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American Cancer Society News Clip - 'Dan Blocker'

Gordon Wilkison

Silent | 1960s

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Filmed for an Austin based network news affiliate, this silent footage features Dan Blocker speaking to a meeting of the American Cancer Society. Ironically, many people (including Blocker)are shown smoking during the meeting. Blocker, born in the small East Texas town of De Kalb, is an actor most famous for portraying Eric "Hoss" Cartwright in the NBC television western Bonanza.
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.
Born in De Kalb, Texas in 1928, Dan Blocker was raised in West Texas, near Lubbock. He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abline, and earned a master's in dramatic arts from Sul Ross State Teacher's College in Alpine. After graduating, he taught school in Sonora, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In 1956, he moved to California to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked as a substitute teacher and began his acting career. In 1959 he was cast in his most famous role, Hoss Cartwright, on the long-running television program, Bonanza.