“. . . flashing him in every pose but on his head.”

Alton Lennon photographs published in Charlotte News

Front page article from The Charlotte News, July 13, 1953, featuring photographs by Hugh Morton. The headshot portraits are among nine negatives made during that sitting that are part of the Hugh Morton collection, as is the negative for the family portrait.

STARK NAKED — Almost everybody around Raleigh and elsewhere was caught with his pants down late last Friday afternoon when Gov. William B. Umstead, as calmly as a man reaching for a glass of water, announced that Al Lennon of Wilmington was his at-long-last choice to succeed Smith as junior U. S. Senator from North Carolina.

To be perfectly frank about it, most of us were not only caught with our pants down.  We found ourselves stark naked.

So began Kidd Brewer’s “Raleigh Round-Up” column for the Thursday, July 16, 1953 issue of the Nashville Graphic (in Nash County, N. C.).  We need to go back a handful of days to that previous Friday, July 10—actually back to June 26—for the start of this story.  For that is the day that North Carolina’s junior senator in the United States Senate, Willis Smith, died while in office from a coronary thrombosis.

Smith’s term was set to end at the close of 1954.  He was completing a term begun by J. Melville Broughton on January 3, 1949 that ended abruptly nine weeks later when Broughton died in office on March 6.  Newly elected governor W. Kerr Scott appointed Frank Porter Graham to replace Broughton, but Graham lost his bid to retain the seat to Smith in a contentious run-off primary election on June 24, 1950.  Smith then handily won the general election on November 7, 1950, earning him the right to complete the remaining four years of Broughton’s term.

Governor Umstead needed to replace Smith, and he kept his selection process very closed-lipped.  The state’s then senior senator was Clyde R. Hoey from the western part of the state, so Umstead looked eastward for his appointee.  The vacant seat had proved to be like the removable chair in the children’s game Musical Chairs, so Umstead sought an appointee who he believed could begin campaigning almost immediately for the primary that would take place in May 1954—just ten months away—win the primary, and then continue on for a full six-year term.

When Umstead announced that the relatively unknown Wilmington attorney and former state senator Alton Asa Lennon as his appointment—late on a Friday afternoon—there were few photographs of Lennon for the press to print in newspapers.  Brewer noted that “there were only one or two photos of the new senator wandering around the State.”

Where on earth was the world going to get photographs of a relatively unknown Wilmingtonian who was destined for the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol?  Fellow Wilmington native Hugh Morton, of course!  How do we know this to be the case?  Later in Brewer’s story we encounter a passage that launched me into a deeper dig to differentiate the numerous negatives made by Morton between Umstead’s announcement and Lennon’s send-off to Washington, D. C. that are extant in the Hugh Morton collection.  Brewer wrote,

Hugh Morton, Wilmington photographer and tourist expert who had himself only two hours earlier been reappointed to the State Board of Conservation and Development, rushed to Lennon’s house and began flashing him in every pose but on his head.  And the state editors and wire boys were already performing that act.  The AP snapped up Morton’s pictures, got its wirephoto services on the ready, and in most late night editions of Saturday morning’s papers, there was old Al smiling out at you from a three-column photo.

Does Brewer’s description of the media blitz match the historical record?  Is it an accurate account of how Morton’s negatives came into being?  Upon searching the Morton collection finding aid, I found three listings for forty black-and-white negatives surrounding this event, with three broadly defined sets in the Morton collection finding aid:

  • Lennon, Alton: Wilmington sendoff celebration to U.S. Senate, 14 July 1953
  • Lennon, Alton: Various portraits, with family, etc., circa 1953
  • Lennon, Alton: With Governor William Umstead, circa 1953

The first two listings are a jumble of images that span from as early as the evening of July 10 through the “send-off” on July 14, officially proclaimed by the governor as “Alston Lennon Day.”  It’s important to note here that many categories of images in the Morton collection are “a jumble.”  When processing the collection after its arrival, the quantity of material in the collection and its lack of internal structure did not permit our archivist, Elizabeth Hull, to refine uncounted rough groupings and descriptions for tens of thousands of items.  Even today, I am hard pressed to find the time to dig too deep.  In this case I needed to sort through the negatives to see what they depicted for the Morton collection preservation digitization project.  A fair amount of work went into it, and I needed to write down what I learned to make sense of it all.  I felt I could turn that information into a useful and informative post, and so what follows is what I’ve gathered thus far.

Let’s start with the easiest listing first: the negatives depicting Umstead and Lennon together.

Amsted and Lennon

Governor William B. Umstead during his meeting with Alton Lennon, the governor’s newly announced appointment to the United States Senate, July 13, 1953.

News accounts stated that the governor made a surprise visit to Wilmington to meet with Lennon on Monday, July 13 during an “open house” in the offices of Star News Newspapers, the publisher of Wilmington’s two major newspapers.  The only update needed for the finding aid for that group of six negatives was a change of “circa” to the exact date.

There are six negatives of Umstead interacting with Lennon, including the following image published as an Associated Press Wirephoto:

Lennon and Umstead in AP Wirephoto

Hugh Morton photograph (uncredited) published as an Associated Press Wirephoto. The clipping shown here is from the front page of the July 14 issue of The Asheville Citizen.

The two remaining listings in the finding aid, however, is where confusion reigned.  Looking at some newspapers (Wilmington’s Morning Star and The Wilmington News, and their jointly issued Sunday Star News, plus The Charlotte News (to which Morton frequently submitted work) proved to be useful.  So, too, did an eye for fashion and a bit of knowledge about photographic film manufacturing.  Let’s tackle the film manufacturing process first.

Film manufacturers use notches on one corner of the film so that photographers can quickly and easily determine the emulsion side of the film.  Photographers need to know the emulsion is facing the outside of the film holder (i.e., toward the lens) when they insert a sheet of film into a film holder while doing so in complete darkness.  As illustrated below (but always done in the dark), if you hold the film in your hand so you can feel the notch(es) with your index finger, then the emulsion is facing upwards. (Of course there wouldn’t be an image on the film when loading new film!)  The notch is also is an indication of the specific film.  For this information we turn to The Acetate Negative Survey by David Horvath in 1987.  According to Horvath’s survey, a single V-shaped notch on safety film made by Kodak indicates that Morton photographed using Super Pan Press, Type B.

film notch code

Most photographic archivists are familiar with notch codes.  But also note the number to the left of the code.  Not as many know what that represents, and sheet film negatives do not always have a number there.  I’ve seen that number referred to both as a batch code and as a machine code: the former meaning that the manufacturer would be able to identify the emulsion batch, and the latter indicating what machine cut the film into sheets.  For archivists, we can use that number to help (it’s not definitive) determine if a photographer made a group of images during the same general time period. How so?  Most photographers purchased sheet film in boxes of 25 or 100, so each sheet in a box or boxes purchased at the same time will likely have the same batch/machine code.  In this case all but four of the forty negatives have a single notch with the code number 97.  For now, hold that thought.

The images made closest to July 10 that I found in the newspapers appeared on Sunday, July 12, meaning that photographers took them on either on the evening of the July 10 or some time on July 11.  Here’s one, a “Staff Photo by Ludwig” from The Sunday Star News on July 12:

Lennon Family in Sunday Star News

Morton took a similar group portrait of the family around the same table, but without Lennon’s parents. (You might not be able to tell from the scan from microfilm, but it’s clear in Morton’s negative that while there are rolls on the center platter, everyone’s plates and bowls are empty.)  The caption identifies the location of the family portrait as Lennon’s summer cottage in Wrightsville Beach.  As seen at the top of this post, The Charlotte News published a portrait of the family seated near a fireplace, wearing the same clothes, on the same page as it ran four portraits across a four-column-wide article.  That setting (law office versus home) doesn’t seem to mesh with Kidd Brewer’s description.  One of those single portraits may have been published in a Saturday morning newspaper that I’ve not had time to explore.  If so, then Brewer’s account could be accurate.

All totaled there are nine of the similarly posed Alton Lennon portrait negatives extant in the Morton collection, and at least one other pose made it to print.  Lest we forget about Hugh Morton’s other favorite go-to publication, The State, here’s another of the portraits . . .

Lennon portrait by Morton, cover, The State, 25 July 1953 issue

United States Senator-Designate Alton Lennon, portrait by Hugh Morton on the cover of the 25 July 1953 issue of The State.

Below is a photograph published in The Wilmington News on July 13, taken by Morton but uncredited, showing a smiling Lennon with “fellow attorneys” posed in what, after consulting various other negatives in the collection, appears to be his law office in the Odd Fellows Building at 229 Princess Street.  Many attorneys had their offices there because it was only a short walk to the city hall and county courthouse.  The steps of Thalian Hall were just across the street on North 3rd Street.

Alton Lennon with fellow attorneys

As captioned in the July 13, 1953 edition of The Wilmington News: “SENATOR LENNON CONGRATULATED — Fellow attorneys gather around Alton A. Lennon to extend congratulations on his appointment to the U. S. Senate. Shown with the new senator are Cicero Yow, H. Winfield Smith, John J. Burney Jr., Marsden Bellamy, Addison Hewlett Jr., Solomon B. Sternberger and Elbert Brown.” The photograph by Hugh Morton is uncredited.

There are several negatives made in that room, where the same composite photograph of the 1947 North Carolina Senate members is visible. Lennon was an elected member of the 1947 North Carolina Senate.  In some of the negatives, Lennon’s diploma from Wake Forest College can be seen hanging on the perpendicular wall to the left.

Your eye for fashion now comes into play.  You cannot tell from the picture above (as reproduced here from microfilm) but what can clearly be seen in the negative is that Lennon is wearing a double-breasted suit jacket.  It may be the same as seen in this detail of a negative made by Morton on the steps of Thalian Hall below:

Alton Lennon at Thalian Hall

Detail from a negative made by Morton of Alton Lennon standing on the stairs of Wilmington’s Thalian Hall. Notice the double breasted suit jacket.

It could very well be, then, that Morton photographed Lennon on that Friday evening after the announcement when he would have been in his office with his fellow attorneys, and also on the steps of Thalian Hall.

Alton Lennon standing in convertible

Newly-appointed Senator Alton Lennon standing and waving from the back of a convertible as part of his official send-off celebration.

At this point in his life, Hugh Morton was the vice president of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.  The chamber organized a special “send off” committee and named Morton as its chairman. Festivities on July 14 began with a parade through the streets to the train station.  Lennon’s car stopped for him to pose for photographers:

 

Now what about those four negatives with a different batch/machine code number?  Here they are:

Alton Lennon campaigning

The machine code for these is 419 (not 97).  Note, too, a portion of a campaign poster on the side of the car (lower right image).  And that eye for fashion?  Note Lennon is not wearing a bow tie, which he wears in all of the negatives made during the appointment days except during his meeting with Umstead, when he wears a light-colored suit and not a darker shade.  There is enough evidence to conclude that Morton did not make these four negatives during events surrounding the Lennon announcement and send off.  Lennon began campaigning soon after his appointment so we can date them from 1953 or 1954, but we cannot presume Morton made these four negatives in Wilmington.  The top left negative is part of the online collection, and the metadata for that has been updated to reflect the distinction.  The finding aid groupings will also be revised to reflect the new findings.

Alton Lennon campaigning

Alton Lennon campaigning for the 1954 Democratic Party primary election, circa 1953-1954.

Epilog

Alton Lennon or his surrogates used at least two of Morton’s photographs during the 1954 primary.  Below is a page from the April 24, 1954 issue of The State:

Alton Lennon political advertisement published in The State

Alton Lennon political advertisement published in April 24, 1954 issue of THE STATE.

The image above is cropped from one of the many negatives Hugh Morton exposed in Lennon’s law office, one of two with that “Keep America Strong” illustration in the background.  It’s the upper portion of a calendar, which explains the last letters of the word “COMPANY” next to his left arm.

Morton’s family portrait of the Lennons seated in front of their fireplace reappears in a political advertisement paid for by Rocky Mount Friends of U. S. Senator Alton Lennon in that city’s newspaper, The Evening Telegram, on May 24:

Lennon political advertisement in The Evening Telegram

Lennon political advertisement in The Evening Telegram, May 24, 1954, featuring Hugh Morton’s family portrait made in July 1953.

Lennon lost his bid for the full term.  He and six other candidates fell to W. Kerr Scott on the Saturday, May 29 election day, with Scott securing 25,323 more votes than second place Lennon.

Still Alone at the Top

This post comes from regular contributor Jack Hilliard, who takes another look at the man “Still Alone at the Top” because today, May 18th, marks a special day for long time Tar Heels like Jack.

On this day, in 1924, a boy was born in the Emma community of Asheville. He would grow up to be the greatest athlete to ever play sports at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium. Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice's freshman year when he played on the White team.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium. Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice’s freshman year when he played on the White team. [Click on the photograph to see the full negative without cropping.]

UNC’s Michael Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of all time, and thanks to the emergence of the 24/7 cable sports channels, and in the latter part of his playing career the internet, Jordan’s heroics became all access, all the time. His image has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than sixty times . . . so far. And it’s no surprise that he also has seventy-eight mentions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy.

In the fall of 1999 when UNC’s campus newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel selected a panel of Tar Heel sports experts to determine the ten greatest UNC athletes of all time, many long-time Tar Heels, like me, thought Michael would be the top vote getter. Each week the paper listed one of the top ten athletes, and as expected, Jordan beat out Phil Ford, Mia Hamm, Lawrence Taylor, Lennie Rosenbluth, B. J. Surhoff, and Sue Walsh. In fact, Jordan beat out every other Tar Heel athlete, except one. He finished second to Charlie Justice.

Justice never had his picture on a Sports Illustrated cover and was never mentioned on Jeopardy.  When Justice played for Carolina during the seasons between 1946 and 1949, there were no 24/7 cable sports channels. In fact there was no TV in North Carolina at that time and the Internet was decades away.

I once asked Justice, “How did you become so famous without TV or the Internet.” Said Justice, “I didn’t need ‘em, I had Jake Wade writing stories and Hugh Morton taking pictures.” (Jake Wade was the award-winning Sports Information Director for UNC from 1945 until 1962).

I remember getting up early on the morning of Monday, November 29, 1999 and driving from Greensboro to Chapel Hill. I wanted to make sure that I got a copy of The Daily Tar Heel. It didn’t take me long to find that collector edition of the paper with the Section B headline that said “The Making of a Legend,” with Charlie’s life story filling the page. To support the DTH story, there were three Justice pictures, two of which were taken by Hugh Morton: the photograph above that opens this post, and the one that follows (but cropped to include only Justice).

UNC fullback Walt Pupa (L) and UNC Tailback Charlie Justice in the locker room at Griffith Stadium, Washington DC.

UNC fullback Walt Pupa (L) and UNC Tailback Charlie Justice in the locker room at Griffith Stadium, Washington DC prior to the 1947 game versus the University of Maryland.

In an interview on October 18, 2003, Hugh Morton had this to say about his dear friend: “Clearly the most exciting football player I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of them.” And as for Justice’s life after football, Morton added this: “There was not a worthy cause in this state he didn’t support. He used his fame to do good things. He wasn’t charging for it, he just wanted to do it.”

So, on this day, May 18, 2019, a tip-of-the-hat to Tar Heel Legend Charlie “Choo Choo Justice” who would have turned 95.  If a survey were taken on the UNC-CH campus all these years later, I don’t believe there would be many, if any, students who knew him or ever saw him play. That is their loss, because it’s doubtful we’ll ever see the likes of Charlie Justice again.

Flowers, parades, parties, and golf along with the Golden Voice, Known as “The Whiz”

The North Carolina Azalea Festival is in progress for the 72nd time in Wilmington.  This year’s event takes place from April 3-7, 2019.  Going back to 1948, not only is this event a celebration of flowers and golf, it brings celebrated guests from across the United States. From Hollywood movies, to TV stars, to celebrated sports heroes, the festival has seen them all.  Over the years, many of the guests have made returned visits.  This was especially true in the early years.  As we celebrate festival number 72, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at one of those guests, noted broadcaster Harry Wismer, who visited often during the1950s.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

Hugh Morton crossed paths with legendary sportscaster Harry Wismer at the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1949 in New Orleans.  Wismer was in town to broadcast the game for ABC Radio between the UNC Tar Heels and the Oklahoma Sooners.  Of course Morton was in town to photograph the game which featured his dear friend Charlie Justice.  And as one would expect, Morton took at pre-game picture of Justice and Wismer, a picture that Hugh often included in his famous slides shows. Morton also included the image in his 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina on page 257.

Nearly two years later on December 10, 1950, Morton photographed the final regular season game between the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns in Washington’s Griffith Stadium.  Again, he crossed paths with Harry Wismer, the Redskins’ play-by-play man.  At the time, Harry Wismer, who was known by many as “The Whiz,” was already considered the nation’s leading sportscaster, having broadcast numerous events like the National Open and PGA, the Penn Relays, and the National Football League Championship.

Wismer was also a part owner of the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.  In addition to his co-ownership, Wismer was “The Voice of the Redskins,” having called their games on the “Amoco-Redskins Network” since 1943.  It was on those Redskins broadcasts that I first heard him.  As a little kid, I listened to the Redskin games starting in 1950.  When the game came to TV in North Carolina in 1951, Wismer was right there with the play-by-play.  I remember those early broadcasts. Wismer’s commercial tag line went like this: “All around town, for all around service, visit your Amoco man, and Lord Baltimore filling stations.”

1949 Queen of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, actress Martha Hyer, with her court.

1949 Queen of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, actress Martha Hyer, with her court.

Starting in 1949, the Azalea Open Golf Tournament became a part of the spring festivities.    Hugh Morton invited Wismer to the 1950 Azalea Festival in Wilmington, along with Southern Methodist University football hero Doak Walker and his wife Norma.  Of course, Tar Heels Charlie and Sarah Justice returned in ’50, having been there in 1949 to crown Azalea Queen II, Hollywood starlet Martha Hyer.  When Justice and Wismer returned to Wilmington for the 1951 festival, Hugh Morton had added a new event: a special golf match at the Cape Fear Country Club called “Who Crowns the Azalea Queen?”  The match pitted two ABC Radio broadcasters, Harry Wismer and Ted Malone, against two football greats, Charlie Justice and Otto Graham.

Harry Wismer and Ted Malone

ABC Radio broadcasters Harry Wismer and Ted Malone.

Margaret Sheridan, Otto Graham, Harry Wismer, Charlie Justice, and Earl Stewart

Margaret Sheridan, Otto Graham, Harry Wismer, and Charlie Justice seek magical powers by holding the putter of golfer Earl Stewart after he shot a superb round of 65 to capture the lead after the third round of the Azalea Open Golf Tournament.

The winner of the nineholeevent would have the honor of crowning Queen Azalea IV, Margaret Sheridan.  The ‘51 winner was the Justice/Graham team.

Margaret Sheridan holding flagstick

Queen Azalea IV Margaret Sheridan takes charge of the flagstick on the 18th green at the Cape Fear Country Club.

In addition to being part of the parades, flowers, and parties, Wismer broadcast the Azalea Open Golf Tournament on ABC Radio.  The 1951 Open winner was Lloyd Mangrum, and Wismer included an interview with him on his ABC Radio show which was also originated live in Wilmington.

Harry Wismer interviewing Lloyd Mangrum

ABC Radio broadcaster Harry Wismer interviewing the 1951 Azalea Open Golf Tournament winner Lloyd Mangrum.

The 1952 “Who Crowns the Azalea Queen?” event once again put Wismer’s team, which included writer Hal Boyle and band leader Tony Pastor, against a football squad of Charlie Justice, Eddie Lebaron, and Otto Graham and this time the Wismer team won.

Harry Wismer crowns Cathy Downs as Azalea Queen V.

Harry Wismer crowns Cathy Downs as Azalea Queen V during the 1952 Azalea Festival.

According to Hugh Morton, the original queen selection for 1952 was actress Janet Leigh, but her husband Tony Curtis decided to cancel their trip to Wilmington.  Morton knew that actress Cathy Downs was in town because her husband Joe Kirkwood, Jr. was playing in the Azalea Open.  When Morton invited her, she accepted and became Queen Azalea V.

Wismer continued his Azalea Festival visits during the mid-1950s. Charlotte broadcaster Grady Cole also participated in Wismer’s broadcasts. 

Wismer would later become one of the founding fathers of the American Football League, which began play in 1960; three years later, however, he gave up his football leadership.  Wismer spent the remainder of his life trying to reclaim his glory days as broadcaster and team owner, but was unsuccessful partly because of his declining health.  In 1965, Wismer wrote a book titled The Public Calls It Sports.  In it he gives a “behind the scenes” look at professional football from a broadcast and ownership point of view.

Harry Wismer passed away on December 4, 1967, the day after a tragic fall at a New York restaurant.  He was 64-years-old.

A Midwest conquest

On March 18th, 2012 Bill Richards, a colleague who worked in the library’s Digital Production Center, passed away unexpectedly while watching the Tar Heel’s basketball team defeat Creighton University in the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper.  In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information.  In 1998 he started working in Library Photographic Services, but continued shooting for Sports Information into the 2000s. I am dedicating this blog post, as I have each year since his departure, to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.

This year poses a bit of a challenge for this annual blog post: the NCAA Tournament has yet to begin. Where then shall we go to celebrate, Bill?  I know . . . midwest!

Yep. it’s NCAA Men’s Basletball Tournament time.  Were it not for two teeny tiny points, UNC might be heading up the East Regional bracket.  Instead, the Tar Heels find themselves atop a different bracket farther west—the Midwest, to be exact.  Haven’t we been here before?  Yes, and just like this year, Carolina did not win the ACC Tournament played in Charlotte.

In the 1990 NCAA Tournament, the Tar Heels took off for Austin, Texas as the bracket’s eighth seed. First up: ninth seeded Southwest Missouri State University (now known as Missouri State University).  The Tar Heels handily beat the Bears by thirteen points, 83-70.  Next on the docket: number one seed Oklahoma, ranked first in the nation in the final Associated Press Coaches Poll (through March 11) with its 26-4 record.  By comparison, UNC with its 19-11 record was unranked—its worst season in twenty-six years despite defeating the fifteenth-ranked Duke Blue Devils twice during regular season play.

The limited time I have available does not permit me to recount the game’s highlights, but the photographs below tell some of the closing story.  The first frame, Frame 24A, depicts the time out called by Carolina at the 0:39 second mark after Oklahoma’s William Davis converted his “and-one” free throw for a three-point play to take the lead 77-76.  After the break, the Tar Heels struggled to make anything to happen.  Dean Smith tried to get someone’s attention to call a timeout, but before that could happen, an Oklahoma player fouled King Rice with 0:10 on the clock.  A timeout did take place, after which Rice tied the game by making his first “one and one” foul shot.

“Tied,” declared CBS play-by-play announcer Brent Musberger.

King’s second shot was off the mark, and the ball rebounded high off the rim.  No one could reel in the rebound before an Oklahoma player knocked the ball out of bounds under the basket.

Dean Smith called for a timeout, during which he drew up a play designed to get the ball in the hands of Rick Fox, the Tar Heel’s three-point marksman with twenty-one points in the game to that point.  Fox recounted after the game what Dean Smith told him during the timeout: “‘Rick, remember, we don’t need three. We only need one.'”

Fox got two, with a quick fake of a three and a drive down the baseline to make the layup with only one second remaining.

Morton’s second frame shows the outcome.

close of the UNC versus Oklahoma game at the 1990 NCAA Tournament game

Hugh Morton negatives depicting two moments from the close of the UNC versus Oklahoma game at the 1990 NCAA Tournament game.

Frame 25, showing a time out break with 39 seconds left on the game clock.

Frame 25: a timeout break with 0:39 seconds left on the game clock and Oklahoma up by one point, 77-76. The critical timeout occurred at 0:08 with the score tied at 77.

There are no negatives or color slides of the ensuing play, with no missing frames or 35mm color slides.  But when the clock reached 0:00, Morton recorded the final score: UNC 79 Oklahoma 77.

The game clock after UNC's upset of Oklahoma in the Midwest Regional of the 1990 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The game clock after UNC’s upset of Oklahoma in the Midwest Regional of the 1990 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Morton also shot a few frames of the celebration on court, then made his way to the locker room for the celebration.

UNC players celebrate their 79 to 77 win over Oklahoma in 1990 NCAA Tournament.

UNC players celebrate their 79 to 77 win over Number #1 Oklahoma in the Midwest Regional Final in Austin, Texas. Left to Right: #54 John Greene, #32 Pete Chilcutt, #5 Henrik Rodl, #3 Jeff Denny, #42 Scott Williams.

Here’s looking at you, Bill.

Rick Fox

Rick Fox after his game-winning layup capped off UNC’s upset victory over top-seeded Oklahoma.

The father of big-time basketball in North Carolina and the South

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament begins today and “March Madness” is on our doorstep. Once again the Atlantic Coast Conference is evenly balanced and is predicted to be a NCAA leader.  There was a time before the conference was born, however, when basketball in North Carolina and the South was secondary to football.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the man and the tournament that brought about the roundball prominence we see today.

Everett Case

Everett Case, head basketball coach at North Carolina State from 1946 through 1964. Photograph by Hugh Morton, probably during the late 1950s.

I remember a time in 1954 when I was a freshman in high school and working for my dad at his drug store in Asheboro. He had just hired a guy named Johnny Campbell, an Army veteran who had recently returned from three years (1951–1953) in Germany and Korea. Campbell told me once that most everywhere he went, when people learned he was from North Carolina, they would say “NC State basketball, Everett Case.”

Coach Everett Case was a basketball visionary long before he came to North Carolina State in 1946. Back in his native state of Indiana, he was a legendary high school coach. When he arrived in North Carolina, football was king; Case, however, saw basketball as king, and he began to change the minds of fans across the state. He saw a partially built Reynolds Coliseum as an arena of 12,500 cheering fans.

In the beginning, Case recruited many out-of-state players, but he visited North Carolina high schools across the state, encouraging coaches and school boards to build better gym facilities so young boys could compete for basketball scholarships.

In his first season at State, the fire marshal canceled a game because people were spilling onto the floor and climbing in the windows of tiny Thompson Gymnasium. Case described that scenario in a 1964 interview: “We played our first games in Frank Thompson Gym, and had to cancel the North Carolina game when the students broke down the doors and the fire marshal wouldn’t let us play.”

That 1946–47 NC State team compiled a 26 and 5 record, and won the Southern Conference Tournament beating Maryland, George Washington, and North Carolina.

Then, it happened again during the 1947-48 season:

The fire marshal called off our Duke game in Frank Thompson Gym on the afternoon it was scheduled to be played. . . They said Frank Thompson Gym was a ‘fire hazard’ and wouldn’t let us play any more home games there . . . so we had to move into Memorial Auditorium.

State racked up an even better record of 29 and 3 during the 1947-48 season, and once again won the Southern Conference Tournament—this time beating William and Mary, North Carolina, and Duke.  By the 1948-49 season, NC State basketball was becoming extremely popular, just as Case had envisioned, as they won yet another Southern Conference Championship.

NC State moved into the William Neal Reynolds Coliseum for their home games during the 1949–50 season, and saw the establishment of a holiday basketball tournament that quickly became the top sporting event in North Carolina. It was called the “Dixie Classic.” As Case said, “All the Big Four schools were tickled to get in on it . . . it meant some big pay-checks for them.” And as you might have guessed already, State won the first Dixie Classic as well as the 1949–50 Southern Conference Championship.

I recall seeing my first Dixie Classic. I had never seen anything like it.  The house lights in the Coliseum were dimmed and a spotlight was turned on for the player introductions, and when it was all over the winning team cut down the nets. The names Dick Dickey and Sam Ranzino were fast becoming heroes for kids across the state.

Case’s 1950–51 team brought home another Southern Conference and a second Dixie Classic Championship, winning 30 games. Finally, during the 1952–53 season, Wake Forest nipped State 71 to 70 for the Southern Conference Championship, but State won its fourth Dixie Classic.

The 1953-54 basketball season in North Carolina brought a new conference to town: the Atlantic Coast Conference.  NC State suffered two losses in the Dixie Classic—one to Navy and one to Wake Forest—but they won the first ACC Tournament Championship.

The 1954-55 Wolfpack continued their winning ways with the Dixie Classic and ACC Championships.  It was ditto for the next two seasons, and it was beginning to look like Coach Case and his Wolfpack would dominate the ACC as it had the Southern Conference.  But in 1956, the momentum was derailed when NC State was placed on a four-year probation by the NCAA. It was reported that an assistant coach and State’s assistant athletic director had given a Louisiana high school kid cash and gifts to entice him from his previous agreement to attend Kentucky. Case denied the charge, but the NCAA ruled that he knew about the gifts—which included a seven-year medical education. This became known as the Jackie Moreland case.

The 1956-57 NC State team lost to Wake Forest in the Dixie Classic and the ACC Tournament. The 1957-58 Wolfpack lost both tournaments as well, this time to powerful North Carolina, who compiled a 32-and-0 record and won the NCAA Championship.

Case and his Wolfpack came back to win the ACC Tournament following the 1958-59 regular season as well as the 1958 Dixie Classic, but lost both events in the 1959-60 season.  There were no NC State tournament wins during the 1960-61 season.  Following the season, it was revealed that at least four NC State players and possibly two UNC players had shaved points in order to shade the outcome of games, including at least one Dixie Classic game.  Said Case, “it was a terrible blow to all of us here at State.”

The 1960 Dixie Classic was the last to be played, because things got worse.  On Saturday morning, May 14, 1961, Lester Chalmers, Wake County’s district solicitor called UNC President Dr. William Friday to an an emergency meeting.  Chalmers told Friday that a player’s life had been threatened by gamblers.  “In our minds, we were dealing with protection of human life of an innocent college kid . . . you weren’t left with any alternative.”  The UNC system imposed numerous sanctions on both UNC and NC State’s basketball programs and abolished the Dixie Classic.

Due to the scandals, State played fewer games during the 1961 through 1964 seasons, with no ACC Championships.  By this time, Coach Case was in failing health, but he began the 1964–65 season even though he was suffering inoperable cancer.  Two games into the season, he was unable to continue and turned the coaching over to assistant Press Maravich.  When State won the 1965 ACC Tournament, Coach Case was taken in his wheelchair out to help the team cut down the net.  A year later, Everett Case died and was buried in Raleigh’s Memorial Park. It was his wish to be laid facing US Highway 70 so he could “wave” to later NC State teams as they traveled to Durham and Chapel Hill.

In his time at NC State, Everett Case’s resume is like no other.  He won 379 games, six Southern Conference Championships, four Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, and seven Dixie Classics.  During his career the ACC named Case as its Coach of the Year three times.  Through all those accomplishments, he brought big-time basketball to North Carolina and the South.

Afterword from the Editor

In searching for images to illustrate this post, I’ve discovered that Hugh Morton images for the Dixie Classic and from the early years of the ACC Tournament are sparse.  The earliest identified Dixie Classic negatives date from 1957 through 1959, while those depicting the ACC Tournament images date from 1958.  Earlier images may exist, but the dates are uncertain.  In fact, 1950s college basketball negatives by Morton are a relative scarcity.  Many negatives listed in the finding aid for this decade are broadly categorized, such as “Old basketball negatives” or (take a deep breath . . . ) “College basketball, various (North Carolina State University vs. William & Mary, George Washington vs. William & Mary, North Carolina State University, Wake Forest, Greensboro, Maryland, other unidentified teams), 1940s-early 1950s.”  Perhaps one day we’ll be able to sort out the images with a bit more specificity.—Stephen

Our time with Woody

It was one year ago today, March 7, 2018, that we received the sad news that Woody Durham had lost his gallant battle with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder that affects language expression.  On this first anniversary of his passing, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back on our time with Woody.

Prolog
If you search the online collection of Hugh Morton photographs, you will find two dozen Morton photographs that include Woody Durham.  If you search the collection finding aid, you will find many more.  Woody was a favorite Morton subject, so when Bob Anthony and Stephen Fletcher, of the Wilson Library’s North Carolina Collection, put together a panel at Appalachian State in October of 2013 to discuss Morton’s work, Woody was an important participant.

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament.

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer 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.

As the 2010-11 college basketball season turned into that famous March Madness, it looked like Carolina might be headed to yet another final four.  With wins over Long Island, Washington, and Marquette, they were in the “Elite Eight”® and playing Kentucky for another Final Four trip.  It was Sunday afternoon, March 27, 2011 . . . Number 2 seed UNC against Number 4 seed Kentucky . . . at the 18,711-seat Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  Woody Durham was calling game number 1805 as the Tar Heel “Voice.”  The winner would capture the East Regional bracket and advance to the Final Four in Houston.  A Tar Heel win would give Woody an opportunity to call his fourteen Final Four.  But sadly for those of us listening to Woody and watching CBS Sports, it wasn’t to be.

The Tar Heel Nation was stunned as Kentucky came away with the win, 76 to 69.  We didn’t know it at the time, but we suffered another loss that afternoon: it would be Woody Durham’s final play-by-play broadcast after forty years as the “Voice of the Tar Heels.”  The official announcement came twenty-four days later.  After calling 1,805 football and basketball broadcasts, Woody Durham was signing off.

***

From 1971 until 2011, Woody Durham was the soundtrack for Tar Heel football and basketball.  During that span

  • the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association selected Woody as the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year thirteen times;
  • he was the voice for six national championship games and thirteen Final Fours;
  • he called twenty-three football bowl games; and
  • he interviewed six Tar Heel head football coaches and four head basketball coaches.

His game-day-preparation was legendary and his attention to detail with his color-coded information charts became famous.  But Woody Durham was much more than the voice of his university.  He often headed up life-long-learning programs for UNC’s General Alumni Association and was a program fixture during Graduation-Reunion weekend each May.  He traveled across his native state speaking to Tar Heel alumni groups.

Following his retirement, Woody and his wife Jean attended most of Carolina’s football games, and were always seated in Section 212 Row C in the Smith Center for Tar Heel basketball games.  Then, in 2015, Woody began to lose his ability to speak. The following year, came the diagnosis: Primary Progressive Aphasia.  But as you might expect, Woody took up the cause and became a leader educating his many fans about the disease.

On March 7, 2018 came the news report that Woody had lost his battle.

I think UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams said it best when he issued this statement:

“It’s a very sad day for everyone who loves the University of North Carolina because we have lost someone who spent nearly 50 years as one of its greatest champions and ambassadors. . . . My heart goes out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and their entire family. . . . It’s ironic that Woody would pass away at the start of the postseason in college basketball because this was such a joyous time for him. He created so many lasting memories for Carolina fans during this time of year. It’s equally ironic that he dealt with a disorder for the final years of his life that robbed him of his ability to communicate as effectively as he did in perfecting his craft.

Woody Durham will forever be “THE Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels.” Others will broadcast the games and will do a really good job, but Woody will be the one we all remember.

Billy Graham at “Singing on the Mountain,” 1962

It was one year ago today, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, that we received the sad news that America’s Pastor, Rev. William Franklin (Billy) Graham, Jr. had passed away at 7:46 that morning.  On this first anniversary of his passing, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard remembers one of his record-breaking gatherings in his native Tar Heel state.

Billy Graham, portrait by Hugh Morton, 1962.

Billy Graham, portrait by Hugh Morton, August 5, 1962.

It was Saturday, November 19, 1949…a gathering of 57,500 football fans packed Duke Stadium in Durham for the 36th meeting between Duke and UNC. That game would go into the sports history books as one of the greatest in the Carolina – Duke series and the 57,500 fans made up the largest crowd in North Carolina history. That record would stand for almost thirteen years.

Then, on Sunday, August 5, 1962, a new record was set at Grandfather Mountain at the 38th annual “Singing on the Mountain.”  Monday’s headline on the Greensboro Daily News read, “150,000 Hear Billy Graham.”  Before the program began, Hugh Morton, the main promoter for the event, spoke with reporters and said that North Carolina Highway Patrolman Sgt. M. S. Parvin had estimated the crowd at 150,000 and added that “there was a traffic jam from Marion to Blowing Rock,” about 50 miles in length.

Normally, the annual all-day gospel sing and fellowship at MacRae Meadows is held in June, but in 1962 the date was changed to August in order to have Rev. Billy Graham as the featured speaker.

In the early morning hours of August 5th, threatening clouds gathered before the program began. About an hour before Dr. Graham was to speak, however, the program began with a gospel sing led by Cliff Barrows, music and program director of the Billy Graham evangelistic team. Gospel singer Joe Emerson, along with Lulu Belle and Scotty also performed. Master of Ceremonies Arthur Smith and his Crossroads Quartet also sang during the hour-long musical part of the program. A photographic memento was presented to 91-year-old Joe Hartley, founder and chairman of “Singing on the Mountain.”  Then, as Dr. Graham stepped up to the platform that had been built around a large rock, a few rumbles of thunder could be heard. But the rain held off until later in the day after Graham had finished his sermon.

Billy Graham at the podium

Billy Graham at the podium during the “Singing on the Mountain” gospel festival at Grandfather Mountain, NC, August 5, 1962.

Dr. Graham was impressed by the size of the crowd saying it was the greatest crowd of its type he had ever seen, even exceeding the one he addressed at Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa; and he related a story of how Hugh Morton had taken him to the top of Grandfather Mountain to view the thousands who were camping out on the sides of the mountain as well as in the meadow below. Many of them had been there for days. He then talked about the excellent amplification system that carried his voice to all those gathered as well as the fifty-plus radio stations across the southeastern United States that broadcasted the service.

Graham began his message by saying, “I want you to stop what you are doing and listen. Many people have made long trips to this mountain today to hear the word of God, and we do not want anything to distract from the message.”

In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union were in the ninth year of what would be called the “Cold War,” and Dr. Graham included his thoughts as part of his Grandfather Mountain sermon.  “Today the cross of Christianity faces the hammer and sickle of communism.” But Dr. Graham said the only ideology in the world that has any possibility of stopping the spread of communism is dedicated Christianity.  He added, “I am convinced that we may not have war but the whole world could conceivably become communist.”  He then added: “The future of the world does not lie with communism. Time is not on their side. The future of the world lies with the kingdom of God. Time is on God’s side.”

When Dr. Graham had completed his presentation, many in the vast audience took time to ponder his message. Then, the thousands started the long journey down the mountain, creating what could likely be called the largest traffic jam in North Carolina history.  All had been a part of a history-making event.

Singing on the Mountain traffic August 1962

Traffic, likely on the way to or leaving “Singing on the Mountain” gospel festival at Grandfather Mountain, NC on August 5, 1962.

It’s been quiet here, but not behind the scenes

Belated Happy New Year!

For the past year or so, it has been really difficult for me to write blog posts for A View to Hugh on a regular basis.  Thank goodness for Jack Hilliard’s continued interest in writing for the blog!  If you are a regular reader, you might be wondering why it has been relatively quiet here.  You might even be thinking that, eleven years after this blog’s debut in November 2007, there isn’t much work being done with the Morton collection.  If fact, just the opposite is true.  I worked extensively with the Morton collection during 2018.  In honor of what would be Hugh Morton’s 98th birthday today, let me share with you what I have been doing to extend the life of his photographic negatives.

Morton’s film negatives and color transparencies dating from the late 1930s through the early 1960s are physically made of cellulose acetate film stock.  The common name for these various acetate negatives is “safety film” because it replaced cellulose nitrate film stock, which is highly flammable.  Many brands of film from that time period have the word SAFETY imprinted onto the edge of the film.  Kodak issued its first safety film in 1926, but they became more common in the marketplace by the early to mid 1930s.  They coexisted for several years with their cellulose nitrate brethren. Adding SAFETY to the sheet films’ edges distinguished them from their predecessor films made using cellulose nitrate, which then began to have the word NITRATE on their edges.

Film negative edge showing SAFETY

A keen eye will notice in the negative seen above that its edge has a slight wave.  If you follow the links to the Wikipedia entries in the previous paragraph about these film bases, you may read more about how they deteriorate.  For acetate films, basically, the negative begins to distort as the cellulose acetate base layer begins to break down, eventually causing its base to separate from the emulsion layer.  The first stage of deterioration is a symmetrical curling of the film edges, meaning the curls are the same on opposite sides of the negative.  This can go undetected if the collection is not used or inspected routinely.

Typically one’s nose is the first to detect that deterioration has begun.  When the chemical composition of the cellulose acetate degrades to a certain level, the film emits the smell of vinegar—acetic acid.  The next stage of deterioration is an asymmetrical warpage of the negative: where the curling is “upward” on one edge, it is “downward” on the opposite edge.  Often, but not always, small bubbles will appear.  Finally, the emulsion layer and the film base separate from each other.

Deteriorated Morton negatives

Two examples of deteriorated negatives in the Hugh Morton collection.

We detected that some acetate negative deterioration had already taken place in the Morton collection before it arrived at Wilson Library, although the problem was not widespread.  We removed those negatives that were already deteriorated and those that exhibited the early stages of deterioration into a separate box during archival processing.  We did that in order to isolate the bad from the good, because the deterioration process is autocatalytic and thus can cause nearby good negatives to deteriorate.  If you look in the Morton collection finding aid, you will see several entries with the phrase “removed to Sheet Film Box P081/BW-11 due to acetate deterioration.”

Box containing deteriorating acetate negatives

Storing negatives in a warm and/or humid environment exacerbates the deterioration process.  A cool, dry environment slows down the process; only storage at zero degrees Fahrenheit, however, will impede the process.

Acetate deterioration became known to film manufacturing industry in the late 1940s.  Manufacturers developed a replacement made from polyester during the early 1960s. Polyester films are remarkable stable.

The traditional method to preserve images on nitrate and acetate film negatives has been to make duplicate film copies using the interpositive method.  An unexposed polyester film negative is placed in direct contact, emulsion to emulsion, to the acetate or nitrate negative, then properly exposed to light and chemically developed using archival film processing techniques.  A negative film stock exposed to a photographic negative, produces a positive, which is then used to expose it to another sheet of unexposed film to make a duplicate negative—hence the word interpositive.

Vendors who make preservation duplicates using film today are rare and the cost is prohibitive because film and processing chemistry are no longer readily available.  As you probably guessed, the duplication method has been replaced by digital technology.  But it was not until September 2016 that an agreed upon standard—the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI)—determined specifications deemed acceptable for preservation digitization. That high level of preservation digitization is called FADGI 4-star.

In mid November 2016, the North Carolina Collection received a significant donation from the Ellis and Rosa McDonald Fund for Excellence to provide continued support of the Hugh Morton collection preservation project. I embarked on a pilot project with Chicago Albumen Works using a representative sample of negatives of different formats (3×4-inch negatives, 4x5s, 35mm, as examples).  After completing the pilot project, I decided to focus on Morton’s earliest work, typically 3×4 negatives before he routinely used 4×5 starting in the early 1950s.  I then moved to the 4×5 negatives made until the transition from acetate film to polyester film stocks in the early 1960s.

For both formats I needed to determine the negatives’ condition and—because we couldn’t possibly digitize every negative in the collection—the importance of their subject matter and the image quality of the negatives.  To keep track of selections sent to the vendor, I created a spreadsheet that also helped me to standardize the file names for the scans to be typed by the vendor during production. In summary, Chicago Albumen Works digitized nearly 2,950 negatives at FADGI 4-star quality.

All that represents a significant amount of work that kept me from putting together blog posts.  One post did emerge from the process when I discovered the negatives of Gerald P. Nye’s visit to UNC, and another post about Alton Lennon is waiting in the wings. This post is getting a bit long, however, so I’ll stop here and save additional details about the preservation digitization project for a future peek “Behind the Scenes.”

A call to the Hall for coach Mack Brown

Editor’s Note

This post is a follow-up to the post, “Mack Brown’s Return to Kenan Stadium” published on September 11 earlier this year.  As we were preparing today’s post honoring Mack Brown for his induction into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame, UNC and Chancellor Carol Folt and Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham announced during a noontime press conference on November 27 that Brown will return to coaching duties for Carolina.  Brown then stepped to the podium and addressed the gathered media. “Sally and I love North Carolina, we love this University and we are thrilled to be back.  The best part of coaching is the players—building relationships, building confidence, and ultimately seeing them build success on and off the field.  We can’t to wait to meet our current student-athletes and reconnect with friends, alumni and fellow Tar Heel coaches.”

On December 4, 2018, former Head Football Coach Mack Brown will become the twelfth UNC Tar Heel and the twenty-second Texas Longhorn to be inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. The dinner ceremony from 8:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. EST can be watched via a livestream on ESPN3.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at Brown’s thirty-year head coaching career.

Sally and Mack Brown

Sally and Mack Brown, date unknown, scanned from a photographic print by Hugh Morton.

When it’s all over, your career will not be judged by the money you made or the championships you won. It will be measured by the lives you touched. And that is why we coach.  —Mack Brown in One Heartbeat (2001), page 173.

Mack Brown

Mack Brown during his years coaching UNC , from an undated photographic print by Hugh Morton collection.

It was November 18, 1989.  Tar Heel head football coach Mack Brown had just suffered one of the worst defeats of his entire coaching career at the end of a second 1-and-10 season. But Brown felt a personal obligation to come back up on the Kenan Stadium field because the Raycom TV crew wanted one more seasoning-ending interview.  By the time Brown finished his locker room and media conference duties, the late November sun was setting far beyond the west end of the historic stadium, and most all of the 46,000 fans who had filled the stands earlier had headed home.  About midway through the interview, Brown was distracted by cheering from the far end zone.  He turned and looked.  What he saw was unbelievable.  Duke head coach Steve Spurrier had come out of the visitor dressing room and assembled his team around the still-lighted scoreboard, which read 41 to 0.  The Blue Devil photographers were snapping away.  Brown paused for several seconds, and then said, “We’ll remember that.” Coach Brown never lost again to Duke University during his entire coaching career.

Mack Brown began his successful head-coaching career at Appalachian State in 1983, leading the Mountaineers to a 6-5 record—their first winning season in four years.  Then following a successful season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma under Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer, he became the head coach and athletic director at Tulane in 1985, where he led the Green Wave to a 6-6 record in his final season in 1987 and earned a trip to the Independence Bowl.  It was only the fifth bowl appearance for Tulane since 1940.

Following his time at Tulane, Brown was hired by UNC Athletic Director John Swofford, just in time for the big 100th anniversary of Carolina football during the 1988 season. But those first two seasons at Carolina were dreadful, showing only two wins and twenty losses.  With the 1990 season, however, things were turned around and during the next eight seasons, Brown added sixty-seven additional wins—tied for the second most victories in school history.  The team was bowl-bound every year beginning in 1992, including a win in the 1993 Peach Bowl.  The Atlantic Coast Conference named Brown ACC Coach of the Year in 1996.  Brown led Carolina to three ten-win seasons, while the team finished in the top twenty-five four times, including tenth in 1996 and fourth in 1997.

During his time in Chapel Hill, Brown became good friends with Hugh Morton and visited often at Grandfather Mountain. In fact, Brown built a home there.  And he was instrumental in the construction of another home . . . this one in Chapel Hill and it goes by the name Frank H. Kenan Football Center, completed in 1997.

Mack Brown, Hugh Morton, Woody Durham

Mack Brown, Hugh Morton, and long-time “Voice of the Tar Heels” Woody Durham together during a picnic in 1994.

It was Saturday, September 13, 1997.  Carolina was hosting a late afternoon game with Stanford.  Coach Brown and one of his assistants, Cleve Bryant, who had been an assistant at Texas, were on the Kenan field watching the Tar Heels warm up, when on the stadium public address system, announcer Dave Lohse started giving some scores from the early games.  He then gave a halftime score: UCLA 38, Texas 0.

Said Bryant, “that can’t be right.”  Coach Brown didn’t pay much attention; he was intent on the game at hand.  About two hours later, up in the Kenan press box, UNC Sports Information Director Rick Brewer handed some final scores to announcer Lohse.  As he did so, he said. “I think we just lost our football coach.”  Brewer was fully aware of Brown’s admiration for Texas football history and tradition.  Lohse then read the final score: UCLA 66, Texas 3.  When Bryant heard that score, he turned to Brown and said, “I wouldn’t want to be in Austin, Texas tonight.”  From that moment, for the next eighty-four days, speculation was rampant: would Mack Brown leave a place he dearly loved, for an opportunity of a lifetime?  Finally, on Wednesday, December 3, 1997 it became official: Mack Brown would be the new head football coach at the University of Texas.

Mack Brown wearing Texas jacket

Portrait of Mack Brown by Hugh Morton, undated, wearing a University of Texas jacket.

Coach Brown’s time in Austin was legendary.  His 158 career Texas wins are second only to Hall of Fame Coach Darrell Royal in Longhorn history.  During the 2005 season, Brown guided Texas to its first national championship in 35 years after defeating Southern California in the 2006 Rose Bowl in one of the greatest games in college football history.  In 2009, Brown became Big 12 Coach of the Year while winning his second conference title. He would become a two-time National Coach of the Year and won more than 10 games in 9 consecutive seasons. He also won 10 bowl games while in Texas.

Over his 30-year-coaching-career, Brown coached 37 First Team All-Americas, 6 Academic All-Americas, 110 first team all-conference selections and 11 conference Players of the Year.  He also coached 2 College Football Hall of Famers in Tar Heel Dre Bly and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams at Texas; and 4 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes, including Campbell Trophy winners Sam Acho and Dallas Griffin also at Texas. Brown posted 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1990 to 2009 and his 225 wins from 1990 to 2013 were the most among Football Bowl Subdivision coaches during those years. He has a total of 244 wins—tenth most by a coach in FBS history.  He led teams to 22 bowl games.

Among his personal honors, Brown is a member of the Texas Longhorns Hall of Honor.  He is also enshrined in the Rose Bowl, State of Texas Sports, State of Tennessee Sports and Holiday Bowl halls of fame.  Until November 27th, he served as a college football studio and game analyst at ESPN and served as a special assistant at Texas.

Mack Brown and wife, Sally, have helped raise millions of dollars for children’s charities, and Mack was recently named the Football Bowl Association’s Champions Award recipient for 2019.  He was also honored in the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium on Saturday, August 12, 2018 for his upcoming December 4th induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Toward the end of the Blue Zone ceremony, Brown came to the podium and acknowledged many Tar Heels in the audience. There was John Swofford, the Carolina athletic director who hired him and then after those 1-10 seasons gave him a contract extension. There were former assistant coaches Darrell Moody and Dan Brooks, who had been so very important in those early recruiting efforts.  And there were former Tar Heels from eras before Brown arrived as a 36-year-old head coach.  “You guys were the ones who made this place special and gave us something we could sell,” Brown said.

There were about fifty Tar Heels present from Brown’s time in Chapel Hill. Also in attendance was UNC 1970 All-America Don McCauley who is also a College Football Hall of Famer, Class of 2001.

“I’m not going into the Hall of Fame, I am presenting you all in the Hall of Fame.  Football is the ultimate team sport, and no one person is ever the one that wins a football game. When I take that oath in December and I say ‘thank you’ to the Hall of Fame, I’m doing it for each one of you.  Your name in my mind will be in the Hall of Fame forever.”  Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham added, “Brown’s legacy wasn’t just about winning; it was about developing young men to be successful after football.”

Part of the celebration was a panel discussion with several former Tar Heel players talking about Brown and his Chapel Hill legacy.  One of those players was fellow Hall of Famer Dre Bly who spoke of getting a sideline dressing down in his first game as a Tar Heel in the 1996 season opener against Clemson, a 45-0 Tar Heel landslide.

“The play was on our sidelines, a ball into the flat.  I made a big hit.  I was high-stepping and celebrating. Coach Brown grabbed my facemask and had a few select words for me. He said, ‘We don’t do that here.’ I knew then and there, I had to remain humble.  I learned the importance of being humble.  I saw the big picture, I understood what’s important.  We had a very talented team.  I couldn’t be the one to mess it up.  I needed to remain humble, and I’ve used that my whole life.” (I wish the UNC head football coaches that followed Brown would have maintained that same high standard.)

I believe it’s safe to say, whether you view it as Burnt Orange or Carolina Blue, Brown’s legacy is secure, and on Tuesday night, December 4, 2018, he will stand for the administration of his induction as the citation of his accomplishments is read—this year in the Trianon Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown, just as coach Darrell Royal and Bobby Layne of Texas and coach Carl Snavely and Charlie Justice of Carolina stood years before in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Waldorf-Astoria—as William Mack Brown will be honored as a new member of the College Football Hall of Fame.  Coach Brown will make the official response on behalf of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class.

A golden celebration

Clipping from the Asheville Citizen

Clipping from The Asheville Citizen, November 24, 1943, page 11.

Prolog:

Ten days after future UNC football legend Charlie Justice led his undefeated Bainbridge Naval Training Station football team to a 46-to-0 win over the University of Maryland, he went on a well-deserved leave. At the same time, Sarah Alice Hunter took a brief leave from her job at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D. C.  The two headed back home to Asheville, North Carolina where they were married at Trinity Episcopal Church.

During the next 59 years, 10 months, and 23 days, Charlie Justice would be interviewed numerous times.  During most of those interviews, he would, at some point, say “the best thing I ever did was to ask Sarah to marry me.”

Intro:

They played the 80th meeting between Carolina and Duke on November 26, 1993—a chilly, gray Friday morning—at 11 o’clock.  My guess is that ABC-TV wanted it played on that day at that time.  As it turned out, that was a good thing because the game ended about 2:30 PM, in plenty of time for a very special celebration in “the living room of the University” across campus.

Today, on the day Charlie and Sarah Justice would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back 25 years at their 50th celebration.

A few minutes after Carolina beat Duke 38 to 24 in the 1993 edition of their annual in-state rivalry, (thanks to freshman running back Leon Johnson’s 142-yard-and-4-touchdown day), many of us headed across campus to the historic Carolina Inn, where family and friends of the special couple were gathering.  Although Charlie and Sarah Justice’s fiftieth wedding anniversary was actually on November 23rd, game day on the 26th seemed like a good time to celebrate the storybook event of November 23rd, 1943.

In addition to celebrating the Justice’s fiftieth anniversary, the event also honored the memory of their son Charles Ronald (Ronnie), who had passed away on Friday, June 11, 1993 at their home in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

This is how the Justice’s chose to invite their guests:

Invitation to Justice's 50th anniversary

There were family members, teammates, friends, and fans in attendance.

The Carolina Inn ballroom provided the perfect backdrop for the elegant event and the many guests surrounded a large buffet table with roast beef, salmon, fruits, and cheeses. The centerpiece was a large ice sculpture depicting a locomotive celebrating Charlie’s football career when he was called “Choo Choo.”

Morton negatives of Justice anniversary

A view of Hugh Morton’s negatives placed on a light box, inverted so they can be seen as positives, that he made during the Sarah and Charlie Justice 50th anniversary celebration. The image in the foreground is an ice sculpture of a “Choo Choo” train.

At the right side of the room was a video player and large screen where highlights of Charlie and Sarah’s fifty years together were shown.  I had the honor of producing that video presentation which was narrated by North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame broadcaster Charlie Harville.

Following a family toast by Barbara (Justice) Crews, Charlie and Sarah’s daughter, head football coach Mack Brown added his congratulations and then offered an additional toast. He then spoke of the importance of Carolina’s football history and heritage.  After Brown concluded his words about Carolina’s Golden Age during the late 1940s, Justice stepped forward and thanked the coach for restoring football respectability “for my University.”

During the entire celebration, photographer Hugh Morton was there documenting every phase of the event: from a group shot of the Justice team mates to a funny shot of Charlie and Sarah holding up special tee shirts prepared for the party, a shot that appeared in the February, 1994 edition of The University Alumni Report newspaper on page 34.

Sarah and Charlie Justice holding tee shirts, with Art Weiner

Sarah and Charlie Justice display their “wears” as Charlie’s UNC teammate Art Weiner stands by with a supportive hand.

So, on this day, November 23, 2018, I choose to believe that Charlie and Sarah Justice are once again celebrating their storybook life together on their 75th wedding anniversary. Joining the celebration is son Ronnie, and just as he was 25 years ago, Hugh Morton is there with camera in hand.