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Will Wilson 'Family' Political Telecast (1961)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1961

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TAMI Tags
  •  After Lyndon Baines Johnson was elected Vice President in 1960, a special election was called to fill his newly vacant seat in the Senate. Because it was a special election, anyone residing in the district who paid the appropriate filing fee could be listed on the ballot. As a result, 71 names were posted, including Texas' first African-American and female candidates. Wilson ultimately lost to Republican John Tower, the first Republican from Texas elected to the Senate since Reconstruction. 
 
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  • About the video
  • Gordon Wilkison Gordon Wilkison
  • Will Wilson Will Wilson
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A lawyer who had a long-standing career as a Texas politician, Will Reid Wilson began his political service in 1939 as an aide to Dallas mayor Woodall Rogers. Following the war, Wilson was elected as District Attorney of Dallas County. After two terms he was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1950, and in 1956 became the Attorney General to the State of Texas. This promotional film is for Wilson's failed 1961 run for the United States Senate. Wilson emphasizes family safety, his ability to clean up corruption, and his strong positions on civil and national defense. The specter of the Cuban Missile Crisis is looming with the Bay of Pigs Invasion merely weeks away (a clip of Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro is shown over a narration about "international pressures").
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.
Politician and State Attorney General Will Reid Wilson was born in Dallas on July 29, 1912. After graduating from Southern Methodist University’s law school, he joined the Dallas law firm Turner, Rogers, and Wynn. Wilson served as aide to Dallas Mayor Woodall Rogers before becoming the Assistant Texas Attorney General. From 1947-1951, he acted as Dallas County’s District Attorney, and in 1950, Wilson was elected to the Texas Supreme Court. He left the court in 1956 to succeed John Ben Shepperd as Texas Attorney General, during which time he attempted to scale back prostitution in Texas cities. He received the Wymann Memorial Award for his outstanding service in 1960. After unsuccessful senate and gubernatorial campaigns, Wilson once again served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division from 1969 to 1971. Will Wilson passed away in 2005 at the age of 93.