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Austin News Clips (c. 1970)

Cactus and Peggy Davis Pryor

Sound | 1970s

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TAMI Tags
  •  Dolph Briscoe 
  •  Former Texas Governor Allan Shivers 
  •  Ralph Yarborough 
  •  Texas Longhorn Head Football Coach Darrell K Royal 
  •  J.J. Pickle 
  •  Governor John Connally 
  •  Lloyd Bentsen 
  •  Ralph Yarborough 
  •  Governor Preston Smith 
  •  Gus Mutscher 
  •  Ben Barnes 
 
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  • Cactus Pryor Cactus Pryor
  • Ralph Yarborough Ralph Yarborough
  • Lloyd Bentsen Lloyd Bentsen
  • Allan Shivers Allan Shivers
  • Darrell K Royal Darrell K Royal
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Newsclips from Austin, Texas circa 1970 make up this reel of footage. Included are scenes of Congress in session, with Senator Ralph Yarborough speaking at the podiumm as well as images of Dolph Briscoe, Preston Smith, Ben Barnes, John Connally, J.J. Pickle, Lloyd Bentsen, and Gus Mutscher. Longhorn football Coach Darrell K Royal and several of his team members also appear.
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection  He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.
Ralph Webster Yarborough, known as "Smilin' Ralph," was a U.S. senator representing Texas from 1957 through 1971. Yarborough was born in Chandler, Texas in 1903 as the seventh of nine children, and went on to attend Sam Houston State Teachers College as a young man before attending the University of Texas, where he graduated from the law school in 1927.
 
In 1931, Yarborough began a short but notable career as an assistant attorney general.  As an expert in Texas land law assigned to represent the interests of the Permanent School Fund, Yarborough won a number of cases against major oil companies such as Magnolia Petroleum and Mid-Kansas, through which he was able to guarantee that public schools and universities receive revenues from Texas oil.  This litigation has since brought billions of dollars to public education.
 
In 1938, Yarborough decided to run for attorney general but lost; it would take another 12 years for him to run for any kind of office again. In the interim, he served in the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1952, running against conservative incumbent R. Allan Shivers for the governorship, Yarborough lost his second race. He continued this losing streak against Shivers in the 1954 primary and then again against Senator Marion Price Daniel, Sr. in 1956. In 1957, however, he was able to win Daniel's vacated seat in the senate next to Lyndon Baines Johnson.
 
In the senate, Yarborough pursued a progressive agenda, first refusing to sign the Southern Manifesto against desegregation and then being one of only five Southern senators to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1957. For the environment, he pushed through a bill to elevate Padre Island to the status of National Seashore.  For education, he introduced the first Bilingual Education Act in 1967, which was signed into law a year later.  He worked to expand health care funding and to extend the G.I. Bill to Cold War veterans.  In 1969, Yarborough chaired the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.
 
Aside from his legislation, Ralph Yarborough is also remembered for riding in the 1963 Dallas motorcade in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  The story goes that, being at odds with several of the other politicians on the President's tour, Yarborough originally refused to share a car with LBJ, who was friends with his rivals. This so outraged Kennedy that on the morning of the motorcade he took Yarborough aside and threatened to end their friendship if Yarborough did not cooperate.  The senator conceded and ended up just two cars behind the president when he was fatally shot that afternoon.  When interviewed about that day, Yarborough described it as "the most tragic event of my life."
 
In 1970, Yarborough lost his seat in an upset election against Lloyd Bentsen. While he ran once more for office, he did not win again.
 
In 1996, Yarborough died at the age of 92. He is buried in Austin at the Texas State Cemetery.
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. was born in Mission, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley on February 11, 1921. He attended the University of Texas School of Law, graduating in 1942. After graduation, Bentsen joined the United States Army Air Corps, serving in the 449th Bomb Group during World War II. Bentsen received several awards for his military service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war, Bentsen returned to Texas to begin his political career, first as a Hidalgo County Judge. In 1948, Bentsen was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas’s 15th District. He served three successive terms. Bentsen then took a break from politics to seek a business career in Houston, founding the Consolidated American Life Insurance Company and eventually becoming president of Lincoln Consolidated, a financial holding institution. Bentsen returned to politics in the 1970 race for United States Senate, defeating future President George H. W. Bush in the general election. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1976, 1982, and 1988. In 1988, Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis selected Bentsen as his running mate in that year’s presidential election. Bush and Dan Quayle from the Republican Party ultimately won the election. Bentsen resigned from the Senate in 1993 to serve as the Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton until 1994. (Bentsen had previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.) The Clinton economic plan for which Bentsen was the primary architect ultimately reduced the federal deficit by $500 billion and led to the lowest inflation and unemployment rates in 30 years. In 1999, President Clinton awarded Bentsen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest civilian awards of the United States. Bentsen died on May 23, 2006 at his home in Houston at the age of 85. 
Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who held several offices spanning the legislative and executive branch.  Born in Lufkin, Texas in 1907, he entered the University of Texas after high school hoping to become a lawyer like his father. Shivers dropped out a year later but returned after a brief stint working at an oil refinery.  Ever determined to the make the most of his college career, he joined several student groups and became president of the Student's Association.  He practiced law in Port Arthur after graduation until 1934 when the 27-year-old ran for his first position in public office: state senator.  His campaign was successful, making him the youngest member of the Texas Senate.
 
After serving in the U.S. military during World War II, Shivers was elected as state lieutenant governor in 1946 and again as an incumbent in 1948.  He is credited with consolidating much of the executive branch's power into this position with roles including the choice of which senators serve on particular committees to setting daily agendas.  Shivers succeeded Governor Beauford Jester upon the latter's death in 1949 and held the position for the next 7 and 1/2 years.  Under this new position he helped create the Legislation Council, the Legislative Budget Board alongside other pieces of legislature, including tax increases that served to expand state services.
 
Shivers took on several controversial positions that marred his image in later years.  He supported Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's bid for Presidency in 1952, seen as a traitorous move by his Democratic party.  Opposing Brown v. Board of Education and scandals involving his administration (such as the Veteran's Land Board Scandal) lost further support.
 
With his political life coming to an end, Shivers took on several leading roles at banks in Texas until gaining a six-year appointment to the University of Texas Board of Regents.  He helped raise funds for both the Law school and College of Communications (a $5 million grant) during this time.  Shivers passed away on January 14, 1985 after suffering from a heart attack.
Darrell K Royal was a collegiate football coach revered for leading the Texas Longhorns in twenty winning seasons from 1957 to 1976.
 
Royal was born on July 6, 1924 in Hollis, Oklahoma. His middle name, K, has been said to represent his mother, Katy, who died of cancer when Royal was a baby. He experienced more tragedy with the deaths of two of his sisters at young ages. During the hard economic times of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, Royal had to supplement his father’s income by taking on a paper route and picking cotton. His family was so poor that he used a can of baking powder as a football until he and his brothers were able to pool their money to buy a real one.
 
With the outbreak of World War II, Royal joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. While playing football for the 3rd Air Force team, he was scouted by the University of Oklahoma. There he majored in business and became a star quarterback and defensive back. When he graduated, Royal knew he wanted to coach football. He held assistant coaching positions at North Carolina State, Tulsa, and Mississippi State. He briefly coached the Edmonton Eskimos in Canada before returning to Mississippi as head coach in 1954, where he remained for two years.
 
In 1956, Royal became head coach at the University of Texas, where he became the most successful coach in the history of the program. In his first year, he quickly turned the losing team into a winning one, ending the season with an appearance at the Sugar Bowl. Royal remained for a record twenty years without a single losing season. During his tenure, Texas won national championship titles in 1963, 1969, and 1970. They also won eleven Southwest Conference titles and went to sixteen bowl games. Although he received some criticism for his coaching tactics, Royal was ultimately considered a legend. He retired in 1976, but stayed at Texas as an athletic director for four more years. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, and the football stadium at the University of Texas was renamed in his honor in 1996. 
 
Royal married Edith Thomason in 1944, and they had three children -- Mack, David Wade, and Marian. Two of his children, David and Marian, preceded him in death. Darrel Royal died on November 7, 2012 from complications of Alzheimer’s. His wife founded the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease in his honor.