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Progress Report Austin 8 - Emergency Room Austin (1962)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1962

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  •  Reporter Frank Riley takes a closer look at Brackenridge Hospital, interviewing its administrator 
  •  Dramatization of a victim arriving at the hospital emergency room 
  •  Interview with the hospital’s chief surgical resident 
  •  The pretend patients is x-rayed (hopefully with pretend radiation) 
  •  Riley asks about long wait times 
  •  Doctors perform a real operation for the camera 
  •  The hospital’s surgical supervisor explains the recovery process 
  •  The cost of emergency room operations and plans for expansion 
  •  Dr. Robert Morrison, Brackenridge’s chief of medical staff, gives a final word of advice 
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This episode of Progress Report Austin, broadcast on KTBC-TV in 1962, documents the emergency room facilities of Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital. Now known as University Medical Center Brackenridge, the hospital’s emergency room is currently the fourth busiest in the state. Reporter Frank Riley talks with several staff members, including Dr. Robert Morrison, the hospital’s chief of medical staff. Between interviews, the segment dramatizes the experience of a pretend patient as he arrives at the hospital, receives treatment by doctors, and gets x-rays taken. Also included is footage of an actual operation.
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 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.