A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 3

Negative strips from the 1987 ACC Tournament

SLIM PICKINGS: Hugh Morton’s only black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament semifinals. The lower left images are likely from Dean Smith’s press conference after the Virginia game, because the next frame is a shot from the Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State game. The strip on the right contains more action from that game.

This is the third and final entry summarizing Hugh Morton’s drive to Washington D.C. with Smith Barrier to photograph the Jesse Helms, the ACC Tournament, and David Brinkley.  The series was to be four parts long, but the collection materials just didn’t rise to the occasion.  What happened?

Saturday, March 7: “ACC”

Strip of black-and-white negatives from 1987 ACC Tournament final

SLIMMER PICKINGS: The only extant black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament final won by North Carolina State over UNC, 68–67.

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.

David Brinkley, 1987.

David Brinkley sitting at table in ABC Newsroom, Washington bureau, Sunday, March 8, 1987.

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.

3 thoughts on “A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 3

  1. Stephen…here are two possible identifications from Morton’s calendar.

    “Babb”…could possibly be James (Jim) Babb, President of Jefferson-Pilot Broadcasting in 1987.

    Looking at Morton’s calendar page from post #1 in this series, I believe the name is “Cookerly” and that could possibly be Thomas Cookerly, then (1987) President of WJLA-TV, Channel 7, the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC.

    Since “Babb” and “Cookerly” are broadcasters and since Morton visited David Brinkley at ABC News the following day, perhaps there is a broadcasting tie to “Sachs” and “Thigpen.”

  2. Still haven’t found information about Thigpen and Sachs, but here is bit more about Jim Babb and Thomas Cookerly…

    The 1988 book “Making a Difference in North Carolina” by Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin has a profile dedicated to newsman David Brinkley. The Brinkley profile, on pages 296-297, was written by Morton and is supported with a Brinkley photograph likely taken by Morton on the 1987 Washington trip. The lead paragraph in the Brinkley profile, on 296, says:

    “David Brinkley is without a doubt one of the most respected newsmen in Washington, and a highly regarded professional, according to Thomas B. Cookerly, president and general manager of Station WJLA-TV, the ABC-TV affiliate in Washington, D.C., and former general manager of WBTV in Charlotte.”

    The web site “BT Memories” has this to say about James G. (Jim) Babb:

    “Jim Babb (the Gray Fox) went up through the sales ranks. He became manager of every department (or subsidiary) he worked in including Jefferson Productions. Eventually he was head of the entire broadcasting company.” (Babb is pictured on page 57 of the Morton-Rankin book).

    So Jim Babb and Thomas Cookerly were both former executives at WBTV in Charlotte.

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