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Clips of Austin on November 22, 1963

Gordon Wilkison

Silent | 1963

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  •   Incomplete set up on the Governor’s Mansion lawn for a reception planned for the evening of November 22 
  •  Texas State Capitol Building with flags at half-staff 
  •  Driving northbound on Congress Avenue 
  •  The "newsboy" is Tom Attra, who sold newspapers downtown from 1928 until 1980. After World War II, he was in charge of all downtown sales for the morning Austin American and the evening Democratic Statesman. He later worked as a valet and greeter both at the Driskill and the Bradford-Austin. Tom also won the Golden Gloves championship in 1942 in the light-heavyweight division.  (1) Attra Street in the Mueller development is named for him.     1) Turner, Robyn. Austin Originals: Chats with Colorful Characters (1980). 
  •  The State Theatre 
 
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  • About the video
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This series of silent clips filmed by cameraman Gordon Wilkison capture Austin in the immediate hours after the assassination of President Kennedy. Of special note on the reel are shots of the Governor’s Mansion in mid-set up for the reception that had been planned for that night, and local newspaper sales man Tom Attra with the edition bearing the assassination headline.
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.