Morton photos in today’s news

Two of Hugh Morton’s most famous portraits popped up in NC newspapers today. The first is in a News & Observer column by Jim Jenkins, entitled “Walk the line to Grandfather’s top,” about Johnny Cash’s visit to Grandfather in June of 1974 to perform at “Singing on the Mountain.” Jim (with the help of Hugh’s grandson Jack Morton) recounts the events surrounding Morton’s portrait of the Man in Black holding aloft a tattered American flag. (Hugh also tells the story of Cash’s visit on pages 126-129 of Making a Difference in North Carolina). The online version of Jenkins’ column doesn’t include the photo, so here it is (uncropped):

Johnny Cash with American Flag, Grandfather Mountain (Linville, NC), June 1974

The second is a reference in Wilmington’s Star News to Andy Griffith’s 1953 monologue, “What is was, was football,” the popular comedy routine that is generally credited with launching Griffith’s mainstream career. Morton’s photo of Griffith performing the monologue at halftime at UNC’s Kenan Stadium (below) has been widely published, including on page 130 of Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.

(Note: the Star News website doesn’t seem to be loading at the time of this posting).

Andy Griffith performing "What it was, was football" at UNC's Kenan Stadium, early 1950s

83 thoughts on “Morton photos in today’s news

  1. In a 1968 article in “The State” magazine, Author Jane Corey described Hugh Morton as “one of the South’s most talented and prolific photographers.” His pictures are still an important part of our day to day life in North Carolina as evidenced by these two newspaper stories.

    Elizabeth, you are right on point when you say that the picture of Andy Griffith performing “What It Was, Was Football,” during halftime at a UNC football game in the fall of 1954, has been “widely published.” A few of those include:

    “Making A Difference in North Carolina” (1988) by Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin Page 280
    (Same shot as the one in the post)

    “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The First 200 Years” (1987) by Various Authors Pages 84-85
    “Tar Heel Tradition: 100 Years of Sports at Carolina” (1988) by Phillip L. Ben Page 76
    “Images of America: Chapel Hill” (1996) by James Vickers Page 113 (2 shot sequence)
    (The shot in the above three books is a different angle and a slightly tighter shot)

    The Duncan Brantley video that was mentioned in the “Star-News” story was released on VHS in 1998 and the second angle shot is on the cover of the box, along with another famous Hugh Morton photograph…the one of Charlie Justice running in the 1947 game with Tennessee in Kenan Stadium.

    Finally, a tightly cropped version of the Johnny Cash picture is also in Hugh’s 2006 book on page 133.

  2. The Andy Griffith performance of “What it Was, Was Football,” in the famous Kenan Stadium picture was taken on September 25, 1954 during halftime of the UNC – NC State game. I ran across that information this weekend while I was looking through Saturday’s game program. It’s part of an ad for the Herald-Sun papers on page 94.

  3. That’s pretty funny, since I (unintentionally) posted the photo on September 25–exactly 54 years after it was taken. Thanks for the details, Jack!

  4. In the December, 2008 issue of “Tar Heel Monthly” magazine there is an interesting article on page 42 titled “Inside the Office.”
    It’s a Q&A with UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour describing the sports memorabilia in his office that he has collected over his 42 years at Carolina.

    There is a segment about Hugh Morton, and since THM doesn’t publish their stories online, I’ll repeat it:

    Item: Framed 16-by-20 photo of Charlie Justice being carried on the shoulders of his teammates.

    Baddour: This is another one of my favorites. When I was appointed athletic director, I told Hugh Morton I had to have one of his pictures in my office. Hugh sent me five proofs and told me to pick one. In a couple of days, I called him and told him I’d looked them over. “I’ve got it right here,” Hugh said. This is before I had even told him which one I wanted. “Which one do you want?” he asked me. I told him I wanted the Charlie Justice photo, and he said, “I knew you’d want that one. I’ve got it right here and I will put it in the mail.” Somehow, he knew which one I’d pick. This photo is about teamwork and about being in the trenches and working together.

  5. Hugh Morton and Morton photos are in the news today.

    In the current issue of “WNC Magazine”, the editors have compiled their list of the “50 Most Influential People Past and Present.”
    Of course Hugh Morton is on the list which gives a brief information paragraph and a picture of each of the 50. At least two of the pictures used are Morton photos…the one for Charlie Justice and the one for Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Here is the link:

    http://www.wncmagazine.com/feature1.html

  6. There is a classic Hugh Morton photo in today news.

    On Monday evening, May 4th, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Southern Conference will induct it’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. Ten legendary athletes will be honored… Megan Dunigan (Furman), Dick Groat (Duke), Sam Huff (West Virginia), Melissa Morrison Howard (Appalachian State), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Frank Selvy (Furman), Jerry West (West Virginia), Valorie Whiteside (Appalachian State), Arnold Palmer (Wake Forest) and Charlie Justice (UNC). On the days leading up to the ceremony, the Southern Conference web site is profiling each honoree. Today it’s UNC’s Charlie Justice, and to support the profile, there is a famous Hugh Morton photograph. Perhaps this particular photograph has been reproduced more than any other Morton image. It’s the one of Justice running in Kenan Stadium during the 1947 UNC-Tennessee game. The web site credits the picture to the Southern Conference, but it is definitely a Morton image.

    http://www.soconsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4000&ATCLID=3722770

    The event on May 4th is the kind of event that Hugh Morton would attend with camera in hand.

  7. Two of Hugh Morton’s classic photos of UNC All America Charlie Justice have been in the news recently. On May 4th, the Southern Conference inducted Justice into it’s inaugural Hall of Fame class and Justice is pictured on the cover and inside the evening’s program book as well as on the official event poster and on the acrylic montage. Also, UNC’s web site shows a Morton photo to support the Hall of Fame story.

    http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/050409aaa.html

  8. About 2 hours ago, at 7:42 EST, long-time CBS News Anchorman Walter Cronkite died at the age of 92. Cronkite and Hugh Morton were good friends and in 1995 Cronkite narrated the Morton PBS documentary, “The Search For Clean Air.”

    I recall Hugh telling the story of how Cronkite was selected. Morton said he had originally wanted his long-time friend Charles Kuralt for the program, but since the program was scheduled for PBS, Kuralt’s CBS contract would not permit him appearing on a competing network. So when Morton told Cronkite this story, Cronkite said, in his unique deep voice,”well you got me.”

    There is a Morton photograph from that documentary

  9. That photogrph is on page 143 in Hugh’s 2003 book “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.

  10. Walter Cronkite’s autobiography is one of the most enjoyable books I ever read. I read it out loud to Hugh while we were driving across North Carolina and he liked it so much he loaned it to a friend ( I don’t honestly remember who ) and I have never seen it since. I hope it found a happy home.
    There will never be another Walter Cronkite , nor will there be another Charles Kuralt. Like Andy Griffith, they were “lightening in a jar” that we were blessed to experience.

  11. Football practice is underway for the 2009 Tar Heels and a new media guide is out. As in years past, there are Hugh Morton photographs in this latest edition.

  12. Interesting article in the current issue of “Inside Carolina” magazine by Tommy Jenkins called “Gateway to the Past.”
    The article deals with the photographic collections at the Wilson Library, including the Morton Collection.

  13. There are several Morton photographs in Art Chansky’s new book “Light Blue Reign: How A City Slicker, A Quiet Kansan, and A Mountain Man Built College Basketball’s Longest-Lasting Dynasty.”

  14. UNC’s Football Media Guide for 2010 is out, complete with Morton photos as always.

  15. North Carolina sports historian Jim Sumner has a great look-back piece in the current issue of “Inside Carolina” magazine about the 1948 UNC – Texas football game….complete with Morton photographs.

  16. The 2011 UNC General Alumni Association calendar arrived in the mail this morning (11/19/10). WOW! what a magnificent display of Hugh Morton photographs. This calendar is sure to become a treasured collector’s item.

  17. There are two Morton images in the November issue of “Tar Heel Monthly” magazine. The famous Michael Jordan dunk is on page 13 and the “Archive Photo of the Month,” on page 29 is a classic wide shot of Carmichael Auditorium during a pre game warm up.

  18. There is a Hugh Morton story in the current issue (May 2012) of “Inside Carolina” magazine…on pages 68-70, with a famous Morton photo.

  19. A slightly interesting discovery today while helping a researcher. According to the Daily Tar Heel for 25 September 1954, Griffith was to perform “What it Was” *before* the game. An article on page 1 stated that that day was “Consolidated University Day” and the football season opener to be played against NC State would be taking center stage. Student governments at “Carolina, State and “Woman’s College” planned the day’s events, several of which were to occur during halftime. Griffith’s performance was scheduled before the game, and the DTH described him as “‘Deacon’ Andy Griffith, UNC alumnus and well-known entertainer.”

    On page 3 is an article titled “Griffith Here With Famous ‘Big Orange’” by Jake Wade. In the article Wade wrote that Griffith was “making his first appearance at his alma mater since he became really famous” and that his “celebrated monologue” got “its first national airing, truly, the day of the Notre Dame game last season. Since that November day he has not only sold more than a half a million records of the football piece but has appeared on such national television programs as the Colgate Comedy hour, the Jackie Gleason show, and Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toast of the Town. And he has played such nightspots as New York’s Blue Angel and the Baler Hotel at Dallas.”

    There were a couple of references to Griffiths performance (but no mention of when) in the next day’s DTH. The article began, “It was ice-cream instead of beer and “big oranges” instead of bourbon . . . .”

  20. One possible reason for thinking the Andy Griffith image was taken at halftime was the full crowd in the background. As you know, over the years, Carolina crowds are famous (or maybe I should say infamous) for arriving late for games.

  21. One additional comment concerning the Morton image of Andy Griffith. In his 2003 book, “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina,” the Griffith picture is on page 130 with the following caption:

    “…In the early 1950s Griffith returned from Broadway, where he was staring in “No Time For Sergeants,” to perform his football recitation at halftime of a Kenan Stadium game, and the ovation he received was resounding.”

    I suspect this is the source for the original description.

  22. I mentioned in a previous comment (October 5, 2008) that an advertisement for “The Herald-Sun” newspapers in the UNC – Connecticut football game program on October 4, 2008 showed Andy Griffith at Kenan stadium. The ad, on page 94, said: “We were there. We still are.” The photograph was taken by Hugh Morton contemporary Charles Cooper.

    It might be interesting to check the Durham papers for Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26, 1954 to see their photo caption and game report.

  23. The Summer 1954 issue of The Alumni Review (page 210) has four different Morton photographs of Griffith’s performance, and their caption states it took place “from the center of the playing field between halves as ‘rafts of people’ cheered.” Maybe those in charge changed the time because of the sparse crowd before the game. The DTH writer referred to “only partially-filled stands” and some action photographs do show many empty seats.

    I didn’t see mention of Griffith’s 1953 Notre Dame game performance in the DTH nor The Alumni Review.

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