You guys were right on, it was a valve not going down all the way. I poured the cylinder full off oil with the intake valve open, tipped the engine so oil would go down into the intake port. Did the same to the exhaust valve and got some oil into that port. Let it sit for a day and a half. Still had no compression. Used Duner's compressed air idea, and had air coming out the exhaust manifold. With all the plugs out turned the engine over several times and I had compression.
That old VE's block was not drilled and taped for the starter motor support hanger. It does have indents where the holes should be. Looks like I will drill and tap some holes so I can put the starter on.