Turkey and Football

Turkeys in snow
I have often heard it said that turkey and football are the best parts of Thanksgiving. Hugh Morton loved to photograph both of them, so I’m sharing a few prize shots with you in honor of this week’s holiday.

The next image was identified as one of “Hugh Morton’s Favorite Ten” in the 10/1/1968 issue of The State magazine (along with this one and this one). The text that accompanied the image is included below (note that I cropped it roughly as it appeared in The State, on page 10).

Bill Dudley (UVA #35) touchdown run, UNC-UVA football game, Kenan Stadium, 11/20/1941

Morton’s most significant sports action picture is probably this one of All-America Bill Dudley running 80 yards in Kenan Stadium at Chapel Hill in November 1941 for what some University of Virginia alumni say was the greatest individual performance ever given by a “Cavalier” athlete. The picture was taken for the “Charlotte News,” and Sports Editor Burke Davis titled it “I’m coming, Virginia.”

8 thoughts on “Turkey and Football

  1. Elizabeth, you could not have selected a better Morton image to celebrate Thanksgiving Day football. The UNC – UVA Thanksgiving Day series goes back to Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1893. In fact on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1927, Kenan Memorial Stadium was dedicated with the Carolina – Virginia game.

    Here’s a quote from the 1941 Carolina – Virginia game football program: “The South’s oldest continuous and most famous Thanksgiving rivalry.”

    Thanksgiving Day, November 20, 1941…UNC will play Virginia for the 43rd time. Leading the Cavaliers into Kenan Stadium, before 24,000 fans, is their 19-year-old All America Captain “Bullet” Bill Dudley. Six days later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt would declare the 4th Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day…but in 1941 it was the 3rd Thursday. And 17 days later, a Pearl Harbor event would change the world forever.

    The photograph is a Hugh Morton classic. Here’s the story behind the picture:

    With 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter, and leading by a score of 14 to 7, Virginia had the ball on it’s own 21 yard line….3rd and 11. Bill Dudley drops back in punt formation…but he doesn’t kick. Instead he runs the ball around right end…picking up blockers along the way as photographers snap away. The touchdown run covers 79 yards and makes the score 21 to 7.

    In the Morton picture of course Dudley is #35 for Virginia. The other Virginia player is #15 Edgar Bryant. The Carolina player in Hugh’s shot is #89 Fred Stallings. Burke Davis’ title for the picture, “I’m Coming, Virginia,” was also the title of a popular swing band tune from the era.

    Ironically, a Hugh Morton contemporary, Carol Martin, covering the game for the “Greensboro Daily News,” took a similar shot that was published in the paper the following day.

    The final score was Virginia 28 Carolina 7. Of Virginia’s 28 points, Bill Dudley scored 22. John Derr, Sports Editor for the “Greensboro Daily News,” started his account of the game with this line: “What’s a six-letter word meaning ‘football powerhouse’? The answer: D-U-D-L-E-Y.”

    As you say Elizabeth, this image is a Hugh Morton favorite. It also appears in two of his books…however, the book versions are slightly wider shots and include Carolina halfback Harry Dunkle #20. The picture is on page 6 and the caption is on page 7 of Hugh’s 1996 book, “Sixty Years with a Camera,” and on page 164 of Hugh’s 2003 book, “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.”.

    I recently ran across an interesting item on ebay. It’s a Fall, 1950 issue of the pulp magazine “Football Stories.” Although most of the stories in the magazine are fiction, the cover shows a football player running the ball in the exact position as Hugh’s picture. The magazine’s artist has added some players in the background and a cheerleader in the foreground, but the runner looks exactly like Bill Dudley. I don’t have the magazine so I don’t know if Hugh was given proper credit.

    Bill Dudley went on to play professional football and became a teammate of UNC’s Charlie Justice when both played for the Washington Redskins in 1950 and 1953. There is a Morton photograph, taken in old Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC on 10/16/50 of Dudley and Justice. It is in the 1958 Justice biography, “Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story” on page 102. Dudley and Justice are both members of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame…Dudley inducted in 1956 and Justice in 1961.

    In a 1973 interview, Justice said that Bill Dudley was the greatest runner he had ever seen.

  2. I ran across another great Morton image of UNC’s Charlie Justice and UVA’s Bill Dudley. The picture was taken on Sunday afternoon, December 10, 1950 in the snow at old Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. It can be found on page 104 of the 1958 Justice biography, “Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story” by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer.

  3. I have to say that photogrpah is awsome, it captures his emotion so well, we dont celebrate thanks giving here in England, But we have turkey at christmas so , football and turkey are the best things at christmas in England :)

    Mikey

  4. Harry Dunkle mentioned above in the wider version in the book is my grandfather, Harry Newton Dunkle. I to was a halfback…. He was a great man.

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