Collection - Texas and Texans During the Vietnam War Years

This Vietnam War film sampler was inspired by the collection of Austinite Marcellus Hartman, who captured hundreds of films of soldiers and Vietnamese civilians around the Camp Evans military base, while he served there in 1971 as a medical records clerk. Hartman’s amateur films provide a different kind of moving image history of the first “television war,” than that found in Hollywood features and documentaries. This curated collection also includes newsreels of LBJ, interviews with veterans, and home movies created in Texas during the late 1960s and early 1970s, which provide a glimpse of life in Texas during the war.

The Marcellus Hartman Collection, no. 1 - Leisure Time at Camp Evans
In this film, Hartman, who was twenty-four and older than many of the infantrymen serving with him, captures a group of soldiers during downtime at Camp Evans, throwing a football around, playing with a gun on a military police jeep, and showing off their comics. Many of the films in Hartman’s collection include leisurely scenes like this, in which the soldiers attempt to amuse themselves, and even Hartman’s filming was, in part, a hobby to pass the time.

The Marcellus Hartman Collection, no. 2 - Carrying the Injured to a Helicopter
This film, also taken at the Camp Evans base, shows soldiers carrying an injured person on a stretcher to a helicopter. Camp Evans was a large base in the north of South Vietnam near the city of Huế, and fairly close to combat areas. Frequently, injured soldiers were brought on helicopters to Camp Evans, which was equipped with medical personnel and supplies, where they were treated quickly before being placed back on helicopters to be flown to hospitals further south for care.

The Marcellus Hartman Collection, no. 3 - Aerial Footage near Huế, South Vietnam
Hartman frequently traveled to the cities of Huế and Da Nang for personal business, catching a ride on a truck or helicopter and filming along the way. This aerial footage, taken from a helicopter above South Vietnam, captures flooded areas and structures near Huế on one of his trips to Da Nang.

The Marcellus Hartman Collection, no. 4 - Da Nang Air Base
This film, shot by Hartman at the Da Nang Air Base, a major base used by the United States during the war, includes shots of the Freedom Hill Post Exchange, a store where soldiers could purchase retail goods. The film also includes African-American soldiers exchanging handshakes.

The Marcellus Hartman Collection, no. 5 - The Streets of Saigon
At the end of his year serving in Vietnam, Hartman was able to make a trip to the city of Saigon, now Hồ Chí Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. This film captures Vietnamese civilians on the busy Saigon streets of 1971, from a moving bus.

LBJ visits Guam
In March of 1967, President Johnson traveled to Guam to meet with Vietnamese leaders, including Prime Minister Ky, who presented Johnson with the newly-created Vietnamese constitution, which was born out of a conference held in Honolulu the year before. This newsreel captures Johnson greeting General Westmoreland and others, as he arrives in Guam.

Peace Offer - LBJ to Halt Bombing If Talks Follow
On September 29, 1967 President Johnson spoke at the National Legislative Conference in San Antonio, Texas about the war. This newsreel includes an excerpt from Johnson’s speech regarding negotiations for peace in Vietnam.

Cassius Clay Guilty
Also in 1967, on June 20th in Houston, Muhammad Ali, then the heavyweight champion of the world known as Cassius Clay, was found guilty of violating the United States Selective Service laws for refusing to be drafted, which was a felony. Ali was given the maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Ali refused to be inducted into the army as a conscientious objector, citing his status as a Muslim minister. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight champion title that year. In 1971 in Clay v. United States, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction.

Mrs. LBJ Receives Honorary Degree
Lady Bird Johnson received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Williams College in 1967 for her national beautification work. This newsreel, which covered the ceremony, includes footage of Vietnam War protesters at the event.

Cactus Pryor Interviews Injured Vietnam Veterans
This film features Austin broadcast personality, Richard "Cactus" Pryor, interviewing three Vietnam veterans. Pryor asks the veterans questions about their experiences in Vietnam, their future endeavors, and their injuries, in this unedited footage.

Bell Family, 1963-1966
In this film from the Bell family of Gatesville, Texas, the youngest son, Wendell Bell, celebrates his 11th through 14th birthdays spanning the mid-60s, while the war escalated overseas.

The Ludeke Family Collection, no. 8 - Wedding in Burkburnett
This home movie, shot in Burkburnett, Texas in 1971, the year Hartman served in Vietnam, features a Ludeke family wedding, including the bride and groom cutting the cake, family members milling about, and the bridesmaids’ yellow frocks.

UT vs. TCU Football and Bauer House Tour
The 1971 University of Texas vs. Texas Christian University football game was covered in this news footage featuring the UT team manager Juan Conde. This film also includes humorous footage of families being led on tours through the Bauer House, the home of the Chancellor of the University of Texas system. The Bauer House’s renovations around this time were very controversial in Austin.