When Hope and Holshouser golfed at Grandfather

Morton's negative of Hope, Holshouser, Westmoreland, Roberts, and Kletcke.

Scan from Hugh Morton’s 35mm negative of Bob Hope, North Carolina Governor James Holshouser, General William C. Westmoreland, Cliff Roberts, and Robert Kletcke. The gentleman on the far left is unidentified. Can anyone identify him?

Earlier this month, Jack Hilliard wrote a post about the 1974 Singing on the Mountain and sent it to me for publication in time for this year’s Singing on Sunday, June 24.  As I began proofing and fact checking the text and looking for images, some of the then-known details about a particular photograph weren’t falling in line, so I decide to do a bit of research to set the matter straight.  What evolved is this parallel to Jack’s post. If you are arriving at this post first, it may be better to read his first (linked below).

As I discovered today, while preparing Jack Hilliard’s post about the 1974 Singing on the Mountain, that the above photograph by Hugh Morton was not made in June 1974 as was previously believed.  Several newspapers published the photograph in their Sunday editions for June 23, 1974, the day of the Singing.  One newspaper was the Greensboro Daily News as seen below.  Notice the cropping compared to the full-frame negative above.

Hope, Holshouser, and Westmoreland showing newspaper crop

Photograph as it appeared in the Greensboro Daily News on Sunday, June 23. The caption reads, “Bob Hope, Gov. James Holshouser, and former Gen. William Westmoreland play golf while awaiting the advent today of the 50th anniversary of the Singing on the Mountain held annually at Grandfather Mountain.”

While researching Jack’s post, the logistics of Bob Hope traveling back and forth between Asheville and Linville wasn’t making much sense to me.  So, I dug into newspapers.com to see if I could find any clues.  Yep, another Morton Mystery arose: the same photograph published in The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, South Carolina had a much more explanatory caption:

Times and Democrat photograph and caption reveals date is 1973

The same photograph ran in several newspapers, but with different captions. This version in The Times and Democrat published in Orangeburg, South Carolina reveals that Morton made the photograph the previous year.

Turns out Morton made the photograph a year earlier!  Back to newspapers.com to solve this mystery!

According to The Asheville Citizens staff writer Jay Hensley in his June 13, 1973 article titled “Governor Meets King of Quips,” Hugh Morton arranged a golf match to be played on the back nine holes at Grandfather Golf and Country Club on June 12, 1973.  Morton paired North Carolina Governor James Holshouser and comedian Bob Hope to play against Clifford Roberts and Robert Kletcke—respectively, the president and golf pro of Augusta National Golf Course.

As cropped in the newspaper, one gets the impression that Hope, Westmoreland, Holshouser, and one other person identified only by a hand holding a golf club made up a foursome before, during, or after playing a round. (As we see from the full image, that hand belongs to Roberts.)

What was the purpose behind the outing? Hensley’s article does not say directly, but he does report the background around it.  Holshouser and Hope apparently had played a round of golf on some previous occasion with Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.  Hope and his wife Dolores were guests of General Westmoreland at the country club, there for a “short visit.”  Westmoreland wanted to offer his guests complete relaxation during their stay, but Hope enjoyed the outing nonetheless.  Hope’s wife Dolores, Hugh Morton’s sister Agnes, and Raleigh attorney Camelia Trot played in a group after the men.

Again according to Hensley, Holshouser “broke off from a Tuesday meeting of the Southern Regional Education Board” being held in Hot Springs, Virginia. Linville is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Hot Springs, so it was quite a break off unless traveling by air.

Westmoreland was nursing an injured right arm, so he didn’t even play.  Instead, he “restricted his activities to putting around the golf course.”  A caption in a photograph published in the June 15 edition of the newspaper described the group, however, as a fivesome.

Here are two quips Hope offered during the round:

  • “Smile and they’ll think we are winning,” he said to Holshouser.
  • “I thought this course was named for me until I met you,” he told Clifford Roberts.  Roberts was 79 year old at the time, Hope 70.

 

 

 

When Johnny and June sang on the mountain

On June 24, 2018, the ninety-fourth “Singing on the Mountain” will take place at MacRae Meadows at the foot of Grandfather Mountain.  This all-day gospel sing and fellowship goes back to 1925 when members of the Linville Methodist Church decided to have a Sunday picnic in this special western North Carolina location.  One hundred and fifty people attended that first gathering.  From that small beginning, the annual event has grown into the largest annual religious singing convention in the mountains of the South, and over the years many famous speakers and singers have participated.

To celebrate this year’s anniversary, I (unexpectedly!) teamed up with Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard to look back forty-four years to the Singing’s fiftieth celebration when Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash were featured guests along with a few other celebrities.

Johnny Cash, Maybelle Carter, and others performing at the June 1974 Singing on the Mountain

Johnny Cash, Maybelle Carter, and others performing at the June 1974 “Singing on the Mountain” gospel festival at Grandfather Mountain, with crowd in foreground and Grandfather Mountain peaks in background.

On their way to the fiftieth annual “Singing on the Mountain” at Grandfather Mountain, Johnny Cash and family staged a concert at Greensboro’s War Memorial Auditorium on Saturday night, June 22, 1974.  According to the Greensboro Daily News, the show’s line-up comprised Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, the Cash daughters, and Carl Perkins, plus Johnny Cash’s backing band The Tennessee Three.

The Cash troupe then went on to Grandfather Mountain where it was cold, cloudy, and misty. The weather didn’t seem to keep anyone away: an estimated crowd of more than 60,000 turned out for the day, which began at 9:00 Sunday morning.  By mid-morning the North Carolina Highway Patrol halted all traffic into the area from the Blue Ridge Parkway because attendees had taken all of the parking spaces within three miles of MacRea Meadows.

Another one of the featured guests for the 1974 Singing was Bob Hope.  He, too, performed the previous evening as the debut performance for the new Asheville Civic Center.  It was the silver anniversary of his performance at the Asheville City Center to a crowd of 1,500 on April 24, 1949.  Joining Hope back then was “freckle-faced singer” Doris Day, who launched her film career the previous year; comedienne Irene Ryan, who appeared with Hope during his military tours and would become better known several years later for her role as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies; the tumblers Titan Duo, and a local performer, “Skeeter” Byrant (whose findagrave.com entry currently displays a photograph of her on stage with Hope). Hope was then on a fifteen-state, twenty-city tour.  Twenty-five years later, Hope drew an audience of 6,000 for his 1974 performance.

Many Sunday morning newspapers on June 23 published a Hugh Morton photograph of Bob Hope, North Carolina Governor James Holshouser (a native of nearby Boone), and General William C. Westmoreland (a South Carolinian with a summer home near Asheville) including the Greensboro Daily News seen below.  Before Jack submitted his text for this post, the date of that photograph was believed to be June 1974, some time close to the Singing.  Preparing this post, however, led to a new yet unknown “Morton Mystery.”  For the story behind that photograph, made a year earlier in June 1973, see a twin blog post to this one titled, “When Hope and Holshouser golfed at Grandfather.”

Hope, Holshouser, and Westmoreland showing newspaper crop

Photograph as it appeared in the Greensboro Daily News on Sunday, June 23, 1974. The caption reads, “Bob Hope, Gov. James Holshouser, and former Gen. William Westmoreland play golf while awaiting the advent today of the 50th anniversary of the Singing on the Mountain held annually at Grandfather Mountain.” Morton actually made the photograph a year earlier.

Hope stated that his 1974 appearance at the Singing fulfilled a promise he had made to servicemen from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia during his WWII troop entertainment days when he told them he would revisit their annual “homecoming in the hills” during peace time.  As Hope walked off the temporary rock stage, the crowd shouted his theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.”  Hope’s visit was also a reunion with Hugh Morton who had photographed Hope in the South Pacific during 1944 (and, as it turns out, in Linville at Grandfather Golf and Country Club in 1973).

Also on the musical bill was Arthur Smith and his Crossroads Quartet making their twenty-seventh appearance at Singing and on this day he brought along George Hamilton IV.  (A Hugh Morton photograph of Hamilton performing with Smith exists, but the actual date is uncertain.)

At 1:00 p.m., North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser delivered the key note address.  His message was simple: “For fifty years now people have gathered here to sing and have fun but, maybe most of all, to experience that feeling of getting up here in the mountains and getting close to God.”

Johnny Cash during 1974 Singing on the Mountain

Johnny Cash and band members on stage during the 1974 Singing on the Mountain. Hugh Morton used this photograph in his book Making a Difference In North Carolina to help illustrate the chapter on the annual outdoor music festival.

Then at 1:30, it was time for Johnny Cash, his wife June Carter Cash, and the Cash family singers with Mother Maybell Carter to take the stage. For two and a half hours they entertained and inspired the assembled crowd. “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison,” and “The Orange Blossom Special,” just to name a few tunes that had the crowd shouting for more.  At one point, Johnny looked out over the huge crowd and marveled at how they stayed through the unfavorable weather.  He then turned to guitarist Carl Perkins and said, “My kind of people.”

Later Cash talked a bit about the fiftieth anniversary of the gathering and then told the crowd that it was his wife’s birthday.  The crowd went wild.  And in the crowd was Hugh Morton’s wife Julia, who immediately started planning a birthday party.

Following the performance, Cash was interviewed and said: “I enjoyed this day more than any concert in years.  First, because of such a cross section of America out there.  All ages, all walks of life. It was good for me as an entertainer to give my time, especially to such an audience.”

June Carter Cash cuts birthday cake

June Carter Cash smiles for Hugh Morton’s camera as she cuts her birthday cake, while Julia Morton stands ready to assist and Johnny Cash wonders if Time’s A Wastin’.

The birthday party on the deck at the Morton’s home on Grandfather Mountain Lake proved to be a fun evening with all the Cash family, the band, and many of Morton’s friends like Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks.  Ten years later, Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash recalled the Grandfather Mountain party as one of the happiest outings the Johnny Cash family ever had.  According to Morton, “Johnny Cash became enthralled by hummingbirds coming to the deck feeder.  Rarely have the tiny birds been so bold, flying within inches of Cash’s head as he sat on the deck railing.”  Cash also seemed to enjoy the bear habitat at Grandfather Mountain.  Morton made five exposures of him feeding the bears.

Johnny Cash feeding bears at Grandfather Mountain

One of five exposures made by Hugh Morton depicting Johnny Cash feeding the bears at Grandfather Mountain.

One of Hugh Morton’s often reproduced pictures is the one showing Johnny Cash holding the United States flag and in 1988 Morton told the story behind the famous image.

Johnny Cash, June 23, 1974

Johnny Cash, June 23, 1974

“As Johnny Cash and I were walking across the Swinging Bridge, he asked, ‘How many flags does the wind destroy each year at Grandfather Mountain?’ When I told him several, he said, ‘I do a recitation of a poem I wrote called That Ragged Old Flag, and I’d love to have the most ragged Grandfather Mountain flag you’ve got.’ Cash has it, and we are mighty pleased he asked.”

Morton used the famous photograph as the title page to the “people” section of his 2006 book, Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer.

Post script

A quick pic made from Hugh Morton’s executive planner for Sunday, June 23, 1974:

Hugh Morton executive planner entry for Sunday, June 23, 1974

Hugh Morton executive planner entry for Sunday, June 23, 1974

There are no entries for Saturday; “Cash party” is written in a darker pencil than “Sing on Mtn” and “Bob Hope” so Morton probably wrote it at a different time.

As mentioned in the above story, Bob Hope was the debut performance at the brand new Asheville Civic Center on June 22, the evening before the 1974 Singing.  What was that venue’s second act? The Johnny Cash Band on Monday, June 24.

Robert F. Kennedy attends Terry Sanford’s gubernatorial inauguration

On June 6, 1968—fifty years ago today—Robert Francis Kennedy died nearly twenty-six hours after being fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  Seven years earlier—on January 5, 1961—Hugh Morton photographed Kennedy during a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Robert F. Kennedy and wife Ethel

Robert F. Kennedy seated with his wife Ethel during the inauguration of North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, 5 January 1961. (Note: this photograph links to the record for this image in the online Morton collection, where for many years it is has been incorrectly displayed, laterally reversed.)

On that day, Kennedy sat on the platform in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium watching the inauguration of North Carolina’s sixty-fifth governor, Terry Sanford.  Fifteen days later, Kennedy’s brother John would be sworn in as the country’s thirty-fifth president.

Hugh Morton also attended Sanford’s swearing-in ceremony.  Morton had served as Publicity Director for the election campaign of outgoing governor Luther H. Hodges in 1956.  During Hodges’ administration, Morton served as the chair of the State Advertising Committee and as a member of the State Board of Conservation and Development.  His credentials provided Morton access to a likely restricted area for the event.

During the inauguration ceremony and Sanford’s ensuing address, Morton photographed with a 120 format roll film camera.  He worked predominately from a distance, positioned high up on stage left. He mostly photographed the audience and other officials taking their oaths of office, and Sanford from behind while centered amid the crowd.  There are ten negatives extent from the event.  In Morton’s negatives, you can see another photographer on the dais in front of the podium during their oaths.  Unbeknownst to Morton, his focus for those negatives was off badly.  On the very last frame of that roll of film (frame 12), he captured the above close up of Robert F. Kennedy with his wife Ethel.  They were seated on right side of the stage, suggesting Morton made the cross-stage trip specifically to make that photograph.

Outside, Morton switched to 35mm film.  There are forty-seven surviving 35mm negatives from that day.  Two depict Robert Kennedy, likely after the swearing-in ceremony but before Hodges and Sanford made their way into an awaiting convertible.  One of the two those two negatives is shown below.  Morton also made a 120 format color negative of the two governors seated inside the convertible (not scanned, but published in the book Making A Difference in North Carolina) that is also extant.

Robert F. Kennedy with Luther Hodges and Terry Sanford

Robert F. Kennedy (center) with Luther H. Hodges on his right and Terry Sanford on his left amid a crowd during Sanford’s inauguration.

Why was Robert Kennedy attending the inauguration of a North Carolina governor?  A four-part story in A View to Hugh from 2011 titled “A Spark of Greatness” recounts John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in North Carolina during the 1960 election, drawn mostly from John Drescher’s book Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation and Reshaped the South.  A Spark of Greatness—Part 3 sets the stage for RFK’s return to NC for Sanford’s inauguration.  That account, however, is really only part of the story.  In terms of the presidential election, Robert Kennedy stated that “North Carolina was the most pleasant state to win for me.”  But he played a minor controversial role in Sanford’s election, too.

Sanford met with Robert Kennedy during his gubernatorial primary campaign—reluctantly, but he did so as a favor to Louis Harris, his pollster and a fellow UNC alumnus. (Sanford received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941, Harris received his BA in 1942, and Hugh Morton was a member of the class of 1943.)  Sanford had begun building a relationship with the Kennedys during the election season, but had not yet decided if he would endorse John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson.  Their meeting was to be private.  It took place during the first part of June in Raleigh at the College Inn.  Sanford was impressed with Robert Kennedy’s organizational skills.  Sanford left the meeting without making a commitment, but he was now convinced John Kennedy would defeat Johnson.

During a press conference on June 13, a UPI reporter asked Sanford if he had met with Kennedy.  Sanford said he had not.  Sanford thought the reporter asked about John Kennedy but realized he had meant to say Robert.  Within a week newspapers carried stories about the meeting between Sanford and Robert Kennedy.  Sanford later regretted that he did not give a more forthright answer, one that acknowledged that he had not met with JFK but had met with RFK.  The political news was soon filled with stories that questioned, among various other scenarios, if Sanford had something to hide—particularly a promise to endorse Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention.

In his book Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambitions, Howard Covington recounts how Sanford made his way into the White House prior to the funeral service for John F. Kennedy.  Sanford attempted to gain access to the White House, but police physically thwarted his attempt despite his being a governor.  He finally convinced the police to escort him inside as if he was under arrest.  Once inside, Sanford spoke briefly to Robert Kennedy, then left.

Three months before the JFK assassination, Robert Kennedy had written a letter to Sanford, according to Covington, “to commend him on his management of difficult times.”  Kennedy wrote, “You have always shown leadership in this effort, which could well be followed by many chief executives in the north as well as in your part of the nation.”  Kennedy had written a post script at the bottom of his letter: “I hope I am not causing you too much trouble down there.  Just deny you ever met me.  That is the only advice I can think to give you.  Bob.”  In a note back to Robert Kennedy, Terry Sanford wrote: “I haven’t denied you yet.”

The 1983 “Mello Yello 300”

A couple of recent media reports indicate that stock car racing as we have known it since the late 1940s might be undergoing some changes. It has been reported that NASCAR’s founding-family, the France family, is looking for a buyer. On a different track, a couple of weeks back on May 12th, NASCAR’s “King” Richard Petty sold, in his words, “a bunch of stuff,” (more than 170 items) from his memorabilia collection, including his iconic No. 43 Day-Glo red and Petty Blue 1974 Dodge Charger, considered one of the most historically important cars in NASCAR history. It sold for $490,000  So with changes looming overhead, NASCAR heads into its big 2018 twin bill weekend in Charlotte with the Alsco 300 on Saturday and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.

Back on October 10, 2014, A View to Hugh featured the 1971 “National 500” at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  We noted that, while High Morton is famous for his sports photography, there aren’t many NASCAR events represented in his portfolio.

Then about this time last May, Jack Hilliard wrote a post about the 1983 “World 600” at CMS. While writing the post he thought there were images from that race in the Morton collection, but after careful study, I determined that the suspected “World 600” images were actually from a “600” preliminary race: the 1983 “Mello Yello 300.” Our post, titled “Back at the Track,” turned out to be a “Morton Mystery” solver.  Thirty-five years ago, on May 28, 1983, Morton actually was present to photograph a Late-Model-Sportsman race at the famous speedway.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that rare occasion when Morton documented the 1983 “Mello Yello 300.”

Mello Yello 300

Dale Earnhardt in the yellow “Wrangler” is one car length ahead of Neil Bonnett in Car #75. Pole winner Morgan Shepard pilots the white car (#7) in the third position. In fourth, driving the white and green car (#28), is Harry Gant. The fifth is car (#17) is driven by Bill Elliott.

On Friday, May 27, 1983, Late Model Sportsman driver Morgan Shepherd (Car #7) from Conover, North Carolina literally dodged the rain drops to win the pole position for the 300 mile race to be run the following day. Shepherd’s speed of 161.565 miles-per-hour beat Neil Bonnett (Car #75), who would start on the outside front row with a speed of 160.598. Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Dale Earnhardt (Car #15), Harry Gant (Car #28), and Bill Elliott (Car #17). Twenty additional positions had been filled the day before on Thursday, May 26th.

The rain drops were gone on Saturday, May 28th as 75,000 race fans came out for the “Mello Yello 300.”  Dale Earnhardt (Car #15), from nearby Kannapolis, took the lead from Neil Bonnett (Car #75) on the second lap. Earnhardt held the lead for fifteen laps. Then, Bonnett, Earnhardt, and Harry Gant (Car #28) took turns sharing the lead until lap 50, when Earnhardt made an unscheduled pit stop under green.  His stop cost him a lap. He would say after the race, “I thought we had a tire going bad.”  But the problem was actually a handling issue which the Earnhardt team battled most of the afternoon.

Pole sitter Morgan Shepherd (Car #7) exited the race on lap 53, suffering a broken shock mount on the rear end of his Oldsmobile.  With Earnhardt a lap down, it was Bonnett and Gant playing leap frog with the lead. Then On lap 76, a crash took out the current Late Model points leader, Asheboro’s Sam Ard (Car #00). Three laps later, on lap 79, Earnhardt got his lap back.

On lap 93, Bill Elliott (Car #17) took over the lead for 26 laps before Gant got back in front on lap 119. But by lap 100, Earnhardt had gotten back into second place and then on lap 136 he took over the lead for good leading the final 64 laps to take the win, beating Neil Bonnett by about 5 seconds. The winning speed for Earnhardt’s yellow and blue Wrangler Pontiac was 117.724 miles per hour. For his win, he got $9,100 and overall he led 83 of the 200 laps run.

Mello Yello 300

Dale Earnhardt in his yellow “Wrangler” (#15) and Neil Bonnett in the white car with red roof (#75) coming out of turn four.

Earnhardt battled Bonnett a good part of the afternoon, which Morton captured from his position high above the track.  Bonnett, who led the race 7 times for 61 laps, said “I felt pretty good out there until the last restart when we felt a valve spring breaking.”  For Earnhardt, this particular victory was a breakthrough since he had never before won this race, having twice finished second. Neil Bonnett would go on to win the 1983 “World 600” the next day with Earnhardt finishing 5th.

Addendum by Stephen Fletcher

unknown race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Want to help solve a “Morton Mystery?” The slide above is different from the rest of the slides in lot PTCM2_8894.  The first eleven slides in the set are in Kodak cardboard mounts numbered between 9 and 21; the slide above, however, is in a Pakon plastic mount with dot-matrix printing that reads, “D.H.  600-39” and [slide number] “29.”  The large infield logo seen above (detail below) is not in the infield seen in the opening image of last year’s post.  Can anyone identify the race in the above image?  Is it a different year of the 600?  Is “D.H.” the initials of another photographer? (There are several images in the Morton collection by other photographers.)  Please let us know what you think!

infield logo detail

Detail Skoal #33 and Quaker State cars

A festival like no other . . . the beginning

The 71st annual North Carolina Azalea Festival will take place in Wilmington beginning today, April 11th, and will run through the 15th, 2018. Thousands of visitors will gather in the port city to take part in the city’s premier event.  In addition to the millions of beautiful flowers, there will be a wide variety of entertainment, a parade, and the famous crowning ceremony of Queen Azalea LXXI . . . just as it has been since 1948.  Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to 1948 and the beginning of this North Carolina tradition.

When Hugh Morton presented his slide shows across North Carolina, he almost always included slides from the first Azalea Festival. In addition to his magnificent photography, he would add a few light-hearted remarks about how he became the point-man for that first event in 1948. According to Morton, the story went something like this.

Prominent Wilmington physician Dr. Houston Moore had an idea as far back as 1934 to celebrate Wilmington’s magnificent azaleas. Then in the early 1940s he came up with the festival idea.  In 1947 he invited Wilmington’s major civic clubs to select one or two representatives to attend a festival organizational meeting.  Morton was there representing the Wilmington Jaycees.  April, 1948 was selected for that first festival. When the second planning session was held, Morton was out of town on business, but when he returned he learned that he had been elected president for the first festival.  Morton said he respectfully declined, but Dr, Moore was a very persuasive gentlemen, so Morton took charge and put his magnificent public relation skills to work on the first annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, held April 9h through April 11th, 1948.

Jacqueline White and E. L. White.

Jacqueline White, Queen of the first annual North Carolina Azalea Festival in 1948, on the back of a train, shaking hands with Wilmington mayor E. L. White.

The unofficial celebration for the first festival got underway at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 8th with the arrival of Queen Azalea I: Jacqueline White, RKO movie actress from Hollywood.  Wilmington mayor E. L. White and a formal reception committee . . . plus a long line of autograph-seekers greeted Miss White at the Atlantic Coast Line train station.  She very graciously signed and spoke with many in the long line.

Jacqueline White signing autographs

1948 Azalea Festival Queen Jacqueline White, standing in the doorway of a train car, signing autographs for crowd.

Later that evening, Wilmingtonians greeted a second queen, Mrs. Barbara Randall, who had been selected “Queen for a Day” on the Mutual Radio broadcast the preceding day.  A trip to Wilmington was part of her prize.

Friday, April 9th was a beautiful spring day as a festival spirit filled the city.  Flower shows and visits to the famed Greenfield Park, Orton Plantation, and Airlie Gardens were high on the priority list.  At 11:45 a.m., ABC Radio’s Ted Malone broadcasted his nationwide radio program from a platform set up in front of Community Center.  A crowd of about 2,000 turned out for the broadcast.

On Friday evening, more than 4,000 people turned out for a band concert at Legion Stadium, featuring the New Hanover High School Band.  Following the band concert, the New Hanover High School Choral groups performed along with the Atlantic Coast Line Choral performers.  In all more than 600 musicians took part in the concert. The evening’s festivities closed with a community sing along, concluding with the “Hallelujah Chorus” from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah.

Long before the parade moved off from Front and Castle Streets at 11:04 a.m. on Saturday, April 10th, a huge crowd was in place for prime viewing.  The mile-long parade of sixteen floats, five marching bands and two military units, with Queen Jacqueline near the front.  The parade made its way through downtown, passing North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry, Mayor White, and Queen Barbara Randall seated at the official viewing stand at City Hall and then back to its point of origin.

The closing and festival highlight event was held in Lumina Hall at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday evening. At that time, Queen Jacqueline was officially crowned by North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry.

One of Hugh Morton’s favorite Azalea Festival photographs from the 1948 event was that of Governor Cherry crowning Queen Jacqueline.  A close look at the image shows the governor has the crown upside down. Morton loved to explain how that misstep occurred.

Governor Cherry came down to crown our first azalea queen, Jacqueline White of RKO Radio Pictures.  He had been in the National Guard with a group of Wilmingtonians, with whom he felt he always had to have a drink. (A separate toast for each Guard member.)  When time for the coronation arrived, the Governor was ‘toasted-out’ and a bit unstable on his feet as he put the crown on upside down.  Master of ceremonies, Carl Goerch publisher of The State and Chairman of the coronation ball, died a thousand deaths.

R. Gregg Cherry crowns Jacqueline White.

North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry crowns the first Queen of the Wilmington Azalea Festival, Jacqueline White.

Queen Jacqueline smiled and kept her composure as the crown was then placed correctly on her head.  Following the coronation there was dancing with music by Bob Astor and his orchestra.  At day’s end, “it was quite an evening for Hugh Morton,” as author Susan Taylor Block said in her 2004 book, Belles & Blooms: Cape Fear Garden Club and the North Carolina Azalea Festival.  “He had ushered Dr. Moore’s dream into reality and witnessed the crowning event in Lumina, the pavilion created by his grandfather, Hugh MacRae, and named by his mother Agnes.”

Fifty-five years later, in a 2003 interview, Morton described that first festival.  “When the first Azalea Festival took place in April 1948 the gardens were at peak beauty, the weather was perfect, and the Festival cleared $5,000, a profit we knew we had to have or we would never see the second Festival.”

Today, the North Carolina Azalea Festival continues in its 71st year as a festival like no other.

Epilog

Another of Hugh Morton’s most reproduced photographs from the 1948 Azalea Festival was his image of Queen Jacqueline White seated under the Airlie Oak.

Jacqueline White sitting under the Airlie Oak.

First Azalea Festival Queen Jacqueline White sitting under the Airlie Oak at Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, N.C.

When the Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in the spring of 1972, Jacqueline White Anderson returned as a special guest. And, as you might expect, Hugh Morton took her over to the Arlie Oak for yet another memorable photograph.

You can see more than 150 Azalea Festival photographs made by Hugh Morton in the online collection, plus explore even more by searching through the Morton collection finding aid.

Jacqueline White in 1972

First Azalea Queen Jacqueline White in 1972.

UNC’s first NCAA Division I Tournament in Charlotte

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.

Walter Davis shooting jump shot

Walter Davis elevates and shoots beyond the reach a New Mexico State defender during first round action in the 1975 NCAA Division I Championship Tournament played at the Charlotte Coliseum. UNC’s Mitch Kupchak watches Davis’s shot in anticipation. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

In 1975, the UNC men’s basketball team found itself in the NCAA Tournament once again—not because it was yet another year in a long string of consecutive appearances, but because the team did not make the big dance the previous two years. Charlotte hosted the East Regional games in 1973, which was the final year of the NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament; UNC, however, was MIA because they played in the NIT in NYC.  There they finished in third place, making it to the semifinals but losing to Notre Dame 78–71, but defeating the other semifinal loser, Alabama, 88–69.  The next year, 1974, also found the Tar Heels playing in the NIT, but they were one-and-done with an eleven-point loss to Purdue, 82–71 in their first contest.

UNC entered the 1975 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament after capturing the ACC Tournament as the second seed with three narrow victories.  They defeated, in order, seventh seed Wake Forest in overtime, 101–100; third seed Clemson in overtime, 76-71; and fourth seed North Carolina State, 70–66.

The 1975 NCAA Tournament was the first to field thirty-two teams without first round byes, and the second that officially determined the Division I champion.  Two cities hosted the first round games for the East region: Charlotte and Philadelphia.  UNC played its first round opponent, New Mexico State, at the Charlotte Coliseum on March 15.  New Mexico State had finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference behind Louisville.  Also playing in Charlotte that day was Furman University against Boston College.  The winners of both these games would head to Providence, Rhode Island for the Eastern Regionals.

With the game just down the road, Hugh Morton was court-side in the coliseum with his camera, capturing Phil Ford, Mitch Kupchak, Mickey Bell, and Walter Davis on black-and-white film.  Eleven negatives survive, five of which can be seen on the online collection of Morton’s photographs.  The Tar Heels easily handled the Aggies, 93–69.  Boston College was also victorious, defeating Furman, 82–76.  Both victors headed off to the Ocean State for their Thursday Eastern Regional semifinals: UNC versus Syracuse and Boston College against Kansas State.

UNC and Syracuse hadn’t played against each other since the Tar Heel’s perfect 32–0 season in 1957.  The twentieth ranked Orangemen from Syracuse upset the sixth ranked Tar Heels in a close game, 78–76.  Boston College fell at the hands of Kansas State 74–65.  Back then, the regional losers played a third-place game, so both teams hung around until Saturday, when UNC whipped BC 110–90.

Morton did not make the journey to Providence, so the only 1975 NCAA Tournament photographs in the collection are those from the first round game played in Charlotte.

Correction 20 March 2018: The post initially stated UNC defeated number-one seed Maryland, 87–85 in the second round of the 1975 ACC Tournament.  UNC defeated Clemson, 76–71, not Maryland.  North Carolina State defeated Maryland, 87–85.

Who am I? with a Cherry on the side

R. Gregg Cherry with unidentified group.

Seated on the sofa is North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry, who was governor from 1945–1949. The date of this photograph is unknown.

I am working with some Hugh Morton negatives today, and I just came across one that seems to be misidentified or misfiled.  Morton filed this unidentified negative amidst those of other negatives he pulled together when compiling images for the book Making a Difference in North Carolina—a book we have referred to many times here at A View to Hugh.  One slight problem: Morton filed this negative among those for Governor J. Melville Broughton and he’s not depicted.  Instead we see a different North Carolina governor, R. Gregg Cherry, seated on a sofa surrounded by eleven other people.  Who are they . . . and where and why are they gathered?

Here are a couple guesses to get started:

  • The person seated in the middle of the scene looking down and away from the camera looks like John W. Harden.  In Making a Difference in North Carolina, his chapter is titled, “John W. Harden: PR Pioneer, Noted Communicator.” A caption under one of the photographs in the book notes that Harden served on the State Board of Conservation and Development—a board on which Hugh Morton also served.
  • The man on the far left looks like Bill Sharpe, one-time editor of The State.
  • Is that photographer John Hemmer in the righthand corner wearing a striped tie?

Please add a comment if you think you might recognize some of those faces.

A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 3

Negative strips from the 1987 ACC Tournament

SLIM PICKINGS: Hugh Morton’s only black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament semifinals. The lower left images are likely from Dean Smith’s press conference after the Virginia game, because the next frame is a shot from the Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State game. The strip on the right contains more action from that game.

This is the third and final entry summarizing Hugh Morton’s drive to Washington D.C. with Smith Barrier to photograph the Jesse Helms, the ACC Tournament, and David Brinkley.  The series was to be four parts long, but the collection materials just didn’t rise to the occasion.  What happened?

Saturday, March 7: “ACC”

Strip of black-and-white negatives from 1987 ACC Tournament final

SLIMMER PICKINGS: The only extant black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament final won by North Carolina State over UNC, 68–67.

Morton, as you might expect, photographed the semifinals played between UNC and Virginia, and NC State and Wake Forest.  As noted in the previous post in the series, the images from this ACC tournament are a bit scattered in the collection. Negatives and slides from March 7 are very scarce and can be found here in the collection:

  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-17 (35mm black-and-white negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-304: includes UNC vs. Virginia (5 negatives), but only four shots on the sidelines of a young person next to a water cooler, and a shot of the scoreboard showing a 72–72 tie with 0:22 on the clock, plus two frames during Dean Smiths’s press conference.  There are no game action black-and-white negatives.
  • Slide Lot 009598 (35mm color slides)
    • UNC vs. Virginia (31 slides): Morton’s slides from this game are uncharacteristically under exposed.

Penciled into his calendar was a dinner with “Babb, Cookerly, Thigpen, Sachs” suggesting that the dinner gathering was planned after the initial entry of ACC in ink.  I searched the collection finding aid and online images and found nothing.  Does anyone know who these people were? With some more details we might be able to figure out if images exist under a topical description.

David Brinkley, 1987.

David Brinkley sitting at table in ABC Newsroom, Washington bureau, Sunday, March 8, 1987.

Sunday, March 8: “ACC”

Sunday morning at 9:30, Hugh Morton photographed fellow Wilmington native David Brinkley on the set of ABC News Washington.  Photographically speaking it was the highlight of his day.  That afternoon, UNC lost to NC State 68–67, and Morton’s 35mm slides were once again mostly underexposed.  The day’s end? “Drive Gbo.”  Unlike today’s digital days when you can instantaneously review of your exposures on the back of your camera, Morton would’t know until after he sent off his film to be chemically processed in a lab and reviewed the results on his light table that he had underexposed his ACC tournament color slides.

UNC doesn’t always win basketball tournaments, and even Hugh Morton had a bad couple days court-side.  Fortunately for us today, his trip to DC produced excellent results with several photographs of two of North Carolina’s most notable people of their time.

A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 2

Today’s post is part two of a four-day, four-post series covering a trip Hugh Morton made to the Washington D.C. area between Wednesday, March 4 and Sunday, March 8, 1987.  Part one of this series covered March 5th, when Morton photographed United States Senator Jesse Helms.  Today’s post covers the March 6th, the first day of the 1987 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Friday, March 6: “ACC Landover”

As is the case today in 2018, March 6th was the first day of the 1987 ACC Tournament, played in Andover, Maryland at Capital Centre.  Morton photographed the following game between Virginia and Georgia Tech . . .

Action during Georgia Tech versus Virginia ACC Tournament between Virginia and Georgia Tech

Action during the Georgia Tech versus Virginia game in the 1987 ACC Tournament, 6 March 1987.

and UNC’s matchup with the local favorite, Maryland.

Action during UNC versus Maryland in 1987 ACC Tournament

Caught in the action is UNC’s J. R. Reid. Behind Reid is #21 Michael Norwood. Players for Maryland are #4 Ivan Powell and #23 Dave Dickerson.

Most of Morton’s work from this opening quarterfinal round has not been digitized. The negatives and slides in the collection for the various games of the tournament are a bit jumbled.  Below is a list of black-and-white negatives and color slides for games played on March 6, excerpted from the Morton collection finding aid:

  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-17 (35mm black-and-white negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-302: Georgia Tech vs. University of Virginia (3 negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-303: UNC vs. Maryland (6 negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-304: includes UNC vs. Maryland (11 negatives).  This envelope includes loose strips from all three days of the tournament.
  • Slide Lot 009600 (35mm color slides)
    • UNC vs. Maryland (3 slides)
    • Virginia vs. Georgia Tech (2 slides)
    • Clemson vs. Wake Forest (7 slides)
    • Duke vs. North Carolina State (5 slides of game action, 4 slides of post-game press conference—3 of NC State coach Jim Valvano and 1 with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski).

Sorting out the above was very confusing!  Since I took the time to figure out what was what, I decided to record it here for anyone’s future reference.  There were some errors in the finding aid, too, so I submitted corrections for those.

 

Four ACC Tournament firsts from 1967

UNC 1967 ACC Tournament champions

UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball team celebrating their win over Duke University after the 1967 ACC tournament championship game played in Greensboro, NC. Among those pictured are Head Coach Dean Smith (front row, third from left) and ACC tournament MVP Larry Miller (front row, fourth from left).

The 65th annual Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament will be staged in Brooklyn, New York beginning today, March 6th, 2018.  The tournament will return to North Carolina next year when the event will play out in Charlotte. In 2020 the tournament will return to Greensboro for the 28th time, a series that began in 1967.

Morton collection volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the ’67 UNC season and an ACC Tournament which was one for the record books.

Carolina’s 1966-67 basketball season got off to a routine start, but finished in a flurry of firsts.  An eleven-point win in Chapel Hill against Clemson for the nineteenth straight time tipped off the season, but was hardly anything to write home about.  Next was a trip to the Greensboro Coliseum for a thirty-point victory against Penn State, followed by seven straight wins—including a win at Kentucky and two more visits to the Greensboro Coliseum with wins over NYU and Furman.  As the season played out, the Tar Heels lost only four regular season games, and they headed into the 1967 ACC Tournament as the regular season conference champion with an ACC record of 12–2.

For the first time since its beginning in 1954, the ACC played its conference tournament away from Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh.  In 1966 the conference established a rotation arrangement for tournament hosts, electing to play the 1967 tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum—much to delight of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith.  Smith had favored a neutral site for the tournament and he thought Greensboro was a good fit, even though the coliseum, at that time, had 3,600 fewer seats than Reynolds Coliseum.

Coach Smith and his North Carolina Tar Heels came into the tournament as the number one seed. This was only the second time UNC had been seeded as tournament number one, the first time being the year of “McGuire’s Miracle” after the 1956-57 regular season.

Photographer Hugh Morton made the trip up from his home in Wilmington to document this first Greensboro ACC tournament. (Morton was a fixture courtside at the ACC Tournaments and much of his work can be found in the 1981 book The ACC Tournament Classic by Hugh Morton and Smith Barrier.) Currently there are sixteen photographs made by Morton during the tournament available for viewing in the online collection.  The Morton collection finding aid indicates that thirty-four black-and-white and eight color photographs from UNC’s games versus North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Duke.

UNC versus Wake Forest during 1967 ACC Tournament

Larry Miller (UNC #44) going up for shot during UNC-Chapel Hill versus Wake Forest University basketball game in the 1967 ACC Tournament.

Three days before the tournament, Greensboro Daily News sports editor Smith Barrier predicted Duke would take the tournament despite the fact that Carolina had beaten Duke twice during the regular season.

The 1967 ACC Tournament, the 14th annual event, tipped off at 1:30 PM on Thursday, March 9th with 8,766 fans watching South Carolina beat Maryland 57–54.  Duke defeated Virginia 99–78 in the second afternoon game.

The first round evening game pitted North Carolina against North Carolina State—a game that turned out to be much closer than most expected. Since Carolina was 12—2 in the ACC and State was 2–12, most folks thought the Tar Heels would have no trouble.  Head coach Norman Sloan and his Wolfpack had a different idea. At the half the score was tied at 26. Carolina was able to hang on and win 56–53.  The second evening contest saw Wake Forest defeat Clemson 63–61 in double overtime.

On Friday, March 10th, the first semifinal game had Smith’s Tar Heels playing Jack McCloskey’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  Wake led by four at half, 38–34, but thanks to Larry Miller’s 29-point-second-half, the Tar Heels came away with 89–79 victory.  The second Friday game had coach Vic Bubas’ Duke Blue Devils beating coach Frank McGuire’s South Carolina Gamecocks 69–66 and set up a Duke–Carolina final.

UNC All American Larry Miller had cut out Smith Barrier’s newspaper column predicting a Duke championship, and on championship game day he put the clipping in his shoe.

At 8:30 PM on Saturday, March 11, 1967 it was the “Battle of the Blues.”  Carolina, for the first time in the tournament, played like most Tar Heel fans thought the number one seed should play and led 40–34 at half.  Thanks to Larry Miller’s 32 points, the Tar Heels held on to win 82–73, but the game was really closer than the nine point difference. Coach Smith got a ride on the shoulders of his winning players and called the Duke win “the greatest victory I’ve had as a coach.”

Miller took home the Outstanding Player award.  Following the post game press conference, he presented the clipping to Smith Barrier.  According to author Art Chansky in his 2016 book Game Changers, Barrier “took it in good spirit.”  Sandy Treadwell, Managing Editor of The Daily Tar Heel wrote in the March 12th issue, “The Tar Heels ended a long road of twenty-eight basketball games.  It was a road that took them into national prominence, and which last night earned them a ticket to the NCAA Eastern Regional Tournament in Maryland later this week.”

When the 14th annual Atlantic Coast Conference ended, a total of 35,064 fans had witnessed a tournament for the record books.  Historians of the game went to work and discovered it was the first time that:

  • the conference played the tournament outside Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh.  (The tournament hasn’t been played in Raleigh since 1966, but there is currently talk of playing the tournament, or part of the 75th anniversary tournament in Raleigh in 2028.)
  • the conference played the tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum.  (Since then, Greensboro has hosted the tournament twenty-seven times.)
  • UNC’s Dean Smith won the ACC Tournament Championship.  (Smith’s teams went on to win a total of thirteen ACC Tournaments before his retirement following the 1997 season.)
  • UNC had beaten the three other members of the “Big Four” (Duke, N.C. State, and Wake Forest) during an ACC Tournament—a fete that hasn’t happened since.