on the Sunday previous to Bullit’s speech.  The DTH editorial board, writing under the initials “S. R.” (likely Simons Roof) espoused non-intervention in an editorial titled, “The Shift Toward War”:

As the new year and new quarter begins at Carolina, war threatens to disrupt our scholastic life.  Around us begins the great chorus of parrot-tongues — the men who derive their catch-words from such people as William Allen White. . . . But there is another campaign we might make.  We might deny that a group of pro-war politicians have the democratic right to say you and I must torture and murder—and be tortured and murdered—in a war where we run the risk of losing everything America has gained. . . You and I are being subjected to the most dangerous war propaganda ever conceived. . . .

The second viewpoint is that of DTH Associate Editor Bill Snider, writing two days after Bullitt’s speech, under the “Light on the Hill” column:

In less than half an hour and in exciting, poetic words Mr. Bullitt began where any ordinary citizen must begin and traced the situation through to its logical conclusion.  There was nothing to obstruct, nothing to confuse.  Everywhere the statement was cryptic, dynamic, thought-provoking. . . . There had been nothing very startling in all the vibrant words. . . With clarity and imagination they helped explain the rapidly consolidating vanguard of American public opinion.  Most importantly, however, though these words advanced the procession little, they bluntly told America where she stands now, and at this moment this is certainly what America wants to know more than anything else.  For these qualities, then, William C. Bullitt’s address in Chapel Hill at the dawn of 1941 should be remembered.

This is a view of the full negatives shot but Morton that appears in the 1841 Yackety Yack, which was cropped similar to the above version, though as a square.

This is a view of the full negatives shot but Morton that appears in the 1841 Yackety Yack, which was cropped similar to the above version, though as a square. Bullitt is looking at the podium so we do not see his eyes as we do in the exposure above. On stage in the shadows are Josephus Daniels, left, Frank Porter Graham below the NBC banner, who appears to be looking straight at Morton. To Graham’s left may be R. B. House, Dean of Administration.

Bibliography

Billings, Richard N. and Will Brownell.  So Close to Greatness: the First Biography of William C. Bullitt.  New York : Macmillan; London: Collier Macmillan, 1987.

Bullitt, Orville H., editor. For the President, Personal and Secret: Correspondence Between Franklin D. Roosevelt and William C. Bullitt.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.

Bullitt Admits America Does Not Want War,Chicago Daily Tribune, 8 January 1941, page 7, column 3.

Bullitt, William C. America and the War : an address delivered in Chapel Hill on the Occasion of the Third Anniversary of the International Relations Club at the University of North Carolina, an NBC Broadcast.  Chapel Hill: Y. M. C. A., [1941].

Cassella-Blackburn, Michael.  The Donkey, The Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1942.  Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.  According to Cassella-Blackburn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has a copy of Bullitt’s entire speech at UNC in the John C. Wiley Papers (Box 6, General Correspondence, Bullitt, William C.).

Farnsworth, Beatrice. William C. Bullitt and the Soviet Union.  Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press [1967].

William C. Bullitt papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University.

Over a ten-year period, he and his friend Sigmund Freud wrote Woodrow Wilson: a Psychological Study (1966).

From the wing to the T . . . (shirt, that is)

Happy New Year from “A View to Hugh.”  On the Heels of last week’s post that included mention of SMU standout running back Doak Waker, Jack Hilliard recounts some additional Justice–Walker memories from 1950.  For some perspective, I added the excerpts from The State, and some tidbits found while looking for any use of the photographs.

UNC All America football player Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice (L) and SMU All America Doak Walker posing together, each wearing t-shirts celebrating the other's All America honors.

UNC All America football player Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice (L) and SMU All America Doak Walker posing together, each wearing t-shirts celebrating the other’s All America honors. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by blog editor. The time and place of this photograph and the one below is unknown, but the most likely candidate would be early April 1950 during the Azalea Festival weekend. Walker arrive in Wilmington in the late afternoon of March 31st. Walker and Justice were together in Jacksonville, Florida as opponents in the first ever Senior Bowl on January 7, 1950, but there is no evidence that Morton attended the game. Another possibility could have been sometime around the 1950 Cotton Bowl in Dallas in late December 1949 or early January 1950, prior to announcing their business arrangement.

When UNC played Wake Forest on October 15, 1949 my dad and I were there. We arrived in Chapel Hill about 10 o’clock on that Saturday morning and visited on Franklin Street as we always liked to do. We stopped by The Varsity Shop at 149 East Franklin.  In those days as I recall, they offered three different UNC T-shirts: one with the University logo, one that said UNC Class of 19??, and one with a Charlie Justice image that included Art Weiner, Walt Pupa, and Hosea Rodgers.  The shirts were white with Carolina blue lettering, a major contrast to the hundreds of designs today at Johnny T-shirt, Chapel Hill Sportswear, or the Shrunken Head, among others on today’s Franklin Street.  As I stood looking at the Justice shirt, my dad said “I’ll talk to Santa about one of those.”  He must have, because on Christmas morning I got one.

As the 1949 season came to a close, Justice with his brother Jack along with his good friend SMU All America Doak Walker, partnered with former Greensboro businessman George Edwards, who was president of Quality Textiles in Greenville, South Carolina, to take that T-shirt idea across North Carolina and Texas.  Both Justice and Walker were triple-threat tailbacks—Justice in Coach Carl Snavely’s single wing, and Walker in Coach Matty Bell’s double wing.  The white T-shirts came in three designs: running, passing, and kicking, with Carolina blue lettering for Charlie and SMU red lettering for Doak.

P081_NTBS3_003338Hugh Morton was hired to take publicity pictures.  Morton and Justice had been friends for a long time, and Justice and Walker had become friends while on several All America teams in ’48 and ’49.  Morton always included one of the T-shirt shots in his slide shows.

Following the ’49 bowl season, the two Saturday heroes started a series of personal appearance autograph parties. They were very careful not to enter into any kind of business venture until they had finished their college playing careers and were no longer under NCAA regulations.

Justice made his first stop at Meyer’s Department Store in downtown Greensboro on Monday January 9, 1950, one week after leading UNC in the 1950 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and two days after leading the South team to victory over Walker’s North team in the first annual Senior Bowl played in Jacksonville, Florida.  Charlie and Sarah arrived at the store about 2:15 for the 2:30 signing party.  There was already a line.  As Charlie began to sign the shirts, the line grew longer and by 3:30 with the school kids out of class, the line stretched out the door and down the sidewalk.  By 4:30, the sidewalk was filled as far as one could see and overflowed into Elm Street.  At 5:00 o’clock an estimated crowd between 2,500 and 3,000 people that were either in line or had been through the line since 2:15. Justice had worn out 6 pens signing his name. It was at this point that the Greensboro Police Department had to be called in.  I didn’t even get close to Charlie that day, but I did get a shirt which I still have.  Finally, at 5:30, they cleared the store and locked the doors.  The store created a mail order form and advertised it in the Greensboro Daily News. (No web sites in those days). The shirts sold for one dollar each and the postage was fifteen cents.

A headline in the Greensboro Daily News the next morning read, “Choo Choo Mobbed by Adoring Fans.” A front page, four-column story by Daily News staff writer Larry Hirsch was accompanied by two pictures, one of which was titled “The Meyer’s Bowl.” There is also a picture of the Greensboro signing party in the 1958 Bob Quincy–Julian Scheer book Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story.  In a 1984 interview Justice recalled, “I had hoped to sign a few autographs and help Ken Blair, manager over at Meyer’s sell a few T-shirts.”

Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice autographing a T-shirt at J. C. Penny's department store, Burlington, N. C. , on 11 January 1950.  Photograph by Edward J. McCauley, cropped by blog editor.

Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice autographing a T-shirt at J. C. Penny’s department store, Burlington, N. C. , on 11 January 1950. Photograph by Edward J. McCauley, cropped by blog editor.

Two days later, on January 11, Justice was at the J. C. Penney Company in Burlington for another autograph party—a party that was documented by Morton photographic contemporary Edward J. McCauley and his images from that day are also in the North Carolina Collection at UNC.  Woody Durham, the “Voice of the Tar Heels,” likes to tell about being at that party in Burlington.

Crowd of children waiting for Charlie Justice for an autograph.  Photograph by Edward J. McCauley.

Crowd of children waiting to see Charlie Justice for an autograph. Photograph by Edward J. McCauley, cropped by blog editor.

In the 14 January 1950 issue of The State, the magazine’s editorial staff asked readers for nominations for their “North Carolina’s Man of the Year” award for 1949.  They wrote,

Pick out some man and then weigh him in the balance.  Compare the good things he has done with others that might not be so good.  Decide whether he has been an influence for those things which tend to promote the welfare of North Carolina and its people.  It is on that basis that the selection should be made.

Two weeks later, the January 28th issue of the The State hit magazine racks and mail boxes across North Carolina.  On the cover: the Charlie Justice family, photographed by Hugh Morton.

TheState_19500128_coverInside the magazine, editors noted that Justice and Governor W. Kerr Scott received the most mention from readers.  The editors expounded on their selection of Justice (which you can read in its entirety by clicking on the magazine cover above):

. . . there are two major classes of people in North Carolina—the young and the old.  Both are important.  Perhaps the young are more important because they still have the major portion of their lives ahead of them.  Charlie Justice has been an inspiration to many thousands of boys and girls in North Carolina.  You’d be surprised to know how many of them keep scrap-books about him.  They actually swap pictures, just as we used to swap cigarette pictures fifty years or so ago.

Summarizing they listed their reasons for their selection:

  1. He has been the finest kind of an inspiration and example to the youth of North Carolina.
  2. He has provided many hours of pleasurable entertainment to hundreds of thousands of people.
  3. He has given North Carolina national publicity of a most favorable nature.
  4. He has been unselfish in his willingness to be of service in may worthy causes.
  5. He has never been to busy to be nice to kids.

A few days after the Man-of-the-Year issue of The State, on February 3rd, Justice attended another autograph party, this one at Belk-Tyler’s in Rocky Mount.

A bit later in 1950, Doak Walker was having similar successful autograph parties in the Dallas–Fort Worth area of Texas.  On April 14, 1950, he appeared on the evening news on KBTV, Channel 8 in Dallas promoting his autograph party at Titche-Goettinger the following day. The store also set up a mail order and phone-in ad in the Dallas Morning News. A. Harris & Company set up a mail-order blank for the shirts in the “News” as well.  The Robert I. Cohen department store place an advertisement in the April 15th edition of the Galveston Daily News that read, “Hey Fellas, (gals, too) Be the first in your gang to wear a DOAK WALKER TEE SHIRT $1.” The advertisement gave a description of the three pictures styles, included a drawing of a lad wearing the running shirt and a note that “Phone and Mail Orders Accepted”—plus an announcement they would be giving away ten autographed footballs when “The Doaker will be here personally for an autograph party Saturday, April 19th.  Don’t miss him.”  Another advertisement with a drawing of a kid wearing the passing T-shirt ran in the 23rd issue of the newspaper.  Several weeks later, a May 27th Cohen advertisement for a one-day, end-of-the-month clearance sale priced the T-shirts at 88¢.

It not clear how widely Morton’s photographs were used for publicity.  I have pasted in one of my Charlie Justice scrapbooks, a newspaper picture of the Morton image that shows both wearing the shirt with both player pictures and the caption reads:

Two pals certain to succeed when their classes graduate in June are Charlie Justice left the Carolina All America, and Doak Walker right SMU’s All America. They’ve already gone into business for themselves as witness the shirts. They plan a personal appearance tour together after graduation.

I can’t tell which newspaper or the date of the clipping. Likely it would have been The Greensboro Daily News, sometime after January 2nd and before June of 1950.  I don’t believe the joint tour took place because it was scheduled to begin after Carolina’s final regular season game with Virginia on November 26th, but since they got the ’50 Cotton Bowl bid, the joint tour was canceled. I don’t believe it was ever rescheduled. Surveying various Texas and North Carolina newspapers for 1950 that are available online did not yield an answer.

The Justice jerseys were available into the following football season, too.  Quality Textiles placed advertisements in game-day programs that listed stores in North Carolina and Virginia that sold the shirts.  Rather than using the Justice/Walker photographs, the ad used photograph of a young boy and girl holding hands while wearing Justice jerseys.  The photograph shows that the manufacturer also made a long sleeve polo shirt, which may explain why they choose to make different image.

Thirty-four years after the T-shirt’s debut, in August of 1984, I was assigned to direct a Charlie Justice documentary produced by Winston-Salem TV producer David Solomon.  (Many may remember Solomon as having worked with Hugh Morton on the 1994 PBS documentary The Search for Clean Air.) As part of the promotion campaign for the Justice program, the 1949 Choo Choo T-shirt was replicated and given to the media to promote the program, “All the Way Choo Choo.”  This time I got Charlie to autograph my shirt.