Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rick Cleveland: Red & Blue v. Maroon & White

I have on my desk a perfectly preserved game program from the Mississippi State-Ole Miss football game played Nov. 24, 1945. On page 1, it tells us about school colors: “For Ole Miss, Red and Blue; for Mississippi State, Maroon and White.”

That hasn't changed. Most everything else has.

We begin with the price of the program: 25 cents. Compare that to the $10 an Egg Bowl souvenir program will cost 71 years later. That's an increase of only 4,000 percent.

Then, as now, you find the lineups in the foldout of the program's middle two pages. Yes, but the lineups back then were sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes “for more smoking pleasure.” Besides giving you the starting lineups, the centerfold also gave you photos of three smiling, cheerleader-looking women giving you the ABC's of the Chesterfield brand: “A, always milder; B, better tasting; and C, cooler smoking.”

Compare that to the back page of ad from Philip Morris, “America's FINEST cigarette.” You could not make this up. The ad tells us “Phillip Morris' superiority is recognized by eminent medical authorities.” And that, “This finer-tasting cigarette is also far more considerate of your nose and throat, scientifically proved far less irritating to the smoker's nose and throat...”
Toward the back, there's another ad for Old Gold cigarettes with still a different pitch. “Why be irritated?” it asks. “Apple honey helps guard Old Golds from cigarette dryness.”

Full disclosure: The program also contains several ads for milk, including one from Pyron's Dairy on College Drive. “Milk is health,” it tells us. “Milk, you know, has long been a must item on training table menus of the leading football teams – because milk gives the gridiron greats the sturdy bones, radiant health and vital energy they need.”

Perhaps, but seems to this observer, both teams should have consumed lots more milk, and not skim milk.

The heaviest player on the State roster was 215-pound tackle S. J. Carroll of Greenville. The current Bulldogs have running backs and wide receivers who weigh more. Only six of 41 Bulldogs listed in 1945 weighed in at 200 pounds or more.

The heaviest Rebel was 210-pound tackle Joe Gary of Byram. Gary was one of two Rebels who went 200 pounds or better. Center Charles Sinopoli of Gulfport was all of 5 feet, 8 inches and 160 pounds. Today's Rebels don't have male cheerleaders so small.

The rosters are dotted with future Mississippi Sports Hall of Famers. Those Rebels included 180-pound lineman Roland Dale and 190-pounder Bernard Blackwell, future coaches and administrators. One of the Bulldog running stars was Harper Davis, the future Millsaps coach, who weighed 170 pounds and wore number 43.

Interestingly, there's an ad for the midnight show at the State Theatre later that night. The featured film – “Hitchhike to Happiness” – starred Al Pearce and Dale Evans. Evans was 13 months from marrying Roy Rogers, who would be her fourth and final husband. Ernie Pyle's “Story of G.I. Joe,” starring Burgess Meredith, was scheduled to start on Monday. There were no movies on Sunday, of course.

Remember, this was Nov. 24, 1945, roughly three months after the Japanese surrender in World War II. The program's cover featured a poem from the famed sports writer Grantland Rice:

They hit the line – and they hit it hard –
And they ran the ends of fame.
They passed and kicked to the distant goal,
When they starred in the college game.

But they heard the bugles of war that called
To a rougher and tougher test,
And now they sleep under foreign sod,
The stars who have earned their rest.

They played the game in the good old way
That led to the bayonet's thrust.
They led the charge to the final goal
Which covers their golden dust.

The 1945 Egg Bowl program includes just about everything, except, of course, the final score. The Rebels won 7-6, an upset, one of only two Ole Miss victories that season, compared to eight for State.

Rick Cleveland is a syndicated columnist and historian of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. His email address is


Anonymous said...

This is what punting looks like. Out of ideas? Write a piece about how in 1945 they had cigarette ads in the Egg Bowl program.

KF, I'm sure Rick is a nice guy and it's awfully human of you to give him a way to fill his spare time, but these articles just don't fit the blog. Lengthy articles about Billy Joe Mathers, legendary coach of the Noxapater Blue Stockings during the interwar period, do not mesh with posts about Stokes' shenanigans and Farish Street boondoggles.

That's why people come here - to discuss and vent about the jackassery that infests this city. I'm not certain pieces like this add anything. No offense to Rick Cleveland intended, honestly.

Anonymous said...

I thought people just came here to complain about everything.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Francis.....

Anonymous said...

9:36 needs to get laid.

Anonymous said...

Rick and his brother have always written in a fair, unbiased, and entertaining way. There are not many writers I can say this about. Please keep him and remind the small-minded you do not have to read his column.

Anonymous said...

Many readers enjoy rick's columns. Please keep them. If 9:36 doesnt like them, dont read them. Its not complicated.

Kingfish said...

I enjoy them. The one he wrote last week was really good. I pay for these columns so guess what? They are staying. There is never going to be a post on this website that is 100% liked or hated. I enjoy the changeup, it's sports, and I actually do get tired of reading my own stuff. Mr. Crawford's column goes up tomorrow.

I'd post more sports columns but frankly, there are very few sports columnists in Mississippi.

Blue Balls and a Tiny Mind said...

It's really hard to be biased when writing about what was playing in November 1945 at the Starkville drive-in and listing out the weights of various football players. It reads like a Jr. High essay that elaborates on minutia to meet the 500 words the teacher demanded.

But how dare anyone suggest that these aw shucks pieces about ancient game day programs and long dead assistant trainers are anything but Pulitzer-worthy journalism! Such people are small-minded virgins, because that's the only explanation for why someone visiting a political blog wouldn't revel in creaky tales from the MS Sports Hall of Fame.

You people are so insightful! I'll go nail a hooker and shop at Whole Foods. That'll really set me in the mood to read post-war ad copy from an Oktibbeha County dairy.

Anonymous said...

Rick is a good writer. The only beef I have ever had with him was his man crush on Sylvester Croom. He thought Croom was the next Bear Bryant. He would have column after column praising Croom's coaching ability. His paper even made up stuff to prop Croom up.

Anonymous said...

I suspect kingfish knows what fits on his own blog and what people click on.

-W said...

Rick leaving/forced to leave the clarion ledger is the reason I do not have a subscription. Ace, Rick, Bobby, Tyler, are all the finest people you could imagine. They are of the utmost pedigree and represent the best parts of Mississippi. The part of Mississippi they represent are Jackson Metro, Reservoir, Madison/Ridgeland, and Hattiesburg yet they write in a way that affects all of Mississippi. Rick writing about sports legends is a fine addition to this blog. I love it. It is a refreshing contrast to the same old story: Jackson Leaders suck, they continue to suck, and people vote for sucky people in jackson.

Anonymous said...

Rick is a good writer. It was an interesting nostalgic look back at college sports. Why some yahoo has to be critical is beyond me. Evidently there exist a cadre of individuals whose intellect and sophistication are far superior to us common folk.

Anonymous said...

Rick is a good writer. Nothing else to say, just wanted to repeat what everyone else was saying.

Raymond Babbitt said...

Rick is a good writer. I'm an excellent driver. Kmart sucks.

Anonymous said...

4:07, get with the Konservative PC program. You're supposed to say that Target sucks.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS