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Profile of a Boom Town: San Marcos in the ’70s (1972)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1972

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TAMI Tags
  •  Tula Wyatt, the unofficial historian of San Marcos 
  •  Mayor of San Marcos Herbert Yarborough 
  •  Kenneth Weatherford, president of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce 
  •  Southwest Texas State University, now known as Texas State University 
  •  Jim T. Brown, executive director of the Urban Renewal Agency 
  •  Local businessman Bob Barton 
  •  Concern about the transient, young voter 
  •  Discrimination against Mexican Americans 
  •  Growing pains 
 
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Produced by the KTBC News Department, this 1970s television special takes a closer look at the rapid growth of San Marcos. Speaking with a variety of city leaders, reporter David Jarrott explores some of the reasons behind the recent boost in population, from business opportunities to higher education to urban renewal projects. The television special also talks about certain “growing pains,” including community resistance to change. While it mentions discrimination against Mexican Americans as a possible factor, the special places more focus on the generation gap, fielding concerns about transient, young voters.
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 at Austin. 
 
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 at Austin, 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.