The SCROLL of Phi Delta Theta for May, 1943
may remember him as the slight, blonde
boy who always ran with a red scull cap
on his head.
Lee went to Oregon State College for
two years, joined A there, and ended
his college career with another interstate
switch to University of Southern California, where he graduated. At Oregon
State he won the Pacific Conference mile,
beating Rufus Kaiser of Washington, in
1928, won third place in the National
Collegiate at Chicago the same summer,
and placed fifth in the Olympic tryout
1500 meters. While he was at Oregon
State the Phi Delts with little Lee breezing through the opposition, always won
the interfraternity basketball trophy.
After transferring to U.S.C, Hansen
continued to run the mile in college
track with good results. One day in 1930,
while he was rooting for Southern California at its annual football game against
University of California at Berkeley,
Hansen watched a friend trying to take
action photos of the split second hurlyburly on the gridiron, and thought to
himself that he could do a better job
of picture taking. Prior to that time he
had never shot a photo.
Two years later, at the 1932 Olympic
Games in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Lee
was shooting hundreds of action films.
The newspapers bid against each other
for his shots. In 1936, Lee went to Berlin
with Bill Henry, radio commentator,
sports authority and war correspondent
of the Los Angeles Times, and again
made a camera record of an entire Olympic Game program. He "shot" Hitler
with both still and 16 mm. cameras.
In the meantime, his enthusiasm for
the photographic medium had swept
him into an instructor's post, and he
doubled as camera instructor and head
of the physical education department at
Banning High School in Wilmington,
California. His coaching province was
track and basketball. His teams in seven
years won five sectional basket titles, and
Bill Gill of his track teams became a
standout at Fresno State. Dick Folmer of
Berkeley was another of his charges.
When Hansen transferred from Banning to John H. Francis Polytechnic (also
known as Los Angeles Poly), where he
continued to help coach basketball because of his liking for the game, but
he now confines his active sports work to
officiating basketball and football for
high schools, junior colleges. Southern
California colleges and freshman games.
Thirty-odd of Lee Hansen's camera
learners are now in the U. S. Army and
Navy photographic divisions. They are
in Ireland, England, Africa, Australia,
the Pacific Islands, the West Indies, and
many camps in continental United
States. Two of his boys are instructors
for other Army camera-men.
Back in 1937, Hansen happened to
be in Shanghai when the Sino-Japanese
war broke out to become the prelude to
the present global conflict. In Shanghai
the ever-present Hansen was on top of
the Cathay Hotel grinding pictures when
the Cathay and Palace Hotels were both
bombed. The Japanese captured Lee and
kept his camera and film. They released
the man who took the film however. But
Lee had other cameras at his hotel, and
he took a chance that now makes him
sometimes gasp, by going out and shooting other action pictures. Many of these
shots have appeared in Life, and other
magazines and newspapers.
Lee thinks the most interesting shot
he ever made, however, is not a war shot,
but an action glimpse of a headlong
horse race at the now closed Santa Anita
turf track. It was a photo of one jockey
grabbing another jockey's reins. It was
a race that Seabiscuit won.
Mrs. Hansen, who, as all feminine
readers will guess, has accumulated an
active indifference to the camera work
which absorbs so much of her husband's
time, is the former Hazel Woods of San
Diego. She was a A A A at the University
of Southern California. There are two
Hansen children, both girls: Barbara Lee,
8; and Hazel Margaret, 6.
And what do you suppose the girls
wanted for last Christmas?
That's right. camera.