Lyndon B Johnson's 1964 Presidential campaign

Half a century ago, Pres. Lyndon Johnson teamed up with the ad men of New York to produce one of the most famous – and controversial – political ads of all time.

A young girl lackadaisically plucks the petals off a flower, counting as she goes. But soon, her count is interrupted by a mission-control style countdown: when it ends, a mushroom cloud envelops the screen. "These are the stakes," Johnson intones. "To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." 

Cody Rea for KUT

Update: Those who weren't able to check out the play "All the Way" during its run on Broadway will have a second chance when Bryan Cranston reprises his role of President Lyndon B. Johnson in an HBO adaptation (an air date has not yet been announced).

Cranston researched the role at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin – and it must have paid off – he won a Tony Award for his performance. The play itself also won a Tony. It was written by Austin playwright Robert Schenkkan. Click Here to check out KUT's interview with Schenkkan.

Highlights from a November press appearance with Cranston are below:

LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton

This post has been updated to include portions of an interview with LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act fifty years ago today.

"It's hard to realize that 50 years ago, people of color in many parts of this country, particularly in the Deep South, would not be accommodated at restaurants or at hotels or at motels, there were separate educational facilities and separate water fountains – we essentially lived in an apartheid state," LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove says.

Both the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin and the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall are celebrating the anniversary of the signing.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Update: Austinite, Texas Ex and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan won a Tony Award last night for his play "All the Way."

The play stars Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame as President Lyndon B. Johnson. Cranston also won a Tony for his performance. KUT spoke with Cranston about the role last November.

Original Story (Nov. 21, 2013): Amid all the talk of JFK as we approach the 50th anniversary of his death, one could make the case that as tragic as the Kennedy assassination was, the accidental presidency of Kennedy's successor – Lyndon Baines Johnson – was far more consequential in reshaping the landscape of the United States.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan takes it even further in his new drama "All The Way." Actor Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame plays LBJ – from the moment of his swearing in aboard Air Force One in 1963, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Robert Schenkkan came to KUT's Newsmaker studio and spoke with David Brown.

Yoichi R. Okamoto / Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

The history and the current state of the civil rights struggle will be examined at a three-day summit in Austin this spring. The conference will focus on President Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legacy.

The Civil Rights Summit will be held April 8-10 at the LBJ Presidential Library – and will mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Johnson.

Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library, says two former presidents have confirmed their attendance: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. President George W. Bush has not yet confirmed, and there is the possibility of President Barack Obama attending.

LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's call to Congress, and the nation, to fight poverty.

Texas – President Johnson’s home state – often touts its growing economy. But the state has one of the highest rates of poverty in the U.S.

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum is releasing never-before-seen love letters written by the former president and his soon-to-be bride.

Regina Greenwell is the senior archivist at the LBJ Library. She says the letters paint a picture of a 26-year-old Lyndon Johnson who made up his mind about Claudia Taylor – then known as “Bird” – on their first date.

LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

It was 40 years ago today that Lyndon B. Johnson passed away at his family ranch in Stonewall at his family ranch.  

Johnson served as the 36th President of the United States, Vice President to John F. Kennedy, and served in both houses of Congress as well. 

Lady Bird Wildflower Center

It’s been one hundred years since the birth of the legendary Lady Bird Johnson.

The Texas First Lady's time in the White House was marked by several environmental conservation and beautification efforts – a cause she pursued locally after leaving Washington with the foundation of the National Wildflower Research Center and her work beautifying Town Lake (which was since renamed in her honor).

The Wildflower Center, which bears Lady Bird’s name, remembers Mrs. Johnson this Sunday with a day-long tribute. Admission is free, with doors opening at 9 a.m.

A ruling will be issued today on the school finance trial.

Schools Finance Lawsuits Get Court Date

A tentative trial date is set for four Texas school finance lawsuits.  State District Judge John Dietz has set the trial for October 22.

Hundreds of school districts from across the state are unhappy with the way Texas distributes money. Attorney Mark Trachtenberg, who represents 86 of those districts, says state funding cuts have contributed to depriving districts of the resources they need to meet standards set by the state itself.

Image courtesy

Best wishes for this Christmas Day! There was a Christmas homecoming at Fort Hood, the loss of a house in East Austin this morning, and a look into the Hill Country home of America's 36th President.

Troops Return to Fort Hood