Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The magazine consisted of photo collections and articles highlighting the industries and opportunities in Alabama during the late 1930s. It covered subjects such as the cotton and steel industry as well as the port facilities and railroad access. The state's historic and cultural highlights were given good coverage and there was even a section on Alabama Polytechnic Institute.
According to the editors, "a carload" of the magazines was put on the train that left Birmingham on Dec. 25 carrying the Crimson Tide team and 2,000 backers to Pasadena. The publication was then circulated on the West Coast to promote interest in Alabama.
The cover of A Cheer for Alabama featured a photo of Alabama cheerleader Martha Witt Burleson who had earned a bit of national fame by the trip to the Rose Bowl. Described as an All-American Cheerleader, she was featured in a series of slightly-cheesecake photos that were circulated in newspapers nationally the weeks before the New Year's Day game under the title "No Wonder Bama Cheers."
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
|Photo via Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum|
Friday, September 23, 2011
As the Alabama Crimson Tide football team reached the height of their power and popularity in the mid-1930s, songwriters Frank S. Perkins and Mitchell Parish penned a tune that would become as identified with the state and the era as the football team, Stars Fell On Alabama.
Massachusetts-born Perkins penned the music and Michell, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania who originally settled in Louisiana, wrote the words for the song. The song referred to the extremely active Lenoid meteor showers visible across much of Alabama on the night of Nov. 12, 1833.
"For several hours, thousands and even millions of these meteors appeared in every direction to be in constant motion," wrote The Huntsville Democrat of the event. The spectacular incident terrified many people across the South who witnessed it, particularly slaves, and it eventually became a part of Alabama folklore.
A great deal of the work involved his experience with the state's vibrant folk culture and he discussed the importance of the 1833 meteor shower in the cultural memory of the state.
"Many an Alabamian to this day reckons dates from 'the year the stars fell,'" he wrote.
The popularity of the song increased after it was recorded by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra later in 1934. Stars Fell On Alabama quickly became a standard of jazz musicians and has since been notably performed by Jack Teagarden, Frank Sinatra as well as Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong.
In 1957, Billie Holiday recorded this version of the song just two years before her death at the age of 44. It appeared on her fifth studio album, Songs for Distingué Lovers, and features the work of trumpeter Harry Edison and saxophonist Ben Webster.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
|Photo via The Duke University Archives|
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
|City of Pasadena officials inspect the wreckage of a grandstand|
that collapsed during the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 1926.
Jan. 1, 1926 was the deadliest day in the history of the Tournament of Roses. More than a dozen people were killed in a trio of tragic incidents on the route of the Rose Parade that year, the worst of which was the collapse of a shoddily-built grandstand constructed to view the procession.
A crowd of several hundred thousand people had gathered along the 5-and-a-half mile parade route on New Year’s Day morning prior to the football game that pitted the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Washington Huskies.
Several temporary grandstands had been constructed to accommodate the crowd and approximately 350 people were on the elevated structure erected at the southeast corner of Colorado and Madison as the parade passed at 11 a.m.
According to newspaper reports there was first a loud crack then the entire grandstand dropped slightly. The front end of the bleachers then rapidly began moving forward several feet.
"This was followed instantly by the total collapse of supporting beams and braces and the stand crashed to the ground, a tangled mass of men, women and children, broken timbers and bright colored decorations," reported the Pasadena Morning Sun.
Members of a Robert's Golden State Band were standing nearby after having been ejected from the parade for not being authorized to perform. They immediately began working to pull survivors from the wreckage.
|The crowd on Colorado Street in|
Pasadena after the 1926 parade.
The collapse was attributed to a host of structural flaws including poor-grade lumber, bad workmanship and a complete absence of cross bracing. Moreover, there had been almost no oversight during the design and construction by the city or tournament officials - both of whom later denied any responsibility for the accident.
Pasadena's deputy building and safety inspector, Charles B. Bucknall, and building contractor Paul F. Mahoney were both charged with manslaughter. Bucknall was acquitted and Mahoney convicted to ten years in prison. He served one year but was freed when the charges against him were dropped after a new trial was ordered.
The disaster spurred the City of Pasadena to install strict regulations for the design, construction and inspection of grandstands. The new standards required the use of that steel-reinforced frames for the structures.
The incident wasn't the only tragedy that morning. Susan M. Bowen, the wife of a prominent local real estate developer, died when she fell from a roof of a two story commercial building along the parade route on Colorado Boulevard. Her fall also killed a parade spectator on the street below.
The final fatality that day was Pasadena equestrian police officer John Fox who was working crowd control along on the parade route. As the procession approached the crowd pressed in and the officer's horse was spooked. Fox was thrown to the ground and trampled by the animal. He died from spinal injuries.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
|The team captains, Alabama's Charles Clement and Elmer Schwartz of|
Washington State, meet with Irene Dunne prior to the 1931 Rose Bowl.
A native of Kentucky, Dunne began her career in the 1920s on Broadway and her big break came in the starring role of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical Show Boat. She was "discovered" during a Chicago performance in 1929 and signed a contract with RKO and starred in her first movie the following year (Leathernecking).
|Dunne and the Wash. State team.|
Although the stadium had been expanded to a new-capacity crowd of more than 84,500, inclement weather was blamed for a disappointing turnout of 65,000 for the game.
In a 1990 interview with the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review, Washington State tailback Tuffy Ellingsen recalled the team's encounter with Dunne.
"Before the game she came out and met in our huddle," he said. "Irene had a little speech. She said, 'We want good sportsmanship. We want good relations between the teams.' One of our guys said, 'We'd rather have good relations with you, Irene.'"
Washington State lost to the Crimson Tide 24-0.
Dunne's performance in Cimarron later that year earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best actress (she would go on to earn a total of five nominations but never won). She would go on to become a very popular screen heroine during the 1930s and 1940s starring in films such as Back Street (1932), Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and The Awful Truth (1937).
Friday, September 16, 2011
By the time Glenn Scobey Warner arrived in Palo Alto in 1924, he was already an institution. The 53-year-old coach known as "Pop" took over the Stanford football program after leading Cornell, Pittsburgh and, most famously, the Carlisle Indian School to gridiron success.
A trailblazer in the sport, Warner is credited with introducing a host of innovations that have become not simply commonplace but are the backbone of how the game is played. These include the unbalanced line, the backfield, the screen pass, the rolling block, the naked reverse and the practice of numbering plays.
Warner's success at Stanford was founded on his double wingback offense from which he befuddled defenses with "a bewildering set of spins, reverses, double reverses, fake reverses, runs from fake passes and passes from fake runs" as sportswriter Tim Cohane put it.
|Alabama and Stanford battled|
to a tie in the 1927 Rose Bowl
Warner was also an innovator. He is credited with the creation of shoulder and thigh pads and he was known to experiment with equipment to give his teams an edge. In the 1927 Rose Bowl he outfitted his team with silk pants in hopes it would make them faster and tougher to tackle.
Another innovation Warner used against Alabama was a zone pass defense. While the strategy didn't earn Stanford the victory, it was effective in stymieing the Crimson Tide aerial assault. Alabama attempted seven passes and completed only one.
After the 1932 season, Warner left Stanford and headed back east to coach Temple. In his nine years in Palo Alto he had collected a 71-17-8 record. He retired from coaching in 1938 with a lifetime 319–106–32 record. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
|Photo via the Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum|
Alabama's Harry Gilmer ran back LSU's first punt 92 yards for a touchdown less than three minutes into the contest and the Crimson Tide never looked back. The Tiger's ailing Y.A. Tittle was unable to mount a comeback and Alabama bested LSU 41-12. The victory earned the Crimson Tide an invitation to play in the 1948 Sugar Bowl.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
|Wilson carries the ball against Alabama in the 1926 Rose Bowl.|
During his three years with Washington the Huskies won 28 games, lost three, were tied thrice, and went to the Rose Bowl in 1925 and 1926. He also set the school's record for career touchdowns at 37 which still stands (it was tied by Joe Steele in the late 1970s).
|George "Wildcat" Wilson|
In 1925 he was named to Grantland Rice's All-American squad alongside Red Grange and his team earned an invitation to the Rose Bowl game to face Alabama. Wilson was having a day against the Crimson Tide but was knocked out of the game late in the second quarter and didn't return to play until the final period.
With Wilson in the game, Washington gained 317 yards and scored 19 points. With him on the sideline, the Huskies could only garner 17 yards and went scoreless. In that interim, Alabama scored 20 points. That proved to be the difference as the final whistle sounded. Alabama 20 - Washington 19.
Wilson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, named to the All-Time Pacific Coast Team in 1969 and inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1991.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
|Johnny Mack Brown|
Brown was first touted as a romantic foil in silent films and was featured alongside Greta Garbo, Marion Davies as well as Mary Pickford in 1929's Coquette - a role that earned the actress an Academy Award for her performance.
The zenith of his pursuit to become leading actor for a major studio came in 1930 when he starred in King Vidor's Billy the Kid but the rapid rise of Clark Gable as the main lead for MGM curtailed his career. Brown went on to work as a character actor for several other major studios but his desire for leading roles led him to work for low-budget independent studios. It was there he resurrected his career as a star of B-movie westerns.
Brown eventually starred in no less than 127 Westerns and, during the heyday of the genre during the 1940s, he was consistently among the top ten money-makers for the independent studios and never ranked outside of the top ten in Box Office popularity polls.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Then, in the second quarter, Alabama unloaded on the Indians, scoring 22 points in less than 13 minutes. This film shows two of those scoring plays; a 59-yard touchdown pass from Dixie Howell (54) to Don Hutson (14) as well as Howell's 67-yard touchdown run that broke the game open for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama won the game 29-13 and claimed the national championship.