JDF Rides the “Choo Choo”

Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.  A View to Hugh would like to relate an event from the past that raised about $20,000 for diabetes research while at the same time had some fun at the expense of a Tar Heel sports legend.  But first, a bit of history . . .

In 1970 a group of parents in New York City whose children had Type 1 diabetes founded an organization they called the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, or JDF.  The group was defined by its commitment to research-funding and finding a cure for juvenile diabetes.  In 2012, the Foundation changed its name to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or JDRF, putting a greater emphasis on the need for research.

No one in the celebrity world came close to doing what actress Mary Tyler Moore accomplished with JDRF.  Her efforts were tireless.  She had but one goal when it came to diabetes: to bring to the attention of the world the battle of diabetes and how important it is to one day cure it.  She attended events, met with elected officials, testified before congress, and was always available to help local JDRF chapters with local fund raising by offering her celebrity.  And that’s exactly how she helped the Charlotte chapter of JDF in 1984 when they staged their fifth annual JDF celebrity roast.  Moore recorded videotape spots for the local television stations to air promoting the importance of supporting the Foundation.

Mary Tyler Moore died at the age of 80 earlier this year on January 25, 2017, but she will always be remembered in Charlotte for what she did to make the JDF Celebrity Roast of Tar Heel football legend Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice a success thirty-three years ago.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to Monday, April 30, 1984.

Admission ticket, scan courtesy of Jack Hilliard.

Admission ticket, scan courtesy of Jack Hilliard.

A Prolog
A celebrity roast is an event in which a specific individual, a guest of honor, is subjected to good-natured jokes at their expense and it is intended to amuse the event’s audience and in many cases to raise money for a particular charity. Such events are intended to honor the individual in a unique way. In addition to jokes, such events may also involve genuine praise and tributes. The individual is surrounded by friends, fans, and well-wishers, who can receive some of the same good natured treatment as well during the course of the evening.

♦ ♦ ♦

Charles Justice has contributed his fame to hundreds of drives and worthy causes and has generally and consistently served as a wholesome example to impressionable youth.

—Hugh Morton, May, 2000

In early January 1984, it had been almost thirty years since Charlie Justice played his final football game with the Washington Redskins and almost thirty-four since he played his final varsity game with the Tar Heels.  Nonetheless, when the Charlotte Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation approached him about being the honored guest at the Fifth Annual JDF Celebrity Roast, Charlie’s reply was yes, “these things are for a great cause and I enjoy them.” Charlie had been guest of honor for two other celebrity gatherings, one in Greensboro on October 29, 1980 called “Dinner of Champions,” sponsored by the Central North Carolina Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and one in his native Asheville on January 27, 1984 sponsored by the Western Carolina Children’s Foundation.

Justice was in great company at the fifth annual event.  The four who preceded Justice were Clyde McLean of WBTV in 1979, Kays Gary of The Charlotte Observer in 1980, Eddie Knox, former Charlotte mayor in 1982, and famed basketball player and coach Horace “Bones” McKinney in 1983.

If you didn’t know better, you might think this was a UNC reunion. The event’s Honorary Chairman was Johnny Harris, UNC Class of 1969.  Two other Tar Heels who worked behind the scenes were Erskine Bowles ’67 and Ray Farris ’62.  Tar Heel roasters included newspaper publisher Orville Campbell ’42; Woody Durham, Voice of the Tar Heels, ’63; UNC President Dr. William Friday, ’48; and UNC All-America football star and Justice’s classmate Art Weiner, ’50.

Dignitaries featured during the Fifth Annual JDF Roast: (back row, left to right): Bill Hensley, Orville Campbell, Bill Friday; (front row, left to right): Woody Durham, Art Weiner, Charlie Justice, John "Buck" Fraley. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

Dignitaries featured during the Fifth Annual JDF Roast: (back row, left to right): Bill Hensley, Orville Campbell, Bill Friday; (front row, left to right): Woody Durham, Art Weiner, Charlie Justice, John “Buck” Fraley. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

With Master of Ceremonies Bill Hensley in control (sort of), the “roasting” fun began.  Charlie was ushered into the Sheraton Center with the singing of “All The Way Choo Choo” to the delight of the 450 guests. The singing was led by Charlie’s daughter Barbara Crews.

Roaster: Orville Campbell

Chapel Hill newspaper publisher and the man responsible for recording “All The Way Choo Choo,”  Orville Campbell then stepped up to the mic.  “We always liked to take our songs over to Mr. W. D. Carmichael, then acting University President, and get his opinion.  So when Hank Beebe and I 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 Carmichael’s reply.

“Back in 1958,” Campbell continued, “I published a book which was written by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer called Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story.  We still have a warehouse full of those books over in Chapel Hill and I brought a few of them over here tonight to see if anybody here would pay $25 for a copy and if so, we’ll donate that money to JDF.  And after we’re finished here, we’ll lock the door so Charlie can’t get away and have him sign ‘em.”

Campbell, who had been Charlie’s friend and fan since he arrived in Chapel Hill in 1946, then took out a letter that UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely supposedly wrote to Justice following that famous 1948 Texas game in Chapel Hill.

“In discussing your touchdown pass to Art Weiner, Charlie, Coach Snavely reminded you that, ‘Your wobbly pass to Art Weiner would have never been caught except that Art made a great catch and Texas had a poor pass defense.’”

Campbell then put on a number 22 college all-star jersey and modeled it for the crowd. Justice had donated the jersey to be auctioned with money going to JDF.  The jersey went for $1,000.

Roaster: Woody Durham

Next up was “The Voice” of Tar Heel football and basketball, Woody Durham.  Woody told the story of how Justice had decided to go to the University of South Carolina, when his brother Jack talked him out of it and convinced him he should go to UNC.  Durham then turned to Charlotte JDF Chapter President Cassie Phillipi and asked, “Cassie, how much money do you think we could raise if we were holding this gathering in Columbia tonight?”  Then Durham said he wanted to relate a recent story from his visit to Atlanta and added, “This is the only story I’ll tell from that Atlanta trip . . . I promise.”

“I was in Atlanta covering Dean Smith’s 1984 Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament. The morning of the game, I was in the hotel room preparing for that night’s radio broadcast. The TV set was on but the sound was turned down real low and I wasn’t paying any attention to it. Then something caught my attention. The CBS program The Price is Right host Bob Barker had introduced a contestant form North Carolina. Then Barker said, ‘Who was the great All America football player from North Carolina back in the 1940s?’  Immediately someone in the audience shouted out, “Choo Choo.”  Barker quickly added, That’s right, Choo Choo Charlie Justice.’”

“Folks it’s been 35 years since Charlie played for Carolina, but his name is still magic.”

Roaster: Bill Friday

Up next . . . University of North Carolina President Dr. William Friday spoke of “the rightness of all he symbolizes in American Sports.”

“When thirty years pass, a haze often settles over memory but not the recollections of Charlie Justice on the football field.  He could do it all and he did. . . . All of the adulations and publicity never increased his hat size.  An unassuming and cheerful manner always has characterized this man of extraordinary gifts.  He has been greatly blessed in another way, he has Sarah.”

Woody Durham, John "Buck" Fraley, and Sarah and Charlie Justice during the evening's festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Woody Durham, John “Buck” Fraley, and Sarah and Charlie Justice during the evening’s festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

The 52-page souvenir program book for the 5th Annual JDF Roast is, in reality, a Charlie Justice scrapbook with dozens of Hugh Morton photographs included.  The book was designed by George Van Allen of G.V.A. Associates and the Justice cover-caricature was done by Gene Payne of The Charlotte Observer.  Charlie must have approved of the caricature; there was a huge version of it on the wall of his Cherryville office.  Also included in the book is a beautifully written Justice profile by Observer columnist Ron Green.

Roaster: John Fraley

John L. “Buck” Fraley, President and Chief Operating Officer of Carolina Freight, was next up.  Fraley’s company was a prime client of the Justice-Crews Insurance Company in Cherryville and had been so for many years. Fraley, a NC State graduate, talked about Charlie’s brief 1964 venture into politics. Also in the audience was Ken Younger who would take Fraley’s place with the company in 1985 following Fraley’s retirement. And if memory serves me correctly, it was Younger who bought the Justice All-Star jersey and then presented it to Charlie’s daughter Barbara. And by the way, Ken Younger, is a 1949 Duke graduate, who played football against Charlie and the Tar Heels.

Roaster: Art Wiener

Hugh Morton and the Charlotte JDF Chapter had prepared several large Charlie Justice action pictures and offered them for sale—the profits, of course, going to the Diabetes Foundation.  So when Justice’s friend, teammate, and business partner Art Weiner stepped up to speak, he commented on the pictures.

“Did you ever wonder why there are so many fantastic Hugh Morton action pictures of Charlie Justice?  Well, Hugh Morton was a world class, fantastic photographer, but there is another reason.  We had one member on our team who never touched the ball . . . never made a tackle . . . never threw a block.  His only purpose in life was to let Charlie Justice know where Hugh Morton was on the sidelines.”

“Where do you suppose he had his first heart attack? At halftime at the Carolina-Pitt game a few years back. They were carrying him out on a stretcher and everybody was looking and there was Charlie, waving to the crowd.”

Weiner then looked over at Orville Campbell.  “I didn’t know the ball was supposed to spiral until I got into pro ball. Charlie always threw it end-over-end.”

“I lived beside Charlie for four years and he got new Cadilacs all four years.  There was always trucks backing up to his door and unloading things.”

“My scholarship was a piece of wood with a nail on it, and I was told that I could keep anything that blew across my yard.”

When the laughter died down, Weiner got serious.

“I can honestly say Charlie Justice is not only the best friend I ever had, but in my opinion he is greatest athlete North Carolina ever had.”

Charlie Justice

When Justice finally got to the mic, he denied all, then thanked all for attending, and poked a little bit of fun at his “roasters,” telling his dear friend Art Weiner, “at least you had a scholarship at Carolina. . . I didn’t even have a one. . . Sarah had the scholarship in our family.  And as for those four Cadilacs you mentioned . . . was really one ’48 Chevy.”  He then related the importance of the fund-raising for diabetes research.  At the end of the evening’s festivities, more than $20,000 had been raised for that research.

♦ ♦ ♦

Ron Green, writing in the May 2, 1984 edition of The Charlotte Observer under the headline “Highest Praise To Choo Choo,” said, “They came not to praise Charlie Choo Choo Justice but to roast him. They did both Monday night at the Sheraton Center. . .  Others of his era are yellowed memories now, but Justice shines on, brightly, like a star . . . the long, rambling touchdown runs . . . the winning passes . . . the record-setting punts that took North Carolina out of danger.  Almost campy.  Almost as if he were playing himself in the lead role of a low budget movie with the title ‘Justice Rides Again.’  So good. So right.”

♦ ♦ ♦

WFMY-TV in Greensboro recorded the JDF roast in Charlotte on videotape for filmmaker David Solomon, the President of David Solomon Productions in Winston-Salem.  Portions of the roast appear in Solomon’s Sports Extra TV production of All The Way Choo Choo.  I had the honor of directing and editing the program, along with Larry Fitzgerald, the late WFMY-TV photojournalist.  North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Broadcaster Charlie Harville narrated the program.  And once again, Charlie Justice’s popularity across the entire state was shown when the TV documentary was sponsored by “Goody’s” of Winston-Salem.  The President of Goody’s, Duke University Class of 1949 football player Tom Chambers, was an opponent of Justice’s during their college days.  In addition to the “Goody’s” commercials, the program also included JDF-Mary Tyler Moore public service announcements.

♦ ♦ ♦

In closing, I would like to revisit words from Bill Friday:

“(Charlie Justice) is loyal. He has been on call when his alma mater needed him. He has lent his name in time and talent to a host of worthy causes since his jersey went into the trophy case.”

“He has shown in his personal life the same quality of courage and determination he exhibited in athletics. Charlie Justice was voted All-American for his exploits on those memorable Saturdays of another era.”

“I want to say, Charlie, that in the eyes of your legions of friends today, you are an All-American every day of the week.”

The Heels vs. The Irish: A dominating past

Cover of the 1960 UNC versus Notre Dame football game program, from the author's collection.

Cover of the 1960 UNC versus Notre Dame football game program, from the author’s collection.

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, a very special event will take place in UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels will meet the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The game will mark the seventh meeting between the two in Kenan and the twentieth meeting overall. While the Irish have dominated the series, a Carolina–Notre Dame game will always be something special. Morton collection volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at some storied past meetings between these two great universities.

The love that people have for Notre Dame can’t be explained.

—Lou Holtz, Notre Dame head football coach 1986- 1996.

Growing up in North Carolina during the late 1940s and early 1950s, football Saturdays were special. There was Duke and State and Wake and Carolina, and we followed their every game.  But there was always news in the papers and on the radio about Notre Dame; they seemed to always be a step ahead of our “Big Four.”  Maybe it was because they seemed to always win. (Following a loss on December 1, 1945 to Great Lakes Navy, the Fighting Irish didn’t lose again until Purdue beat them on October 7, 1950.)

So it’s easy to imagine our excitement when we heard that Notre Dame would play Carolina on November 12th, 1949 in New York’s Yankee Stadium.  In three previous blog posts, we have recounted that game on A View to Hugh and sister blog North Carolina Miscellany:

In those posts we noted Hugh Morton’s classic images from that day, even though it turned out to be the worst loss the Tar Heels would suffer during the “Charlie Justice Era.”  The reason for the disaster was likely that Justice wasn’t able to play due to an injury he suffered the week before the big game in the Big Apple.  But even without Justice, the game was special. The Daily Tar Heel published two air editions and flew them to New York. The headline in that first edition will always be remembered by Tar Heels who made the trip:

“Notre Dame And N.C. Tied 6-6 At Half.”

The second meeting between the two came less than a year later on September 30, 1950. . . . this time in South Bend, Indiana.  This game will forever be remembered, not for Notre Dame’s 14 to 7 win, but the fact that it was the first live network television program of any kind ever transmitted into North Carolina.  The ’49 game in NYC had been televised, but the signal did not reach North Carolina.  But on this day, WBTV in Charlotte and WFMY-TV in Greensboro carried the game live across the Tar Heel state via the Dumont Television Network.  The Greensboro Daily News reported that the estimated viewership in North Carolina was 200,000—nationwide it was 35 million.

Hugh Morton didn’t make the trip to South Bend in 1950, but was on hand back in Chapel Hill when the Irish made their first trip to Kenan on November 17, 1951.  Editor’s note: most of Hugh Morton’s football negatives from the 1950s and 1960s are not identified, but Morton’s game credential survives.  As negatives are identified in the future, we will add a selection of them to this post.

Carolina Sports Information Director Jake Wade, writing in the ’51 game day program called Notre Dame “the mighty and fabulous men from Indiana.”  A full house of 44,500 football fans sat in cold, clear weather “amid Chapel Hill’s wonderland of fall colors,” as The Alumni Review reported. Those fans saw the Tar Heels put on a fourth quarter drive which fell three yards short of victory. Connie Gravitt’s fourth down pass into the end zone was batted down by Notre Dame’s Gene Carrabine, preserving the 12-to-7 Irish victory.

On October 25, 1952 head coach Carl Snavely and his Tar Heels returned to Notre Dame Stadium for the fourth meeting between the Heels and the Irish. 54,338 fans (most of them dressed in green and gold) saw a 7-to-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, but the Heels eventual fell 34 to 14.

Notre Dame head football coach Frank Leahy.

Notre Dame head football coach Frank Leahy.

When Notre Dame returned to Chapel Hill on November 14, 1953 for its second visit, Carl Snavely had moved on and the Heels were coached by George Barclay.  When this one ended, that familiar 34-to-14 score appeared on the scoreboard.  The 1953 game would be Notre Dame’s College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy’s fifth and final win against the Tar Heels.  At this point in the series, the two teams had met on five occasions with the Irish winning all five. Two games in Chapel Hill, two games in South Bend, and one in New York—with a total audience of 265,000.

The Charlotte News published this photograph tightly cropped on the runner and soon-to-be tackler with the caption, 'KEN KELLER . . . gains 12 for UNC against Notre Dame (Hugh Morton Photo.)"

The Charlotte News published this photograph tightly cropped on the runner and soon-to-be tackler with the caption, ‘KEN KELLER . . . gains 12 for UNC against Notre Dame (Hugh Morton Photo.)”

The week before the 1954 game, Notre Dame was made a 26-point favorite and when it ended they had a 29-point victory, 42 to 13.  The game on November 12, 1955 in Kenan Stadium is often compared to that first meeting between the Heels and the Irish played in New York.  The ’55 game was tied at half 7 to 7, but Notre Dame dominated the second half to win the game 27 to 7. Seated among the 33,000 in Kenan that afternoon was Tar Heel football legend Charlie Justice with his son Ronnie, and on the sideline in his usual spot was photographer Hugh Morton.

Another Morton photograph, cropped on the runner and two pursuers, published by The Charlotte News, and captioned "WHILE THE MOMENTS WERE STILL GLORIOUS North Carolina's Ed Sutton gains 11 yards to the Notre Dame six-yard line in the second quarter before being hauled down by Paul Nornung (5) closing in." Fans of the era will quickly recognize that typo because he is Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and later NFL Hall of Fame star for the Green Bay Packers.

Another Morton photograph, cropped on the runner and two Notre pursuers, published by The Charlotte News with the caption, “WHILE THE MOMENTS WERE STILL GLORIOUS North Carolina’s Ed Sutton gains 11 yards to the Notre Dame six-yard line in the second quarter before being hauled down by Paul Nornung (5) closing in.” Fans of the era will quickly recognize that typo because he is Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and later NFL Hall of Fame star for the Green Bay Packers.

The game on November 17, 1956 back in South Bend marked the end of the first series of contracted games between Carolina and Notre Dame, and the first game under new Tar Heel head coach Jim Tatum.  56,793 fans saw a thriller as the game was tied with seventy-seven seconds to play, but Notre Dame took the lead as 1956 Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung scored the winning touchdown.  Notre Dame’s eighth win made the series look like an all-Irish sweepstakes with an aggregate attendance of more than 410,000.

In 1958, the series returned with two more games in South Bend and two more Irish wins: 34 to 24 in ’58 and 28 to 8 in ’59.  In that game on September 26, 1959, Nortre Dame held Carolina, under new head coach Jim Hickey, scoreless for three quarters.

Coming into Chapel Hill on October 8, 1960, Notre Dame had won all ten of the previous meetings, but on this day things were about to change. Homecoming in Chapel Hill is always fun, but on this day it was more fun than usual, as coed Jane Allen from Lambert, Mississippi was crowned Homecoming Queen, to the delight of 41,000 fans, mostly Tar Heels. The cheering crowd saw Carolina lead Notre Dame 12 to 0 well into the fourth quarter, thanks to the efforts of junior-quarterback Ray Ferris, who completed 6 passes for 115 yards and a first quarter TD pass to Skip Clement. Notre Dame completed 8 passes of 32 attempts and the Heels interested 5 of them.  With the score 12 to 7, the final gun sounded and coach Jim Hickey got a ride on the shoulders of his team to midfield for a handshake with Notre Dame head coach Joe Kuharich.

In his post game interview, coach Hickey was asked how it felt to be the only UNC head coach to beat a Notre Dame team.  “It would feel good to beat them anytime, anywhere,” Hickey said with a wide grin.

Fifteen seasons would pass before Notre Dame returned to Chapel Hill.  During that span the two teams would meet four times in South Bend, ’62, ’65, ’66, and ’71—and Carolina would have only seven points to show for all four efforts: a 21-to-7 loss on November 17, 1962, while Notre Dame tallied three straight shutouts in ’65, ’66, and ’71.

Notre Dame’s return to Chapel Hill on October 11, 1975 proved to be one of the most exciting games of the series. After a scoreless first half, the Tar Heels took the lead at the 10:03 mark of the third quarter on Mike Voight’s 12-yard run. On their next possession, Quarterback Billy Paschall hit Mel Collins with a 39-yard touchdown pass to make the lead 14 to 0, and that lead continued well into the final quarter. With six minutes left in the game, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine called on his second string quarterback . . . a fellow named Joe Montana, who led the Irish on two quick scoring drives to tie the score at fourteen.  Then with less than two minutes to play, Carolina had an opportunity to take the lead, but missed its third field goal of the day and the Irish took over at their own 20 yard line.  On second down, Montana hit Tom Burgmeier on a spectacular 80-yard scoring play that spelled defeat for the Tar Heels.

In the Carolina locker room following the game, UNC head coach Bill Dooley said, “To have a team like Notre Dame down 14 to 0 in the fourth quarter and then lose is really tough.”  Notre Dame coach Dan Devine called it his “best win ever.”

During the 1975 season, the Tar Heel Sports Network invited former players to be game analysts to assist play-by-play Hall of Fame broadcaster Woody Durham.  For the ’75 Notre Dame game the guest was UNC All-America end Art Weiner, who played a key role in the first meeting between the Heels and the Irish back in 1949.

Thirty-one years would pass before Carolina and Notre Dame would meet again.  On November 4, 2006 it was yet another blowout Irish victory, this time, 45 to 26.  Two years later, Notre Dame would make its most recent visit to Kenan on October 11, 2008.  Carolina’s 29-to-24 win has one of those dreaded asterisks in the record book.  An NCAA ruling in 2011 vacated that win.  Six years later to the day, on October 11, 2014, Carolina made its most recent visit to South Bend.  Alas, the Heels came away with yet another loss, this time 50 to 43 in a game that set a total points record for the series.

So, on Saturday, October 7th, head coach Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels will try once again to take down the Fighting Irish, but win or lose, there will be a certain excitement in the air in Kenan Memorial Stadium.  Saturday’s game will also be featured on ABC/ESPN, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 3:30.  After the game it will be five more years until Carolina and Notre Dame are next scheduled to play in South Bend in 2021, with a return match in Chapel Hill in 2022.

A Benny Goodman mystery . . . that leads to two more Morton mysteries

The post “A Benny Goodman Score” on June 3, 2017 brought back some fond memories for our volunteer contributor Jack Hilliard.  As we prepare for tomorrow’s annual Carolina–Duke game, Jack shares a childhood memory of a Benny Goodman mystery that began sixty-eight football seasons ago . . . and that led to a couple other Morton mysteries . . .

ONE SONG LEADS TO ANOTHER—Charlie Justice (left) stands next to Orville Campbell beside a piano at an unknown event. The State published a tightly cropped headshot of these two gentlemen in its September 15, 1951 issue of the magazine. The photograph accompanied an article titled "Yankeeland Hears 'It'" about Campbell and Hank Beebe's song, "Way Up in Carolina." The caption in The State reads, "Charlie Justice, subject of Orville Campbell's first popular song, "All the Way Choo-Choo." Charlie owned a piece of that song, but didn't make any money. (Morton Photo)" Another mystery, however, appeared when viewing the full negative, which has no accompanying information. Is that Hank Beebe on piano? We believe so. The occasion? Still unknown.

ONE SONG LEADS TO ANOTHER—Charlie Justice (left) stands next to Orville Campbell beside a piano at an unknown event. The State published a tightly cropped headshot of these two gentlemen in its September 15, 1951 issue of the magazine. The photograph accompanied an article titled “Yankeeland Hears ‘It'” about Campbell and Hank Beebe’s song, “Way Up in Carolina.” The caption in The State reads, “Charlie Justice, subject of Orville Campbell’s first popular song, “All the Way Choo-Choo.” Charlie owned a piece of that song, but didn’t make any money. (Morton Photo)” Another mystery, however, appeared when viewing the full negative, which has no accompanying information. Is that Hank Beebe on piano? We believe so. The occasion? Still unknown.

In late spring of 1949, I remember reading in one of the Greensboro newspapers that Chapel Hill publisher Orville Campbell and UNC music student Hank Bebee had written and recorded a song called “All the Way Choo Choo,” a song about my boyhood football hero Charlie Justice.  The recording featured a UNC student group, the Sigma Chi Sextet.  Campbell also published the sheet music through his publishing company, Colonial Press.

Over the next five months, Campbell and Bebee campaigned the major record labels trying to get the song recorded for greater distribution. In the September 17, 1949 issue of the Greensboro Daily News, Sports Editor Smith Barrier called it “the football song of the season.”  Ed Danforth of the Atlanta Journal and Shirley Povich of the Washington Post, during trips to Chapel Hill also commented. Said Danforth: “Greatest college football song since ‘The Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech,’” and Povich added, “It can’t miss.  It’ll go all the way.”  Povich added the story in his “Post” column on Sunday, September 18, 1949.

In Greensboro, leading up to WFMY-TV’s official sign-on as North Carolina’s second TV station, which was September 22, 1949, the station presented a special one-hour variety show and the Sigma Chi Sextet group from UNC sang “All the Way Choo Choo.”

UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, in its September 22nd edition had this:

Heard the fast-circulating Orville Campbell-Hank Beebe hit “All the Way Choo Choo”?  Benny Goodman is definitely scheduled to do a recording of it that should be on sale nationally in approximately two weeks.

Those attending the UNC vs. NC State game in Kenan Stadium on September 24th, 1949 heard the song over the public address system and could also read in their Daily Tar Heel that morning about the Campbell-Goodman progress for the recording:

Orville Campbell, Carrboro publisher turned song-writer received a bit of news a few days back that has made him all smiles.  A note penned from an executive of Capitol Records informed the likeable Colonial Press head that Benny Goodman and his orchestra has signed to record “All the Way Choo Choo.” Veteran musicians rate the Campbell-Hank Beebe ditty as a good bet to catch on all over the nation, and the Goodman waxing will make the Carolina Choo Choo one of the first if not the only grid star to be honored in such a manner.”

The next day, the “DTH” added this:

Alumnus Orville Campbell, still a wheel about campus, has been conducting his own promotion campaign, and apparently is enjoying great success in his efforts to make the song “All the Way Choo Choo” popular.  Campbell has succeeded to the extent that Benny Goodman has made a recording of it.  Also a local version was in evidence at a number of beach juke boxes this summer.  The ditty, with music by the talented Hank Beebe, was sung two or three times at this weekend’s pep rally.  The song is good, and the more one hears it, the better he likes it.

When the magazine Life ran a cover-story about Justice in the October 3, 1949 issue, the editors included a picture of Orville Campbell’s “All the Way Choo Choo” sheet music.  Life captioned the picture “Lyrical Choo Choo.”

Two days later, there was in the October 5, 1949 issue of The Sporting News another article about the song by Smith Barrier with the headline. “All the Way Choo Choo Inspires King of Swing.”  Barrier added: “When Benny Goodman, the orchestra leader, heard ‘All the Way Choo Choo,’ he hurried to New York to make a recording.”

Goodman had performed in concert at the ORD Arena (Overseas Replacement Depot, from Basic Training Camp 10 during World War II) in Greensboro on September 16th, 1949 and Orville Campbell was in the audience. Following the show, Campbell played the song for Goodman . . . and Benny liked it.

I haven’t found any evidence that Hugh Morton was at that 1949 Greensboro concert but when Goodman came to Raleigh four years earlier in 1945, Morton was there.

A SECOND MYSTERY—Benny Goodman, front and center, playing clarinet as captured in Hugh Morton's unidentified negative (the top portion of the image is cropped here). Morton mentions in his 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina that he went to a Goodman concert in Raleigh. This previously unscanned negative has a WRAL banner displayed on stage (lower left). Piecing together clues from the sheet music on Goodman's music stand in this and three other negatives, coupled with Goodman's touring history and list of band members, unlocks part of the mystery. That's Red Norvo at the vibraphone behind Goodman.

A SECOND MYSTERY—Benny Goodman, front and center, playing clarinet as captured in Hugh Morton’s unidentified negative (the top portion of the image is cropped here). Morton mentions in his 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina that he went to a Goodman concert in Raleigh. This previously unscanned negative has a WRAL banner displayed on stage (lower left). Piecing together clues from the sheet music on Goodman’s music stand in this and three other negatives, coupled with Goodman’s touring history and list of band members, unlocks part of the mystery. That’s Red Norvo at the vibraphone behind Goodman.

Morton was also on hand when Goodman played in Wilmington on February 23, 1983, and when Benny came back to Greensboro in early May, 1979 to play a concert with the Greensboro Symphony, Hugh Morton was on hand to photograph Goodman back stage and during his performance on May 3, 1979.  That Greensboro Concert was recorded by CBS-TV for a special telecast on May 30, 1979 to pay tribute to Goodman on his 70th birthday.

The exact date of Goodman's Raleigh performance is yet to be determined, but it's probably during the summer or fall of 1945. The sheet music on the music stand provides the best clue. On the left is Goodman's signature opening song, "Let's Dance" from the mid 1930s, but on the right is "I Wish I Knew." That song, with lyrics by Harry Warren and music by Mack Gordon, debuted in the movie "Diamond Horseshoe" released in May 1945. The song does not appear on any playlists available to the editor, but its history can be reviewed on the webpage https://songbook1.wordpress.com/fx/1945-standards/i-wish-i-knew/. Red Norvo (seen in the photograph above this one) left the Goodman band for good in January 1946.

The exact date of Goodman’s Raleigh performance is yet to be determined, but it’s probably during the summer or fall of 1945. The sheet music on the music stand provides the best clue. On the left is Goodman’s signature opening song, “Let’s Dance” from the mid 1930s, but on the right is “I Wish I Knew.” That song, with lyrics by Harry Warren and music by Mack Gordon, debuted in the movie “Diamond Horseshoe” released in May 1945. The song does not appear on any playlists available to the editor, but its history can be reviewed on the webpage https://songbook1.wordpress.com/fx/1945-standards/i-wish-i-knew/. Red Norvo (seen in the photograph above this one) left the Goodman band for good in January 1946.

Following Goodman’s 1949 Greensboro performance and the Daily Tar Heel reports, we waited for the news when the Benny Goodman Capitol recording of “All the Way Choo Choo” would be released.  The week before the Carolina–Duke game on November 19th came the news that the recording would go on sale on November 23rd . . . but the recording released was a 10-inch King record (15030) by band leader Johnny Long—a Duke alumnus of all things.  What happened to the Benny Goodman recording?  Don Maynard’s Daily Tar Heel story about the release on November 23rd, said: “The recording would be available at Ab’s Bookstore and the Carolina Sports Shop.  Maynard added, “Benny Goodman made the first recording of the tune on a Capitol recording, but to date the number has not been released by the Capitol Recording Company.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, November 23, 1949, page 1.

From the Daily Tar Heel, November 23, 1949, page 1.

The Maynard article was supported by a photograph of Johnny Long presenting Justice with the first copy of the recording.  The picture was taken by student photographer Jim Mills, a Hugh Morton contemporary, and was included with the record purchase.  Long had paid a visit to Chapel Hill on November 13, 1949 and made the presentation.

"All the Way Choo Choo" record label, from the album in North Carolina Collection.

“All the Way Choo Choo” record label, from the album in North Carolina Collection.

Johnny Long was from Newell, North Carolina and attended Duke from 1931 until 1935.  He had played a concert on the Duke campus the weekend of October 28-29, 1949.  That’s likely when Campbell played the song for him.

As time went by, we loved and listened to the Johnny Long version, which featured vocals by Janet Brace, the Johnny Long Glee Club and the Longshots. Several of the verses of the song depict actual Justice moments on the gridiron. On the reverse side is an instrumental medley of the “Carolina Victory March,” “Here Comes Carolina,” “Tar Heels on Hand,” and “Hark the Sound.” The Johnny Long record was produced by Johnny Murphy a UNC alumnus from Charlotte and New York City.

On November 26, 1949 when Charlie Justice played his final UNC regular season game against Virginia in Kenan Stadium, the game day program book carried two ads for the Johnny Long version of the song.  On page 62 it was described as “the perfect Christmas gift,” and was supported by the Jim Mills photograph.  Then on page 71 the record was offered at the Varsity shop. The record sold for one dollar and the sheet music for fifty- cents.  According to Orville Campbell, “Justice modestly feels that it is a joke that anyone would want to write a song about him, but at the same time feels honored.”

As years passed, the mystery Goodman version of the song continued to pop up.  Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer, in their 1958 Justice biography Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story on page 122 put it this way: “Benny Goodman, the famed jazz clarinetist and Johnny Long, a Duke grad who plays a violin from the port side, were among the top recording artists who found ‘All the Way . . .’ worth their time.”

On December 15, 1978, Campbell released a very limited edition album titled, “Thanks for the Memories.” (811054-A 2890)  The one-sided album, which has two different front cover designs, contained six of Campbell’s hits, including “All the Way Choo Choo”—both the Sigma Chi and the Johnny Long versions.

The Benny Goodman record mystery lingered.  Then in 1979, I read in the Nostalgia Book Club newsletter that a revised edition of a book titled “BG—On the Record:  A Bio-Discography of Benny Goodman” by Russell Conner and Warren Hicks had been released. When I got my copy I went through it page by page—all 708 of them—and there was no mention of “All the Way Choo Choo.”

On July 28, 1979, I wrote Conner a letter and asked about the song. His reply on September 4th said, “I have no knowledge of Benny’s playing that tune.  But there is a further reference that will become available.  The great bulk of the arrangements Benny has used through the years, stored for long time in a warehouse on Broadway, is now being cataloged. . . If the tune was played by the ‘big band,’ the title should crop up.”

Connor was right: when the cataloging had been completed, there it was, listed between “All the Things You Are” and “All Through the Night.”

  • File 01/21     “All the Way Choo Choo” 1949
  • O’Farrill, Chico
  • BG
  • No:  A203
  • Score:  Yes
  • Parts:  none
  • Key:  A flat

We now know that Goodman performed the tune live in concert.  But was a Goodman recording ever released for sale? Some of Goodman’s live concerts were recorded onto electronic transcription discs (ETs) and distributed to radio stations for broadcasts, but I have not been able to determine if “All the Way” was ever distributed in this manner.  And of course, there is always that possibility that some black-market recording was made in a venue where Goodman was performing live. There is an interesting observation on the web site “Football Profiles.”  In Charlie’s profile, there is this quote:

The hype reached a crescendo for Charlie’s senior season.  Orville Campbell, a Chapel Hill music publisher, and Hank Beebe, a graduate student in music, produced a song about Charlie, “All the Way Choo Choo.”  The Johnny Long Orchestra recorded it, and the Benny Goodman Orchestra played it on the radio.

Not quite sure how Benny “played it on the radio.”  Was it a live broadcast or one of those radio ETs?

The Goodman recording mystery was finally solved in 1995 when Charlie Justice biographer Bob Terrell interviewed Charlie for the book, “All Aboard.”  Justice said that Goodman recorded “All the Way Choo Choo,” before Johnny Long did, but the management team at Capitol records thought the tune was too localized for national distribution, so they never released it. (What about that “executive” who sent Orville Campbell that note the “DTH” reported in their story on September 24th, 1949?)

According to Orville Campbell, the tune sold over 32,000 copies.

In 2013 as part of its Carolina First campaign, the UNC Office of University Development issued a compact disc titled “Echoes of Carolina,” and on the disc is the Johnny Long version of “All the Way Choo Choo.”

There are still mentions of the Goodman recording from time to time.  An example: The New York Times in its Justice obituary on October 20, 2003 has this line: “Benny Goodman paid tribute in his recording of ‘All the Way Choo Choo.'”

Sheet music cover, from the author's collection.

Sheet music cover, from the author’s collection.

I mentioned that Orville Campbell published the sheet music in 1949. One of the two editions has a Hugh Morton image on the front cover.  Recently I found a third version of the sheet music which has a Regent Music Corporation copyright.  A quick check of Regent finds that the company was founded in the late 1930s or 1940 at the Brill Building in New York City.  Regent founders were Gene Goodman and Harry Goodman—brothers of Benny Goodman.  Small world.

Three years before Campbell and Bebee and Long and Goodman started their “All the Way” journey, a writer at The Daily Tar Heel published a Charlie Justice song called “Tiny’s Choo Choo Song.” It was written by Tiny Hutton and published in the November 23, 1946 issue, just hours before Carolina met Duke for the 33rd time.  Ironically, the lyrics of Tiny’s tune are set to the music of the 1941 classic “Chattanooga Choo Choo” made famous by Glenn Miller, a contemporary of Benny Goodman.  Indeed, a small world.

Sidebars

Over the years, the song title “All the Way Choo Choo” has been used to title other things like two television documentaries, one in 1973 and one in 1984. The ’84 program, produced by David Soloman Productions in Winston-Salem, featured an “All the Way Choo Choo” T-shirt to promote the program.

On March 30, 2006, as part of UNC General Alumni Association’s “College of Lifelong Learning,” the late Dr. Ron Hyatt presented a program titled “All the Way Choo Choo” that featured an extensive Charlie Justice memorabilia display and a panel discussion that included Justice teammates, Walt Pupa, Joe Neikirk, and Bob Cox.

The game program for the 1953 Dixie Classic basketball tournament, which was played in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, carried a full page back cover ad for the Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers preseason game to be played in Raleigh’s Riddick Stadium on September 11, 1954 with the heading “All the Way Choo Choo.”

Five days after Charlie Justice led his Tar Heels into the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, The Daily Tar Heel published a full page Charlie Justice profile with seven pictures under the headline “All The Way Choo Choo: Charlie Justice Makes Last Run.”  That January 7, 1950 issue hit the streets just hours before he led the South to victory in the first annual Senior Bowl game, played that year in Jacksonville, Florida.

On October 2, 1949, Rev Dr. Samuel Tilden Habel, Jr. at the Baptist Church of Chapel Hill (Columbia & Franklin) delivered a sermon titled “All the Way Choo Choo.”  The headline in the Greensboro Daily News on October 4, 1949: ‘All the Way Choo Choo’ Becomes Sermon Topic.  There is a related picture in the 1958 Justice biography by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer on page 122.

According to author Jackie Helvey at the web site Carrboro.com there was a board game by the same name.

On page 16 of that UNC vs. Virginia game program from 1949, is an advertisement for the Wm. Muirhead Construction Co. in Durham.  The ad shows a train approaching a bridge “on Southern Railway and Highway No. 87 & 100 at Glen Raven, NC.”  The bridge has a number 22 at the top with the words “All the Way Choo Choo!”

Rollie Massimino (1934–2017)

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

In today’s news we learned of yesterday’s passing of famed Villanova University basketball coach Rollie Massimino.  Above is a detail from a photograph of Massimino made by Hugh Morton on March 17, 1991 during the NCAA East Regional played in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.  A View to Hugh post from 2009 titled UNC vs. Villanova: 1982 and 1985 recounts two Tar Heel encounters against Massimino, and another post, “When Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright were assistants” includes another Morton photograph of Massimino made during the same game as this photograph.

A final Wallace Wade win in Kenan

When Carolina met Duke on November 25, 1950 in historic Kenan Memorial Stadium, we didn’t know it at the time, but it would be Duke Head Football Coach Wallace Wade’s last coaching appearance against his rival from Chapel Hill. Over a 16 year period from 1934 through 1950, UNC Coach Carl Snavely met Duke Coach Wallace Wade seven times on the gridiron. Snavely won 5 of those games. Wade won in 1935 in Durham and his only win against Snavely in Kenan Stadium came on a cold day in November of 1950.

As official football practice gets underway today for Carolina’s 2017 football season—the 91st in Kenan Stadium, and the 104th meeting with Duke on September 23rd—Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that famous game from 66 seasons ago.

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

I remember, as a little kid, my dad telling my mom, as he left for work early Saturday morning, November 25, 1950, “I guess Carolina and Duke will play in the snow today.” Had it not been for the covering on Kenan’s turf, my dad would have been right.  On Friday the 24th, high winds, snow and bitter 15-degree temperatures moved into North Carolina.  The headline in Saturday’s Durham Sun, read: “Vicious Icy Storm Batters East.”

A check of the 1950 UNC football media guide, which was actually published in August, indicated the game was already a sellout. 40,000 of those ticket-holders braved the weather and came out for the game . . . the other 6,000 decided to stay home by the fire and the radio.  Photographer Hugh Morton was one of the former.

Head coach Carl Snavely’s North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten head coach Wallace Wade’s Duke Blue Devils the past four seasons and the Heels were made a slight favorite in this, the 37th meeting between the two rival schools.  Wade and Snavely had tremendous respect for each other.  In July of 1950 the two rival coaches appeared together in the North Carolina outdoor drama “The Lost Colony.”  They were special guests as part of Kay Kyser’s and Emma Neal Morrison’s “Celebrity Night” celebrations.  Going into the 1950 “battle of the blues,” the darker blue, Blue Devils were 6 and 3 on the season, while the lighter blue Tar Heels were 3-3-2.

As one might guess, wind was to be a factor in the game, so when the Tar Heels won Referee Orrell J. Mitchell’s toss, they elected to defend the west goal with the wind at their backs.  The Tar Heels moved the ball inside the Duke 25-yard-line twice in the first half, but couldn’t score.  Duke’s only first-half threat came near the end of the second quarter.  The Blue Devils went on a 44-yard drive to the Carolina 36-yard-line, mainly through the efforts of Duke captain Billy Cox’s running and passing, but they couldn’t score. The score at halftime was 0-0.

Because of the weather, there was no halftime entertainment on the field.  Fans had to be content reading through their game-day programs, which on this day featured a front cover Lon Keller image of radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey.  You could read a column by UNC’s Jake Wade or Duke’s Ted Mann, and get their takes on the game.

Hugh Morton's photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, "Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down.  This threat, like five others, failed."  A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

Hugh Morton’s photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, “Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down. This threat, like five others, failed.” A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

At the 2:58 mark of the third quarter, Coach Wade decided to gamble.  Duke with the ball, fourth down at the Carolina 34 and needing seven yards for a first down, tailback Billy Cox took the direct snap from center J. E. Gibson . . . looked down field . . . spotted wingback Tommy Powers . . . and threw a perfect shot which Powers caught as he crossed the goal line.  Mike Souchak’s point-after made the score 7-0.

Scan of Hugh Morton's negative (as shot) of Duke's Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative (as shot) of Duke’s Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

During the final quarter and a half, Carolina had three great opportunities, but the score remained 7-0.  The final game stats showed that Carolina had first downs at the Duke 22, 17, 28, 9, 7, and 20, but could not score.  In his post game interview, Wade praised Duke’s incredible defense.

As the game ended and the late November sky began to turn a darker shade of gray, the Duke players rushed to hoist their victorious coach on their shoulders; but as we had come to expect, Coach Wade wanted no part of anything like that.  Wade told his players, “No, no, boys there’ll be none of that. Let’s go shake their hands.” He then walked calmly across field for a final time and shook Snavely’s hand, just as he had done on six previous occasions when the two coaches had played one another.  It would be Wade’s first, final, and only win in Kenan Stadium against a Snavely-coached Tar Heel team.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

When the field cleared, the Carolina cheerleaders, led by head man Joe Chambliss, rolled the Victory Bell across the cold Kenan turf to the Duke section on the North side of the stadium, as the Blue Devil fans cheered.  It was their first opportunity to ring the bell since its introduction following Carolina’s 1948 win. (That respectful type Victory Bell transition seems to have been forgotten in today’s world of overwrought fan and player hostility.)

The headline in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer, read: “Blue Devils’ Gamble Pays Off for Score in High Wind and Freezing Temperature.”  Coach Snavely, when asked in his Monday morning news conference about his impression of Saturday’s game, had this to say: “Duke was hotter than we were in several crucial moments. . . . You must remember that Duke played in the same weather we did.”

Four days after the game, Wade married Virginia Jones and after a honeymoon in New York, he announced his resignation from Duke in order to take the position of Commissioner of the Southern Conference. He would hold that position for ten years. Upon his retirement from the Southern Conference in 1960, words of praise came from media outlets across the country. One of those tributes came from an avid UNC Tar Heel, who broadcast UNC football games on the Tobacco Sports Network…Bill Currie, then the Sports Director of WSOC-TV, Channel 9, in Charlotte once said: “Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel. He also said this about Coach Wade:

“The true measure of Wallace Wade’s greatness as a man is not fully reflected in his overwhelming won-lost record on the field, nor in his patriotic devotion to our country in combat during two world wars: rather, it is reflected in the dignity and bearing of the man, which makes him a giant among his peers and successors.”

William Wallace Wade was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 1955. Twelve years later, in 1967, Duke Stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor.

He died on October 7, 1986. He was 94-years-old.

 

A memorial tribute, twenty years ago

Early on the morning of Friday, July 4, 1997 we heard the sad news from New York that Tar Heel Charles Bishop Kuralt had died of heart disease and complications from lupus, an inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys and nervous system.  Four days later, a memorial service was held in Chapel Hill. On this, the twentieth anniversary of Kuralt’s passing, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that day when a group of North Carolina’s finest gathered to celebrate the life of “CBS’ poet of small-town America.”

"Chas Kuralt died"—Hugh Morton's entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

“Chas Kuralt died”—Hugh Morton’s entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

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.  —Hugh Morton

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, July 8, 1997 the old bell in South Building on the UNC campus rang for one minute. The bell is seldom used, reserved for marking such rare occasions as the installment of a new chancellor.  Earlier that morning Charles Kuralt was laid to rest in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, the place where he wanted to be buried on the campus he loved.  On July 2, two days before he died, Kuralt had sent his friend Dr. William Friday a note seeking help in securing the spot.

“I seem to be recovering nicely; but this experience has given me intimations of mortality.  I know you have better things to worry about, but I thought I would ask if you have any way of finding out if there are a couple of burial plots in Chapel Hill . . . I should have thought of this forty years ago!  Sorry to ask you to look into such a bizarre question.”

Charles Kuralt's last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Charles Kuralt’s last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before Friday got the note, he got a phone call.  It was 6:00 a.m. on July 4th.  Kuralt’s assistant Karen Beckers was on the line.

“I’ve called you because I must tell you that Charles is gone.”

Beckers told Friday about the note he would be getting.  Friday and Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton met at the cemetery with a map and determined that Chapel Hill resident George Hogan had several plots.  Friday then called Hogan and explained his situation.  Hogan’s reply: “No, I won’t sell them, but I’ll give Charles two.”  Turns out Hogan had worked for the Educational Foundation at UNC when Kuralt was editor of The Daily Tar Heel.

Kuralt now rests in peace near the center of the old cemetery near the gravesites of former UNC President Francis Venable and botany professor William Coker.  Not far away lie the graves of others who made Tar Heel history: former UNC System President Frank Porter Graham, playwright Paul Green, and UNC Institute of Government founder Albert Coates.

Said Friday, “He’s where I felt, and the others felt, he would like to be.”  Friday then added, “While he’s here with former presidents, he’s also here with the home folks of Chapel Hill.”  Charles’ brother Wallace said: “This is home for him.”

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Following the private ceremony at the gravesite, people filed past the site all day.  Piles of flowers filled the spot where a future marker would be placed.  A teary-eyed Dan Rather, then anchor of the CBS Evening News, left the burial site emotionally shaken.  “I’m here in sympathy and support of his family.  He gave himself to America, and he gave it everything he had.”

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Shortly after the service at Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, more than 1,600 people packed Memorial Hall for a celebration of Kuralt’s life, with UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker presiding.  WUNC-TV’s cameras were there to send the signal out across the Tar Heel state. Television personality Charlie Rose and WUNC-TV’s Audrey Kates Bailey anchored the broadcast.

The Memorial Hall stage was filled with an illustrious group of North Carolinians who came to share their friendships with Charles.  The group included UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker, North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, Kuralt’s special friend Hugh Morton, former UNC presidents William Friday and C.D. Spangler Jr, and Kuralt’s friend, composer Loonis McGlohon.  The North Carolina Symphony’s Brass Ensemble was also on hand to perform segments from North Carolina is My Home, which Kuralt wrote and performed with McGlohon.  McGlohon performed “The Farmer” segment that he called his favorite.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

“The world knew Charles as one of the most respected and trusted newsmen of this generation, a master storyteller and a tour guide to the back roads of our nation,” said Chancellor Hooker.  “The university knew him as a stalwart alumnus who never forgot his roots—whether it meant talking to our budding journalists or giving his time and effort on behalf of the School of Social Work to help promote his late father’s profession.  He was a kind and generous man who never hesitated to lend his alma mater a hand however and whenever possible.  He will be greatly missed.”

Morton told the standing-room only crowd at Memorial Hall, “I begged him to cancel everything and come to the mountains and sleep all day or fish all day, whatever it would take to restore his health.”  Kuralt said he had too much to do.

Left to right: James G. (Jim) Babb, then Executive Vice President at Bahakel Communications, with Loonis McGlohon, and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College, May 10, 1997. Babb is a class of 1959 alumnus of Belmont Abbey College.

Left to right: James G. (Jim) Babb, then Executive Vice President at Bahakel Communications, with Loonis McGlohon, and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College, May 10, 1997. Babb is a class of 1959 alumnus of Belmont Abbey College.

Morton wasn’t surprised when he got a call telling him that Kuralt had died.  Less than two months earlier on May 10, Hugh Morton met with Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College.  It was probably their last time together.  Kuralt was the commencement speaker and received an honorary degree.  McGlohon also received an honorary degree that day, along with Catholic theologian and author, the Reverend Terrence Kardong, and the Reverend David Thompson, Bishop of the Charleston diocese.  Kuralt had been diagnosed with lupus and his treatment regimen had taken a severe toll.

"Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles"—Hugh Morton's entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

“Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles”—Hugh Morton’s entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

Through his world travels, Charles Kuralt never forgot his North Carolina roots.  Governor Jim Hunt called Kuralt North Carolina’s storytelling ambassador, then added, “He was born on the coast, grew up in the Piedmont, loved the mountains, but he belonged to America. He was a fine reporter.  But when he started telling us America’s stories, we smiled and sometimes cried when we saw the goodness.”

In July 1997, television personality Charlie Rose was hosting an interview program on Public Broadcasting (PBS), so it was a natural for the North Carolina native to co-anchor the TV coverage of the Charles Kuralt memorial broadcast on the University’s Public Broadcasting station WUNC-TV.  Rose called Kuralt “a genuine American hero.”

“There was almost no one who didn’t know him. People would say ‘I was always wondering when you would show up.’” Then with a smile Rose added. “There was one exception, a woman Kuralt walked up to interview asked him to leave two quarts of milk, thinking he was the milkman.”

“All of us, when we heard the story (of Kuralt’s death) wanted to say ‘Stop—one more story, one more conversation. Introduce me to one more person that reflects America. Give me one more gentle reminder of who we are and what the great fabric of this nation is about.’ ”

Former UNC System President Dr. William Friday said, “No matter where he was in the world, he would call Chapel Hill and ask whether the dogs were still chasing the squirrels across campus and the flowers still blooming.”

When UNC System President C.D. Spangler, Jr. got to the podium to add his remarks, he opened with these words: “To Charles and all his family here, I say welcome back to Chapel Hill.”

Supplement

William C. Friday’s papers in the Southern Historical Collection contain the following letters between Friday and Hugh Morton, written soon after the Kuralt memorial service.

Epilog

On October 12, 2012 (University Day on the UNC campus), former UNC System President Dr. William Clyde Friday passed away.  He, too, is at peace in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Correction: A caption to a photograph in the original version of the story stated that the unidentified person on the left of the group portrait with McGlohon and Kuralt was thought to be Reverend David Thompson.  A reader’s comment identified the man as James G. Babb (7 July 2017).

Always on call for his alma mater

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016—one year ago today—a special memorial service was held at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on Raleigh Road. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had lost one of its strongest supporters. Three days before, Ralph Strayhorn Jr. had passed away in Winston-Salem. He was 93-years-old.  On this anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at Strayhorn’s amazing list of accomplishments.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr. at one time or another served his university as

  • cocaptain of the varsity football team;
  • member of UNC Board of Trustees;
  • President of the General Alumni Association;
  • General Counsel for the Rams Club;
  • chairman of the search committee charged in 1987 with finding a replacement for Head Football Coach Dick Drum (he and his committee found Mack Brown);
  • President and General Counsel of the Educational Foundation, Inc.; and
  • Fund Raising Chairman for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center building project.

As you will see later in this post, this list will continue.

A native of Durham, Strayhorn was recruited by UNC assistant football coach Jim Tatum and played three seasons with the Tar Heels before he entered the United States Navy and served in the Pacific theater from 1943 until 1946, completing his active service as a sub-chaser commanding officer.  He served twenty years in the U. S. Naval Reserve, retiring in 1962 as a lieutenant commander.

He returned to Chapel Hill in time for the 1946 football season where he was a cocaptain along with Chan Highsmith.  In a 2010 interview, Strayhorn described his returned: “It was a delightful time to be in Chapel Hill.  Everyone was glad to be home from the war, back in school where they belonged.”

The 1946 Tar Heels under Head Coach Carl Snavely won eight games during the regular season while losing only to Tennessee and tying VPI (formally Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known today as Virginia Tech).  That record was good enough to earn a Southern Conference championship and Carolina’s first bowl game, the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947. Strayhorn’s trip to New Orleans was not a joyous occasion as it should have been. His father had suffered a heart attack back in Durham and was unconscious.

“My mind wasn’t focused on the game, needless to say.  I thought about not going.  My first cousin was a doctor and was very close to our family.  He said my father would want me to go and play in that game.  I stayed behind when the team left and then caught the last train to New Orleans. . . I was on the first train back out of town.  I returned to my father’s bedside but he never recovered.”

Strayhorn could have played one more season with the Tar Heels.  The 1943 season didn’t count against his eligibility because he had gone off to World War II; he chose, however, to graduate with the class of 1947 with a degree in commerce and enter law school.  He got his law degree in 1950 and joined the firm of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn, Hedrick, Murray, Bryson and Kennon as a senior partner.  He held that position until 1978 when he assumed the executive position of general counsel of the Wachovia Corporation and the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.  Strayhorn retired from that position in his 1988 retirement.  He then joined the law firm Petree Stockton & Robinson.

Throughout his professional career, Ralph Strayhorn remained active in the life of his alma mater, especially its athletic programs and his beloved football Tar Heels. From 1973 until 1981 he was a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, serving as chairman in 1979 and 1980.  Additionally, he served on the Central Selection Committee of the Morehead Foundation, the Board of Visitors, and the NC Institute of Medicine.  In 1989 the UNC Board of Trustees awarded Strayhorn the William Richardson Davie Award.

Over the years, Strayhorn kept in touch with Coach Jim Tatum and in 1955 he wrote Tatum a four-page letter asking him to return to Chapel Hill to take over the football program.  “The football situation at Chapel Hill seems to have reached an all-time low,” Strayhorn wrote. The following year Tatum returned and led the program until his untimely death in July of 1959.  Ironically, in 1957 Strayhorn had prepared Tatum’s will and delivered the document to him the week before the Tar Heel were to meet Maryland for the first time since Tatum left—the famous “Queen Elizabeth” game. As the coach was signing the document, he asked Strayhorn if he was going to the game on Saturday.

“I told him I didn’t have tickets, transportation, a room or a baby-sitter.  He said, ‘Well, find yourself a baby-sitter.  I’ll take care of the rest. You be at the airport Friday at 2 o’clock.’ We got to the airport and everything was arranged for us.”

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

In December 1996 Carolina’s 1947 football team celebrated the 50th anniversary of their ’47 Sugar Bowl game with a train trip to New Orleans for the 1997 Sugar Bowl game.  An on-the-field pre-game ceremony included Charlie Justice and Ralph Strayhorn along with Charlie Trippi of Georgia.  Hugh Morton was a special invited guest at the ceremony.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia's legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia’s legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Seven years later, on November 5, 2004, Ralph Strayhorn and Hugh Morton were featured speakers at the dedication of Johnpaul Harris’ magnificent Charlie Justice statue which now stands just outside of Kenan Stadium.

The next time you visit the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor” in the Kenan Football Center, notice the Harold Styers’ portrait of the 1947 Sugar Bowl coin toss featuring UNC’s Cocaptain Ralph Stayhorn #62, and Georgia’s Captain Charlie Trippi, also #62.

And oh yes . . . that list.  Ralph Strayhorn Jr. was President of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1971-72, and a member of the

  • Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange;
  • American College of Trial Lawyers;
  • American Bar Association;
  • International Association of Defense Counsel;
  • Newcomen Society of the United States; and the
  • Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest School of Law.

He also argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States and served in the North Carolina General Assembly in 1959.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr., a Tar Heel treasure like no other.

UPDATE: caption for second photograph revised to reflect identification received in a comment on June 12.  Previously the caption began with “THREE TAR HEELS.”

UPDATE: On June 13, the caption was once again update with the discovery of more recent information about Charlie Carr.  Mr. Carr was a member of the UNC Class of 1968 and he received a master’s degree from there in 1970.  In 1971 he became a UNC assistant football coach.  He also served in various roles at East Carolina, Mississippi State before joining Florida State  in 1995. Carr left Florida State on October 1, 2007, when he became the athletic director at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  On May 17, 2017 Mr. Carr entered phased retirement from MSU, and he will officially retire on August 31.  Also updated was the caption for the final photograph with the identification of Bill Hartman, the Georgia Bulldog’s team captain in 1937.  (Thanks, Jack Hilliard, for new info on Charlie Carr and the identification of Bill Hartman!)

John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday anniversary

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday.  Hugh Morton, who was less than four years younger than JFK, photographed him on several occasions.  The above photograph is Morton’s earliest.

During the nearly ten years that A View to Hugh has been in existence, John Kennedy has been featured, represented, or mentioned in more that thirty blog posts  To mark this day, I encourage you to search the blog for Kennedy’s name and read an entry or two . . . or click on the link above to access nearly sixty images available of Kennedy in the online collection, including a dozen images from his 1961 University Day speech in Kenan Memorial Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

THE Voice of the Tar Heels

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin "Skeeter" Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Today, April 22, 2017, Carolina’s Woody Durham will receive the Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award at the University of Tennessee Orange and White spring football game in Knoxville. This will be just the latest in a long line of awards that fill his trophy case. Woody’s son Wes will be on hand to accept the award for his dad.  On this special day, Morton volunteer contributor, Jack Hilliard, reminisces about his long-time friend and UNC classmate.

Many of the recent reports in the media of Woody Durham’s health issues have described him as “The Voice of the Tar Heels for 40 Years.” While that is true, there is far more to it than that. Woody Durham was, is, and forever will be The Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, period. Others will broadcast the play-by-play of the Tar Heel games and will do it well, but none will ever come close to what Woody Durham was able to accomplish . . . the bar is just too high.

I came to work for WFMY-TV in Greensboro on February 6, 1963 and worked until July 24th, when I left for a short tour of active duty with the US Army. When I returned in January, 1964, WFMY’s long-time sports director Charlie Harville had left for the new station in High Point and taking his place was Woody Durham, a classmate from UNC. While at Carolina, I had often watched Woody and news anchors Ray Williams and Dave Wegerek from the WUNC-TV control room in Swain Hall as director Wayne Upchurch directed the evening news. I decided then that I wanted to direct a show like that someday.  But I never imagined that my path would cross with Woody’s and Dave’s down the road.

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

When I returned to WFMY in ’64, I got a promotion from the floor crew to a control room job—audio and technical director, then assistant director.  And in early November of 1966, I got to direct my first newscast and for me it was magical.  As had been the case back at WUNC-TV, Dave Wegerek anchored the news and Woody Durham anchored the sports.  I had the honor and privilege of working with Dave for four years, and with Woody for almost fourteen, until August of 1977.  During that time with Woody, I saw a master at work.  From a ten-second promotional announcement to a one-hour documentary it was always the same: carefully research, then script it and deliver it with dignity, class, and style. That’s the way Woody has lived his life, with perhaps a bit less emphasis on the scripting part.  And that’s the way he’s approaching his current health struggles.

As most of the Tar Heel Nation will recall, Woody delivered a letter to his many friends and fans on June 1, 2016.  In it he explained his current health condition with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder that affects language expression:

I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past,” Durham said. “While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.

Goodness knows, Tar Heel fans have heard him often over the years telling the Tar Heel story for the Athletic Department, the General Alumni Association, the Tar Heel Sports Network, and you name it, Woody has been there. And as you would likely guess, Woody is using his health issue to help people become aware of aphasia and how it affects individuals and families.

As in the past, I will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events as my schedule permits, and be part of civic and other charitable endeavors throughout the state. As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends.

Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.

Over the years, Woody has urged us to “go where you go, and do what you do” when a close game was on the line.  As Woody’s friend for more than 50 years, I would urge all to take Woody’s game advice because he is involved in yet another difficult struggle. And in the end, when he wins this battle, (and I choose to believe he will), he can say, as he often has said following a big Tar Heel victory: “Act like you’ve been there before.”

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

I think it’s appropriate that we update Woody’s progress on the web site which is everything Hugh Morton. Woody was a Hugh Morton photo subject often and during the 2005-2006 UNC basketball season, Woody gave us periodic reports on Hugh’s condition.

On October 5, 2013, there was a very special event at the Turchin Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. I was honored to be a panelist along with Betty McCain, Robert Anthony, and Woody Durham.  Our topic: “Hugh Morton and His Photography.”  It was a magical afternoon . . . one to forever remember.

So on this special day I say: “Best wishes, dear friend, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jean, and family.”

He came to Chapel Hill to argue with someone

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union's sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline "Have a Cigar!" and caption, "Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations." A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union’s sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline “Have a Cigar!” and caption, “Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations.” A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Yesteryear is filled with those whose names today mean nothing to most, but in their day were lightning rods.  Leon Henderson is one of those people.

Henderson became a member of Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle, perhaps the result of his 1937 memorandum “Boom and Bust” written when he was Director of Research and Planning with the National Recovery Administration.  Roosevelt appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1939, and in 1941 to head the Office of Price Administration.  John Kenneth Galbraith, a historically important economist, public official, and diplomat, begins Chapter 8, “Washington, 1940,” of his autobiography A Life in Our Times: Memoirs (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981):

Leon Henderson was slightly under average height, of rather more than average width, and he seemed always to be adjusting his pants, pulling a little on his belt as though this would reduce his waistline.  Perhaps because they had to be so large at his stomach, his trousers were always very loose below.  They flopped when he walked or the wind blew.  The rest of Leon’s attire was somewhat more disorderly.  He shaved regularly but without precision.  His face altered between an expression of unconvincing belligerence and one of shocked, unbelieving innocence, and sometimes he affected both at the same time.  Mostly, however, he favored the belligerent expression, and this he sought to reinforce with a sharply jutting cigar that he rolled in his mouth but rarely smoked.  He was highly intelligent, with a strong retentive mind.  After a few minutes’ study of a paper on any subject, however complex, he not only had absorbed it for all needed use but could give convincingly the impression that he had written it himself.

It was during 1940 that Galbraith would become Henderson’s deputy when he served on Roosevelt’s National Defense Advisory Commission.  Among those serving on the commission with Henderson was Harriet Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro).

Galbraith devotes many pages of his first-hand accounts surrounding Henderson and his role in determining American economic policies during the critically important years from the mid 1930s into the first year of the United States’ direct involvement in the second World War.  Galbraith attributes Henderson as the person “who first voiced the thought that having a little inflation was like being a little pregnant” during “the almost paranoiac concern of 1940 and 1941 over inflation.”

Word that Leon Henderson would visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first appeared in The Daily Tar Heel on April 5, 1942.  Ridley Whitaker, chair of the Carolina Political Union, a non-partisan and non-political student group formed in 1936, announced that three important men had been sign to speak during the week of April 23:

Whitaker noted that past invited speakers had been “reluctant to talk,” but that these men would. “We’re having those men down to talk.  They were signed with that purpose.  Henderson has already wired that he’s coming here because he wants someone to argue with him.”  Harriet Elliot would introduce Henderson.

The Daily Tar Heel reporter Paul Komisaruk, who covered the Henderson story during the next two weeks, describe Henderson as “More colorful than Davis” and “clearly one of ‘America’s New Bosses,’ who with his control of prices profoundly influences the cost of living in every home in America.”  Komisaruk was not exaggerating, and he attributes Henderson’s “Boom or Bust” [sic] memorandum to Henderson’s rise to Roosevelt’s “inner-brain trust.”

Within a week, Komisaruk reported that Henderson’s visit would be moved up to April 15, a date which also marked the sixth anniversary of the Carolina Political Union.  Henderson’s “pressing duties in Washington” necessitated the change.  Komisaruk wrote, “Holding down the most difficult and delicate job in Washington, the quick-tempered Henderson will explain to students and visiting dignitaries, the Congressional battles over price-fixing that rocked the halls of Congress, and still, to develop into the biggest domestic issue of the war.”  He also reported that Whitaker had developed the evening’s program to include a banquet and a reception, and that attendees would include Governor J. Melville Broughton and Josephus Daniels, who had been the United States Ambassador to Mexico from April 1933 until November 1941 and who was at that time the editor of his family-controlled newspaper The News and Observer in Raleigh.

On the day prior to Henderson’s visit, The Daily Tar Heel editorial staff column included a segment titled “A Man Who Knows . . .” in which the editors wrote, “This is the man who can tell you why Lenoir Hall prices are going up and when they will stop.  He doesn’t speak with an accent and he can’t sing the praises of the fighting soldiers, but he can tell you the effect of the war effort on the consumer.”

On the day of Henderson’s trip to Chapel Hill, Kamisaruk noted that Henderson was departing Washington “in the midst of a growing storm over issues pertaining to setting a ceiling on labor’s wages.”  He expected Henderson “to explain the stand he took last week before the War Labor Board, when he warned that a ceiling must be set or the country will be faced with ‘devastating inflation,’ that may cause the US to lose the war.”  Kamisaruk also noted that “political observers” say that “Henderson’s warnings about inflation and frozen wages are not to be taken lightly despite the violent recriminations they have brought from labor leaders throughout the country. They point to the depression of 1937 that Henderson anticipated and warned about, and was ridiculed for until the ‘Henderson depression’ came right along as he said it would.”  Kamisaruk concluded with an unattributed quotation: “his idealism springs out of the soil of harsh facts.  And the harshest of these facts are prices, prices, prices.”

An example of opposition to Henderson can be seen in Ray Tucker’s syndicated column “National Whirligig” for April 15.  In a section he titled “Sleuths” Tucker noted that since February 17, 1941 when the “first move to regulate the main factors underlying our artificial war economy,” Henderson had “issued one hundred and six permanent rulings and fifteen temporary decrees.” Tucker took exception to these, noting that “the rapidity with which prohibitions have had to be extended into the retail field is what reflects graphically the failure of the present philosophy.”  According to Tucker, between March 1941 to March 1942, wholesale costs had risen nineteen percent and living costs twelve percent.  Tucker feared the installation of a “more drastic regime will flood the country with a locustlike army of regulators and sleuths,” concluding “But this condition appears to be a necessary touch of totalitarianism.”

Komisaruk’s coverage of Henderson’s evening on campus noted that he delivered only “perfunctory remarks, and promptly announced that the floor was open to discussion.” Henderson had indeed come to Chapel Hill to argue. “Spectators fired a barrage of questions,” one of which concerned the forty-hour work week. The Associated Press picked up this nugget, as printed in The Burlington Times.  The AP noted that Henderson believed suspension of the 40-hour week would decrease production because, “I don’t believe human beings will respond a 10 per cent cut.”  He also said the nation might be forced to adopt a general sales tax, which he did not favor, unless wages were stabilized.

"Unaccustomed as I am . . . " is the quotation printed on the "Discussion Groups" opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

“Unaccustomed as I am . . . ” is the quotation printed on the “Discussion Groups” opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

Morton's negative without cropping.

Morton’s negative without cropping.

The Daily Tar Heel also reported that a Henderson answer to one questioner “drew roars of laughter” when asked for “a few words about that ‘great American patriot Martin Dies.'” (Martin Dies Jr. was a co-creator and chairman of the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities.)  Henderson replied, “. . . it always happens once an evening—a question the speaker can not answer glibly.  I can only repeat what I have said on other occasions. ‘I will eat on the steps of the Treasury building at high noon any organizations I have belonged to that Martin Dies proves is subversive.” He added with a smile, “Of course there are some high school groups I belong to that his flat-feet haven’t gotten around to inspecting yet.”

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson's speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson’s speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

A few days after Henderson’s evening in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel opinion column noted that “Memorial hall overflowed . . . for the CPU’s first speech of the spring quarter.  There were many who expressed disappointment at Mr. Henderson’s speech and then there were those who felt it to be the first speech of the year during which you had to think to be able to understand what was being said.  Regardless of what opinions are being batted around campus, Leon Henderson’s address goes down as one of the meatiest of the year.”

Henderson’s story looms larger than A View to Hugh can tackle.  In short, the midterm elections of 1942 saw Democrats lose nine seats in the United States Senate and forty-three in the House of Representatives.  Democrats still maintained a significant majority, but it was the smallest since Roosevelt’s first election a decade earlier. In V was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During World War II, author John Morton Blum cites a survey taken of “Democratic Senatorial and Congressional candidates, whether they were victorious or not” by Edwin W. Pawley, then Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.  Blum describes the polling as “probably the shrewdest and most self-interested postelection [sic] analysis that Roosevelt received.”  Pawley reviewed the replies and compiled a list of five factors that contributed to the Democratic Party losses.  Number three on the list was “Resentment of O.P.A. Particularly of Mr. Henderson.  This was the most universal and serious complaint of all . . . It appears from the letters that the complaint is directed rather at Mr. Henderson and his attitude and methods than at the abstract question of . . . rationing and price control . . . .”  Pawley suggested the complaints against Henderson were “correctable” and Blum states that “Roosevelt got the message.”

In December 1942 Henderson called Galbraith and others to his office where they learned of Henderson’s intention to resign.  He stated that his health, and particularly his eyesight, would not permit him to continue.  Henderson didn’t expect anyone to believe that, so he kept repeating it “with increasing emphasis and indignation. In fact he was persuaded that there would be ever more severe attacks on our front and that he could blunt them by removing himself from the scene.”

Looking back, Galbraith believed Henderson was “never completely happy again” and that “the debt owed to Henderson for preparing the civilian economy for World War II has never been even partially recognized.  Had it not been for his bold, intelligent actions and those he authorized, civilians would have suffered.  And so assuredly would those who did the fighting.”

CORRECTION: This post was edited on 17 April 2017.  In the opening quote from Galbraith, the word tentative was changed to retentive.