Fan Favorites: The Gordon Wilkison Collection
On Wednesday, January 30th, Austin filmmaker and Texas Archive of the Moving Image contributor Gordon Wilkison passed away at the age of 82. As a cinematographer for Austin television station KTBC and Lyndon Baines Johnson, Wilkison made hundreds (if not thousands) of films capturing Austin in the 1960s. He documented John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson visiting San Antonio on November 21, 1963 (one day before the assasination) as well as the tragic shootings from the University Texas Tower by Charles Whitman. He directed commercials for local businesses and local public affairs programs. He also captured the visits of numerous dignitaries to the LBJ Ranch and even the cast of Batman at the 1966 movie premiere at Austin's Paramount Theatre.
More than 200 of Wilkison's films are available to watch at www.texasarchive.org, and we will continue to make additional films available as we process, digitize, and catalog his massive collection of television news footage. In the meantime, enjoy a few of our favorite films chosen in memory of Gordon Wilkison.
In his role
as primary cameraman for Lyndon Johnson when Johnson visited Central Texas
during the 1960’s, Mr. Wilkison had many opportunities to film events at the
LBJ Ranch in Stonewall – especially
barbecues honoring visiting dignitaries, US politicians, and the
press. Shot to be used in local
television newscasts, these films are fascinating examples of the style of news
images shot long before the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. In many ways Mr. Wilkison’s news footage
introduced Central Texas and its most famous native son to the nation and the
world. Local customs such as giving
Stetson hats as gifts, touring the Ranch on horseback, and of course cooking
and eating barbecue are recorded in loving detail in films such as LBJ
Ranch Barbecue for U.N. Ambassadors (1963), LBJ
and Hubert Humphrey Victory Barbecue (1964), Preparation
for Barbecue at LBJ's Ranch (1964), and LBJ
Ranch Barbecue in Honor of President Ayub Khan (1961). Perhaps the quaintest of the LBJ Ranch
Barbecue series is 1964
Campaign Barbecue at the LBJ Ranch.
While Lady Bird Johnson hosts female members of the press corps, Mr.
Wilkison’s camera focuses on Lady Bird and guests adorned in matching bandanas
and zooms in on the table decorations. - Susan Dirks, Administrative Coordinator
Watch more films from the the Gordon Wilkison Collection, and let us know your favorites by commenting! You can view his obituary and details about his memorial service here.