Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alabama's 2009 BCS National Championship fan poster

The Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2009 BCS National Championship with a victory over the Texas Longhorns in Rose Bowl Stadium. Although the contest was held in the venue, it was not the Rose Bowl Game for that season.

To honor the historic connections of the Alabama football program and Pasadena's iconic landmark, a fan poster was created by the University of Alabama featuring the school's fight song "Yea Alabama."

The posters were handed out to fans at the official celebration for the 2009 National Champions held at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Jan. 16, 2010 and later offered for sale through the school's athletic department.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Epp Sykes And The Composition of "Yea Alabama"

"Epp" Sykes
The phrase, "Remember the Rose Bowl" is derived from Alabama's fight song, "Yea Alabama." The song was composed as part of a contest held by the campus humor magazine the Rammer-Jammer following the Crimson Tide victory in the 1926 Rose Bowl game. Until that time the football team's fight song had been "Swing" which had been appropriated from Washington & Lee University.

A panel composed of members of the university's music department selected the composition submitted by Ethelred Lundy "Epp" Sykes  from more than a dozen songs that were submitted.

Sykes - an engineering student who was also the editor of The Crimson White -
was awarded the $50 prize provided the magazine and "Messrs. Carmer, Friedman and Pickens." The song was unveiled in the May 1926 edition of the Rammer Jammer with the admonition:

"RAMMER-JAMMER has no power to make the student body accept the song. We do ask that the song be played on every occasion in which a battle march is needed, and, if it is liked, for the students to accept it."

Sykes attended Alabama on a four year engineering scholarship from the Alabama Power Company after coming in second for a scholarship offered by the Birmingham News. After graduating in 1926, Sykes studied law for a year at UA then became an account executive with Sparrow Advertising Agency in Birmingham.

In 1940 Sykes was called into active duty by the U.S. Air Force. He served in both World War II and the Korea conflict, eventually rising to the rank of  Brigadier General. In 1947 he donated the copyright and future royalties of "Yea Alabama" to the University of Alabama. He died on July 1, 1967.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joe Kilgrow, Alabama All-American and WWII Veteran

Joseph Flinn "Joe" Kilgrow was an All-American halfback on Alabama's 1938 Rose Bowl team. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and was inducted posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 (he died in 1967). Like many players on the 1937 squad, he was caught up in World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He led a US Army anti-aircraft squadron in New Guinea and won a battlefield commission for his actions. He was discharged as a Captain in 1945 after serving for 38 months in the South Pacific.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parking at the 1938 Rose Bowl

Parking for the 1938 Rose Bowl was as much a challenge as it is for the modern game. A record crowd of 90,000 was on hand that New Year's Day to watch Alabama take on California.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Moment of Silence for the Bear

On Jan. 30, 1983, Pasadena's Rose Bowl Stadium hosted Super Bowl XVII pitting the Washington Redskins against the Miami Dolphins. Prior to the singing of the National Anthem a moment of silence was observed in memory of Alabama coach Paul W. Bryant who passed away four days earlier. Bryant was a member of the Crimson Tide squad that defeated Stanford 29-13 in the 1935 Rose Bowl game.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Emile Deering Barnes

From the 1927 Rose Bowl Program.
Emile Deering Barnes, known as "Red" and "Lovely" to his teammates, was a halfback on the Alabama squad in 1925 and 1926 as well as serving as captain of Alabama's 1927 Rose Bowl team. He went on to short career in professional baseball with stints with the Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flying to the Rose Bowl

A plane ticket for a California fan flying from the Bay Area to Los Angeles for the 1938 Rose Bowl. One way fare: $18.95.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

1935 Rissman Trophy Presentation


The presentation of the Rissman Trophy to the Alabama Crimson Tide following their victory in the 1935 Rose Bowl. The award was presented during the football banquet in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 10, 1935. Pictured are (from left to right) Alabama Head Coach Frank Thomas, Alabama Team Captain Bill Lee, O. Elmer Anderson, acting president of the Tournament of Roses, President of the University of Alabama Dr. George Denny and Jack Rissman, a Chicago clothing manufacturer and the donor of the trophy.

Rissman's award had been presented annually to college football's national champion as determined by the Dickinson System, developed in the early 1920s by Frank Dickinson, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois. In 1930, that award was renamed the Knute K. Rockne Intercollegiate Memorial Trophy following the death Notre Dame coach. The arrival of the AP poll pushed the Dickinson System into obsolescence and the championship selector went defunct in 1940.

After the introduction of the Knute Rockne award, Rissman associated his namesake trophy with the Rose Bowl. A school was granted permanent possession of the award if its team had successfully won the New Year's Day game three times. Alabama's 29-13 win over Stanford in 1935 marked the Crimson Tide's third victory in the Pasadena classic.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alabama's 1926 Bowl Bid: Mixing A Lemon and A Rose

In November 1925, after Alabama's undefeated season captured the Southern Conference crown, the likelihood of participating in the sport's one postseason contest was slim. While the Washington Huskies' 9-1 record earned their way to play in the The Tournament of Roses New Year's Day contest the opponent was far from decided.

Dartmouth, who had also gone undefeated that season, was the intial choice of the Rose Bowl committee but that option was squelched when the players objected to the long trip to the West coast it would require. Pittsburgh, Colegate and Wisconsin were all subsequently considered.

Tulane's Clark Shaughnessy
In early December, a University of Oregon graduate manager, Jack Benefield, was sent by the Pacific Coast Conference to Chicago to meet with Tulane Coach Clark Shaughnessy to see if the Green Wave would play in the New Year's Day Game. Shaughnessy declined on instructions from the school's administration but then recommended Alabama.

"I've never heard of Alabama as a football team," Benefield replied. "And I can't take a chance on mixing a lemon and a rose."

Shaughnessy persisted and went so far as phoning Alabama Coach Wallace Wade from the hotel the men were meeting at. Asked if the Crimson Tide would be interested in playing in Pasadena, Wade replied, "Definitely."

Benefield then traveled to Alabama to make the arrangements but before they could be finalized Wade insisted on getting the approval of his players.

"Going to the Coast was a big thing," Wade later said. "It would take us five days on a train from Tuscaloosa. I told them it would deprive them of their Christmas vacation and that they would have to stay in training another three weeks."

"It took them about two minutes to make up their minds."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The 1946 Rose Bowl

Amateur film of the 1946 Rose Bowl pitting the Alabama Crimson Tide against the USC Trojans. The film, available through the WPA Film Library, shows snippets of the action as well as part of the halftime show and celebration by cadets during the fourth quarter. The final score of the game was Alabama 34, USC 14.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paul W. Bryant & Bob Morrow

A photo of Alabama's Bob Morrow (right guard) and Paul W. Bryant (end) who both played in the 1935 Rose Bowl that saw the Crimson Tide defeat Stanford 29-13.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pulp Fiction and the Rose Bowl

A sports magazine from 1940.
The 1930s and 1940s were the heyday of sports magazines and comics. As college football grew in popularity during this era, stories featuring characters who played the sport abounded. And the Rose Bowl game was a common setting for the climax of the stories with titles such as "Rose Bowl Express," "Rose Bowl All-American," and "Rose Bowl Outcast."

At least one, a novelette by Arthur Grahame titled "Alabama"  appearing in the Oct. 8, 1927 issue of Sport Story Magazine, featured a protagonist who played for the Crimson Tide in the New Years Day classic.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dr. George Hutcheson Denny

Dr. George H. Denny at the 1926 Rose Bowl. On his left is
 Dr. S.V. Sanford, the Southern Conference commissioner.
In 1912, Dr. George Hutcheson Denny was named president of the University of Alabama. The 42-year-old former head of Washington & Lee arrived in Tuscaloosa with a specific plan to use the sport of  football to help the school grow.

From the very start of his administration, Denny, who was commonly referred to as "Mike," took a direct hand in developing the football program, recognizing its potential as a way to increase enrollment as well as gain political and popular support for his policies.

Dr. Denny at Washington & Lee.
He placed the football program under the direct budgetary and administrative control of the university’s athletic department. He oversaw the hiring of coaches and supervising practices from the sidelines. In the latter capacity Denny was regularly knocked over by players and the team develops a superstition develops on the team that "bowling over" the UA president is good luck for bowl games.

During his tenure, the Crimson Tide appeared in four Rose Bowl games and he was an attendance at the first three of them. In 1935 Denny was unable to travel to Pasadena due to an illness that led him to retire two years later. He became president once again in 1941 after the death of his successor Richard C. Foster. He stepped down a final time in1942 when Raymon Ross Paty was named president.

Known for his wire rimmed glasses and pipe, Denny was reported to possess a prodigious memory and it was said he never forgot the name of any person he met. Denny died on April 2, 1955 at his home in Lexington, Virginia where he is buried.

The first permanent home for Alabama football was University Field which opened in 1915. It was renamed Denny Field in honor of the university president. When the first section of the team's stadium was built in 1929 it also was named in honor of Denny and it retains the designation to this day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ring Around the Rosie

A newspaper cartoon from December 1937 in anticipation of the Rose Bowl tilt between Alabama and California. It was drawn by sports cartoonist Art Krenz who worked on the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) staff from about 1933 through 1940.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Alabama Rose Bowl Ticket Stubs

1926 Rose Bowl, Alabama vs Washington

1931 Rose Bowl, Alabama vs Wash. State

1935 Rose Bowl, Alabama vs Stanford

1938 Rose Bowl, Alabama vs California

1946 Rose Bowl, Alabama vs USC

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alabama's 1931 Rose Bowl Squad

Two of the pictorial pages in the 1931 Rose Bowl program showing the players for the Crimson Tide. These pages depict 18 of the 35 players Alabama listed on the Rose Bowl game roster.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

1938 Rose Bowl Newsreel

Newsreel report on the 1938 Rose Bowl pitting Alabama against California. The Crimson Tide were defeated 13-0 for the first time in the New Years Day classic.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

1946 Rose Bowl USC Souvenir Pin

A pin, ribbon and football for supporters of USC in the 1946 Rose Bowl versus Alabama. The button itself was about 1.25 inches around and the ribbon only 2 inches long. The miniature football was made of tin.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tournament of Roses Chariot Races

After the inaugural Tournament of Roses football game in 1902, event organizers decided to shelve the idea of a gridiron contest for almost a decade-and-a-half.  Instead, the tournament offered such spectacles as a rodeo, automobile races and even a race between an elephant and a camel. In 1908 the featured entertainment for the Pasadena festival was chariot races.