This footage documents the University of Texas Longhorn Band's performance at the halftime show of the 1969 Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day in Dallas. The Texas Longhorns won the Cotton Bowl game that year, defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 36-13.
Dance drill teams originated in Texas as pep squads for high school football games that would perform much simpler routines than those often seen nowadays, focusing primarily on marching. The first pep squad was formed by Gussie Nell Davis in 1929 at Greenville High School in Greenville, Texas. In 1939, Davis was recruited by Kilgore College to form the first college drill team, the Rangerettes. The dean of Kilgore College, B. E. Masters, wanted to attract women to the predominantly male school. The Rangerettes set the standard for drill teams across the state and nation, including the signature white boots that make up part of their uniform. The Rangerettes have performed in countries such as Venezuela, Korea, Romania, France, Japan, and Singapore; in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Dublin, Ireland's St. Patrick's Day Parade; and in the second inaugural parade of President George W. Bush. They have performed at every Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas since 1951.
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.