President Nixon flies in by Air Force One and Marine One to watch the college football “Game of the Century,” the University of watches the University of Texas beat the University of Arkansas in college football in a dramatic finish that lived up to Nixon’s pre-game prediction that it would be “one of the great football games of all time.”
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Date: December 6, 1969
Film Type: Color / Sound
Credit: U.S. Navy Photographic Center
Archival Source: Richard Nixon Library / U.S. Navy Photographic Center / 1211-016-70
Transcript / Shot List
University of Texas football team entering locker room, after beating Arkansas in game at Little Rock Arkansas.
Players giving "victory" and "number one" hand signals as they enter.
Victory celebration, players hugging each other, etc.
End of players' prayer and celebration.
ABC newsman interviewing Texas coach Darrel Royal.
Texas football players crowding around locker room door as President Nixon enters.
President Nixon as he steps on to speaker's platform. Zoom out.
President shaking hands with players.
President interviewed by ABC newsman.
President presents plaque to coach Darrel Royal of Texas.
Quality deteriorates due to lens fogging.
Welcoming crowd and band at Fort Smith, Arkansas, awaiting arrival of President Nixon on Air Force One.
President Nixon debarking from Air Force One at Fort Smith; pan to crowd.
Shots of crowd and band.
President Nixon shaking hands with crowd.
President Nixon and guests boarding helicopter for flight to the football stadium at the University of Arkansas.
Presidential helicopter, Marine One, ready to take off.
Crowd at football game and shots of the game.
Texas players leaving the field after the game.
President Nixon leaving field after game to go to locker room.
President Nixon in crowd watching the game.
Shots of football game and crowd.
Half-time ceremonies--Texas Band.
Texas football players running onto field after half-time.
Shots of football game and crowd.
Half time ceremonies--Arkansas Band.
Arkansas football players coming onto field after half-time.
Kick off and shots of crowd; shots of game.
Shots of crowd awaiting arrival of Air Force One at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Air Force One taxiing to arrival area.
President Nixon debarking from Air Force One at Fort Smith.
President Nixon shaking hands with welcoming crowd at Forth Smith.
President Nixon listening to welcoming speech at Fort Smith.
President gets up onto platform to make a speech.
President presented with flowers, American flag at end of speech.
President and dignitaries boarding helicopters for flight to stadium.
Crowd cheering at football game.
Half-time ceremonies--University of Texas Band.
The original footage does not run in chronological sequences. Nixon’s remarks at Fort Smith Municipal Airport were made on the way to the stadium at 11:20am. The text of his short speech reads:
Governor [Winthrop] Rockefeller and all of the people who are here at the airport at Fort Smith, I want you to know how much I appreciate this very warm welcome. It is warm, at least as far as the welcome is concerned.
I want you to know, too, that, as I come here to this great football game at Fayetteville, that I have to be in somewhat of a nonpartisan position, because on the airplane we brought down some members of the delegation from the State of Arkansas–Senator [John L.] McClellan, Senator [J. William] Fulbright, John Paul Hammerschmidt, your own Congressman–but I also brought along some members of the delegation from Texas. So I have to be in between the two.
All that I know is that we are going to see today, in this 100th anniversary of football, one of the great football games of all time, and both of them I wish could be Number 1. But at the end, whichever is Number I will deserve it, and the Number 2 team will still go to a bowl and be a great team.
We want to also say, clearly apart from football, that as we flew over the airport and I saw the cars parked for, well, actually not just feet nor yards, but miles down the road, and then as I went down this line and shook hands with people and I felt how cold your hands were, and your noses a little red, and the rest, I realized some of you have been here a long time.
I just want you to know how much we appreciate it. To come from Washington, to get this kind of a welcome, in the heart of the country, right here in Arkansas, means a great deal to us.
We are going to take back memories of that welcome.
I want you to know, too, that I did not have the opportunity of visiting Arkansas during the 1968 campaign. This is the first time I have had a chance to visit Arkansas, since becoming President. After this warm welcome, it isn’t going to be the last. I want to come back here.
Now, if I could just close my remarks with one other thought, I realize that this is the beginning of a holiday season. It isn’t going to be much of a holiday season for the Congress. I think we are going to have to stay and work during most of that Christmas season, although I haven’t worked that out yet with the Congressmen and Senators. But I do want you to know, for everybody here, that Mrs. Nixon and I and our two daughters extend our very best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you. Thank you.1
- “Remarks on Arrival at Fort Smith, Arkansas, To Attend Arkansas-Texas Football Game,” 6 December 1969, in Public Papers of the President: Richard M. Nixon: 1969, (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office), doc. 476. ↩