Election coverage

David Brinkley covering Nixon/Kennedy election
Copy slide of television coverage of Nixon/Kennedy election, in New York City, NY. NBC News Anchors Chet Huntley (left) and David Brinkley (right) were on the air nonstop for over 12 hours from their NBC News Headquarters at "30 Rock" in downtown Manhattan. Photographer of original image is unknown.

It is Election Day in the United States of America—which also means its election coverage day, too, although there’s no guarantee that will last fewer than twenty-four hours.  As you might expect, there are some historically relevant images in the Hugh Morton collection.  Two undated Ektachrome copy slides of photographs by an unknown photographer(s) depict the NBC newsroom set during coverage of the 1960 election between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.  Were these NBC promotional photographs?  This is likely a long shot, but does anyone know who the photographer(s) was?  David Brinkley was a native of Wilmington, N.C, which is likely why Morton made the copy slides for some unknown reason.  Maybe he made them for the “This Is Your Life, David Brinkley” slide presentation on January 7, 1971 mentioned in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina?  Over to you, Chet . . . .
David Brinkley and Chet Huntley on NBC newsroom set during Nixon/Kennedy election coverage
NBC News Anchors Chet Huntley (left) and David Brinkley (right) on the set at NBC News Headquarters during their coverage of the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy election. This image is from a copy slide in the Morton collection, and the photographer of original image is unknown.

An even earlier election-results image likely comes from the 1956 North Carolina gubernatorial campaign.  Two WUNC television cameras train their lenses on Luther Hodges.  The blackboards make an interesting comparison to the high-tech graphics we will be viewing this evening!  Does anyone recognize the location?
1956 North Carolina Election Results
WUNC-TV cameras focus on Luther H. Hodges standing before blackboards with various electoral results recorded on them, probably in the 1956 state elections. Standing on the left is Jim Reid, WPTF Radio announcer and sports broadcaster. On the right is former WPTF Radio broadcaster and UNC Professor Wesley Wallace.

And on a concluding note . . . if you haven’t already . . .
Vote today automobile
Cropped view of an automobile with "Junior Chamber of Commerce, Vote Today!" banner and megaphone on Princess Street, Wilmington, N. C. street. The license plate date is 1948, and the Odd Fellows Building is in the background. Click on the image to see the scene without cropping.

6 thoughts on “Election coverage”

  1. A timely and interesting post, Stephen. If I may, let me make a comment or two.
    There are several similar pictures to #1 and #2 in the “1960 NBC News Convention Handbook” and each is credited to NBC News. Apparently there was a photographer assigned to the NBC News Marketing/Promotion Department for the conventions and election night. No individual names were listed.
    The newsman standing in front of the West Virginia board in the background of picture #2 is Anchor/Reporter Frank McGee.
    I believe picture #3 was taken on May 26, 1956…the night of the Democratic Primary in North Carolina. If you look closely at the blackboards behind Gov. Hodges you’ll see election returns. You’ll see “Gov. Earle, Hodges, Saw-”
    Hodges, in his 1962 book, “Businessman in the Statehouse,” on page 155 says:
    “In the Democratic primary in May, 1956, I received a vote of 401,082, while Tom Sawyer received 29,248, Harry P. Stokley, 24,416 and C.E. Earle, Jr., 11,908.” (Stokley’s name could be behind Hodges’ head in the picture.)
    On another board for US Senate you see the names Ervin and Kurfees. Sam Ervin defeated Marshall C. Kurfees in the ’56 primary.
    There appears to be 5 candidates for Lt. Gov. Don’t believe there would be that many candidates in a General Election.
    As to where the picture was taken, I will need to do a bit more research. In 1956, WUNC-TV had studios in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Greensboro. They also had a converted Carolina Trailways bus which gave them the capability to broadcast from remote locations. With the election return boards set up, one might think the picture was taken in one of the studios, but the image on the background and the large window to the right might indicate a different location.

  2. Stephen, here’s an additional comment about picture #3.
    In 1956, WFMY-TV in Greensboro was owned by the Greensboro News Company, publishers of “The Greensboro Daily News” and the “Greensboro Record”… so it wasn’t a surprise when the following short report appeared on the front page of the May 26, 1956 issue of the “Greensboro Record”
    “Station WFMY-TV will cancel its regularly scheduled programs from 9 to 10 o’clock tonight and again from 11 pm to 1 am to bring its viewers the latest returns in today’s Democratic primary. During these times there will be special telecasts from a mobile unit in Raleigh at Gov. Luther Hodges’ headquarters through an arrangement with Station WUNC-TV, the University of North Carolina station. There will be late results and interviews from the mobile set up.”
    WFMY-TV General Manager Gaines Kelley was an avid supporter of public television and often shared programs.
    Also, on the front page of “The Greensboro Daily News” issue of May 27, 1956, there is a picture of Gov. and Mrs. Hodges in “Raleigh headquarters.” Unfortunately, the microfilm at the Greensboro Public Library doesn’t permit any detail study for the headquarters location.

  3. Stephen, take a look at this famous painting of Sir Walter Raleigh…
    Compare the painting to the silhouette on the wall in picture #3.
    Could it be Sir Walter Raleigh, and could the picture have been taken in the Sir Walter Hotel on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh?
    And then I found this link:
    Scroll down and look at the 7th picture.

  4. There are pictures similar to #1 and #2 in David Brinkley’s 1995 memoir that are credited to “Globe Photos.”

  5. Jack: The person who told me what hotel it might be may well said “Sir Walter” and I remembered “Raleigh.” With the leads you provided, I checked the News and Observer for May 27th; a caption for one of their photographs stated Hodge’s headquarters was in the Sir Walter Hotel.
    On the Brinkley images, Globe Photos seems to be a stock agency, so that may have been a source for those images rather than the photographer.
    Thanks for your digging!

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