One of my first jobs after graduating from Kansas State College in 1960 was coming back to the Salina Journal where I had done freelancing in the summer and got a full time job in Sept 1960 with the Salina Journal. One of my first jobs was to photograph the handing over the keys of the missile silo system outside the city of Salina for $1.00.
I went out to the site and made the photograph and tried to figure a way to photograph the missile. When I got there, I saw how far it was with no place to stand so I put a board out there. I took two steps on the board and was shaking so badly I had to get off. I never did make that picture.
While working for the Salina Journal I made a lot of feature pictures which I had done in high school. Reporting to work each morning, I would see what they wanted me to do. The two editors in charge would say, “We don’t have anything going on—so go out and beat the bushes.” I had roughly two hours to drive around and photograph, come back and develop the film, and give to the editors to see what they wanted. I then had to print the image and engrave it. Their comments were always the same—nothing going on—go beat the bushes. I learned quickly how to find something to fill the hole on the front page without saying I could not find anything.
I had to fulfill my military obligation. Over a Christmas holiday in 1960 and January of 1961, I came back to work for the Journal until October. Charlie McCarty called me stating, “We do not have a photo position but we have a reporting job in the Kansas City bureau and we would like for you to take it.” Sounds great - quit the Salina Journal and drove to Kansas City where I saw Joe Galloway whom I had known from the UPI days. The first day of work the boss, David Otracker, told me that Vice President, Lyndon Johnson was coming to meet with Harry Truman. During the 1960 convention, Truman refused to go because it was thought it was rigged for Kennedy. Johnson was in town to soothe Truman’s feathers. I went as a reporter and UPI sent me a photographer. I wrote the story about Johnson and Truman but did not photograph it. I stayed in Kansas City until they had an opening in Oklahoma City thinking this was a good place to be but was there only two weeks.
I learned there was an opening in Austin, Texas and went to work for UPI as a staff photographer at the Austin American Statesman. There was an arrangement between UPI and the newspapers purchasing the UPI telephoto network and Charlie McCarty included four photographers. The same arrangement existed at the Dallas Times Herald. When Felix McKnight was hired at the Dallas paper he brought all his people with him therefore changing the photo operations. Three UPI staffers worked for the Herald and this is where I was November 22, 1963. I photographed the Kennedys and Connollys at the intersection of Main and Hardware.