Drive-Thru: 1958 Rose Bowl… sorta…

Posted by Vico in Buckeye Lore |

Chick Hearn and Mel Allen say Hello
If we treat the Drive-Thru YouTuberies that I do as a metaphor for fast food on the go, this installment is more like driving through Burger King just to order pair of fries and a shake.  Some of the original footage from this game is lost to history.  The absence of reels 2 and 4 basically mean you don’t get to see any of the second quarter (where Oregon had its lone score, a TD run), just about all of the 3rd quarter and, sadly, the beginning of the 4th quarter.  Ohio State scored what would eventually be the game-winning FG early in the 4th and, as chance would have it, reel 5 picks up right as Oregon’s ensuing drive after the FG starts.

Still, I thought this was too good to pass up.  The footage comes from a 1959 re-airing of the 1958 Rose Bowl.  It was billed as it was aired as the oldest surviving telecast of the Rose Bowl known to exist.  I’m not sure of the present-day veracity of this claim, but some things stick out.  The first local telecast of the Rose Bowl Game came in 1948 and the first national telecast came in 1952.  In other words, televising the Rose Bowl was a new thing by time the Buckeyes came out to Pasadena to secure a national title, so perhaps it may not be that much of a stretch to say some of the other stuff got lost to history.  Just for the sake of history, I hope it isn’t.

Still, in spite of the limited footage available in this game, you can still see some Buckeye notables.  Dick LeBeau returned the opening kickoff, though he was quiet most of the game (unlike his explosion against Michigan in the previous game).  Jim Houston was a monster on both sides of the ball and, let’s face it, the only real football is single platoon football.  Jim Marshall and Aurealius Thomas were on the roster and Dick Schafrath and Bill Jobko were opening holes for Bob White and Dick LeBeau this game.

Sadly, not only is the footage here limited but the style of football comes from a simpler time when passing the ball was considered high-tech sorcery.  The 10-7 final score suggests as much.  Still, it’s worth watching.  You young turks out there who think Orlando Pace was all that1 would be wise to read up on Dick Schafrath.

The Buckeyes were heavily favored entering this game and a valiant effort by the “Webfoots” — as they were — kept this game close.  Ohio State won the game 10-7, securing their no. 1 ranking in the UPI.  Further, because Auburn, the no. 1 team in the country at the time per the AP, was on probation for recruiting violations2 and barred from consideration, the no. 2 Buckeyes were considered national champions by default.  The 10-7 win in the Rose Bowl capped off a 9-1 season, with the lone loss a home opener against Texas Christians.  Those small schools in Texas (SMU, TCU) could be unpleasant to the Buckeyes in home openers in that time.

Other Observations

  • Jack Crabtree, Oregon quarterback, was named game MVP in one of the few times a player from the losing team was given Rose Bowl MVP honors.  Because he threw for a whopping 135 yards and his Ducks held the heavily favored Buckeyes even for most of the game, Crabtree was appropriately awarded.
  • If we looked beyond him for this game, my MVP would probably go to Jim Houston.  He was the standout for me this game, at least from what I was able to watch.
  • Ohio State fans started to tear down the goal posts with about 30 seconds left.  The problem was that Ohio State had to run two more plays in the meantime because Oregon called a pair of timeouts to delay the victory.  Ohio State fans, to their credit and in spite of already loitering on the field of play, decided to wait for the game to finish before further destruction of the goal posts could commence.  Ah, the good ol’ days.
  • Oregon’s head coach, Len Casanova, was hoisted on the Ducks’ shoulders and paraded off the field for a valiant effort in the loss.  Can we safely say that will never, ever happen again?
  • Fortunately, Reel 3 survived the passage of time.  Reel 3 includes the halftime shows.  The one by Ohio State is classic and I uploaded it earlier this morning.  Don’t let the military style and chic fool you — these cats can jive.
  • Who said corporate sponsorship in college football is a new thing? Gillette bought the rights to this game.  Every commercial aired was a Gillette-approved commercial.
  • Seriously, Chick Hearn — the voice of the LA Lakers — and Mel Allen — the voice of the Yankees — called this game.  Per Mel Allen, “Hooooow ’bout that?”.  Chick Hearn, however, did not do his regular Lakers victory close as Ohio State won the game.  You know, the one with the refrigerator door being closed and the lights being out and the Jell-O and the eggs and the things of this nature.
  • Sorry, I hated the Lakers growing up, but if you were of age by that time, that voice will stick with you forever.
  • My mom and I had the same reaction when we found out this game was broadcast on KRCA 4 Los Angeles.  Her and I were comparably astonished, with the general “woooooooah” reaction.  That station hasn’t existed in LA for years, though a current UHF station in LA uses that callsign.

Admittedly, it’s an injustice to some of the previous games I uploaded to call this a “Drive-Thru” similar to the other ones, but again: my blog, my YouTuberies, my rules.  You can watch what’s available below.

  1. …and he was, but follow me here… []
  2. a recurring problem for this particular institution. []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


6 Responses to “Drive-Thru: 1958 Rose Bowl… sorta…”

  1. 1 Gabby Jay

    You’re welcome, btw :grin:

  2. 2 Vico

    Thanks :wink:

  3. 3 Ken

    OMG, Houston, Marshall, White, Shafrath.. brought tears to my eyes. Also, the Gillette jingle. Nice job guys, thanks.

  4. 4 Ron

    Good game! Great show! I liked the band’s tribute to Macho Man Randy Savage (opening song at halftime). I didn’t know Macho Man was wrestling in the 50′s.

    Back in the day, they weren’t known as TBDBITL, it was TBDBITWR (referring to the Western Reserve). Before the Great Plains were crisscrossed with railroads and highways, you needed to take a ship around Cape Horn to get to Pasadena. Alternatively, you could rent a herd of buffalo if you “Absolutely positively have to get there before the end of next month”.

  5. 5 TA

    Wow, thanks for posting this gem. Amazing job, as always.

  6. 6 BK

    Really appreciate the YouTube efforts and this in particular is a gem! I believe that is the earliest touchdown in Buckeye football history that I’ve ever seen.

    If you’re interested in Jim Jackson era Buckeye basketball, along with some football games from that era, email me and I’ll tick off a list of what I’ve got. I have some pretty odd (rare?) games, like the home opener against Texas Tech and the game @ BC in 1990.

Leave a Reply