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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Dismal Day in Dallas

Head Coach Larry Fedora’s 2014 Tar Heels are going bowling.

For the 31st time, going back to 1947, UNC’s football team will play in a post season bowl game—this time it’s the “Quick Lane Bowl” in Detroit on Friday, December 26th at 4:30 PM (ET).  The game will be on ESPN.

Of the 30 bowl games played, the Tar Heels have been victorious 14 times.  Of the 16 losses, the one on January 2, 1950 was one of the toughest.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back on that dismal day in Dallas, almost 65 years ago.

The Apache Belles majorettes from Tyler, Texas during the 1950 Cotton Bowl festivities.  A caption in the Greensboro News identified the majorette as Iwanna Burk, sister of Baylor star quarterback Adrian Burk.

The Apache Belles majorettes from Tyler, Texas during the 1950 Cotton Bowl festivities. A caption in the Greensboro News identified the majorette as Iwanna Burk, sister of Baylor star quarterback Adrian Burk.

When UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely arrived at his 215 Wollen Gym office on Wednesday, November 23, 1949, a New Year’s bowl game was not on his radar. After all, Carolina had lost 3 games during the season and two of those losses were decisive: Notre Dame 42 to 6 in Yankee Stadium and Tennessee 35 to 6 in Kenan Stadium.

Coach was concentrating on the upcoming game with Virginia three days away.  Then, the phone rang and everything changed. It was Dan Rogers, Chairman of the Board, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, calling from Dallas.  He told Coach Snavely that Carolina was on a short list for a Cotton Bowl invitation.  He then added, Virginia is on that list also. So the UNC vs. UVA game on Saturday, November 26, 1949 would now become the “Cotton Bowl Invitational,” with the winner going to the top of the list and getting the bid.

Snavely told his team about the phone call when the varsity was traveling by bus to the Duke–Carolina freshmen game in Durham on Thursday, the 24th. The next day the team voted to accept the bid if offered.

The Greensboro Daily News on Saturday morning featured a large Hugh Morton photograph of UNC All-Americas Charlie Justice and Art Weiner.  The headline caption read “Heading for the Last Roundup.”

19491126_GreensboroNews_Sec2page2On Saturday, November 26, 1949, the largest football crowd in Chapel Hill to date—48,000—gathered in ideal football weather to see Justice and Weiner play their final varsity game in Kenan Stadium.  Veteran CBS Radio broadcaster Red Barber was in town to call the game.

Tar Heel fans were not disappointed.

After a scoreless first quarter . . . two plays into the second quarter, it was Justice on a typical, zigzagging run off left guard for a 14-yard touchdown and Carolina led 7 to 0 following Abie Williams’ point after.  At the 13:30 mark it was Justice again, this time a 63-yard touchdown pass to Weiner.  Williams was true again on the PAT and Carolina led 14 to 0 at the half.


Until yesterday, this photograph was only identified as a Charlie Justice negative amid hundreds of UNC football negatives. This photograph of Justice’s 14-yard touchdown run against the University of Virginia appeared in the Wilmington Star-News on Sunday, November 27th, page 12-A.

Twelve high school bands were on hand to entertain during halftime.  The game was dedicated to William Rand Kenan, Jr., who had donated the stadium in 1927.  He was a special guest on this day.

The third quarter, like the first, was scoreless, but in the fourth quarter, Virginia was able to put together a 43-yard drive and was finally on the scoreboard with 2:30 remaining in the game.  Carolina accidentally touched Virginia’s on-side kick and UVA took over at their own 48.  Four plays and two first-downs later, Virginia was at the Carolina 7-yard line with 0:32 on the clock. Three Cavalier passes failed; on fourth down they tried a double-reverse play, but Tar Heels Art Weiner and Roscoe Hansen stopped the ball carrier back on the 8-yard line to seal the victory.

Following the game, Sports Information Director Jake Wade made the announcement: the Heels had been invited to play in the Cotton Bowl, and the team and the University administration had approved.  Carolina, the Southern Conference Champion, would play Rice Institute (Rice University today), the Southwest Conference Champion on January 2, 1950.

Snavely ordered a break for his troops from November 28th until December 3rd.  A week of practice followed, then a break for exams.  Preparation for Rice would resume on December 16th and continue until the Christmas break on December 21st.

The Tar Heel team reassembled in Chapel Hill on December 26th and held one final practice on the 27th before departing for Big D.

It was cold and clear at Raleigh-Durham Airport at 9:35 AM on December 28, 1949, when the first of two planes carrying the Tar Heel football team took off for Dallas.  The Capital Airlines DC-4 was labeled “Cotton Bowl Special,” and carried Justice and Weiner plus 46 other UNC players and part of the coaching staff. Then at 2 PM, the second plane carrying the remainder of the team and staff took off.  On hand for both takeoffs was Chapel Hill Mayor Ed Lanier.

The first flight arrived in Dallas at 4:25 PM and was greeted by 3,000 Tar Heel fans and coeds from SMU plus Mr. SMU himself, Doak Walker.  Originally, Charlie and Sarah Justice were going to stay at the Melrose Hotel with the coaches and team, but Justice got a letter a week earlier from Doak Walker inviting them to spend the week at the Walker home.

UNC's Charlie Justice and SMU's Doak Walker inside Dal-Hi Stadium, Dallas, Texas.

UNC’s Charlie Justice and SMU’s Doak Walker inside Dal-Hi Stadium, Dallas, Texas.

December 29th was a practice day for Carolina . . . a workout at Dal-Hi stadium in the morning and movie viewing in the afternoon.  Walker was present for both sessions, adding coaching suggestions along the way since he had already played Rice earlier in the season.  Morton’s picture of Justice, Walker, and Snavely viewing game movies made the papers back in North Carolina on December 30th.

Carl Snavely, Charlie Justice reviewing football filmAlso, early on the morning of the 30th, the football team got the good news from Chapel Hill that Carolina’s basketball team had upset Duke 59 to 52 in the first annual Dixie Classic back in Raleigh the night before.

Following an afternoon practice, Coach Snavely said:  “Right now we are in the best condition for the ball game this season.  The boys are in good spirit and I know they are having a good time here in Dallas.”

UNC football team practice session at Dal-Hi Stadium.

UNC football team practice session at Dal-Hi Stadium.

The Carolina team and coaches along with photographer Hugh Morton attended the annual Cotton Bowl luncheon put on by the local Optimist Club on Saturday the 31st.  The keynote speaker was Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, a native of Dallas.

The Sunday papers predicted clouds and a 7-point win for Rice on Monday.  Back home, The Greensboro Daily News published on the front page of the Sports section a picture of Justice and Bob Gantt at work on the practice field.  It was now time to get serious about the 14th Annual Cotton Bowl.

Monday, January 2, 1950 was a cold, damp day in Asheboro, North Carolina.  I remember sitting with my best buddy on the front steps listening to the game on his portable radio that he had gotten for Christmas.  Legendary NBC sports broadcaster Bill Stern was the play-by-play announcer with analysis and color by Kern Tips. We were listening to station WBIG in Greensboro. (The game was also on WSJS radio in Winston-Salem).  The Greensboro Daily News headline that morning read:


Charlie Justice runs onto the field for the last time for Carolina at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950, Dallas, Texas.

Charlie Justice runs onto the field for the last time for Carolina at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950, Dallas, Texas.

The University of North Carolina Band, under the direction of Prof. Earl Slocum was part of the pre-game festivities as Charlie Justice ran onto the field for the final time in a Carolina varsity uniform.  Morton’s image of Justice and the band is the first picture in the 1958 Quincy-Scheer Justice biography (on page 3).

Then as 75,347 fans watched, UNC Captain Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice met at midfield with Rice Co-Captains James “Froggy” Williams and Gerald Weatherly for Referee Ray McCullock’s coin toss.  Hugh Morton documented that scene as well before returning to his Carolina sideline position.


Gloomy skies prevailed as neither team could do much in the first quarter of play which ended with neither team on the scoreboard.  Early in the second quarter, Rice quarterback Tobin Rote passed to Billy Burkhalter for a 44-yard touchdown.  Later in the quarter, Rice took possession at midfield and drove for a second score with fullback Bobby Lantrip going the final three-yards to make the halftime score 14 to 0.

Rice right halfback Billy Burkhalter (#12), UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), and UNC Right End Ed Bilpuch (#47).  Crop from Morton's original negative for this blog post, the image appeared evern more tightly cropped—and without credit—in the January 4th issue of the Wilmington Morning Star.

Rice right halfback Billy Burkhalter (#12), UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), and UNC Right End Ed Bilpuch (#47). Crop from Morton’s original negative for this blog post, the image appeared evern more tightly cropped—and without credit—in the January 4th issue of the Wilmington Morning Star.

The halftime show, directed by Frank Malone, Jr. featured the Rice Institute Band plus nine high school bands from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The highlight of the show was a performance by the Apache Bells of Tyler Texas Junior College and finally the presentation of the 1950 Cotton Bowl Queen, Miss Eugenia Harris from Houston.


When the third quarter began, Rice picked up where they left off, this time it was a 17-yard pass from Tobin Rote to “Froggy” Williams to make the score 21 to 0 with 15 minutes to play.

Early in quarter number four, following an interception at the Carolina 15, Rice, on two plays, scored their final points of the day when Burkhalter scored his second touchdown of the afternoon.  With 9 minutes remaining, the score was Rice 27 – Carolina 0.

At this point, Carolina seemed to come alive.  They drove 65 yards—the final 7 yard a touchdown pass from Justice to Paul Rizzo.  During this drive, Morton took one of his most famous Charlie Justice pictures.  The image is part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives exhibit, “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective.”

P081_NTBF3_005643_07_fused_print1_13 copyThen Carolina put on another drive—this one 80 yards— and fullback Billy Hayes accounted for 41 of them.  The final play of the drive came when Justice went off left tackle, but Rice defensive end Billy Taylor grabbed him by the sleeve.  Justice tossed the ball to his left where Rizzo caught it and raced into the end zone.  Abie Williams’ extra point made the final score 27 to 13.  The Carolina comeback was too little, too late.


The post-game handshake between Rice head coach Jess Neely—joined by his daughter’s Joan (left) and Mary– and UNC head coach Carl Snavely (right). This Morton photograph appeared in the January 4th issue of the Greensboro Record,

Following the traditional coaches handshake at midfield, each coach commented on the game.  Rice head coach Jess Neely simply said, “I had figured we could run against North Carolina.”  And run they did—226 yards to 174 for UNC.  Tar Heel head coach Carl Snavely said, “We simply did not have a bowl team this year.”

Charlie Justice, in a 1995 interview with biographer Bob Terrell, said, “We didn’t deserve the bowl trip.  The Cotton Bowl invited us so my playing could be measured against Doak Walker, who had a great season at SMU.  Texans had seen Doak play all season but hadn’t seen me, so this gave them the opportunity.”

Carolina and Rice each got a check for $125,951, while the players each got engraved Cotton Bowl watches and beautiful Cotton Bowl blankets.


On Wednesday, January 6th, Hugh Morton’s post-game picture of Charlie Justice and Paul Rizzo graced the sports page in The Greensboro Daily News.  The picture also turned up in the 1950 UNC yearbook, the “Yackety Yack” on page 271.

The game was not national televised, but even if it had been, North Carolina’s two TV stations at the time, in Greensboro and Charlotte, would not have been able to carry it because the AT&T cable had not been completed in the state.  That would come nine months later on September 30, 1950.

So WFMY-TV in Greensboro made arrangements to get NBC-TV to film the game, then fly the film back to Greensboro for showing. WFMY Sports Director Charlie Harville would narrate the film. The showing was scheduled for 9:30 PM on Wednesday, January 4th.  However, rainy, foggy weather in Dallas prevented the plane carrying the film from taking off, so the showing had to be delayed until 9:30 PM on Thursday.  Folks from all across the state came into Greensboro to watch.  It turned out to be the largest single audience in the history of television in North Carolina at that time. The program was so popular, the station repeated the film on Friday, January 6th.  If Carolina could have won, the station probably could have made an unprecedented third showing.

“Pretty as a Christmas card”

Here's a scan of the entire 4" x 5" black-and-white negative of the summit of Grandfather Mountain as shot by Hugh Morton.

A vertically cropped detail from the left side of this scene of the Mile High Swinging Bridge and Visitor Center at Grandfather Mountain, made by Hugh Morton, graced the December 1, 1970 cover of THE STATE. This is a scan of the entire black-and-white 4″ x 5″ sheet film negative.

Some of you may have seen the comment I wrote recently about the North Carolina State Library making issues of The State and Our State magazines available online.  Last Friday, the Our State Twitter feed tweeted the magazine’s December 1, 1970 cover, which was drawn from the above Hugh Morton photograph.  The issue’s cover caption on page 2 of the magazine begins, “Pretty as a Christmas card,” and identifies

  • the UNC Educational TV tower on Grandmother Mountain in the background to the left of the left bridge tower, and
  • Wiseman’s View, the peak fifteen miles away seen above the left bridge tower.

We made a nice large scan of the black-and-white negative just in case anyone would like to order a print.  I made a 16×9 crop for my computer desktop:


There’s also a color version in the online selection of Morton photographs.