From Richmond to Chapel Hill . . . from Charlotte to the Moon

February 20, 1962 was an important day in United States space history.  On that day, US Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.  On that same date thirty-six years earlierFebruary 20, 1926an unsung hero of the United States space program was born in Richmond, Virginia.

On this February 20th, Morton collection volunteer and blog contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of that hero: Julian Scheer, who would have turned 88 today.

Julian Scheer posed next to Scheer Bluff sign

Julian Scheer posed next to the Scheer Bluff sign on Grandfather Mountain, date unknown.  This scan of a portrait by Hugh Morton comes from a machine-made print in the Morton collection.  The processing code on the back of the print includes the date 5 September 2001, just four days after Scheer’s death.)

The TV picture was slightly out of focus.  It was black-and-white and the camera was tilted a little. By 2014’s standards of high tech, high definition television, it would likely be branded “NBQ”—not broadcast quality.  Despite all of that, more than 700 million people around the world watched as US Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon.

And we almost didn’t get to see it.

In the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chain of command during the lead up to the launch of Apollo 11, the first trip to land a man on the surface of the moon, one man stood firm with his commitment that a TV camera would be part of the lunar luggage: Julian W. Scheer from Richmond, Virginia, a UNC Tar Heel, and a friend of Hugh Morton and family.

At age 17, Scheer joined the merchant marine and later served in the Naval Reserve. Following that World War II service, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1950 with a degree in journalism and communications.  He then became UNC Sports Information Director Jake Wade’s assistant, a position he held for three years, before joining The Charlotte News in 1953.  (In 1956 another UNC Tar Heel joined the staff at The Charlotte News.  His name: Charles Kuralt.)

Julian Scheer wading through debris after Hurricane Hazel (1954)During his early days in Charlotte, Scheer covered sports and news stories.  In 1954 he went to the North Carolina coast, along with a group of other North Carolina reporters, to cover Hurricane Hazel.  Also in that group was photographer Hugh Morton who, near the peak of the storm, took a picture of Scheer struggling against the rising water.  The picture earned Morton a prestigious award.  In the 1996 booklet, Sixty Years with a Camera, Morton described the circumstances on October 15, 1954:

Hazel was a very stormy thing.  And when it came ashore at Carolina Beach, Julian Scheer and I were covering it for The Charlotte News.  I asked Julian to walk through my picture, and the photo won first prize for spot news in the Southern Press Photographer of the Year competition.

That photograph is also on the front cover of the first edition of Jay Barnes’ 1995 book, North Carolina’s Hurricane History.

In 1956 Scheer received an invitation from an old college friend.  Nelson Benton, who first worked at Charlotte radio station WSOC following his UNC graduation in 1949 and then joined WBTV Channel 3 News (also in Charlotte), asked Scheer if he would like to join a group that was going to visit Cape Canaveral, Florida.  At that time, there was an Air Force base there and a few rockets had been tested, but very little news had come from the Cape. Scheer made the trip and was fascinated with what he saw and asked his editor at the “News” about a story of what was going on there. The editor didn’t show much interest, so Julian returned on his own time with his own money and did a series of stories.

As the space race heated up and with the creation of NASA in 1958, more and more stories turned up in the papers and on TV.  In 1959 Scheer wrote a book, along with NASA engineer Theodore Gordon titled First into Outer Space. The book was a best seller, but Scheer said the Pentagon took out some important content.  (This was Julian Scheer’s third book.  He teamed with Hugh Morton and Bob Quincy in 1958 for the Charlie Justice biography, “Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story.”  That book was published by Orville Campbell in Chapel Hill.  Also in ’58 he wrote Tweetsie, the Blue Ridge Stemwinder.)

Before he completed chapter one of his novel, he got a call from NASA administrator James Webb wanting him to come to Washington.  Webb was very familiar with Scheer’s reporting on the US space program and wanted to hire him as his public affairs assistant.   “We need your help,” said Webb. “I want you to write a plan for coordinating media coverage of the missions,” he added.

Scheer spent the next thirty days back in Charlotte formulating a grand plan that would shape the structure and policies of NASA into a team approach and would be responsible for getting the astronauts out of their flight suits and into the public consciousness.  Scheer never lost sight of the importance of the fact that media includes both broadcast and print.

He sent the plan to Webb and was soon called back to Washington.  When he walked in the door, Webb said, “I accept your offer to go to work for me.”  Both men laughed, before Scheer finally said yes.  “I want you to run this program just as you’ve outlined it.  You’ll work directly for me,” said Webb.

Julian Scheer outside NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 1965.

Julian Scheer outside NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 1965. (This is a slightly different pose than the image in online collection. Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Scheer arrived back at Cape Canaveral just in time for the final mission of Project Mercury, astronaut Gordon Cooper’s two-day stay in orbit in May 1963.  Cooper would be the final US astronaut to go into space alone, because Project Gemini was next and would consist of ten successful two-man flights starting in March 1965 and continuing until November 1966.  Project Apollo and the moon would be next.

On Friday, January 27, 1967 the Apollo One crew, consisting of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, was training at the Cape for the first Apollo launch when tragedy struck.  A spark ignited a fire in the spacecraft, killing all three astronauts.  Scheer was faced with a media crisis.  To his credit, he withheld information until all the families involved were properly notified.

Twenty-one months would pass before Apollo would actually fly.  On October 11, 1968 US Astronaut Wally Schirra checked out a new system in Apollo 7.  The US space program was back on track and headed for the moon.  Apollo 8 flew around the moon on Christmas Eve 1968.  Who could forget Commander Frank Borman and crew reading from the Bible on that cold December night on live television?  In an interview after the Apollo program, Commander Borman would say, “the (Apollo) program was really a battle of the cold war and Julian Scheer was one of its generals.”

Apollo 9 in March of ‘69 and Apollo 10 in May were the dress rehearsals for the moon landing which would be next.

The blueprint for Apollo 11 has Julian Scheer’s fingerprints all over it.  He was responsible for naming the Apollo 11 command module “Columbia.”  He participated in discussions over whether the astronauts would place a US flag on the moon and he helped determine the wording on the lunar module plaque that reads in part, “We came in Peace for All Mankind.” But perhaps his biggest achievement was his fight with NASA engineers to get a television camera on board the lunar lander “Eagle.” Weight was a critical issue for “Eagle” and the engineers said a TV camera would just be extra weight.  Said Scheer, “You’re going to have to take something else off.  The camera is going to be on the spacecraft.”  And so it was.

Wednesday, July 16, 1969 began at 4 AM for about 150 CBS News personnel at Cape Canaveral. Preparations were underway for the launch of Apollo 11.  Two hours later, at 6 AM (EDT) came this:

“This is a CBS News Special Report, ‘Man on the Moon: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11.’”

It was the voice of CBS legendary announcer Harry Kramer in New York.  Anchors Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra were on the air three hours and thirty-two minutes before the launch at the cape. The countdown went well as about 3,500 news personnel watched from the Complex 39 press site at Cape Kennedy (now it’s the Kennedy Space Center).  Among them was Hugh Morton. (According to the Morton collection finding aid, however, only seven 35mm slides are extant.)

An estimated half million space watchers lined the surrounding Florida beach areas.
Then at 9:32 AM (EDT) the mighty Saturn V (five) rocket, powered by 7,500,000 pounds of thrust, carrying Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins began a slow climb to the moon.

As Cronkite watched on his TV monitor, he jubilantly cried out,

Oh boy, oh boy, it looks good Wally . . . What a moment! Man on the way to the moon!

Most of the CBS launch team then headed back to New York to get ready for the biggest show of all on Sunday, July 20, 1969.

As CBS signed on at 11:00 AM (EDT) on the 20th, the first voice we heard was that of Charles Kuralt, Julian Scheer’s co-worker at The Charlotte News in 1956:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Some five billion years ago, whirling and condensing in the darkness, was a cloud of inter-stellar hydrogen, four hundred degrees below zero, eight million miles from end to end.  This was our solar system waiting to be born.

Kuralt had recorded his essay days before because on this day he would fly across the United States, stopping along the way getting people’s thoughts on this historic day.  His program would be called A Day in the Life of the United States, and would air on September 8, 1970.

Then, Cronkite and Schirra and about 1,000 CBS News team members began a “32-hour day” live from Studio 41 in New York. Among those team members was Julian Scheer’s old college buddy Nelson Benton, who was stationed at Bethpage Long Island at the Grumman Corporation where a full scale model of the Lunar Module was set up. Benton worked with Engineer Scott MacLeod who had tested the module.

During the next five hours, Cronkite and Schirra were at the center of a media frenzy as they introduced feature segments, interviewed space experts, and tossed to CBS News Correspondents around the world.

At 4:08 PM (EDT) the astronauts were given a final “go” for the flight down to the surface of the moon. It took nine minutes and forty-two seconds. Then came Armstrong’s famous words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed.” Cronkite sat speechless, glasses in hand, shaking his head from side to side.  Schirra wiped a tear from his eye.
In six hours, thirty-eight minutes, and thirty-eight seconds, a 38-year-old American astronaut from Wapakoneta, Ohio would set foot on the surface of the moon.

At 10:25 PM (EDT), Cronkite held up a copy of Monday’s New York Times with the banner headline “Men Land on the Moon.”  Never before had the Times printed a headline in such large type. Then came this exchange between Houston and Neil Armstrong:

Armstrong: “Okay Houston, I’m on the porch!”
Houston:  “Man, we’re getting a picture on the TV, we see you coming down the ladder now.”
Cronkite:  “Boy! Look at those pictures.”
Armstrong:  “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It was 10:56:20 PM (EDT) on Sunday, July 20, 1969.

Cronkite:  “Isn’t this something! 238,000 miles out there on the moon, and we’re seeing this.”
Schirra:  Oh, thank you television for letting us watch this one!”

Schirra could have said . . . perhaps should have said (in my opinion):  “Thank you Julian Scheer for letting us watch this one!”

Following the Apollo 11 crew’s return safely to earth on July 24, 1969 after eight days, three hours and eighteen minutes, Julian Scheer was awarded NASA’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Medal. He then led the crew in exploiting its public relations potential. He orchestrated and led round the world tours. In a 1999 USA Today article, Scheer said, “The Apollo mission was the chance to show off U.S. technological superiority. Clearly the Russians were going to the moon. We were head-to-head. We emphasized that.”

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, said, “He (Scheer) understood the needs of the media and also the needs of the flight crews. He was, in many cases, able to accommodate both.”

Following a successful Apollo 12 mission, Scheer was faced with another crisis during the flight of Apollo 13.  Two days into its flight an oxygen tank exploded crippling the service and command modules.  The lunar landing was cancelled, and for the next six days there was wall-to-wall media coverage until the crew landed safely on April 17, 1970.

When Apollo 14 launched on January 31, 1971, Hugh Morton along with wife Julia and daughter Catherine, were guests of Julian Scheer at the Cape. This mission saw astronaut Alan Shepard, America’s first man in space, return to space and land on the moon.
As it turned out, Apollo 14 was Julian Scheer’s final flight at NASA. Two days after his 45th birthday, on February 22, 1971, he left NASA and would become campaign manager for Terry Sanford’s 1972 run for the presidency.  Scheer remained a consultant to the space program in Washington and was a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Group portrait of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse committee members,  possibly outside the Carolina Club on the UNC campus. Left to right: Jim Heavner (CEO, The Village Companies of Chapel Hill and broadcaster); James G. (Jim) Babb (Executive VP, Jefferson Pilot Communications); Dr. William Friday (UNC President); unknown; unknown; Julian Scheer; and Hugh Morton.

Group portrait of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse committee members, possibly outside the Carolina Club on the UNC campus. Left to right: Jim Heavner (CEO, The Village Companies of Chapel Hill and broadcaster); James G. (Jim) Babb (Executive VP, Jefferson Pilot Communications); Dr. William Friday (UNC President); unknown; unknown; Julian Scheer; and Hugh Morton.

Julian Scheer and Hugh Morton crossed paths again in 1981 when Morton formed the “Save the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Committee,” in response to the growing concerns about the safety of the 129-year-old structure.  The committee read like a who’s who in North Carolina and brought together some of the best public relations/media minds in the world.  And of course Julian Scheer, with more experience with government agencies than anyone else Morton knew, topped the list.  The committee offered an alternative to moving the lighthouse as the US Corp of Engineers wanted to do. But Morton’s committee wasn’t able to keep the landmark in its seaside location.

On April 30, 1984, UNC’s great All-America legend Charlie Justice was the subject of a charity roast in Charlotte for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Scheer wasn’t able to attend the event in person, but he sent an audio tape poking fun at his dear friend. The audience loved it when Scheer said he and co-author Bob Quincy would have to answer “for all the lies we told” in that 1958 Charlie Justice biography.

In an interview in 2000, Julian Scheer said, “in my mind . . . I was always writing.  It never left me.  I always got a charge out of seeing my byline in the paper . . . .” Also that year Scheer wrote two children’s books, A Thanksgiving Turkey and Light of the Captured Moon.  He had previously written two other children’s books: Rain Makes Applesauce (1965) and Upside Down Day (1968).

The tragic news from Catlett, Virginia on Saturday, September 1, 2001 was that Julian Scheer had died in a tractor accident at his home.  He was 75-years-old.  The world will forever remember “the small step and giant leap” made by Neil Armstrong 238,000 miles away on Tranquility Base at 11:56:20 PM (EDT) on July 20, 1969; and the award-winning reporting by Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra to millions of viewers watching CBS-TV; but neither of these historic events would have captured the imagination of the world without that seven-pound TV camera and the strong will of Julian Weisel Scheer, a true unsung hero of Project Apollo and the American space program.

Frank Borman at Scheer Bluff, Grandfather Mountain

Frank Borman at Scheer Bluff, Grandfather Mountain. Scanned from a print that’s not included in the online collection (cropped by editor).

An Epilogue:
In the early 1960s Hugh Morton paid tribute to his dear friend Julian Scheer by naming a nice overlook at the 5,000 foot level at Grandfather Mountain, “Scheer Bluff.” The Scheer family would often visit Grandfather Mountain and in the early 1980s, to his surprise, Scheer received a photograph of astronaut Frank Borman standing at the “Scheer Bluff” sign.  Said Borman, “Julian, this is the first time I’ve called your bluff.  We’ve been through a lot together and I’ve always valued your advice . . . many years of happiness to a true friend.”

If you check the dictionary for the word “bluff,” you’ll find this definition among others:  “rough and blunt, but not unkind in manner.”

Correction: March 14, 2014:  An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the CBS announcer.  It is Harry Kramer, not Ted Cramer.  Kramer’s name is misspelled in a 1968 phone roster.

Final weeks for “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective”

Just wanted to float a reminder out there that the exhibit “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective” is entering its final two weeks at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University.

Are you going to be in the mountains for a bit of skiing this weekend, but the weather forecast calls for rain on Saturday?  Just looking for something to do in Boone?  Swing on over to the Turchin Center, view the fabulous photography by Hugh Morton, and stay dry!

Emmett Kelly, Jr. at the 1968 Azalea Festival Parade

Emmett Kelly, Jr. at the 1968 Azalea Festival Parade in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Perhaps the world’s most recognizable clown, Emmett Kelly, Jr. sprung into international fame soon after completing his four-year apprenticeship in 1964. Hired by Kodak as the attraction for its pavilion during the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, the company employed Kelly as a touring Ambassador of Goodwill for the following four years. During that time period, Kelly was the most photographed clown in the world, including this one by Hugh Morton—a founder and organizer of the azalea festival.

Here are the gallery hours at the Turchin Center:

  • Tue: 10am – 6pm
  • Wed: 10am – 6pm
  • Thu: 10am – 6pm
  • Fri: 12noon – 8pm
  • Sat: 10am – 6pm

Can’t make it to Boone before the exhibit’s last day on January 25th?  Fear not!  We have two additional venues in the works for this year: one farther west this spring and another in the east during the late summer and autumn.  I’ll be posting more information as the details unfold.

“Tar Heel Camera Man: Hugh Morton Remembered” to be viewable live on the Internet

Hugh Morton and hawk on movie camera

Hugh Morton at movie camera with hawk perched on top, most likely during filming of Morton’s 1981 film THE HAWK AND JOHN McNEELY.

As swift as a hawk, tomorrow’s (Saturday, October 5th) panel discussion “Tar Heel Camera Man: Hugh Morton Remembered” featuring Woody Durham, Jack Hilliard, and Betty Ray McCain, is upon us!  The event is open to the public, and will be held at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, in conjunction with the exhibit Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective.

The program begins at 2:00 P.M, and we would absolutely love to see you there (here are the details), but if you are far afield and cannot make the journey, fear not!  Appalachian State will be streaming the event live for viewing on the Internet.  Just click on the previous sentence, and the link will take you to the proper webpage.

“Greatest Fire in Wilmington’s History Rages on the Waterfront”

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR HOLOCAUST — The costliest fire in Wilmington's history—the Great Fire of Sunday, Feb. 21, 1886, devastated an estimated $1 million in property—was variously estimated last night to have consumed, in flames and smoke, from $10 to $30 millions worth of property.  [sic]  The fire started at 8:55 A.M.  By 10 A.M., when this picture was made from a plane, smoke billowed thousands of feet into the air and could be seen from at least 25 miles away.  The ship in the foreground is the Norwegian freighter Max Manus, which was towed from the docks when the fire started. . . . Photo by Morton.

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR HOLOCAUST — The costliest fire in Wilmington’s history—the Great Fire of Sunday, Feb. 21, 1886, devastated an estimated $1 million in property—was variously estimated last night to have consumed, in flames and smoke, from $10 to $30 millions worth of property.  The fire started at 8:55 A.M. By 10 A.M., when this picture was made from a plane, smoke billowed thousands of feet into the air and could be seen from at least 25 miles away. The ship in the foreground is the Norwegian freighter Max Manus, which was towed from the docks when the fire started. . . . Photo by Morton. (As captioned in the Wilmington Morning Star, 10 March 1953, page 1.)

Back in 2009 Elizabeth Hull wrote a post on the anniversary of the Wilmington Terminal Company fire, which occurred sixty years ago on March 9th, 1953.  The images she selected for that post are 4×5 color transparencies.  Hugh Morton also made several black-and-white negatives of the catastrophe, two of which made the front page of the Wilmington newspapers.  There are seven black-and-white negatives in the collection, plus the puzzler at the end of this post, are not currently in the online collection.

The headline for this post is the headline that accompanied a photographic essay of the event by the staff photographer(s) in the same issue of the Wilmington Morning Star.  The photograph above was on the front page of the March 10th issue.  It’s presented above as cropped for the newspaper, and below without cropping.  (The stain in the upper right portion of the frame does not seem to be in the published version.)

View of Wilmington Terminal Warehouse fire, with ship Max Manus in foreground.

According to the caption in the Wilmington Morning Star, Morton made these fire scenes approximately one hour after the fire began.  The image below made the front page, top center, of the same day of the fire in that afternoon’s Wilmington News.  The paper’s headline spanned the full page: “ADVANCE OF DOCK FIRE HALTED.”

Aerial view of the Wilmington Terminal Company fire.

FREIGHTER SAVED — A tug pulls the Norwegian freighter Max Manus from a flaming dock at the Wilmington Terminal Co. Smoke was visible for 20 miles. Photo by H. Morton. (As captioned in the Wilmington News, 9 March 1953.)

The microfilm for the two newspapers doesn’t capture the quality of the photographs very well, so these are my visual interpretations of the images; the crops are as close as I could estimate to those used by the newspapers.  Here’s the above photograph without cropping.

P081_NTBS4_015202_01

A sampling of other images made by Morton follow.  I have not had an opportunity to check other newspapers to see if any of the images shown here may also have been published.  Some of the negatives have pre-exposed numbers on one edge, giving you a clue to the order in which Morton photographed the event.  Other negatives, however, are not numbered, so it may be that he had more than one camera with a different lens and/or film combinations. (Remember he shot color transparencies, too.)

Wilmington Terminal Compay fire, with downtown Wilmington in the foreground.

This photograph gives a good perspective on the fire and its proximity to downtown Wilmington.

I wondered as I worked with these photographs what made Morton take to the air.  Did his military photography experience speak to his sense of the best perspective for the story?  Did Morton recognize that the local newspapers’ staff photographers would flock to “ground zero” and so knew that his aerial views would be unique?  Maybe both?

P081_NTBS4_015200_06The last photograph (below) is a bit of a puzzler.  It is a 3×4-inch negative—all the others are 4×5—and there is no sign of fire.  The negative envelope is labeled “Fire, Waterfront” but I suspect the negative is much earlier—perhaps prior to WWII, as Morton tended to use the 4×5 format after the war, and the 3×4 format before.  That’s not to say, however, that he didn’t use the smaller format after the war.  Maybe someone with expertise on the Wilmington waterfront can explore this image and provide an accurate or estimated date.  The bridge on the far right may also assist in dating the negative.

Wilmington waterfront, date unknown.

Wilmington waterfront, date unknown.

 

The Original Tar Heel Tie

E. L. White wearing Tar Heel necktie

A slightly different pose than this Morton photograph appeared in the December 6, 1952 issue of the magazine The State with the caption, "The First Citizen of Wilmington, His Honor Mayor E. L. White, tidies up his identification badge before venturing out for an official appearance.—The tie also is being used at outside-of-state conventions by North Carolina delegates.—(Photo by Morton.)"

It’s that time of year again . .  tie buying season!  (I bought one myself this weekend, a holiday gift for myself.)  Maybe Father’s Day is the only other time of year when men’s ties sell more?  Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can fill in the statistics.

In 1952 a certain style necktie made its way into the wardrobes of North Carolina males: “The Original Tar Heel Tie.”  Is the necktie now celebrating its 60th anniversary? (A celebration, that is, if anyone even remembers this tie!)  Time prevents me from jumping too deeply into the topic, so perhaps our fellow readers can fill in some details and we can collectively revive this knot-worthy event.

Article in The State, 1952-12-06, page 9.

Hugh Morton’s portrait of a smiling E. L. White appears with other photographs by different photographers in a short two-column spread in the December 6th, 1952 issue of The State.  The most important clues on this page can be found in the group portrait by Frank Jones depicting Ira Julian of Winston-Salem (owner of Kent Bakeries?) showcasing his Tar Heel necktie.

Working backwards in time, I skimmed through previous issues of the magazine looking for other mentions of the necktie. The earliest I could find was a small listing (third from bottom) in the classified advertisements in the October 11th, issue:

Classified advertisements, The State, 1952-10-18, page 11.

Small classifieds for the necktie continued for an undetermined time.  Illustrated advertisements in The State for the necktie soon appear, the first being on November 10th:

Illustrated advertiement for The Original Tar Heel Tie, The State, 1952-11-01_p19.

A few things pop out at me here.  If it’s new and original, why did it need to say so?  Were there impostors?  If so, how far back does the “original” go?  The caption for Frank Jones’ group portrait said that Ira Julian’s necktie had “recently” been a conversation piece.  When was Hans Hiedemann’s recital at Salem College?  And who or what is the “Downhomers?”  Designer?  Manufacturer?  Distributor?  There is no listing in the Raleigh 1952 city directory for that company.  My last observation is that the necktie came in six different versions, three of which sport collegiate colors—presumably for wider appeal on campuses where wearing neckties was commonplace, and alumni, too.

The November 8th issue of The State contains a portrait by Bill Leinbach of Bart Leiper, then newly appointed executive director of Western North Carolina Highlanders, Inc. wearing the necktie with a dark shirt.  The caption says Leiper now “sells his native State to tourists” by wearing the “Tar-Heel-splattered” necktie, “Just so no one could be in doubt as to his new mission.”  The most prominent depiction, however, of the Tar Heel necktie in The State made its splash on the November 22nd cover:

Cover of The State, 1952-11-22, featuring the Tar Heel Tie.

This November 22nd cover of The State featured The Original Tar Heel Tie. The cover's caption reads, "Little Bobby Kennerly of Statesville has come into his very first necktie, and Max Tharpe caught him in the interesting process of learning the old four-in-hand business. We think Bob will make it. The neck-piece, incidentally, is the new Tar Heel tie, which you see so many larger North Carolinians wearing these days."

Well that’s as far as I can take this for now.Keen readers of A Hugh to View may recall seeing this tie in a previous post, as Bill Sharpe and Orville Campbell both don the tie in 1956 for the Honorary Tar Heels gathering in New York City.  Below is another scene from that event, Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith arm-in-arm.

Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith and the Honorary Tar Heels gathering in New York City, January 21, 1956.

I did check in the North Carolina Collection Gallery and none of the six flavors of The Original Tar Heel Necktie are among the other neckties in its holdings.  Would anyone possibly still have one or more in their closet who would be willing to donate this seemingly one-time popular fashion statement to the gallery to add to its sartorial holdings?

A game fit for a queen . . . but no joy for Sunny Jim

On Saturday, November 24th the football teams for the University of North Carolina and the University of Maryland will meet for the 70th time.  In light of Maryland’s recent decision to leave the Athletic Coast Conference, however, the two will meet far fewer times in the future.   Of the sixty-nine previous games, thirty-four of them have been played away from Chapel Hill and one of those games stands out from all the others.  It made front-page news as well as sports-page news and is often called “The Queen Game.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that special Carolina–Maryland game.

Queen Elizabeth seated during the UNC Maryland football game, 1957On September 30th, 1957, Buckingham Palace released the itinerary for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Canada and the United States.  The visit was to include military and diplomatic ceremonies; luncheons, receptions, and dinners; a visit to an art gallery; religious services; and at the queen’s special request, a college football game.  The United States State Department selected the game between the University of Maryland, coached by Tommy Mont, and the University of North Carolina, coached by Jim Tatum.

During the time between this official announcement and the queen’s arrival in Canada on October 12th, an event of epic proportions took place: the Soviet Union launched an artificial earth satellite on October 4th, 1957.  The satellite would become known as Sputnik I, and the space race was on.  The queen’s visit temporarily took a backseat.

Nonetheless, on October 12th Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s four-engine DC7C landed at Uplands Air Base in Ottawa at 4:21 PM (EDT), four minutes ahead of schedule on its thirteen and a-half-hour flight from London.  As the doors opened at 4:30 (the scheduled time), a Royal Canadian Air Force band played “God Save the Queen.”  As the 31-year-old queen stepped from the plane, a tremendous cheer went up from the 30,000 gathered for her arrival.  Canada’s Governor General Vincent Massey and Prime Minister and Mrs. John Diefenbaker offered the official welcome.

After four days in Canada, it was off to the United States with a stop at the Jamestown Festival, held near Williamsburg, Virginia to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English colony in America.  The next stop was Washington, D.C. with President and Mrs. Eisenhower welcoming the royal party.

Saturday, October 19, 1957, was a blustery, chilly 54-degree day.  Queen Elizabeth attended a 9:40 AM special reception at the British Embassy, then lunched with President and Mrs. Eisenhower.  Following lunch, it was game time and the queen and prince boarded one of President Eisenhower’s bubble-top Lincolns for the 10-mile, 45-minute ride to Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.

It would be a football event like no other.  Fourteenth-ranked North Carolina would be a two-touchdown favorite, and the game would mark UNC head coach Jim Tatum’s return to the home stadium where he coached for nine years and led Maryland to a national championship in 1953.

There were reports that the game would be televised under the NCAA’s sellout rule, but ACC Commissioner Jim Weaver noted that Maryland had already made its two TV appearances for the year, so the folks back in North Carolina would only get a radio broadcast.

43,000 fans packed Byrd Stadium along with 480 accredited news personnel—which included Hugh Morton, and Life magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt, Hank Walker, and Edward Clark.  Also there were Jimmy Jeffries of the Greensboro Record and Don Sturkey of the Charlotte ObserverMorton made several photographs during the festivities.  At one point during the excitement, Morton turned his camera on the other photographers.

Photographers at UNC vs Maryland football game, 1957

Sports photographers on sidelines of during the UNC versus Maryland football game, attended by Queen Elizabeth II. The photographers are most likely photographing the queen. Photographer on right with balding head is LIFE staff photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

With 300 security personnel (Scotland Yard and FBI included) in place, at 2:10 PM, 20 motorcycles appeared at the field house end of the stadium followed by the queen and Prince Philip.  The royal party took a lap around the stadium and then took seats in a special box at the 50-yard line on the Carolina side of the field.  Already in place were University of Maryland President Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Elkins, Maryland governor Theodore R. McKeldin and wife Dorothy, British secretary Selwyn Lloyd, UNC president William C. Friday, and North Carolina governor Luther H. Hodges, who was on his way back home from a week of industry seeking in New York.  Mrs. Hodges and son, Luther, Junior had flown up from North Carolina that morning. [Editor’s note: there is some photographic evidence to suggest that Morton may have been part of the governor’s trip to New York City.  We are investigating!]

When the queen and her party were seated, the 420-member University of Maryland band took the field and put on quite a show along with the Maryland card section, which formed the letters “ER.”

Then, it was time for the teams’ co-captains to be introduced: Maryland’s Gene Alderton and Jack Healy, and Carolina’s Buddy Payne and Dave Reed.  Each team presented the queen a special gift—Maryland gave her a game ball and UNC gave her the special coin used to start the game.  Governor Hodges presented her with a miniature statue of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Luther Hodges holding Raleigh statueQueen Elizabeth receives Raleigh statue from HodgesThen it was time for the game.  As the teams lined up for the kickoff, the queen turned to Governor McKeldin and asked, “How many men on a team?”

“Eleven on each side,” he replied.

Late in the first quarter, Tar Heel halfback Daley Goff rushed 11 yards for a touchdown, much to the delight of the estimated 5,000 Tar Heels on hand.  The touchdown set off a celebration that concluded with the Carolina band playing “Dixie,” which brought Governor Hodges to his feet. The 7-0 score remained through the second quarter.

The Carolina band performed at halftime and proclaimed the “North Carolina Parade of Industries,” followed by another rendition of “Dixie.”  The queen joined in the applause, as the sun broke through the clouds. The Maryland card section formed the Union Jack.

At the 4:11 mark of the third quarter, Maryland quarterback Bob Rusevlyan scored on a one-yard sneak tying the score at 7-7.  Then in the fourth quarter, Maryland took the lead on an 81-yard touchdown run by halfback Ted Kershner.  The hometown crowd went wild . . . the Queen managed a smile.  Soon after, Maryland fullback Jim Joyce put the game away with a 13-yard touchdown run making the final score 21 to 7.

Following the game, Coach Mont was congratulated by Coach Tatum at midfield, then got a shoulder ride from his team up to the royal box.  The queen extended her hand and said, “Wonderful, just wonderful.”  Prince Philip added, “Very wonderful.”  Said Coach Mont, “Listen, I’ll revel in this one the rest of my life.”

And a long, long way from all the royal excitement, at the far end of the stadium, North Carolina Head Coach Jim Tatum began the long, slow walk to the locker room, his hands in his pockets, his head bowed.  He never got to meet the Queen.  The headline in the High Point Enterprise on October 20th read: “We Blew It,” Says ‘Not-So-Sunny’ Jim.  Less than two years, on July 23, 1959, Jim Tatum died tragically at the age of 46.  With his death, the hopes of UNC’s big-time football died also.

On Sunday, October 20, 1957, the queen and Prince Philip attended religious services at Washington’s National Cathedral, and on Monday the 21st they arrived in New York by train for a visit to the United Nations and to lunch with New York City mayor Robert Wagner.  On October 22nd, Queen Elizabeth concluded her first trip to the United States as queen and the royal party flew back to London.

22 Years Before Jamestown . . . 35 Before Plymouth Rock

  • This year, 2012, marks two important anniversaries: it’s the 425th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare, the first child of English parentage born in America; and it’s the 75th anniversary season of The Lost Colony, America’s first outdoor symphonic drama.
  • Last night, July 3, 2012, at Waterside Theatre—home of The Lost Colony on Roanoke Island—there was what is called in theatrical language a “standard theater” . . . one minute of silence while all theater lights were dark . . . to pay tribute on the passing of Andy Griffith, who performed there in the play during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
  • Tonight, July 4, 2012, will mark the 75th anniversary of the first performance of The Lost Colony.

Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the beginnings of Paul Green’s masterpiece and how the players, staff, and crews have dealt with fire and storm.

Actress portraying Queen Elizabeth from "The Lost Colony" outdoor drama, posing in the empty Waterside Theater on Roanoke Island, NC.

“. . . had there been no Roanoke Island, and Fort Raleigh, it is doubtful if there would have been a Jamestown (in 1607) or a Plymouth Rock (in 1620).”

— Lindsay C. Warren, United States Representative from North Carolina, in a speech before the first performance of The Lost Colony on July 4, 1937

The Lost Colony, Paul Green’s outdoor symphonic drama tells the story of 117 men, women, and children who attempted to establish the first English settlement in America, only to meet a strange and mysterious fate.  On July 4th, 1937, the initial performance of The Lost Colony took stage in Waterside Theatre on the northeast shore of Roanoke Island.  Sam Selden, friend and co-worker with Paul Green at UNC, staged and directed the performance.

Just before that performance, North Carolina Representative Lindsay C. Warren spoke briefly.  Expressing gratification that the first settlement here was “by a race ardently attached to freedom and personal liberty and trained to the usages and customs of the realm of England.”  Representative Warren asserted that “so long as the liberties of the people are cherished and protected, then so long will civilization exist.”

On August 18, 1937, the production celebrated the 350th anniversary of Virginia Dare’s birth on August 18, 1587.  The featured guest that evening was President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Traveling down the sound in a coast guard cutter from Elizabeth City, the president’s party headed to Fort Raleigh where he was introduced by North Carolina Governor Clyde R. Hoey as “the first citizen of the republic, the colossal figure of the century, the President of the United States.”

In his 3:30 speech before 20,000 people, the President declared, “We do not know the fate of Virginia Dare or the First Colony.  We do know, however, that the story of America is largely a record of that spirit of adventure. . .  These people who landed on your island had courage to do what their countrymen had not done before.  Our heritage is the fruition of their brave endeavor.”  Roosevelt returned at 7:30 for the evening’s performance.

The 1937 production was scheduled to run for only one season, but public response was so enthusiastic that it was decided to repeat the show the following summer.  New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson reviewed the production on August 15, 1937 and said, “The Lost Colony has made an extraordinarily versatile use of spectacle, sound, pantomime and cadenced speech . . . .”

Critical acclaim continued, as did the show.

At the opening performance of the third summer season, in 1939, special guest Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt was greeted by a huge audience.

Writing in the July 10, 1939, issue of Time magazine, Louis Kronenberger praised both The Lost Colony and Roanoke Island.  Said Kronenberger, “An elaborate spectacle . . . Paul Green wrote no glib anniversary pageant . . . with great sincerity, he infused into the drama of his lost colonists his own dream of democracy.”

When the “curtain came down” on season number five on September 1st, 1941, no one knew that in 97 days the world would change drastically.  On December 7, 1941, the attack at Pearl Harbor would bring to a close The Lost Colony . . . at least temporarily.  The lights would remain “out” on Roanoke Island until June 30, 1946 when once again The Lost Colony would be performed on the North Carolina coast.

"The Lost Colony" outdoor drama with Andy Griffith (upper right) as Sir Walter Raleigh, reenacting scene with Queen Elizabeth I (seated, played by Lillian Prince. Eleanor Dare (dressed in white in front of Griffith) is played by Barbara Edwards Griffith (wife of Andy Griffith at the time), circa 1949-1953..

It was late afternoon on June 24, 1947, when fire destroyed Waterside Theatre and The Lost Colony props.  Irene Rains, longtime costumer, saved the costumes when she tossed them into Shallowbag Bay.  Another hero from the ’47 fire was Albert Q. “Skipper” Bell, the designer and builder of the theater.  Bell’s pledge: “Give me some lumber and some men and I will rebuild the theater in four or five days.”  It took six days and the show went on.  One of Bell’s helpers on that construction job was a young man from Mount Airy who had just joined the cast as a soldier.  Two years later, he would take over the role of Sir Walter Raleigh and would play that part through the 1953 season.  He went by the name of Andrew Griffith.

Andy wasn’t the only famous person to grace the stage at Waterside Theatre.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, band leader Kay Kyser and Emma Neal Morrison, the drama’s most devoted patron came up with the idea of “Celebrity Night” in order to bolster attendance. It was simply putting names in the news as players in the show.  Some of the folks who participated were novelist and movie writer James Street, radio personality Kay Kyser and his wife actress Georgia Carroll, undersecretary of state James Webb, authors William Coxe, Jonathan Daniels, Foster Fitzsimmons, and Betty Smith.  UNC football great Charlie Justice, football coaches Carl Snavely from Carolina and Wallace Wade from Duke, Miss North Carolina 1951 Lu Long Ogburn and Miss America 1952 Kay Hutchins all were given a part in the show.  “Celebrity Night was a huge success.

The Lost Colony faced another challenge on the night of September 11, 1960.  Category 3 Hurricane Donna came ashore just inside the Outer Banks region, making landfall at Cape Fear.  Sustained winds of 115 miles per hour brought destruction to Waterside Theatre, but islanders would not allow their pageant to be blown away.  They again rebuilt the theater and the show went on.  Dedication of the new two-thousand-seat theater on July 14, 1962 also marked the celebration of the 375th anniversary of Virginia Dare’s birth and the 25th anniversary of the drama.  A 25th anniversary greeting came from Eleanor Roosevelt:  “Congratulation on the 25th anniversary of the presentation of The Lost Colony.  I remember how much we enjoyed it.”

Performer in Native American dress dancing in "The Lost Colony."

Performer in Native American dress dancing in "The Lost Colony" outdoor drama, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, circa late 1940s or 1950s.

In 1964, Joe Layton, famous choreographer, began as the new director, charged to reshape the play.  Remaining true to Paul Green’s original script, Layton had a new vision for the drama, and was able to bring high tech lighting and staging techniques.

On June 12th, 1987, The Lost Colony began a celebration of its 50th anniversary season.  A congratulatory note from President Reagan thanked all who had a hand in making it America’s longest-lasting outdoor drama.

There was yet another challenge for The Lost Colony in the early morning hours of September 11, 2007, when fire destroyed a maintenance shed and the costume shop with 80% of the show costumes.  Ironically, the costume shop was named for Irene Rains, the lady who saved the costumes in the 1947 fire.  At first it was thought that Andy Griffith’s sword from his days as Sir Walter Raleigh was lost, but the day after the fire Andy called production designer William Ivey Long and said he had the sword and would bring it out of retirement.  As before, The Lost Colony recovered from the 2007 fire, rebuilding the building and replacing the costumes in time for opening night on May 30, 2008.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary season of the grandfather of symphonic American outdoor drama, the future is bright—although ever changing with new talent and improved technical achievements.

 

Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Walter Raleigh

The year 2012 is the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, whose accession to the throne of seven independent Commonwealth countries on February 6, 1952 arose upon the death of her father, King George VI.  Queen Elizabeth’s coronation did not occur, however, until on June 2, 1953.  The jubilee thus far has been marked with various celebrations during the past several months.  This Saturday, June 2, 2012 is the first day of “The Central Weekend”—a four-day series of events that will surely make the news.

Luther Hodges presents statue of Sir Walter Raleigh to Qeen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II’s first visit to the United States as queen occurred between October 16th and 22nd, 1957—and as you might have deduced by now, Hugh Morton photographed the queen during her trip.  On Saturday October 19th, the University of North Carolina football team played the University of Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended the game.  North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges represented the state and presented the queen with a small trophy of Sir Walter Raleigh.  A dozen photographs from the day can be seen in the online collection.  The photograph shown here is slightly different, however, than the image in the online collection.  Both images appear to have been made within a few seconds of each other; the negative frame depicted here is the version that appears (although cropped) in the chapter on Hodges in Hugh Morton and Edward Rankin, Jr.’s book Making a Difference in North Carolina.

Another interesting tidbit about this photograph is that Charlotte Observer published an AP photograph made at nearly the very same moment—and from the perspectives of the two photographs, both photographers may have been standing directly next to each other with the AP photographer to Morton’s left, thus revealing a bit more of Hodges’s face.  Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey, whose collection is also part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, also covered the event.  One of Sturkey’s photographs that appeared in the Sunday edition of the newspaper had a caption that helped me identify some people previously listed as unidentified in the images.

Morton’s photographs, on the other hand, may not have appeared in any of the next day’s newsprint.  In addition to the Charlotte Observer, I made a quick check of the News and Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, and Wilmington’s Morning Star-News.  During the preceding days of that week, Morton may have been traveling with Hodges and a delegation of North Carolinians seeking business prospects in New York City.  Morton served as the chair of the State Advertising Committee under Governor Hodges.  There is a group of undated photographs in the Morton collection that may have been made during that New York City trip, and if Morton was photographing at Byrd Stadium in that capacity on their return to Raleigh, then his images of Queen Elizabeth were likely made to serve a purpose other than news photography.

While working on this post, I was able to identify one other person who appears in one of the photographs: University of North Carolina president William Friday, who would become one of Hugh Morton closest friends.

A Second Tour of Duty for the Immortal Showboat

USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication

“Eternal Monument,” Gallant Battlewagon is dedicated Sunday.

The above headline in the Greensboro Record on Monday afternoon, April 30, 1962 recalled a remark by Admiral Arleigh A. Burke’s the previous day.  Fifty years later, A View to Hugh contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the upcoming anniversary this Sunday of the dedication of the Battleship USS North Carolina.  For a prequel, you might want to read Jack’s post from last October, “A North Carolina homecoming.”

Admiral Arleigh Burke speaking at USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication

Retired Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke speaking at USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication. NC Governor Terry Sanford seated in right background.

Twenty one years and twenty days after its commissioning on April 9, 1941, the Battleship USS North Carolina was dedicated as a memorial to the 8,910 North Carolinians of all services killed in World War II.  Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, retired Chief of Naval Operations, was the principal speaker on April 29, 1962 at the dedication ceremony of the majestically moored battleship on the Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington.

As she lies quietly here at Wilmington she is just as gallant as she was in the days when her big guns were firing.  She is gallant today because she stands silently to remind all who see her of our precious heritage, reminding us with her battle record and with the battle records of those to whom she is dedicated.

Burke then read the World War II roll call:

Guadalcanal, the Solomons, Saipan, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa . . . an eternal monument to brave men and a source of inspiration to all Americans.

The retired admiral expressed the hope that visitors to the ship in the years to come will “remember not only those who died—but why they died. And from this memory let us all strengthen our resolve to protect and preserve the blessings of freedom whatever the cost may be.”

Crowd onboard USS North Carolina during memorial dedicationMore than 2,000 people on the stern of the ship and thousands more in the nearby parking areas took part in the emotional ceremony . . . just as they had contributed money to the “Save-Our-Battleship” effort.  During the ceremony, the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission, headed by Chairman Hugh Morton and Vice Chairman Orville Campbell, drew praise for their tireless efforts to save the ship.

North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford, introduced by Master of Ceremonies Jim Reid of radio station WPTF in Raleigh, called the ship “North Carolina’s historic link with World War II . . . a great memorial to a fighting people.” He then reminded the audience that $315,000 had been raised to date, and more than 112,000 people had visited the ship since it’s opening on October 14, 1961.

Admiral Claude V. Ricketts, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, speaking at the USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication.Admiral Claude V. Ricketts, Vice Chief of Naval Operations added:

Her hull and her weapons may represent, in a way, a bygone era in the story of naval power and naval tactics, but her spirit remains modern and she will thereby continue to contribute in a great measure to the security of the United States and the moral fiber of her citizenry.

USS North Carolina Memorial Dedication, probably Charles J. O'Connor of St. Mary's Roman Catholic ChurchMinisters of three faiths also took part in the ceremony.  The Rt. Rev. Thomas H. Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina delivered the invocation; the dedicatory prayer was by Rev. Charles J. O’Connor, pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Wilmington, and Rabbi Samuel A. Friedman of the Congregation of B’nai Israel, Wilmington, gave the benediction.  Commerce Secretary Luther H. Hodges, who as Governor was instrumental in acting on Jimmy Craig’s idea to save the ship, set out new marching orders for the old battlewagon:

We’re launching this great battleship on a second tour of duty . . . as a permanent reminder of freedom’s obligations.

Navy minesweepers plied the Cape Fear, ferrying guests from downtown Wilmington to the battleship site and later passed in review just before Army, Navy, and Air Force planes flew over in a magnificent aerial salute.

The radio broadcast of the ceremonies was offered to each radio station in North Carolina and adjoining states.  Wilmington television station WECT carried the proceedings live to coastal North Carolina.  Video tape replays were available to other TV stations.

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In 1969 Vice Admiral Ernest M. Eller, Director of United States Naval History, wrote:

North Carolina, the first of the new battleships of World War II, has special significance to the Navy and the Nation.  Her brilliant performance in gunnery in the Pacific with the fast carrier task force played an important role in our ultimate victory.  She well deserved to be enshrined.

 

Hugh Morton at the USS North Carolina

Hugh Morton on deck of the USS North Carolina during an event, probably the April 29, 1962 dedication.

Hugh Morton, in his 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina, dedicated an entire chapter to the ship.  Said Morton:

The (USS) North Carolina’s record speaks for itself.  She was in all 12 offensive naval engagements.  Applying any plausible yardstick one cares to use, the USS North Carolina may well be the greatest battleship ever floated by the United States.  We who hail from North Carolina were in luck the day it was decided to name this particular ship for our state.

On January 14, 1986, the ship was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.  So, on this the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the Battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55), I choose to believe there will be another gathering in a very special place.  Included will be, Burke and Ricketts, Sanford and Hodges, Morton and Campbell, Eller and Craig.  And as they did 50 years ago, leading this gathering will be Jim Reid along with Rt. Rev Wright, Rev O’Connor, and Rabbi Friedman.  All will be joined by 8,910 North Carolina heroes from World War II.