(left to right) Gunnar Back, Bill Green, Jr., John Roberts and Allen Stone
WFIL-TV, Channel 6, Philadelphia
Tuesday, November 3, 1959

On November 3rd of 1959, WFIL-TV (like other TV stations in town) had election night coverage. The main race was for Mayor of Philadelphia. Democrat Richardson Dilworth was seeking a second term as mayor. He was running against Harold Stassen, who was governor of Minnesota from 1939 to 1943. He then moved to Philadelphia to become president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Bill Green, Jr. was a United States Congressman from Pennsylvania. He served from 1945 to his death in 1963. He was voted out of office for the 1947 to 1949 term but was then re-elected in 1948 (for the 1949 term). His son, Bill Green III, took over his seat and served until 1977. He then became the city's 94th mayor. Today, Bill Green IV serves as a Philadelphia City Councilman.

The sponsor for the Channel 6 coverage was Schmidt's Beer, a local brewery. As you can see from the vote totals in the picture, almost all the votes were in when this photo was taken. The final vote total was Dilworth with slightly over 65% of the electorate. He received 438,278 to Stassen's count of 229,818.

Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Stone (who can be seen in the photo above) e-mailed us:

Seeing that photo brings back the fact that being involved with TV election coverage was a special treat because it allowed me to break away from morning radio news and develop television skills. (Broadcast Pioneers member) John Roberts was always pleased to have me as part of the team.

However Gunnar Back, a thorough going professional, would have rather not had me there on the set because he was always concerned that my youth and brash style might steal the show. On the other hand working with Gunnar was always a benefit to my career. My most cherished memory is when he and I interviewed Richard Nixon before he became President.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Gunnar Back's Daughter, Linnea Klee
© 2011, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com