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Project 7 - The Man Who Left Town (1961)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1961

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  •  Looking at the Texas State Capitol down Congress street 
  •  The Tower on the University of Texas campus 
  •  A shot of the Austin Airport 
  •  Texas Industrial Laundries and J.E. Smothers planting a location in Austin 
  •  Councilman Bob Armstrong explains what his duty is in growing industry in Austin 
  •  A chart demonstrating the growth of Austin in the past 10 years 
  •  Film conclusion 
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Written and narrated by Dan Love and directed by Gordon Wilkison, this episode of KTBC-TV's "Project 7" examines reasons behind Austin's limited job opportunities for recent college graduates. KTBC Newsman Dan Love interviews a number of citizens about their opinions on increased industry in Austin, and discusses with local government and business leaders what needs to be done to attract and foster the growth of business and industry in the area.
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.