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It’s Your Future: Gordon Wilkison (1983)

Austin History Center

Sound | 1983

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TAMI Tags
  •  introduction by Ada Harden 
  •   discusses beginning of film lab  
  •  coverage of UT Tower shootings 
  •  years working for LBJ administration 
  •  emerging film industry in Austin 
  •  visit to the Royal Academy of Arts in England 
  •  development of Radio, Television, and Film department at UT 
 
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This 1983 episode of Austin Independent School District’s television program, “It’s Your Future,” features an interview with television Producer and Cameraman, Gordon Wilkison. Wilkison discusses the early days of television in Austin at station KTBC, covering the Charles Whitman shooting at the University of Texas, his years covering President Lyndon B. Johnson, his film lab in Austin, and studying to become part of the film and television industry.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment in his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.