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Post Office Workers (1963)

Gordon Wilkison

Silent | 1963

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  •  Letters to Santa 
  •  Addressing the responses from Santa 
  •  Sorting outgoing mail 
 
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  • About Gordon Wilkison About Gordon Wilkison
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Shot by cameraman Gordon Wilkison for Austin’s KTBC (now Fox 7) on December 13, 1963, this raw news footage documents the work flow of an Austin-area post office at Christmastime. The holiday season was a busy time for the postal service, partly due to the booming Letters to Santa program, also known as Operation Santa. While the program began in 1902, it grew even more popular by the time of this segment as a result of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. (Carson read letters to Santa Claus on the show once a week in December to the delight of audiences around the nation.)
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.