William Lukes and Paul Hester, Taking Pictures in the 1970s

Every once in a while I decide that I’m going to plan a week or so of posts, trying to lay things out in a logical order. These attempts have been largely in vain so mostly I just ride the wave and hope not to crash. It generally works out pretty well and it surely allows me to make connections that I wouldn’t if I ran this in a more structured way. I’m telling you this because a comment from Grungy on yesterday’s post made me realize that I had something that I hadn’t really understood. Here’s what he wrote, talking about the first photo in yesterday’s post:

Polaroid cameras such as these are turning up regularly in medical surplus auctions in the area.
Prices are generally far lower than the original MSRP.
Film is once again available, courtesy of the Impossible Team

I clicked on the link and read a remarkable story about the creation ex nihilo of an entirely new film system for old Polaroid cameras. As I read, something was rolling around in the back of my head. I went and found it this morning.

William Lukes drivein 70s

This is a picture from the William Lukes (’71, ’74) collection in the Woodson. (See here for a biographical sketch and guide to the collection. It’s really a wonderful look at Houston in the early ’70s.) Taken with both the haunting quality of the image and the names of the movies on the marquee, I scanned it only about a week ago. It wasn’t until today that I realized he (Lukes himself is the subject) was holding a Polaroid and a Polaroid picture. Lukes very helpfully included notes with many of the photos and the one that goes with this explains exactly what was going on here:

William Lukes drivein note

Bonus: Since the above picture of Lukes was taken by Paul Hester, (’71) here’s a picture of Paul Hester, taken by Lukes. I love this.

William Lukes Paul Hester 70s

Paul Hester, you should know, is a long-time instructor in the Department of Dramatic and Visual Arts and a great friend of the Woodson. He and my colleague Dara Flinn produced this beautiful video about another of our collections, the photographs of Vera Prasilova Scott. Hester also narrates it. I know that eight minutes is an eternity on the internet, but this is gorgeous and well worth a look.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to William Lukes and Paul Hester, Taking Pictures in the 1970s

  1. McLendon Triple. Way out Main at Hiram Clarke. Must have been pretty new at this time, opened ’71, closed ’86, kind of ended with a whimper as a flea market site. Had a reputation for being a good place to get wasted and/or make out. Before TV became widespread there were a couple dozen drive-in’s around Houston.

  2. And Paul Hester’s camera looks like a Leica M4 with a meter on top.

  3. Owlcop says:

    Is this not now the location of the Library Service Center and the Data Center ?

  4. Paul Hester says:

    Thanks to Marty for identifying the location and recalling memories of why drive-ins were so much fun; to Loki_the_bubba for causing me to look it up on Google Maps to see yes indeed it is an RV park (time for a Re-Photographic Visit); to Walter Underwood for his good eyes to remind me how much i miss that Leica (even with all the conveniences of my iPhone); to Owlcop for forcing me to move the Google Map a little to the north and see that in fact Yes the Library Service Center (where these photographs are probably stored) is at the same intersection, even though it is a huge, elongated freeway exchange and would not be easy to walk from one to the other, the proximity blows my mind. i remember that drive-in being so far out of town in those days. Thanks as always to Melissa for changing the ways we remember and understand Rice. And especially thanks to my good friend William Lukes, photographer extraordinaire, generous supporter of the archives, who continues to inspire me.

  5. VictorD says:

    I’m asking for research purposes, do you have any information or pictures of Sybil Leek’s Cauldron which was originally at 1100(1102) Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (which then became Charlie’s Coffee Shop, then Chances, and now, semi-ironically, another restaurant named Underbelly) then moved to approx 2537 University Blvd?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Not that I’m aware of—that’s fairly far afield. However, you never know and I will certainly take a look around. Thanks for the question

    • Paul Hester says:

      Hanging on the wall at Underbelly is a pair of photographs comparing a 1930s view of that intersection with a 1980s view. You can see the original Sinclair gas station that became the Boobie Rock, then evolved into the different incarnations which you mention. I am not familiar with the specific one you are looking for, but good luck on your search.

  6. Pingback: Wherein Paul Hester ’71 Enters My Pantheon of Heroes | Rice History Corner

Leave a Reply