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Governor John Connally’s Suit (c. 1964)

Gordon Wilkison

Silent | c. 1964

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In the (former) archives reading room of the Lorenzo de Zavala Building in Austin, Texas State Archivist John Day displays the suit John Connally was wearing when he was shot on the day of the Kennedy assassination. The exact date or occasion for the film is unknown. In late 1963 the Connallys donated the suit to the Texas State Archives, where it was on public display through the winter of 1964. The suit has been part of multiple investigations into the assassination, first possibly in April 1964 when the Connallys testified before the Warren Commission, and then again in the late 1970s or early 1980s when it was subpoenaed to undergo new bullet trajectory tests. It still resides in the safe keeping of the Texas State Archives.
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.