Second and Third Brad Bradley phone calls

On the next to last day of March 2009, I spoke with Brad Bradley again by phone.  David’s photos and scans provided good circumstantial evidence, but there had to be more.

We discussed photography techniques, Laughead’s use of color film when faster lens Graflex cameras came out in the late 1950s, shooting football photos for Topps and Philadelphia Gum cards from the late 50s to late 60s and shooting Cowboys photos up until Jerry Jones bought the team. 

He remembered going to Cowboys training camp in Forest Grove, Oregon in 1960 and Marquette, Michigan in 1962, but had no such recollection about the 1961 training camp at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  He said that, in 1961, they shot training camp pictures of the Packers, Lions and Steelers who were at their only training camp at the Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania site.  It seems that during off hours at training camp, Steelers players Tom Tracy and John Henry Johnson’s carousing resulted in the Steelers not camping in the same place in consecutive years.  The Steelers were in Slippery Rock in 1961 and moved on the next year.  He said they took Bears photos at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana and stayed in Halas Hall where the team quartered.  They also shot Cardinals pictures in Lake Forest, Illinois. He said that they had taken photos of the Eagles in Hershey, Pennsylvania but not at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.  He confirmed that they took Packers and Lions pictures in 1961 and that they shot the Colts in Westminster, Maryland.  At this point in the investigation, there was a possibility that Laughead photographed seven NFL teams in 1961--Packers, Bears, Lions, Cardinals, Eagles, Colts and Browns.

On a couple other matters, he revealed that Laughead Photographers took pictures for Topps from the late 1950s through the late 1960s or maybe even early 1970s and did the same for Philadelphia Gum in the mid-sixties.  He stated that he was not the photographer who had provided Michael Gidwitz with Post cereal proof photos.  In the Morrow photo referenced earlier, there is a second camera on a small tripod about knee level.  Mr. Bradley said that was standard procedure and that it was simply on hand, ready to be used when the first camera had spent all of its film. It was not there for the purpose of shooting a knee high shot.

Laughead Photographers had shot at least half of the teams in the Post cereal set in 1961, but Dallas and Minnesota were not among them and that was troubling.  Why would those two teams with training camps in the Midwest not be included with the other six that did likewise?  Was the fact the second camera at knee height wasn’t used a problem as that seemed to be the camera that would have made the Post cereal photos at the proper angle?  And what of the coast teams—Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Redskins and Giants?  Where was this process at?

To date, the last time I talked with Mr. Bradley was in April 2010.  At one point in the conversation he said, “I don’t know that I ever did take any photos for Post.”  Uh-oh.

That was not something I expected to hear, but should have.  Laughead’s usual modus operandi was to provide teams with prints of the photos they took and the teams distributed them as they had need.  It was quite possible that Post procured their football card promotion prints from the teams.  It was also just as possible that Laughead Photographers had supplied photos to Post, but that Mr. Bradley was not aware that they had done so.  Jim Laughead and Brad Bradley spent a considerable amount of time on the road, shooting team after team and sometimes driving hundreds of miles overnight to get to the next day’s shooting venue.  They shot around a hundred thousand pictures a year.  It would be difficult to keep track of who got photos.

David had recently found a Fran Tarkenton photo taken in 1961 at the Vikings Bemidji, Minnesota training camp.  He then saw an online video of Brad Bradley regarding his involvement with the Cotton Bowl for over six decades.  One scene in that video showed the same Tarkenton photo in the background. Before long the back of a similar Tarkenton photo surfaced and it had a Laughead stamp on the back.  It seemed that Laughead and Bradley did shoot the Vikings in 1961.

Then over a year later in fall 2011, David found a group of Cowboys pictures taken by Laughead Photographers in 1961 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  Just a few days later he showed me more Laughead photos of J. W. Lockett at Burnett Field in Dallas and Andy Cvercko, Bill Howton and L. G. Dupre at an unknown site—the same place Bob Lilly's Post cereal photo was made.  The count was now up to nine teams and photos of all the Cowboys venues had been found.