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.