Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mondays With Murray: The Subject is Ro$e$

The Rose Bowl Game, which traditionally is played on New Year’s Day, will be played on Monday, Jan. 2.
The Tournament of Roses has had a ‘Never on Sunday’ tradition since 1893, the first year since the beginning of the tournament that New Year's Day fell on a Sunday. Organizers wanted to avoid frightening horses that would be hitched outside churches and thus interfering with worship services, so the events were moved to the next day, Jan. 2. Though horses are no longer outside local churches, the tradition remains to this day.
Monday, January 2, 2017, 1:30 p.m. PM PST, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. — University of Southern California (9-3, Pac-12) vs. Penn State (11-2, Big Ten).
This week we take you back to the Rose Bowl in 1974 as Jim Murray digs into the history of and the financial contribution the Rose Bowl game has brought to Southern California.




The Subject is Ro$e$

The subject is roses. But, color them green and spell it ro$e$.
We are indebted to Joe Hendrickson and his fine source book, ‘The Tournament of Roses,’ for a look at what this accidental festival has been to the life and times of Southern California.
The movies made Southern California the industrial and population megalopolis it has become. But did you know a two-reeler on the Rose Parade, released in 1900, was the first such to let the rest of the country know you could grow roses in January out here, that the Indians had long since ceased to circle the wagons on the Mojave, and that the lighting for the film so impressed moguls trying to outguess the cloud cover in the East that they packed up their cameras and puttees and headed out here on the double?
The popular notion that the Rose Parade was an outgrowth of boosterism, and the device of men with real estate to sell their goods to market is not correct.
Actually, the men who staged it were wealthy and secure and didn't need money or customers. They were really altruists. "Who will say life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not more desirable in Southern California than any place on earth?" challenged the second president of the festival. Pasadena was then a village of 4,882 but, from that modest beginning rose the festival that today beams in full color on nearly 100 million TV sets across the country to a nation largely locked in by snow or ice.
The first tournament subsisted on $595 raised by public subscription, but subsequent ones raised money by the sale of post cards (2,043 in 1895), and the selling of the movie rights to the Vitascope Co. that nickelodeon patrons flocked to see for months afterward.
The first Rose Bowl games were chariot races. The idea for a football game was that of president James B. Wagner in 1901. Unfortunately, he saw fit to invite Fielding H. Yost's Michigan team and the game against Stanford was mercifully called after only three periods since Stanford's 11 had received several fractured ribs and a broken leg and multiple broken noses by that time.
Yost's "Point-a-Minute" team, which had scored 501 points against none for the opposition all year, was right on schedule in the Rose Bowl game. They had 49 points in 45 minutes.
Some say a lifelong inferiority complex was born that day. What is known is that it killed the Tournament of Roses game for 14 years and, when it was renewed, the West Coast took the safe route and invited Ivy League teams.
The brutes from Michigan were not invited back for 46 years, and even that was too soon. They won again, 49-0, in 1948, proving they, or the Coast, was in a rut.
In 1920 the late W.L. Leishman became president of the tournament and took his son, Lathrop (still a member of the tournament's football committee), back to his native New Haven to study the structure of the Yale Bowl for duplication in Pasadena's Arroyo Seco. The original stadium cost $272,198.26 and a Pasadena sportswriter promptly dubbed it ‘the Rose Bowl.’ Nineteen thousand seats were added in 1928 and the final additions were poured in post-Second World War to bring the capacity up to 105,000. It's surrounded by a fence one mile in circumference.
It hasn't rained on a Rose Bowl game in 20 years. It has only rained nine times in 83 years.
Grand Marshals of the parade have ranged from movie comedians (Harold Lloyd) to Presidents of the United States (Eisenhower, Nixon) to golf professionals (Arnold Palmer). Only Bob Hope and Richard Nixon have repeated.
With tickets selling for $12.50, this means the game will gross $1,308,750 from game sales alone. (The 1902 game showed a profit of $3,168.86 and the Rose Bowl has lost money only twice.) The gross game figure does not include program sales, soda pop, hot dogs and miscellany.
It is probably the biggest-grossing, single-day football game in history. Surl Kim, one of dozens of tour promoters, who started his Rose Bowl trade with a half-a-cab load 20 years ago, now ferries in 4,000 people from the Midwest, Mideast and parts of Pennsylvania. He commands a fleet of 95 buses on game day and there's an ulcer in each one.
"At least two will get lost, one will break down," Kim says. "The ladies will find the restroom facilities at the Rose Bowl totally inadequate — last year one of our ladies gave up and got in the men's line, which is always only about one-third of the woman's. About 50 of my people will take sick. Most of them would rather go to hear Lawrence Welk than the Rose Bowl anyway. They would rather see Bob Hope than O.J. Simpson, Woody Allen rather than Woody Hayes.”
The little old idea of the little old men from Pasadena is big money to little old L.A. these days. Kim reports every downtown hotel filled. Disneyland will be packed with tourists from Aliquippa to Alabama. So, if Southern California loses a mere football game New Year's Day, shed no tears for it. Southern California's loss is the community's gain. It should be called the Tournament of Money. That Ro$e Bowl is full of sugar.

Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times.

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116
What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 
  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation's efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

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