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Texas Department of Public Safety - Christmas 1962 Holiday Safety Reminder - Northwest Region

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1962

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  •  Major Hutchinson 
  •  "Here is a very familiar scene." 
 
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Transcript
  •  Hello fellow Texans, I'm Major Hutchinson, Commander of the Northwest Region of the Texas Department of Public Safety. 
  •  Past experience indicates that about a hundred and eighty violent death reports will be sent over our teletype network during the Christmas New Year holiday. 
  •  These reports will involve 92 traffic fatalities. 
  •  Here is a very familiar scene.  This family is overjoyed with the prospect of visiting relatives and friends over the holidays. 
  •  Like many other trips, this one will end in tragedy. 
  •  Law violations cause most fatal crashes. 
  •  Keep this in mind over the holidays. 
  •  Don't let the names of your loved ones show up on our teletype network. 
 
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This film, one of a series of annual holiday safety announcements, features Major Hutchison, Commander of the Northwest Region of the Texas Department of Public Safety urging drivers to use extra caution while traveling on the highways during the 1962 holiday season.

Established by the Texas Legislature on August 10, 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety was created by the consolidation of the Texas Highway Motor Patrol with the Texas Rangers. Since that time, its duties have grown to include such activities as the state licensing of drivers, vehicle inspection, narcotics enforcement, and the State Civil Defense Office, (now the Division of Emergency Management,) which aids local governments during times of natural disaster or social upheaval. While its duties have evolved over time, the mission of the DPS has remained constant - to provide public safety services to those people in the state of Texas by enforcing laws, administering regulatory programs, managing records, educating the public, and managing emergencies, both directly and through interaction with other agencies.

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.