Many UNC basketball fans are likely aware that ESPN has launched a ten-part documentary series about Michael Jordan titled The Last Dance. Episodes one and two debuted last Sunday; those will be re-run this Sunday, followed by the debuts for episode three and four. If you are a fan of binge streaming television shows, there’s four hours of immersion viewing for you right there!
I suspect you might be looking for other activities to keep you engaged with the world outside your stay-at-home location. To help you with that, Jack Hilliard and I would like you to share with the readers of A View to Hugh your favorite Michael Jordan photograph made by Hugh Morton. Which one is your favorite . . . and most importantly, why?
Please look through the 124 images of MJ in the online Morton collection, then pick your favorite and share in the comments. If you wish (so we can see the image), copy and paste the Reference URL in your comment. Here’s a screenshot with a red ellipse to help you find it:
Jack and I have picked ours favorites: mine is above, his is below. What’s yours? Please let us know in the comments section! (Please see note below about comments with links.)
When recalling Michael Jordon’s UNC accomplishments, my favorite Hugh Morton image of Jordan was taken on February 10, 1983 during a game against the University of Virginia in Carmichael. I think it is my favorite shot simply because it is a classic Jordan pose. It was a game winner, plus there is a beautiful Morton story behind the image. That story goes like this:
In early February, 1983 Morton got a call from C.J. Underwood, the longtime anchor and reporter at WBTV, Channel 3, in Charlotte. Underwood wanted to do a feature for his “Carolina Camera” news series about Morton and his longtime association with UNC sports. They both agreed that the UVA game on Thursday, February 10th in Chapel Hill would be a good time to meet and shoot the feature. As the teams warmed up for the game, Jordan came over to Morton’s court-side location, as he often did. During the course of their short conversation, Morton told Jordan about Underwood and the WBTV photographer shooting the feature. As the two parted, Morton said, as he always did, “Have a good game, Michael.” Following that fantastic shot, Michael, as he started back up the court, brushed by Morton and asked, “Was that good enough?”
Jack wrote about this photograph on A View to Hugh back in 2013, celebrating Jordan’s fiftieth birthday, in a post titled The Dunk for the Ages.
I picked my favorite Michael Jordan photograph simply because he still has that youthful look with his quick smile, which Morton captured despite it being a posed portrait. After looking into the background of the photograph, I came to enjoy it even more because yet another “Morton Mystery” emerged: the date of April 5, 1986 that has been provide in the online collection for years is likely incorrect. A quick check of the Chicago Bulls’ 1986 schedule showed the Bulls in Chicago playing Atlanta, not on the road in Philadelphia. Looking at the 1985 schedule revealed that the Bulls played the 76ers in Philadelphia a year earlier. That date made this a rookie-year portrait and a “sneaker” closeup of Jordan donning an early pair of Nike’s Air Jordan shoes. I love when looking deeper at a photograph unlocks more than meets the eye!
Clicking on the photographs above will take you to the records in the online database, where there are other image made on the same date. The description for the photograph I selected reads, “Michael Jordan tying his Nike shoes; picture probably taken in Philadelphia, while Morton was on assignment for the 1986 edition of the “Carolina Court” yearbook, published by Art Chansky.” Mr. Chansky: if you’re reading this . . . can you shed any light on the subject?
A Note About Comments with Links
To repel comment spam, we have a Comments Policy. Essentially, the blog software earmarks comments containing links with a Pending status. I’ll be monitoring routinely the Pending Comments folder and approving them periodically. There’s no need to resubmit your comment if it doesn’t appear right after you submit it. If your comment is lengthy, you may wish to type it elsewhere (like a word processor) then cut and paste it into the comment box . . . just in case.
On April 21, 1876, Congress passed the Turf Protection Law . . . or more formally, “An act to protect the public property, turf and grass of the Capitol Grounds from injury.” The act stipulated that “it shall be the duty of the Capitol police hereafter to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as play-grounds or otherwise, so far as may be necessary to protect the public property, turf and grass from destruction or injury.”
Pray tell why? Apparently Easter Monday egg rolling on the capitol grounds had grown to unsustainable numbers!
Easter Monday had become the favorite day of the year of children in the District of Columbia. On April 6 1874, the Washington, D.C. newspaper, The Daily Critic, estimated that 1,000 children were “in the Capitol and President’s Grounds, this afternoon, indulging in the amusement of egg rolling.” Two years later, the city’s Daily National Republican estimated there were at least 5,000 “lads and lassies, aye, and many older heads congregated to witness the pranks and capers of the boys and girls in rolling the eggs from the crest of the hill to the lawn below.” They also had their fun “at the president’s grounds and other convenient places.” Perhaps it was that day that prompted the Capitol grounds ban before April drew to a close.
Easter 1877 was a rainy day In Washington and there were no egg-rolling events. An 1878 news brief in the Washington Post a short time before Easter Monday noted that Capitol police would be enforcing the ban, but President Rutherford B. Hayes saved the day. He approved the use of the White House lawn for egg rolling that year—and is credited with establishing the event as it has become today—only today there will be no egg rolling at the White House due to the CORVID-19 pandemic.
Fannie B. Ward described the importance of Easter Monday in Washington in an April 1879 syndicated news article, so either the Capitol loosened its restraint or Ward recalled earlier times. Her description nonetheless captures the extent of the tradition’s popularity.
Easter Monday in the District of Columbia is a grand gala day for the little folk, what Thanksgiving is in New England or the Fourth of July in the West; schools are closed upon that day, and from sunrise to sunset thousands of children throng the hill upon which the Capitol stands, and the slopes and terraces of the White-House, all intent upon egg-rolling or egg-butting. Many bring their dinners and picnic on the springing grass—with hard-boiled eggs for every course; and there is no cessation of the sport till the purple gloaming falls, and “the blankets of the dark” shuts off the scene.
Nearly one hundred years later, Hugh Morton was on the White House lawn attending the Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 11 1977. The Grandfather Mountain Cloggers were part of the day’s celebration, which Morton photographed. There are six slides 35mm color slides in the collection, five of which are in the online collection. Two are a bit unusual: they depict Lillian Gordy Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s mother, seated in a wheelchair while watching the festivities from a White House balcony.
A View to Hugh marks a dozen years today. We published our very first post on November 1, 2007. Casting about for subject matter to mark the occasion, I took to Hugh Morton’s executive planners with hopes that he would have been up to something interesting on one of the November firsts represented within the years covered by the planners.* Thankfully, on November 1, 1990—twenty-nine years ago—he was.
On that day, Morton accompanied movie director Michael Mann and his North Carolina locations manager Michael Bigham on a scouting trip for Mann’s film The Last of the Mohicans. According to an October 27, 1989 article in The Asheville Citizen, Mike Bigham was a member of the Western North Carolina Film Committee. Information surrounding Morton’s involvement with Mann’s trip for his film is limited to the above entry in Morton’s planner and the negatives Morton made during their search. Morton’s negative envelope description is “Lost Cove Cliffs, Scouting for ‘Last of the Mohicans.'”
Morton made two snapshot-like portraits of Mann (one can be seen at the end of this post) and one photograph as he walked on boulders just upstream from some rapids or a small waterfall.
The movie’s United States debut was on September 25, 1992 at Asheville’s Beaucatcher Cinemas. On October 4, the city’s Sunday newspaper The Citizen-Times featured an article on the movie titled “Mohican madness.” Written by Connie Mixson, the article explored the making of the film based upon an interview with Bigham, a UNC Chapel Hill Class of 1980 graduate. Six years after Mohicans, Bigham would become the location manager for Patch Adams released in 1998—filmed in part on the UNC Chapel Hill campus including Wilson Library.
Mixson reported that Bigham had just finished working in Winston-Salem as the assistant locations manager for James Orr’s movie Mr. Destiny in October when he received a call from Mann’s office. They told him to rent a copy of the 1936 black-and-white movie version of James Fenimore Cooper’s story. Two days later Mann went to Asheville and met Bigham, “then they boarded a helicopter and scouted Western North Carolina.” They “toured lakes in five states from the air, land and water, taking pictures . . .” Mann selected Asheville and vicinity for his movie, set in upstate New York. Part of the film was shot at Linville Falls.
Do you have more you can add to the story? How did Hugh Morton become involved in the locations search?
Morton’s executive planners in the collection cover the years 1972–1978, 1981–1985, 1987, 1991–1992, 1995–1997, 2000, and 2002.
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 festivalnumber 72, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at one of those guests, noted broadcaster Harry Wismer, who visited often during the1950s.
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.”
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.
The winner of the nine–hole–event would have the honor of crowning Queen Azalea IV, Margaret Sheridan. The ‘51 winner was the Justice/Graham team.
In addition to being part of the parades, flowers, and parties, Wismer broadcast the Azalea Open GolfTournament 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.
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.
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.
Earlier this month, Jack Hilliard wrote a post about the 1974 Singing on the Mountain and sent it to me for publication in time for this year’s Singing on Sunday, June 24. As I began proofing and fact checking the text and looking for images, some of the then-known details about a particular photograph weren’t falling in line, so I decide to do a bit of research to set the matter straight. What evolved is this parallel to Jack’s post. If you are arriving at this post first, it may be better to read his first (linked below).
As I discovered today, while preparing Jack Hilliard’s post about the 1974 Singing on the Mountain, that the above photograph by Hugh Morton was not made in June 1974 as was previously believed. Several newspapers published the photograph in their Sunday editions for June 23, 1974, the day of the Singing. One newspaper was the Greensboro Daily News as seen below. Notice the cropping compared to the full-frame negative above.
While researching Jack’s post, the logistics of Bob Hope traveling back and forth between Asheville and Linville wasn’t making much sense to me. So, I dug into newspapers.com to see if I could find any clues. Yep, another Morton Mystery arose: the same photograph published in The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, South Carolina had a much more explanatory caption:
Turns out Morton made the photograph a year earlier! Back to newspapers.com to solve this mystery!
According to The Asheville Citizens staff writer Jay Hensley in his June 13, 1973 article titled “Governor Meets King of Quips,” Hugh Morton arranged a golf match to be played on the back nine holes at Grandfather Golf and Country Club on June 12, 1973. Morton paired North Carolina Governor James Holshouser and comedian Bob Hope to play against Clifford Roberts and Robert Kletcke—respectively, the president and golf pro of Augusta National Golf Course.
As cropped in the newspaper, one gets the impression that Hope, Westmoreland, Holshouser, and one other person identified only by a hand holding a golf club made up a foursome before, during, or after playing a round. (As we see from the full image, that hand belongs to Roberts.)
What was the purpose behind the outing? Hensley’s article does not say directly, but he does report the background around it. Holshouser and Hope apparently had played a round of golf on some previous occasion with Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Hope and his wife Dolores were guests of General Westmoreland at the country club, there for a “short visit.” Westmoreland wanted to offer his guests complete relaxation during their stay, but Hope enjoyed the outing nonetheless. Hope’s wife Dolores, Hugh Morton’s sister Agnes, and Raleigh attorney Camelia Trot played in a group after the men.
Again according to Hensley, Holshouser “broke off from a Tuesday meeting of the Southern Regional Education Board” being held in Hot Springs, Virginia. Linville is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Hot Springs, so it was quite a break off unless traveling by air.
Westmoreland was nursing an injured right arm, so he didn’t even play. Instead, he “restricted his activities to putting around the golf course.” A caption in a photograph published in the June 15 edition of the newspaper described the group, however, as a fivesome.
Here are two quips Hope offered during the round:
“Smile and they’ll think we are winning,” he said to Holshouser.
“I thought this course was named for me until I met you,” he told Clifford Roberts. Roberts was 79 year old at the time, Hope 70.
On June 24, 2018, the ninety-fourth “Singing on the Mountain” will take place at MacRae Meadows at the foot of Grandfather Mountain. This all-day gospel sing and fellowship goes back to 1925 when members of the Linville Methodist Church decided to have a Sunday picnic in this special western North Carolina location. One hundred and fifty people attended that first gathering. From that small beginning, the annual event has grown into the largest annual religious singing convention in the mountains of the South, and over the years many famous speakers and singers have participated. To celebrate this year’s anniversary, I (unexpectedly!) teamed up with Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard to look back forty-four years to the Singing’s fiftieth celebration when Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash were featured guests along with a few other celebrities.
On their way to the fiftieth annual “Singing on the Mountain” at Grandfather Mountain, Johnny Cash and family staged a concert at Greensboro’s War Memorial Auditorium on Saturday night, June 22, 1974. According to the Greensboro Daily News, the show’s line-up comprised Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, the Cash daughters, and Carl Perkins, plus Johnny Cash’s backing band The Tennessee Three.
The Cash troupe then went on to Grandfather Mountain where it was cold, cloudy, and misty. The weather didn’t seem to keep anyone away: an estimated crowd of more than 60,000 turned out for the day, which began at 9:00 Sunday morning. By mid-morning the North Carolina Highway Patrol halted all traffic into the area from the Blue Ridge Parkway because attendees had taken all of the parking spaces within three miles of MacRea Meadows.
Another one of the featured guests for the 1974 Singing was Bob Hope. He, too, performed the previous evening as the debut performance for the new Asheville Civic Center. It was the silver anniversary of his performance at the Asheville City Center to a crowd of 1,500 on April 24, 1949. Joining Hope back then was “freckle-faced singer” Doris Day, who launched her film career the previous year; comedienne Irene Ryan, who appeared with Hope during his military tours and would become better known several years later for her role as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies; the tumblers Titan Duo, and a local performer, “Skeeter” Byrant (whose findagrave.com entry currently displays a photograph of her on stage with Hope). Hope was then on a fifteen-state, twenty-city tour. Twenty-five years later, Hope drew an audience of 6,000 for his 1974 performance.
Many Sunday morning newspapers on June 23 published a Hugh Morton photograph of Bob Hope, North Carolina Governor James Holshouser (a native of nearby Boone), and General William C. Westmoreland (a South Carolinian with a summer home near Asheville) including the Greensboro Daily News seen below. Before Jack submitted his text for this post, the date of that photograph was believed to be June 1974, some time close to the Singing. Preparing this post, however, led to a new yet unknown “Morton Mystery.” For the story behind that photograph, made a year earlier in June 1973, see a twin blog post to this one titled, “When Hope and Holshouser golfed at Grandfather.”
Hope stated that his 1974 appearance at the Singing fulfilled a promise he had made to servicemen from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia during his WWII troop entertainment days when he told them he would revisit their annual “homecoming in the hills” during peace time. As Hope walked off the temporary rock stage, the crowd shouted his theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.” Hope’s visit was also a reunion with Hugh Morton who had photographed Hope in the South Pacific during 1944 (and, as it turns out, in Linville at Grandfather Golf and Country Club in 1973).
Also on the musical bill was Arthur Smith and his Crossroads Quartet making their twenty-seventh appearance at Singing and on this day he brought along George Hamilton IV. (A Hugh Morton photograph of Hamilton performing with Smith exists, but the actual date is uncertain.)
At 1:00 p.m., North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser delivered the key note address. His message was simple: “For fifty years now people have gathered here to sing and have fun but, maybe most of all, to experience that feeling of getting up here in the mountains and getting close to God.”
Then at 1:30, it was time for Johnny Cash, his wife June Carter Cash, and the Cash family singers with Mother Maybell Carter to take the stage. For two and a half hours they entertained and inspired the assembled crowd. “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison,” and “The Orange Blossom Special,” just to name a few tunes that had the crowd shouting for more. At one point, Johnny looked out over the huge crowd and marveled at how they stayed through the unfavorable weather. He then turned to guitarist Carl Perkins and said, “My kind of people.”
Later Cash talked a bit about the fiftieth anniversary of the gathering and then told the crowd that it was his wife’s birthday. The crowd went wild. And in the crowd was Hugh Morton’s wife Julia, who immediately started planning a birthday party.
Following the performance, Cash was interviewed and said: “I enjoyed this day more than any concert in years. First, because of such a cross section of America out there. All ages, all walks of life. It was good for me as an entertainer to give my time, especially to such an audience.”
The birthday party on the deck at the Morton’s home on Grandfather Mountain Lake proved to be a fun evening with all the Cash family, the band, and many of Morton’s friends like Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks. Ten years later, Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash recalled the Grandfather Mountain party as one of the happiest outings the Johnny Cash family ever had. According to Morton, “Johnny Cash became enthralled by hummingbirds coming to the deck feeder. Rarely have the tiny birds been so bold, flying within inches of Cash’s head as he sat on the deck railing.” Cash also seemed to enjoy the bear habitat at Grandfather Mountain. Morton made five exposures of him feeding the bears.
One of Hugh Morton’s often reproduced pictures is the one showing Johnny Cash holding the United States flag and in 1988 Morton told the story behind the famous image.
“As Johnny Cash and I were walking across the Swinging Bridge, he asked, ‘How many flags does the wind destroy each year at Grandfather Mountain?’ When I told him several, he said, ‘I do a recitation of a poem I wrote called That Ragged Old Flag, and I’d love to have the most ragged Grandfather Mountain flag you’ve got.’ Cash has it, and we are mighty pleased he asked.”
Morton used the famous photograph as the title page to the “people” section of his 2006 book, Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer. Post script
A quick pic made from Hugh Morton’s executive planner for Sunday, June 23, 1974:
There are no entries for Saturday; “Cash party” is written in a darker pencil than “Sing on Mtn” and “Bob Hope” so Morton probably wrote it at a different time.
As mentioned in the above story, Bob Hope was the debut performance at the brand new Asheville Civic Center on June 22, the evening before the 1974 Singing. What was that venue’s second act? The Johnny Cash Band on Monday, June 24.
The 71st annual North Carolina Azalea Festival will take place in Wilmington beginning today, April 11th, and will run through the 15th, 2018. Thousands of visitors will gather in the port city to take part in the city’s premier event. In addition to the millions of beautiful flowers, there will be a wide variety of entertainment, a parade, and the famous crowning ceremony of Queen Azalea LXXI . . . just as it has been since 1948. Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to 1948 and the beginning of this North Carolina tradition.
When Hugh Morton presented his slide shows across North Carolina, he almost always included slides from the first Azalea Festival. In addition to his magnificent photography, he would add a few light-hearted remarks about how he became the point-man for that first event in 1948. According to Morton, the story went something like this.
Prominent Wilmington physician Dr. Houston Moore had an idea as far back as 1934 to celebrate Wilmington’s magnificent azaleas. Then in the early 1940s he came up with the festival idea. In 1947 he invited Wilmington’s major civic clubs to select one or two representatives to attend a festival organizational meeting. Morton was there representing the Wilmington Jaycees. April, 1948 was selected for that first festival. When the second planning session was held, Morton was out of town on business, but when he returned he learned that he had been elected president for the first festival. Morton said he respectfully declined, but Dr, Moore was a very persuasive gentlemen, so Morton took charge and put his magnificent public relation skills to work on the first annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, held April 9h through April 11th, 1948.
The unofficial celebration for the first festival got underway at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 8th with the arrival of Queen Azalea I: Jacqueline White, RKO movie actress from Hollywood. Wilmington mayor E. L. White and a formal reception committee . . . plus a long line of autograph-seekers greeted Miss White at the Atlantic Coast Line train station. She very graciously signed and spoke with many in the long line.
Later that evening, Wilmingtonians greeted a second queen, Mrs. Barbara Randall, who had been selected “Queen for a Day” on the Mutual Radio broadcast the preceding day. A trip to Wilmington was part of her prize.
Friday, April 9th was a beautiful spring day as a festival spirit filled the city. Flower shows and visits to the famed Greenfield Park, Orton Plantation, and Airlie Gardens were high on the priority list. At 11:45 a.m., ABC Radio’s Ted Malone broadcasted his nationwide radio program from a platform set up in front of Community Center. A crowd of about 2,000 turned out for the broadcast.
On Friday evening, more than 4,000 people turned out for a band concert at Legion Stadium, featuring the New Hanover High School Band. Following the band concert, the New Hanover High School Choral groups performed along with the Atlantic Coast Line Choral performers. In all more than 600 musicians took part in the concert. The evening’s festivities closed with a community sing along, concluding with the “Hallelujah Chorus” from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah.
Long before the parade moved off from Front and Castle Streets at 11:04 a.m. on Saturday, April 10th, a huge crowd was in place for prime viewing. The mile-long parade of sixteen floats, five marching bands and two military units, with Queen Jacqueline near the front. The parade made its way through downtown, passing North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry, Mayor White, and Queen Barbara Randall seated at the official viewing stand at City Hall and then back to its point of origin.
The closing and festival highlight event was held in Lumina Hall at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday evening. At that time, Queen Jacqueline was officially crowned by North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry.
One of Hugh Morton’s favorite Azalea Festival photographs from the 1948 event was that of Governor Cherry crowning Queen Jacqueline. A close look at the image shows the governor has the crown upside down. Morton loved to explain how that misstep occurred.
Governor Cherry came down to crown our first azalea queen, Jacqueline White of RKO Radio Pictures. He had been in the National Guard with a group of Wilmingtonians, with whom he felt he always had to have a drink. (A separate toast for each Guard member.) When time for the coronation arrived, the Governor was ‘toasted-out’ and a bit unstable on his feet as he put the crown on upside down. Master of ceremonies, Carl Goerch publisher of The State and Chairman of the coronation ball, died a thousand deaths.
Queen Jacqueline smiled and kept her composure as the crown was then placed correctly on her head. Following the coronation there was dancing with music by Bob Astor and his orchestra. At day’s end, “it was quite an evening for Hugh Morton,” as author Susan Taylor Block said in her 2004 book, Belles & Blooms: Cape Fear Garden Club and the North Carolina Azalea Festival. “He had ushered Dr. Moore’s dream into reality and witnessed the crowning event in Lumina, the pavilion created by his grandfather, Hugh MacRae, and named by his mother Agnes.”
Fifty-five years later, in a 2003 interview, Morton described that first festival. “When the first Azalea Festival took place in April 1948 the gardens were at peak beauty, the weather was perfect, and the Festival cleared $5,000, a profit we knew we had to have or we would never see the second Festival.”
Today, the North Carolina Azalea Festival continues in its 71st year as a festival like no other. Epilog
Another of Hugh Morton’s most reproduced photographs from the 1948 Azalea Festival was his image of Queen Jacqueline White seated under the Airlie Oak.
When the Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in the spring of 1972, Jacqueline White Anderson returned as a special guest. And, as you might expect, Hugh Morton took her over to the Arlie Oak for yet another memorable photograph.
You can see more than 150 Azalea Festival photographs made by Hugh Morton in the online collection, plus explore even more by searching through the Morton collection finding aid.
Morton, as you might expect, photographed the semifinals played between UNC and Virginia, and NC State and Wake Forest. As noted in the previous post in the series, the images from this ACC tournament are a bit scattered in the collection. Negatives and slides from March 7 are very scarce and can be found here in the collection:
Roll Film Box P081/35BW-17 (35mm black-and-white negatives)
Envelope 6.1.1-5-304: includes UNC vs. Virginia (5 negatives), but only four shots on the sidelines of a young person next to a water cooler, and a shot of the scoreboard showing a 72–72 tie with 0:22 on the clock, plus two frames during Dean Smiths’s press conference. There are no game action black-and-white negatives.
Slide Lot 009598 (35mm color slides)
UNC vs. Virginia (31 slides): Morton’s slides from this game are uncharacteristically under exposed.
Penciled into his calendar was a dinner with “Babb, Cookerly, Thigpen, Sachs” suggesting that the dinner gathering was planned after the initial entry of ACC in ink. I searched the collection finding aid and online images and found nothing. Does anyone know who these people were? With some more details we might be able to figure out if images exist under a topical description.
Sunday, March 8: “ACC”
Sunday morning at 9:30, Hugh Morton photographed fellow Wilmington native David Brinkley on the set of ABC News Washington. Photographically speaking it was the highlight of his day. That afternoon, UNC lost to NC State 68–67, and Morton’s 35mm slides were once again mostly underexposed. The day’s end? “Drive Gbo.” Unlike today’s digital days when you can instantaneously review of your exposures on the back of your camera, Morton would’t know until after he sent off his film to be chemically processed in a lab and reviewed the results on his light table that he had underexposed his ACC tournament color slides.
UNC doesn’t always win basketball tournaments, and even Hugh Morton had a bad couple days court-side. Fortunately for us today, his trip to DC produced excellent results with several photographs of two of North Carolina’s most notable people of their time.
It’s often useful when researching Hugh Morton images to check his executive planners. I’ve used examples of this practice before, and for today’s post this tactic provided some insight into one particular journey in March 1987.
Wednesday, March 4: Drive Wash DC with Barrier
One of Morton’s two entries for March 4th reads, “Drive Wash DC with Barrier.” Henri Smith Barrier Jr. was a member of the UNC class of 1937—just six years ahead of Hugh Morton’s class of 1943—but he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1940 when Morton was UNC student. Barrier was sports editor of the Concord Tribune, his hometown newspaper, for two years before he joined the Greensboro Daily News in 1941. Just six years before this road trip, in 1981, Barrier wrote and edited the book The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic that featured Morton’s photography. Barrier passed away a little more than two years after this DC journey on 2 June 1989. Thursday, March 5: “Jesse Helms”
That’s Morton’s plain and simple entry, but why did Morton schedule a photography session with Jesse Helms? I suspect it was a self-assignment for his collaborative book with Ed Rankin titled Making a Difference in North Carolina. Rankin and Helms were roommates in 1941 when they were newsmen at The News and Observer and The Raleigh Times, respectively. In 1987 Helms was serving his third term as North Carolina’s senior United States Senator. The state’s junior senator was Terry Sanford, elected just a few months earlier in November 1986.
The Morton collection finding aid states there are seventy-six black-and-white 35mm negatives in Subseries 2.1, which is devoted to the negatives Morton pulled together during the making of Making a Difference in North Carolina. There are thirteen 35mm color slides of from this same date in Subseries 2.6. “People, Identified.” Currently there are twelve of these images related to Morton’s coverage Helms available in the online collection.
A caption in Making a Difference in North Carolina notes that one event Morton photographed that day was a confirmation hearing for Jack F. Matlock Jr. held by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Matlock was a native of Greensboro and a Duke University alumnus. From the extant negatives and slides, it appears Morton did not photograph Matlock. On another note of interest, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Senator Edward Zorinsky, Democrat from Nebraska, died the next day, March 6th, at the 1987 Omaha Press Club Ball. In the photograph below, is that Senator Zorinsky on the right? It may be hard to tell for certain because there is not a full resolution scan online to zoom in and look more closely, so below is a cropped detail.
Another similar photograph for a different angle . . .
One photograph from the day serves as an excellent example of why photographic archives desire to obtain negative collections, not just photographic prints. Below is a photograph of Helms with Senator John Warner of Virginia as published in Making a Deference in North Carolina . . .
. . . and here’s a scan of the entire negative . . .
For the book, Morton decided to crop out Arizona’s senator John McCain.
Here’s another photograph from the day that’s not in the online collection:
I recognize Helms (left) and Dan Quayle (center). Want to try your hand on the others?
Tune in tomorrow for part two: Friday, March 6: “ACC Landover” ADDITION made on 8 March 2018: negatives depicting West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd appears in some of the negatives made on this day, but I did not use one for this blog post. I noticed afterward, however, that there is a separate listing for three 35mm negatives in the Morton collection finding aid for Robert C. Byrd made on March 5, 1987 (the date in finding aid is March 6th) in Envelope 2.1.48-5-1.
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.
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.
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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.
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.”
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 Weiner
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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.”