Player, Preacher, Coach, and Commentator

UNC’s men basketball team bowed out of the NCAA tournament over the weekend, but the UNC women’s team continues on its quest for a national championship this evening.  With basketball season still in high gear, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at a North Carolina basketball legend on the anniversary of UNC’s second place finish in the 1946 NCAA championship game played on March 26, 1946.

Bones McKinney

Wake Forest men’s basketball Head Coach Bones McKinney on bench/sidelines. Possibly during a UNC-Chapel Hill versus Wake Forest University basketball game.

“I don’t remember exactly when everyone started calling me Bones, but with a name like Horace Albert, the sooner the better, right?”

—Bones McKinney from Bones: Honk Your Horn if You Love Basketball (1988)

His resume is like no other.  It goes something like this:

  • High School All-Star Basketball at Durham High
  • Varsity basketball at North Carolina State
  • United States Army, Fort Bragg (basketball coach and player)
  • Varsity basketball at University of North Carolina
  • Basketball Association of America, Washington Capitols
  • National Basketball Association, Boston Celtics
  • Ordained Baptist minister
  • Head coach, Wake Forest
  • Head coach, American Basketball Association, Carolina Cougars
  • TV commentator and analyst, Raycom
  • Newspaper columnist
  • Author
  • Humorist and motivational after-dinner speaker

Folks born on New Year’s Day are special people.

For Horace Albert (Bones) McKinney, born in Lowlands, North Carolina on January 1, 1919, that specialty was his love for the game of basketball.  When he was five years old, the McKinney family moved to Durham and that’s where young Horace began playing his favorite game—starting at Watts Street Grammar School, then to Central Junior High, the YMCA, and finally to Durham High where, under Head Coach Paul Sykes, he led the team to two South Atlantic Prep Tournaments, two Duke-Durham Tournaments, three state championships, and the Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in Glens Falls, New York . . . all the while racking up sixty-nine straight wins.

McKinney graduated a little late from Durham High in the spring of 1940, then headed over to Raleigh for a college career at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State).  A year of freshman ball was followed by a sophomore year when he led the Southern Conference in scoring with 200 points and was an all conference selection. On Christmas Day, 1941, Bones McKinney married the love of his life, Edna Ruth Stell.

UNC 1946 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship runners-up

Group portrait of UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball team after their loss to Oklahoma A&M in the 1946 NCAA championship at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY. Among those pictured are head coach Ben Carnevale (back row, second from left) and Horace “Bones” McKinney (back row, second from right).

A week after the 1942 season ended, on April 2, 1942, he joined the Army.  At Fort Bragg, Bones played, coached, and led the team to wins in the Southeastern Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Tournament in Savannah and the Southern AAU in Raleigh.  While at Fort Bragg, he became good friends with Ben Carnevale the head coach at UNC and on January 9, 1945, Bones McKinney became a Tar Heel—but the UNC basketball team was called the White Phantoms in those days. The highlight of the 1946 season, which was his only season at UNC, was a NCAA national championship game against Oklahoma A&M at Madison Square Garden.  The 43–40 loss was difficult for Bones as evidenced by Hugh Morton’s photograph of the award ceremony following the game.

1946 UNC coach Ben Carnevale receiving runner-up trophy

“In 1946, before the NCAA national championship became known as the Final Four, UNC lost in the championship game, 43 to 40 to Oklahoma A&M. The game was played in the old Madison Square Garden before 18,479 spectators. UNC head basketball coach and Navy lieutenant Ben Carnevale (shaking hands), who had responsibilities as the Navy Pre-Flight School at Chapel Hill as well, accepted the runner-up trophy. Carolina’s Horace ‘Bones’ McKinney (far left) was not pleased at being runner up.” Presenting the award is Harold G. Olsen, who was serving his final year as the NCAA basketball tournament chairman. (Identification obtained from book ON TOBACCO ROAD.)

By the end of the ‘46 season, the McKinney family had grown to three and Bones realized that he needed a paying job to support the family, so he left UNC and went to work for Hanes Hosiery.  It was while there that an unbelievable phone call came.  On the other end of the line was Red Auerbach, who was going to form the “Basketball Association of America”—and he wanted Bones to play for him.  Just when it looked like basketball was over for Bones McKinney, along came an opportunity to play for pay: $6,750 for a season with a $500 advance.  He would play for the Washington Capitols for five seasons, making all pro and led the team to the Eastern Division championship his first season, 1946-47. He led the team into the playoffs each year from 1946 through 1950.

On January 9, 1951 the Washington Capitols folded, and McKinney was sent to the Boston Celtics as a player-coach.  While there he made some NBA history.  He recruited and signed Earl Lloyd, the first African American player in the NBA.  Following the ’52 season, McKinney left pro basketball and enrolled in the Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest.  While in class on November 8, 1952, Wake Forest Head Basketball Coach Murray Greason walked in and asked Dr. Bill Strickland if he could speak with student McKinney.  Greason needed an assistant coach and offered Bones the job, a job that would last until March 26, 1957 when he took over the head coaching position at Wake.

In February of 1960, a writer for the magazine Life came to Winston-Salem to do a McKinney feature story.  It wasn’t the first time he had made the big time.  There is an action shot by Hugh Morton contemporary Hy Peskin on the front cover of Collier’s dated January 15, 1949.  Life published another article, titled “Basketball’s Incredible Mr. Bones” in its February 22, 1960 issue, which featured the following:

People go to Wake Forest basketball games to see a winning team perform.  For the same price, they get Bones McKinney, the coach with his own private volcano.  Once the game starts, the bench can’t hold him.  The climactic moment arrives when Mr. Bones erupts dramatically from the sideline, looking like a dead ringer for Ichabod Crane.

In 1961 and 1962, McKinney led the Deacons to Atlantic Coast Conference championships, with the ’62 team playing in the NCAA Final Four.  Following the ’64-’65 season, Wake Forest made a coaching change and Bones McKinney took a job with the North Carolina Board of Corrections, but soon after the ’65-’66 basketball season started, he got a call from ACC TV producer Castleman D. Chesley.  It seems that Bones’ good friend Charlie Harville had recommended him as a possible broadcaster with the ACC network.  Bones was eager to get back into basketball, so on January 8, 1966 at the UNC vs. Duke game in Chapel Hill, Bones McKinney became a TV basketball commentator and analyst, working with play-by-play man Jim Thacker, and stat man Charlie Harville.  At first, McKinney didn’t think he was very good as a broadcaster, but when he was invited back, he figured he must be OK.

Then in early 1969 . . . another phone call and another basketball opportunity.  On January 2, 1969, Southern Sports Corporation purchased the Houston Mavericks, a team in the American Basketball Association.  President Jim Gardner was planning to move the team to North Carolina and he wanted Bones as his head coach.  Gardner and McKinney struck a deal and Bones McKinney became to first head coach of the newly formed Carolina Cougars, leading them that year to the ABA playoffs.

One of my favorite Bones McKinney stories came during that ’69-‘70 season. During a hotly contested game, Bones yelled out at an official following a questionable call.

“Hey, you’re either blind or you’re a crook.”
“And you’re out of the game,” yelled back the ref.
“Why?” asked Bones defiantly.
“Because you called me a crook,” replied the official.
“Did not,” yelled Bones, looking back over his shoulder as he departed, “I gave you a choice.”

While still coaching the Carolina Cougars, McKinney was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame with the Class of 1970.

Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball game, 1977 NCAA

Seated are (L to R) Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley (standing) behind the scenes at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 4th Annual ABA All-Star Game was played in the Greensboro Coliseum on January 23, 1971 and CBS-TV carried the game nationwide, with play-by-play by Don Criqui and Pat Summerall and color commentary by Bones McKinney.

On November 18, 1979 during halftime of the Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys game in RFK Stadium, McKinney was inducted into the Washington Hall of Stars.  In 1985 his longtime friend Charlie Justice joined him in the DC Hall.  McKinney continued to coach all-star games, and was in high demand as an after-dinner speaker during the 1980s and early ‘90s.

When the Greensboro News and Record arrived on Saturday morning May 17, 1997, the front page headline read, “Legendary Wake Coach Dies at 78.”  Staff writer Jim Schlosser related the story of McKinney’s death at 5:05 PM on Friday, May 16th at Wake Medical Rehab Center following a stroke two weeks earlier.  On Sunday, I went out to WFMY-TV and put together a video piece for Monday’s “Good Morning Show.”  As I was putting the piece together, I kept thinking about a Bones McKinney quote that I had read years before in his 1988 book.  The quote was part of the short section about his broadcasting career.  It went like this: “I soon found out that if your director ain’t no good, you ain’t no good.”  He went on to talk about the magnificent Raycom directors, Norman Prevatte from WBTV in Charlotte, John Young from WUNC-TV, and Frank Slingland from WRC-TV in Washington, DC.

During my time in broadcasting, I never had the honor of directing a Bones McKinney game or a Bones McKinney broadcast.  However, I worked several Carolina Cougar games in 1972 after Bones had moved on.  But in 1969, WFMY-TV produced the Carolina Cougar coach’s show.  It was called, of course, “The Bones McKinney Show.”  Veteran WFMY Producer/Director George Leh was director and Woody Durham was producer along with Bones. The show was usually taped on Thursday afternoons for weekend playback.  On this particular Thursday, Leh was not available to direct so production manager Jack Forehand asked me to direct the show. For twenty-eight minutes and thirty seconds on Thursday afternoon, March 5, 1969, I knew I was part of something very special.

William Clyde Friday (1920-2012)

The Hugh Morton collection is part of the North Carolina Collection in large part because William Friday, UNC President Emeritus and friend of Morton, heartily and frequently encouraged Morton that his historically important photographic collection should be here.  Robert Anthony, Curator of the North Carolina Collection, described Friday’s role as “key.”  Friday, who passed away Friday morning—University Day—will be memorialized today at 10:00 a.m. in Memorial Hall.  Morton collection volunteer and A View to Hugh contributor Jack Hilliard offers his memorial to William C. Friday in today’s post.

The University of North Carolina will bear the impress of this gifted and dedicated man for as long as it endures.— Archie K. Davis, President, North Caroliniana Society, May 4, 1984

Courage, manners and decency cost a person so little, but disregard them and see what you get.— William Friday, in a 1995 Associated Press interview.

On the day the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was to celebrate its 219th birthday, it mourned the loss of a legend.  Dr. William C. (Bill) Friday, the individual who personified higher education in this state, died at age 92. Virginia Taylor, his special assistant, said the former UNC president died in his sleep early Friday morning, October 12, 2012.

Bill Friday defined “The Greatest Generation,” during his service in World War II and the years that followed.  For thirty of those years, he was president of the consolidated university system.  During his tenure, he served with distinction under seven governors from Luther Hodges to James Martin. Under his leadership, higher education in the UNC system became a model for all to emulate.

He was just 35 years old and the assistant to outgoing UNC President Gordon Gray when he was offered the position of Acting President of the Consolidated University of North Carolina.  That was in 1956.  He didn’t expect to stay long, telling a reporter at the time:  “I expect that I will be in this place no more than a few months.”  He remained until 1986.  Although he retired in ‘86, he continued to be a vital part of his university.

Hugh Morton and Bill Friday

Hugh Morton and Bill Friday at a UNC versus Virginia basketball game.

At a reception and banquet in the Carolina Inn on June 7, 1996, Hugh Morton accepted the North Caroliniana Society award and in his remarks he said this about his old friend:

Bill Friday—I do not have to tell any of you—is probably the most respected person in our nation, not just North Carolina, in the field of higher education.  To have him as a friend over the years has meant a whole lot to me.

I remember vividly the words of UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour on November 5, 2004 at the Charlie Justice statue dedication.  Baddour introduced Dr. Friday as “the most respected man in North Carolina.”

Last Wednesday, October 10th, in an interview with Rachel George of USA Today, Baddour said at the start of the NCAA investigation at UNC in the summer of 2010, “the telephone call to Bill Friday was the most difficult.”  For more than thirty years, Friday, co-founder of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, had fought for changes to prevent the exact type of violations ultimately found at UNC.  On Friday morning Baddour described Bill Friday as “an absolute giant.”

In the Washington Post last week, Friday said while the investigations and violations at UNC are troubling, the school must move forward and improve.  “It’s a very difficult thing to accept and I hope and pray that we’ve learned our lesson here, and I sure hope we have.  But it’s a symptom of the commercialization of college sports all over the nation.  I’m hoping that we can step forward and let’s move on and make the changes that are necessary, because change is necessary, and let’s go from here.”

“President Friday was the most significant educator in North Carolina in the 20th century,” said C. D. Spangler, Jr., who succeeded Friday as UNC president.  Tom Ross, the current University President, said, “Bill Friday lived a life that exemplified everything that has made our University—and the state of North Carolina—great.”

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorpe added, “Bill Friday was committed to providing access to high-quality, affordable higher education to North Carolina students.  He was tireless in his efforts to underscore the importance of higher education to people from all walks of life . . . .”

William Link, author of the 1995 book, William Friday: Power, Purpose and American Higher Education, said: “He was the person who kind of consolidated and built the system the way it is now.  It’s gone through a lot of changes, but it’s Bill Friday’s university in a lot of ways.”

Many North Carolinians will remember Dr. Friday as a pioneer for public television and interviewer in his weekly TV program on WUNC-TV, “North Carolina People.”  I remember on one of his early programs, he interviewed long-time sports broadcaster Ray Reeve.  Reeve told about his first meeting with Friday and added, “I just assumed you would be governor someday.”  I think there are many in this state who believe he would have been a great governor.

The state of North Carolina and the University lost a legend on October 12, 2012.  Bill Friday will be missed, but on this day, I choose to believe he has joined a select group of individuals . . . a group that includes his dear friend Hugh Morton.

Currently there are thirty-eight photographs of Bill Friday in the online collection of Morton photographs.

Now that Charlotte is in the distance

Charlotte from Grandfather Mountain

Hugh Morton's favorite photograph of Charlotte, as seen from near the Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain approximately 87 air miles away. Morton made the photograph in mid-December after a cold front had cleared the air, providing some very rare visibility.

Last week, the city of Charlotte was the “front and center” of the American political scene as it hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  As the event approached, I had the natural inclination to turn to Hugh Morton’s coverage of past Democratic conventions for a timely blog post . . . but quickly remembered that we had already done that shortly after the party selected Charlotte.

If you find yourself wanting more Democratic convention politics now that the show has left town, you may want to revisit previous posts on the topic here at A View to Hugh.  For starters, try Rob Christensen’s essay “Hugh Morton Among the Movers and Shakers” for an overview of Hugh Morton’s role in North Carolina’s political scene.  Then choose from any or all of these offerings related to the Democratic National Convention:

Hugh Morton’s first daily newspaper assignment

The previous post on A View to Hugh features a Hugh Morton photograph of Grandfather Mountain, published without credit on the cover of the 8 March 1941 issue of The State.  As the blog post revealed, I suspect the photograph dates from 1940 or earlier, which is relatively early in Morton’s career as a photographer.  January of that year saw Morton beginning his second semester as a freshman at UNC.  His camera had been stolen shortly after arriving on campus in the autumn of 1939, and it was not until sometime around January or February 1940 that he bought his next camera.  So, I wondered, “How early in his career would that have been?”  Today’s exploration unravels an uncertainty and mystery that I didn’t even have until two days ago.

This is an important photograph in Morton’s career.  At the time he made it, Morton was a UNC student with a summertime job as the photography counselor at Camp Yonahnoka.  Here’s one of his accounts about the photograph, quoted from the preface of his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina:

In 1940, at nearby Linville, a fourteen-year-old kid from Tarboro named Harvie Ward embarrassed a lot of adults by winning the prestigious Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  Burke Davis, sports editor of the Charlotte News, contacted the Linville Club for a photograph of Harvie Ward, and I was called to come up from camp to carry out what was my first photo assignment for a daily newspaper.  Davis liked my Harvie Ward pictures, and this led to many photo assignments for the Charlotte News during my college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Because this assignment helped launch Hugh Morton’s career as a news photographer, and the early view of Grandfather Mountain was also likely made in 1940, I wanted to know when the Charlotte News published the Ward photograph(s) (two negatives are extant in the Morton collection) relative to publication of the early Grandfather Mountain view in The State.  I searched the Web for information on the Linville golf tournament and Harvie Ward for 1940, but only found a few bits and pieces—and nothing that said when they played the tournament.  So . . . off to the microfilm room.

I scanned through issues of the Charlotte News, Tarboro’s Daily Southerner, and Rocky Mount’s Evening Telegram published during the “golf-able” summer months through mid September, by which time Morton would have returned to Chapel Hill from Camp Yonahnoka and Ward would have already returned to Tarboro in time for their classes.  Nothing . . . at least not that mentioned Harvie Ward winning the tournament in 1940.

I turned next to Morton’s booklet, Sixty Years with a Camera published in 1996, which I recalled also included the portrait of Ward.  As The Jetsons cartoon dog Astro would say, “Ruh Roh . . . .”

The first picture I took on assignment for a newspaper (the Charlotte News) was of Harvie Ward when he won the 1941 Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  This was a very competitive event, and it was a surprise to everybody that a 15-year-old kid from Tarboro would win it.

Two different statements of fact.  What to do?  Well, I turned to a different newspaper, the Charlotte Observer and here’s what I found: Harvie Ward didn’t win the Linville Men’s Invitational Tournament in 1939, 1940, 1941, nor 1942.  (I didn’t go further, because Morton was in the army in 1943).  A detailed listing of the entrants in the Charlotte Observer revealed that Ward didn’t enter the 1940 tournament; he did, however, defeat Ed Gravell of Roaring Gap to win the “second flight” of the 1941 tournament.  I also found a congratulatory paragraph in the Daily Southerner on August 4, 1941 “for taking first place in second flight in Linville invitational golf tournament.  Harvie is having great time knocking off the little fellows.”  [For golf historians, Sam Perry emerged victorious in 1939, Charles Dudley won the championship flight in 1940, Hub Covington won the 1941 tournament, and Billy Ireland won the event in 1942.]

To be thorough, I searched for both years (1940 and 1941) through mid September.   There are no photographs of Ward in the Charlotte News.  I now even wonder if the newspaper ever published one of these portraits of Ward by Morton.

So in all likelihood, Hugh Morton had it right the first time in the 1996 booklet: the Harvie Ward, Jr. photographs probably date from 1941.  And here’s some supporting evidence: photographs began appearing in the Charlotte News sports section’s “Pigskin Review” articles with the credit line “News Photos by Hugh Morton” in mid September 1941, which is in agreement with Morton’s statement that the Ward pictures “led to many assignments.”  Morton photographed members of the 1941 football teams of UNC (published September 12th), Duke, (September 13th), NC State (September 15th), and Wake Forest (September 24th), plus two photographs made during and after UNC’s season opener on September 20th against Lenor-Rhyne that featured UNC’s standout running back Hugh Cox.  By comparison, there are no photographs in the newspaper credited to Morton in late summer or early autumn of 1940.

My conclusion? So far, the earliest Morton photograph that I’ve discovered to be published in a non-UNC publication is the early view of Grandfather Mountain.  Now, please tell me why I believe the story probably doesn’t end there?!

Andrew Samuel Griffith (1926–2012)

Andy Griffith at Kenan Stadium, 1954

Andy Griffith performing "What it Was Was Football" at Kenan Stadium, September 25, 1954.

The news is making its way around the world that Andy Griffith passed away this morning.  Here’s an excerpt from the chapter “ANDY GRIFFITH: What It Truly Was, Was . . .” in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina by Hugh Morton and Edward L. Rankin Jr.  Rankin wrote the chapter on Griffith.

How did Andy Griffith get his big break in show business?

Well, what it was, was . . . a lucky combination of things—an engaging talent, a need for some low-budget entertainment and an enterprising record producer looking for a hit.

Here’s the story, as related by Hugh Morton and Orville Campbell:

In 1950, Morton helped found the Southern Short Course in Press Photography and in planning the first meeting in Chapel Hill he asked Russ Grumman, UNC extension director, to suggest some inexpensive entertainment for the dinner meeting.  Grumman recommended a young UNC graduate student and PlayMaker who would do some recitations for $25 and he was booked.

Orville Campbell, long-time friend and Chapel Hill newspaper publisher, had printed the Short Course program and Morton invited Campbell to the dinner.  Campbell was also a lyric writer, had produced, with Hank Beebe, the successful record, “All the Way Choo Choo,” and was trying to break into the record business in a big way.

When the young graduate student/PlayMaker appeared, he recited “Romeo and Juliet” and “What It Was, Was Football.  To quote Morton, “he tore the place up . . . really tore the place up!”  Neither Morton nor Campbell had ever heard of Andy Griffith and were overwhelmed with his performance.

Campbell rushed up to Griffith after the program, introduced himself and said, “we’ve got to make a record of this!”  Griffith grinned and replied, “Well, Mr. Campbell, if you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time.”  Campbell admits now he had no idea why he acted so impulsively then—but he is glad he did.

The comedy monologue was recorded at six live performances before Campbell was satisfied that he had captured its rustic humor at its very best.  The version selected was actually performed before a large and lively audience of insurance sales people and brought down the house with laughter.

The rest is entertainment—and North Carolina history. . . .

We have featured Andy Griffith on several occasions here at A View to Hugh, including a post about Campbell on June 8th with a photograph of Campbell and Griffith arm in arm taken in 1956.  You can read those posts using the search box in the upper right corner by entering “Andy Griffith.”  Coincidentally, we already have a Jack Hilliard post scheduled for tomorrow on “The Lost Colony,” America’s first outdoor symphonic drama that is celebrating its 75th anniversary on July 4th, 2012.  Griffith joined the play’s cast in 1947.  In the mean time, there are currently seventeen photographs of Andy Griffith online from the Hugh Morton Collection.  Have a look . . .

 

Big Man On (and off) Campus

Today’s post comes to us from Jack Hilliard, who has amassed many, many frequent contributor miles here at A View to Hugh.

The famous headline in the entertainment weekly Variety on October 30, 1929 (the day after black Tuesday) was: “Wall St. Lays An Egg.”  For many in North Carolina there is another famous Variety headline which appeared a little over twenty years later and goes like this: “Country Hick Brings Back Talking Records.”  The talking record featured Andy Griffith and was called “What It Was, Was Football.”  The hick, however, was not Andy, but was UNC alum, Chapel Hill record producer, newspaper publisher, and civic leader Orville Bentley Campbell.

Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith and Orville Campbell (wearing a Tar Heel tie),during the 21 January 1956 meeting of the Honorary Tar Heels in New York City.

I first heard the name Orville Campbell in the fall of 1949 when he, along with Hank Beebe, wrote the song “All The Way Choo Choo,” honoring UNC football great Charlie Justice.  Recorded on King Records by bandleader, and Duke University graduate, Johnny Long, the record sold about 32,000 copies across North Carolina. (It has often been reported that Benny Goodman also recorded “All The Way Choo Choo,” but there is no Goodman recording.  There is, however, a Goodman arrangement of the song; he and his band performed it live in concert, but never made a formal recording.)

UNC-Chapel Hill students with a copy of a May 10, 1942 Daily Tar Heel special edition entitled "Your University—Servant of the State." Second from right is DTH editor Orville Campbell; second from left is Bob Hoke. Probably taken in DTH office; other students likely Walter Klein, Secretary Ardis Kipp, and possibly managing editor Sylvan Meyer.

Justice and Campbell became great friends, and Justice—along with wife Sarah and son Ronnie—took one of Piedmont Airlines inaugural flights to Louisville, Kentucky to be best man in Orville’s wedding.

Campbell, in addition to his song writing, was a photographer, news reporter, editor, and book publisher.  His journalism days go back to his student days at Carolina.  He beat out Louis Harris, the famous pollster, for the editorship of The Daily Tar Heel in 1942.  Campbell credits his success in that “Tar Heel” election to his manager, UNC basketball great George Glamack.

Orville Campbell and George Glamack

Orville Campbell and George Glamack, probably circa February 19, 1942

Following his UNC graduation, the Commander of the North Carolina Pre-Flight School at Chapel Hill, O.O. Kessing (USN), arranged for Campbell to serve as Associate Editor of the Pre-Flight weekly newspaper, Cloudbuster.  Later he served in the South Pacific and returned to North Carolina following the war.  Upon his return, he served in the news bureau at WCUNC in Greensboro (now UNCG) before returning to Chapel Hill.

Campbell was the founder and CEO of Colonial Publishing and Colonial Records—both based in Chapel Hill—and he produced music with John D. Loudermilk, with baseball legend Dizzy Dean, WPTF Announcer Phil Ellis, Hoke Simpson, Billy “Crash” Craddock, and a Chapel Hill group called The Belltones.  One of his most successful recordings was that Andy Griffith monologue that Variety was excited about in the early 1950s, which Colonial Records recorded first and then released to Capitol Records.  Andy also performed it on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town on CBS-TV in January of 1954.

Campbell, along with Beebe, also wrote “Way Up in North Carolina.”  That song was performed by The Belltones, released on Colonial Records, performed by Fred Waring on his CBS-TV show, and profiled by the North Carolina magazine The State in the September 15, 1951 issue.

On January 31, 1988, the Winston-Salem Journal profiled Orville Campbell in a feature written by Tom Seig.  (The name Tom Seig will be familiar to Hugh Morton fans for his work on the 1995 Morton PBS documentary The Search For Clean Air.)  Seig relates a famous John D. Loudermilk – George Hamilton IV – Orville Campbell connection.  According to Seig, George Hamilton IV came to Chapel Hill about two years after Andy and his football tale.  Hamilton wanted to be a star at the Grand Ole Opry so he sent Campbell an audition tape.  Campbell’s advice was for Hamilton to pursue his dream by writing his own songs. So he wrote several songs, but had little success.  Then one day he met Campbell’s friend John D. Loudermilk, who had written a sentimental number about a boy who could give his girlfriend only a single flower and a candy bar.  Said Seig, “Hamilton hated the song, and Loudermilk hated the way Hamilton sang it, but Campbell loved them both.”  So “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” was recorded and the rest is history.  A side note: soon after the song was released, Campbell received a letter from the candy company saying he had violated their copyright.  Before he could get his legal team in place, a second letter came saying forget the first letter.  Candy bar sales were increasing at a rapid rate.

Orville Campbell’s list of close friends reads like a who’s who in Chapel Hill and the University: William Friday, W.D Carmichael, Terry Sanford, Luther Hodges, Hugh Morton, William Aycock, and Charlie Justice.  The list goes on . . . baseball greats Ted Williams, Clyde King, and George Steinbrenner, football  greats Jim Tatum, and Otto Graham as well as legendary golfer Sammy Snead.

Campbell, a dedicated democrat, Presbyterian, and teetotaler put his stamp on Chapel Hill and was named Citizen of the Year four times by the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce.

USS North Carolina Battleship Commission

Copy of a photograph of Governor Terry Sanford (center, with photograph) with the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission (including, from left to right, Hugh Morton, Ed Rankin, Tom Morse, Percy Ferebee, Jack Younts, Bill Womble, John H. Fox, Andrew Jones, Orville Campbell, Victor Bryant, and James S. Craig, Jr.). Photographer unknown.

On November 11th, 1960, North Carolina Governor Luther H. Hodges appointed the USS North Carolina Battleship Advisory Committee to investigate the feasibility of establishing the warship as a state memorial.  Members of that committee included Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin among others and heading the committee was Orville Campbell.  After several trips to Bayonne, New Jersey to view the ship in mothballs, Campbell reported to the Governor that it would indeed be feasible and advisable to save the ship.  The remainder of that story is now a part of North Carolina history.

Campbell was famous for his sense of humor and was a roaster at a Charlie Justice Juvenile Diabetes roast on April 30, 1984 in Charlotte and related this story about his dear friends W.D Carmichael and Charlie Justice:

We always liked to take our songs over to Mr. W.D. Carmichael, then acting University President, and get his opinion.  So when we finished “All The Way Choo Choo,” I went over to Carmichael’s office.  He was extremely busy that day, but I went in anyway.  His desk was covered with papers and he didn’t even look up.

“What do you want, Orville?” said Carmichael.

“I just wanted to know if you had heard our last song.”

“I hope the h— I have,” was the reply.

On Monday, June 5, 1989, Campbell was admitted to North Carolina Memorial Hospital for observation after experiencing shortness of breath.  The following day came the sad news from Dr. James R. Harper  that Orville Campbell had died of heart failure at approximately 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 1989.  He was 69 years old.

On June 9th, a capacity crowd, led by Minister R. David Hoffelt, at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, celebrated his life.

Orville Campbell, like his dear friend Hugh Morton, was a North Carolina treasure.

The Uncommon Laureate with the Common Touch

Some fans of “CBS News Sunday Morning” may not know that the television program began airing regularly on January 28th, 1979—thirty-three years ago this weekend—originally hosted by North Carolinian Charles Kuralt.  Jack Hilliard present a profile of Kuralt and his long-time friendship with Hugh Morton.

It wasn’t unusual for Hugh Morton to get a call from a CBS News producer wanting to set up an interview with North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges during the Democratic National Convention in July, 1960.  After all, Morton was the governor’s campaign publicity manager and Governor Hodges was leading the North Carolina delegation at the convention.  When Morton and Hodges arrived at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, they met the youngest correspondent that CBS News had.  Twenty-six-year-old Charles Kuralt would be doing the interview.

Charles Kuralt interviewing Luther Hodges

Charles Kuralt (right) of CBS News interviewing North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges during the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Photographs cropped by the editor.

Charles Kuralt interviewing Luther HodgesCharles Kuralt interviewing Luther Hodges

While Kuralt conducted the interview, Morton did what he liked to do—he took pictures.  Hugh was impressed with Kuralt’s questions and his ability to handle himself during the interview.  After the questions were all answered, Morton and Kuralt struck up their own conversation, and discovered that not only were they fellow Tar Heels from UNC, but were both born in Wilmington.  Morton likely didn’t realize it at the time, but he and Kuralt would become close friends for the next 37 years.

Charles Bishop Kuralt had been with CBS News only three years when he was assigned to a 250-person staff of correspondents, news producers, reporters, directors and technicians for the 1960 conventions and election.  In those days, the three major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, each covered the national conventions and each competed for its share of the TV and radio audiences. CBS with anchorman Walter Cronkite, and NBC with anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were fierce competitors.

Following the 1960 elections, in the spring of 1961, CBS assigned Kuralt to a Friday evening, prime time program called Eyewitness to History, an in-depth look at the top story of the week.  One of his first programs was broadcast on Friday, May 5, 1961—the day America put its first man in space with Alan Shepard’s sub-orbital ride from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  “Eyewitness” proved to be a popular program, and Kuralt called it “the best job I’ve ever had,” but a management change at CBS sent Kuralt to Latin America as a one-man bureau—not exactly what he had dreamed of doing.  From there, Kuralt completed four tours in Vietnam and then it was back to the United States and the West Coast bureau.  During these career changes, Kuralt and Morton stayed in touch and when he could get away, Kuralt would visit Grandfather Mountain, a place he dearly loved.

Charles Kuralt in "On the Raod" RVThen, in 1967, Kuralt floated an idea to CBS News President Dick Salant about an “On the Road” series.  Salant was willing to try it.  So in October of 1967, Kuralt hit the road and as they say “the rest is history.”  From Loafers’ Glory, North Carolina to Albertville, France and the ’92 Winter Olympics, Charles Kuralt picked up thirteen Emmy and three Peabody awards, was often compared to Edward R. Murrow, and was called by Time magazine “laureate of the common man.”  In addition he returned each weekend to New York to anchor “CBS Sunday Morning.”  Oh yes, he wrote six books also.

Hugh Morton and Charles Kuralt

Hugh Morton with Charles Kuralt at 40th anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge on summit of Grandfather Mountain, NC. Cropped by the editor.

Kuralt continued to return to North Carolina when he could—sometimes to write and sometimes to just relax . . . and sometimes for special occasions.  On September 2, 1992, he accepted Hugh Morton’s invitation to speak at the 40th anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge.  He had fun with his old friend.  ” . . . the Mile High swinging bridge, which is NOT a mile high, is not swinging either.  So, what we have here is the 80-foot-high, Tethered Bridge.  Big Deal.”

On May 21, 1993, Kuralt returned to Chapel Hill for a reception and banquet honoring him on the occasion of his acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award.  That Friday night at the Carolina Inn, Kuralt’s younger brother Wallace delivered the keynote speech.  It was titled, “The Uncommon Laureate:  Sketches in the Life of Charles Kuralt.”  During his talk he recounted,

“Early on Charles exhibited a penchant for journalism and broadcasting . . . he would sit in the front yard and announce: They’re up to the line, and here’s the play.  It’s Justice to Weiner, Justice to Weiner . . . down the sideline . . . TOUCHDOWN!

On October 12, 1993, Charles Kuralt spoke at UNC’s bicentennial celebration:

“What is it that binds us to this place as to no other?  It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls or the crisp October nights. . . . No our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.”

Editor’s note: last week, the Daily Tar Heel ran an article accompanied by a photograph of students protesting proposed tuition increases.  One of the protesters carried a sign bearing words from that very quotation, even crediting Kuralt on the placard.

Charles Kuralt at Grandfather Mountain, 1994

Charles Kuralt at Linville Bluffs overlook, with Grandfather Mountain peaks in background, May 28, 1994.

On April 3, 1994, after thirty-seven years at CBS, he did his last “Sunday Morning.”  Charles Kuralt was ready to return home . . . this time for good:

Farewell, my friends.  Farewell and hail.
I’m off to seek the Holy Grail.
I cannot tell you why.
Remember, please, when I am gone
‘Twas aspiration led me on.
Tiddly-widdly-toodle-oo.
All I want is to stay with you.
But, here I go.  Goodbye.

Kuralt then spent much of his time researching and writing his final book, Charles Kuralt’s America.

On December 8, 1995, he spoke at Hugh and Julia Morton’s 50th wedding anniversary”:

We should thank them (Hugh & Julia) for bringing us (Duke and Carolina) together.  There aren’t many things that bring us together, but Julia and Hugh can do it.

And on June 6, 1996, he paid tribute to his friend of thirty-six years as Hugh Morton accepted the 1996 North Caroliniana Society Award for his service to North Carolina:

Hugh Morton is North Carolina’s greatest promoter—always, however, of things that ought to be celebrated: the natural wonder of his mountain, the flaming beauty of Wilmington’s azaleas. Or of things that ought to be saved: the Battleship North Carolina, the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras.  Or of things that ought to be changed:  the laws which permitted disfiguring development on the mountain ridges, the laws which permit acid rain to fall, the constitution prohibition against our governors from succeeding themselves in office.  Our famous promoter never promotes himself.

When Hugh Morton visited with Kuralt in June of 1997 at Belmont Abbey College, he was appalled at Kuralt’s weakened condition.  He had been diagnosed with Lupus and the treatment had taken a severe toll.  Morton begged him to come up to Grandfather and recover, but Kuralt said he had too much to do.  Morton wasn’t surprised when the phone call from Kuralt’s assistant Karen Beckers came on July 4th telling him that “Charles is gone.”  Charles Kuralt was only sixty-two years-old.

Following his death, the University of North Carolina commissioned a series of oral histories with Charles Kuralt’s friends.  His dear friend Hugh Morton said this:

Charles really had the common touch.  He was so genuine and sincere.  I really believe he was the most loved, respected and trusted news personality in television.

Charles Kuralt at Grandfather Mountain, 1994

Charles Kuralt at Grandfather Mountain, May 1994.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Living Room of the University

A View to Hugh closes out the year with a contribution from Jack Hilliard celebrating the December 30th anniversary of a notable Chapel Hill landmark, the Carolina Inn.

Have a Happy New Year!

Carolina InnThe committee searching for UNC’s new athletics director, Lawrence Bubba Cunningham, met for more than twenty-seven hours and interviewed thirteen candidates before making its recommendation to Chancellor Holden Thorp.  The final selection was announced on October 14th, 2011.  Those interviews were not held in the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center.  They weren’t held in the Smith Center, nor were they held in the Kenan Football Center.  They took place in another very special place on the UNC campus.  A place UNC President Emeritus Dr. William Friday calls “The Living Room of the University”—the Carolina Inn.

On May 5, 1965, noted movie and TV actor Richard Chamberlain stayed at the Carolina Inn while in Chapel Hill for the World Premiere of the movie Joy In The Morning, which was based on a novel by Chapel Hill’s own Betty Smith.  The film was featured at the Carolina Theater.

About a month after the famous 1949 UNC vs. Notre Dame football game in historic Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame President John J. Cavanaugh paid a courtesy visit to Chapel Hill and met with Acting UNC President William D. Carmichael, Jr. and UNC All America Charlie Justice.  That visit took place in the Carolina Inn as well.

William D. Carmichael Jr.

William D. "Billy" Carmichael Jr. at an unknown event in the Hill Room at the Carolina Inn, circa 1940s to early 1950s.

Those visits were not unusual; many famous people have visited the Inn during its 87 year history—Eleanor Roosevelt, Kay Kyser, David Brinkley, Michael Jordan, Alexander Julian, Julius Chambers, John Motley Morehead, and Andy Griffith.  The list does go on.

It was ninety years ago this year, in the early fall of 1921, when John Sprunt Hill, distinguished alumnus and University trustee, checked into a Franklin Street hotel during a visit to the campus.  That hotel was likely the old University Inn.  Unable to sleep because of the unseasonably warm weather, Hill decided to take a walk across the moonlit campus.  When he arrived at the corner of Columbia Street and Cameron Avenue, he spent several minutes looking at the old wooden boarding house there operated by Mrs. Ralph Graves.  He envisioned a new more modern hotel on the site.  During the following months, Hill was able to purchase the boarding house and land from Mrs. Graves, and at the UNC trustee meeting on November 2, 1922, he proposed his plan for a “college inn,” which would be funded totally by alumni contributions.  To start the fundraising project, Hill offered the land and donated $10,000.  In early 1923, it became clear that the fundraising drive was not going to reach its projected goal of $100,000, so Hill decided to fund the entire venture on his own.  By the time the Carolina Inn’s dedication on December 30, 1924, John Sprunt Hill had invested over $250,000 in the building, equipment, and furnishings.  For the next ten and a half years, Hill maintained the inn.  Then on June 5, 1935, he presented the entire Carolina Inn property to the University.  In the following decades the Carolina Inn faced many challenges due the changing face of the university, but to this day it remains a featured centerpiece.

It seems that everyone who visits the Carolina Inn comes away with a favorite story.  Carolina’s great All America football star Charlie Justice was a huge fan of the inn.  He and wife Sarah lived there in early 1946 while they waited for a place in Victory Village.  Justice often recalled listening to a radio broadcast of Carolina’s NCAA championship game on March 26, 1946 in the lobby of the Carolina Inn.  The Justice family spent many nights at the inn during his playing days as well as football weekends during a span of 50 years.

One of my favorite Carolina Inn stories is one told by the late Bob Quincy, a former Sports Information Director at Carolina and co-author of the 1958 book, Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story.  On November 22, 1947, when Carolina defeated its arch rival Duke by a  score of 21 to 0, a Chapel Hill celebration was staged that was only rivaled by the one in 1929 when the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils 48 to 7.  The dancing on Franklin Street went on for hours after the ‘47 game.  Finally, a weary bunch of Tar Heel fans, along with a couple of players, found their way to the Carolina Inn hoping to get a celebratory meal—only to find the dining room was closed.  James Weaver, an employee of the inn for forty years, met the students at the door and explained that closing time had long passed, but he said he would speak to manager Leigh Skinner to see if anything could be done.

“Sir,” said Weaver, “we just got to open up the dining room again.”
“We can’t, James,” said the manager.  “Rules are rules.”
“But you got the most important man in North Carolina standing out there goin’ hungry.”
“Do you mean to tell me Governor Cherry is in our lobby?”
“Oh, no, sir, not anybody like that.  I mean the MOST important—Mr. Charlie Choo Choo Justice.”

The dining room was opened and dinner was served.

Hugh Morton liked to tell the following story.  In April of 1953, Morton was hosting a banquet at the inn and needed an entertainer.  Someone suggested a young graduate student who was active in the Playmaker’s Theater.  Morton was able to hire the student for twenty-five dollars.  The student’s name was Andrew Griffith, and he delighted the audience with a hilarious monologue about a bumpkin at his first college football game.  Chapel Hill record producer Orville Campbell was in the audience and after the show rushed up to meet Griffith and told the young comedian he was star material.  Within a week or two, What It Was, Was Football was recorded and became a hit.  Not long after, Griffith was on Broadway in No Time For Sergeants.

Andy Griffith at Kenan Stadium, 1954

Andy Griffith performing "What it Was Was Football" at Kenan Stadium, September 25, 1954.

“I don’t claim all the credit for his success,” Morton would say in a 1984 Greensboro interview.  “I’m sure anybody with Andy’s great talent would have made it without my help,” but it was a night to remember in “The Living Room of the University.”

Pacific discoveries

The handwritten label — “Original Leyte” — on the negative envelope immediately caught my eye.  It was the second envelope in the box, just after the envelope labeled “Fort Benning.”  Leyte, an island in the Philippines, might possibly have a connection to Hugh Morton, who served as a photographer and film cameraman in the United States Army’s 161st Signal Photographic Company.  Morton’s tour of duty ended in the Philippines after being injured by an explosion near Balete Pass on the island of Luzon.

Marking its place, I pulled the “Leyte” envelope from the box, peered inside, and saw five negatives.  I pulled one negative out of its protective Kraft paper enclosure.  I couldn’t believe it—the very first item that I examined in the collection and I immediately recognized Hugh Morton’s face in the image: a copy negative of a photograph of Morton leaning over fellow signal corps photographer Conway Spanton!

Why was this so exciting?  Because I was not looking at an envelope in the Hugh Morton collection.  I was nearly 400 miles away from Chapel Hill.

Hugh Morton and Conway Spanton

Photograph of Hugh Morton (wearing sling) and Conway Spanton held by the United States Army Military History Institute in the Thomas L. Wood Photograph Collection. This photograph is the exact same pose as that in the Hugh Morton Collection. The negative in the Morton collection appears to be the original, but it has been trimmed along the left side and the bottom edge.

Early Tuesday morning of Thanksgiving week, I set off for Carlisle, Pennsylvania (about 190 miles east of my final destination of Pittsburgh), taking a busman’s holiday to conduct some research at the United States Army Military History Institute, which is part of the United States Army Heritage and Education Center.  Exploring its website and catalog the previous week, I discovered that the institute held several items on Camp Davis—where Morton was stationed before heading to the Pacific theater—and 1,982 photographs made by another 161st Signal Photographic Company photographer, Thomas L. Wood, who also served in the Pacific.  Given the dozens of photographers who traversed the Pacific islands, I considered the Wood photographs to be a long-shot, and held more hope of finding useful material on Camp Davis.

When I arrived Tuesday afternoon, I first looked at the Camp Davis items, which turned out to be either too generic or too specific for my purposes.  Next on my research cart was a document case containing envelopes and boxes of prints and negatives from the Thomas L. Wood photograph collection.  The Wood collection comprised two photograph albums and a box; because of their large size and storage location, however, the albums could not be brought out to the research room without approval.  While awaiting permission to use the albums, an institute staff member had pulled the box—the document case that held the negative envelope labeled “Original Leyte.”

“But wait,” you may be saying: a copy negative isn’t an original negative.  What was the original?  After the excitement of my initial discovery subsided, I removed the remaining four negatives.  One was a second copy negative of the Morton/Spanton portrait; the scene depicted in the remaining negatives (one original, two copies) I also immediately recognized from the Morton collection: a group of men, including Morton, seated around Spanton as he lies on a cot or a stretcher.

From the research room, I was able to check Wood’s negative against the group portrait in the online Morton collection.  Unlike the Spanton/Morton portrait, the group portrait was not the same image as the one in the Morton collection (below).

Conway Spanton group portrait from Morton collection.

Negative in envelope labeled "HMorton wounded with Photo Tean" (sic) from the Hugh Morton collection. The Spanton/Morton portrait was found in the same envelope when the collection was being processed. Hugh Morton is on the far right wearing a sling as a result of injury sustained on March 18, 1945 near the Balete Pass.

I wasn’t able to get too far into the collection before the research room closed, so I stayed overnight and returned Wednesday morning.  I methodically launched into the box of photographic material—starting on the opposite end from the Leyte negative with the photographic prints stored in Wood’s numbered and labeled original envelopes.  After reviewing all the material in the document case, I did get to see the photograph albums.  Lo and behold, in the second album . . .

Conway Spanton and group

Group portrait with Conway "Connie" Spanton from a photograph album in the Thomas L. Wood Photograph Collection, United States Army Military History Institute.

. . . a print of the group shot with an identifying caption.  Well, now there’s a problem . . . “Luzon” (in the caption) and “Leyte” (on the negative envelope) are two separate islands!  Two mysteries solved (Wood being the likely photographer and when he made the photographs), but a new mystery added (location).  Luzon makes more sense to me at this point, but more research will be needed to confirm that.

Some other place names on the envelopes and captions in the albums overlapped with places where Morton had ventured, but many more did not.  I was able to identify a previously unidentified Morton landscape photograph made in the Pacific from a different image in the Wood collection: Mount Bagana on Bougainville Island on what is now part of Papua New Guinea.  Using Google Earth, I was able to come pretty close to the spot where Morton likely made the photograph, and I recorded the latitude and longitude in the descriptive metadata.  Morton was not portrayed in any of Wood’s Bougainville photographs that were dated from December 12, 1943 going forward, including a New Year’s Eve party at the close of 1943.

The location common to both Wood and Morton that proved to be the most rewarding was Noumea, New Caledonia.  One print of Noumea with Mount Dore in the background labeled “Our camp upon hill” was taken from practically the same vantage point as a Morton negative featured in a previous blog post.  Wood’s photograph identifies the central portion of the photograph as the headquarters of the 161st Signal Photographic Company.

Thomas Wood's envelope #42: "Tent 14 - Noumea - N.C- " (New Caledonia)

A print of the Spanton/Morton portrait was in Wood’s envelope #42 (both shown above).  Envelope #43 — “Tent 14 – Miss/N.C.” — contained a group portrait of Wood, Spanton, and two others.  From the images in these envelopes, it seems that Wood and “Connie” were good friends and tent mates.

Thomas Wood (left) and Conway Spanton (to Wood's left) at Noumea, New Caledonia.

Thomas Wood (left) and Conway Spanton (to Wood's left) at Noumea, New Caledonia. Thomas L. Wood Photograph Collection, United States Army Military History Institute.

Another photograph in the envelope, labeled “New Caledonia/June 44″ on the verso, shows Thomas Wood (easily recognizable by that point in my research) and two other men.  I knew a completely unidentified print of that photograph was in Morton collection (below).

Thomas L. Wood and two others at 161st HQ Noumea

Thomas L. Wood (left) and two other soldiers pose in front of the 161st Signal Photographic Company headquarters at Noumea, New Caledonia.

In the second photograph album, however, there was an even more interesting group portrait . . .

161st Signal Photographic Company, New Caledonia, probably Noumea in June 1944

Group portrait of members of the 161st Signal Photographic Company in New Caledonia, probably Noumea in June 1944. Hugh Morton is second from the right first row; Thomas Wood is third from the right, middle row. United States Army Military History Institute, Thomas L. Wood Photograph Collection.

This group portrait, presumably members of the 161st Signal Photographic Company, places Morton and Wood in Noumea at the same time.  There appear to be differences in the foreground landscaping, so the date may not be the same as the portrait of Wood posing with two others.

After finishing with the Wood collection, I had very little time left to look at photographs in the institute’s Signal Corps Photograph Collection.  The views of Camp Davis predated Morton’s assignment there, so I moved on to a group of images arranged by location.  I had asked the staff to pull images from a handful of locations, but the clock was poised at less than five minutes until closing time on the day before a holiday.  I chose the folder labeled “Balete Pass.”

Inside was the biggest find of the trip.

Hugh Morton photographing near Balete Pass

Hugh Morton, on right, making a photograph just moments before he was injured by an explosion. Notice the Signal Corp number in the lower right corner of the 8x10-inch print that is part of the United States Signal Corps Photograph Collection, United States Army Military History Institute. That number is NOT on the much smaller print in the Hugh Morton collection.

In the Hugh Morton collection, there is a photograph with the following caption:

A US Army Signal Corps Photographer is shown photographing infantrymen of the 25th Infantry Division as they are in process of knocking out a Jap pillbox position near Balete Pass, Luzon. The enemy is fiercely defending Balete pass because it is a key route to Baguio. The Japs set off an explosion which wounded both Infantry men and Cameraman shortly after this picture was taken. Photographer: Allen”

That caption does not name the photographer in the scene; the descriptive metadata we had for this image online did not include that caption.  Both of these shortfalls have now been corrected.  Who is the photographer in the scene?  The faded but legible caption on the back of the print at the United States Army Military History Institute states: “Hugh Morton.”

A previous View to Hugh post, Saved by his camera, tells a bit more about that day.

A special note: Leyte is where General Douglas MacArthur famously proclaimed, “I have returned.”  Many thanks to the staff at the Army Military History Institute for their assistance during my visit.  I shall return.

Hundred-picture-a-week Morton

Front page article from the November 16, 1941 issue of The Daily Tar Heel written by Hayden Carruth featuring Hugh Morton.

Seventy years ago today, on November 16th, 1941 The Daily Tar Heel ran a front-page article entitled “Morton Got an Illegal Start Now Gets 100 Shots a Week” by a fellow classmate Hayden Carruth.  The article begins . . .

The marble pillars bristled with dignity., the be-robed judges bowed with solemnity, all was hushed and reserved.  In a word, the Supreme Court of the United States was met for the historic session to decide the fate of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.  To furtive figures crept into the hall, sat down with their hats on their laps, stayed throughout the session, and departed with the crowd afterwards.  As they were standing on the sidewalk outside, an authoritative looking gentlemen approached and eyed them severely.  He had heard the click of their cameras beneath their hats.

Fortunately for Hugh Morton, and his school mate from the Episcopal high School, Alexandria, Virginia, the gentleman was only Thomas McAvoy, who had been unable to dodge the law restricting cameras in the court.  His identity was common knowledge, and the guards had been warned to watch him for taking illegal photographs.  McAvoy equipped Morton’s friend with high speed films, and the pictures he took in the next session appeared in Life [magazine].

Trying to unpack the above has led to one interesting revelation and a brick wall.  First the revelation.

Many may recognize the name of Hayden Carruth, a 1943 UNC graduate with an A.B. in journalism.  Carruth, who died in 2008, served in Europe in the Army Air Corp after graduation.  In the years after the war he obtained a M.A. from the University of Chicago and became a notable poet who won many awards, including (according to the University of Vermont Special Collections finding aid to his papers) “the Bollingen Foundation Fellowship, the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (twice), the Lannan Literary Fellowship (1995), the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (three times) and Senior Fellowship, the Vermont Governor’s Medal, the Ruth Lily Prize, the Whiting Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, the Lenore Marshall/The Nation Poetry Prize (1991), the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry (1992), The Paterson Poetry Prize (1994), and the National Book Award in Poetry (1996).”  Carruth was an assistant news editor at The Daily Tar Heel at the time he wrote the feature on Morton.

And the brick wall? I cannot verify the veracity of the photograph being published in Life.  I found only two possible Supreme Court cases when the story Carruth conveyed could have occurred: United States v. Butler, argued on December 9 and 10, 1935 and decided on January 6, 1936; and Mulford v. Smith, argued on March 8 and decided on April 17, 1939.  Reading through issues of Life around those dates (on microfilm, which is no fun and voids the experience of looking at a photographic magazine!), only the latter revealed a photograph on a page of Life—the May 1, 1939 issue, which was the second issue of the magazine after the ruling.  That photograph depicts William Orville Douglas, and the caption states that he is entering the building to take his constitutional oath on April 17.  The court building’s columns dwarf Justice Douglas, with his back to the camera, as he walks into the shadows beneath the portico.  Life credits Thomas McAvoy for the photograph.

One of Carruth’s sentences reads as if Morton’s friend, not Morton himself, made the photograph as McAvoy handed the film to Morton’s friend.  Another reads as if both Morton and his friend made photographs because McAvoy “heard the click of their cameras.”  Either way, it seems neither had one of their photographs in Life.