Jack Valenti: The rest of the amazing story

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Texas History

By Bartee Haile

In the Nov. 22, 1963 photo taken on Air Force One, Jack Valenti is the compressed figure on the far left watching Judge Sarah T. Hughes swear in Lyndon Johnson as President of the United States.

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants was born in Houston in 1921. While still in the primary grades, he sacked groceries in the family-owned store and threw a newspaper route. An exceptional student, he was double promoted at least once and graduated high school at the age of 15.

College was financially out the question for Valenti leaving him with no other choice but to join the horde of desperate job-seekers in the depths of the Great Depression. He was happy to find work at a neighborhood movie theater popping corn, showing ticket-holders to their seats and doing whatever else his employer needed done.


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