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United Fund: John Hayes

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1960s

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    • About the video
    • Gordon Wilkison Gordon Wilkison
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    In the 1960s, the United Community Funds and Communities of America (later known as United Way of America and now United Way Worldwide) produced promotional television spots with prominent Austinites voicing their support for the civic organization and its fundraising campaign. This spot, on the other hand, features President of the United Community Funds and Communities of America John S. Hayes talking about the Austin campaign. With nearly 1,800 offices around the globe, United Way is a non-profit organization that mobilizes a coalition of local charitable communities in order to pool efforts in fundraising and support. Their focus largely rests on matters of education, income, and health.
    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.