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Austin State Hospital

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1950s

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  •  Joe visits the hospital’s outpatient clinic 
  •  The second promotional film focuses on the hospital grounds and its inpatient facilities 
  •  Governor of Texas Price Daniel arrives for an inspection 
  •  Occupational therapy 
 
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Established in 1856, the Austin State Hospital has been providing psychiatric services to patients for more than 150 years. These two promotional films highlight some of the hospital’s mental health services, including an outpatient clinic and inpatient care. The film also showcases the hospital staff and the modern medical techniques available.
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 is 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.