Bathtub at Court and Union

Bathtub - Court and Union 07-10-1970If you went to Ohio University, your world centered on Court and Union. You crossed that intersection to get from one side of campus to the other. Bars, restaurants, the shopping district and the movie theaters were in the block surrounding it.

It’s where sit-ins, marches and demonstrations started, ended or passed through. In fact, two months earlier, in the wake of the Kent State shootings, a fog of tear gas blanketed that location.

I found several sleeves of negatives labeled “Riot Meeting,” which have lots of serious-looking suits probably doing “fact-finding.” Tucked in the middle of them and shot on the same day, was this collection of photos capturing passersby reacting to a bathtub sitting on the busiest corner in town.

Tub was to promote plays

Bathtub - Court and Union 07-10-1970On the side of the tub was a cryptic sign, “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running,” along with some dates.

The gimmick was to promote a production of four one-act plays by Robert Anderson. The Amazon reviews make it sound like fun.

Check out the reactions

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Paul Newman 1968

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968The big news was that Paul Newman was coming to the Ohio University campus in January of 1968 to stump for Eugene McCarthy. I covered the event for The Ohio University Post.

Some bios say that Newman was a student at Ohio university and lived in the very same Scott Quadrangle dorm I did. [He couldn’t remember where his room was; I asked.]

Some say he left the school to join the armed services in 1942. He wanted to be a pilot, but washed out because of color blindness. He served as a turret gunner on an Avenger aircraft. Because of a twist of fate – his pilot developed an ear infection and was grounded – he was not on the USS Bunker Hill when it was hit by kamikaze attacks that killed more than 300 sailors.

Was a keg involved in his departure?

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Other bios say that he was invited to leave the university after he rolled a beer keg down Jeff Hill and bounced it off the president’s car. He mentioned “It’s good to be home” in his remarks, but he did not bring up anything about an errant beer keg.

Students mobbed the car carrying Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, when they arrived.

Jon Webb doing Hail Mary

Jon Webb covering Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Jon Webb was the photographer at The Athens Messenger who started the daily picture page. I idolized the guy’s work. Still, it gave me a small amount of pleasure to see him doing a Hail Mary shot, something photographers do when they are out of position or hemmed in and need to try to get SOMETHING.

The story in The Post

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Here is the story that appeared in The OU Post, along with two of my photos:

“It’s good to be home,” Paul Newman said as he walked up to the microphone on the stage of Memorial Auditorium yesterday after being mobbed by students outside.

The former Ohio University student who dropped out of school to join the armed forces in 1942 urged a crowd of some 3000 students to make “a rich physical commitment” to the presidential candidate of their choice.

Young people are McCarthy’s capital

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Urging the crowd to help campaign for Eugene McCarthy in Indiana this weekend, Newman said, “We can’t afford to pay your way like some of the other candidates. We don’t have the capital – you young people are McCarthy’s capital.”

Newman at Press conference

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968In a press conference, Newman said he supports the Minnesota senator because “his credentials are better than anyone else and he has demonstrated his courage.”

“McCarthy rises above politics to become a statesman. He deals with things on a higher level: an intellectual strategy, not just a political strategy,” the actor continued.

Wanted to say he was part of his time

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968“I don’t know if my campaign will persuade anyone, but that’s not going to stop me,” he said. “I have six kids and I don’t want them to say I was never part of my time.”

Newman, who also visited the Ohio State and University of Cincinnati campuses yesterday, was presented with an Ohio University sweatshirt by students in the crowd.

A Harry & Son encounter

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968

For the record, I don’t recognize Mr. Cool, the photographer on the right. He wasn’t on the staff of the newspapers nor yearbook. He must have been one of the Fine Arts students.

I brought up another Paul Newman anecdote when I wrote his obit on my bike blog.

Newman arrived in Lake Worth, Florida, to film Harry & Son in 1984. I went to the set, not to take pictures, but to ask the movie crew if they could switch to a different two-way radio frequency because it was interfering with The Palm Beach Post’s radio system. That was a particular problem that morning because a an airliner inbound to Palm Beach International Airport had declared a mechanical emergency. The reporters and photographers scrambling to get into position were being overridden by the movie crew.

It happened because the FCC assigned newspapers and movie crews a shared group of frequencies in the 173 MHz range. Movie companies would frequently rent their radios from a Ft. Lauderdale company and pick a channel at random. In this case, they grabbed 173.275, which we used.

They were nice enough to switch when I pointed it out. (The plane landed safely, by the way. It was a faulty indicator light in the cockpit.)

 Paul Newman photo gallery

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1968 Anti-War Protest

Peace demonstration at Ohio University 02-22-1968I’m working on an exhibit of photos dealing with the turbulent 60s and 70s at Ohio University. Given the choice between posting random photos as I’m editing them or letting the site go dark from time to time, I’ll opt for posting pictures with minimal copy.

The negative sleeve says February 22, 1968, so I must have shot them for The OU Post.

Must have been cold

Peace demonstration at Ohio University 02-22-1968It’s Ohio. It’s February, and people are wearing coats, scarves and gloves. That’s a pretty good indication it was being held outside where it was cold.

Must have been one of first

Peace demonstration at Ohio University 02-22-1968I transferred from SEMO to Ohio University as a junior in the fall of 1967, so this must have been one of the first of many protests and demonstrations I would cover over the next two years.

These three are a mixture of genders and ages. They’re dressed downright preppie, too. They don’t quite fit the image of commie pinko hippies. A lot of the photos from this post will be in the show.

MLK by Yousuf Karsh

MLK Display Court St Baker Center Project 04-09-1968I photographed this young man looking at a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the display window of Lamborn’s Studio in Athens, Ohio, on April 9, 1968, five days after the Civil Rights leader was gunned down in Memphis.

It wasn’t until this evening that I blew it up big enough to read the inscription on the left. The photo was taken by famed photographer Yousuf Karsh. Estrellita Karsh donated the portrait to the National Portrait Gallery in his memory.

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How the photo was taken

From the photo caption:

A man constantly on the move, Martin Luther King was most often photographed in action by those covering the events of the civil-rights movement. This likeness by renowned portraitist Yousuf Karsh is a different kind of image—a formal portrait that utilizes pose and lighting rather than environment to identify King as a leader and a visionary. Karsh made the photograph in August 1962, when King returned to Atlanta following the prolonged and dispiriting struggle for desegregation in Albany, Georgia. With very little time to work, Karsh photographed his subject in the only space available—a corner of King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Recalling the circumstances of that sitting, Karsh noted, “Nowhere could [King] relax when constantly beset by friends and aides wishing him well, commiserating on his difficulties, congratulating him on his return, and planning new strategy.”

Earlier stories about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.