It was 66 years ago that I first witnessed this historical sporting event. On that occasion, New Year’s Day of 1948, I was seated in the Sponsor’s elaborate box. I chanced to be there because one of my college roommates father was an early-day sponsor of the event. He owned a chain of supermarkets in the Southern California area.
Along with me were his son, Bill Geohegan, and another of my roommates, Pete Pridgen. Pridgen and I had hooked up with Geohegan in the fall of 1947 in New York City, where we embarked on a fast-paced automobile trip across the country to his (Geohegan’s) father’s palatial home in Pasadena, California. The trip took a total of 48 hours, including a four-hour layover in Arizona to replace a failed water pump. The major part of the trip was on famous Route 66.
Following that, the three of us spent the fall semester of 1947 at the University of Nevada along with three other roommates; Harold Hayes, “Goldie” Farnsworth, and Brunson Harris. The six of us were ensconced on the second floor of UN team Doctor Wesley Hall’s two-story Victorian office near St. Mary’s Hospital — many adventures there.
As the Christmas Break approached Geohegan suggested that Pridgen and I join him for a vacation in Pasadena. While we were there, we hit the hot-spots in Hollywood, which included the MGM Studios tour, Ciro’s, and the Mocambo.
As game-day approached, Geohegan informed us that we had been selected as escorts for the Rose Bowl Queen’s Court. While the wealthy Geohegan had a tux, Pridgen and I didn’t. A hasty scour of rental shops resulted in us getting the last two tuxes available. How they fit didn’t matter. Pridgen got a short, stout tux that would have fit Sidney Greenstreet, and I got a tight one that looked like Li’l Abner. Nonetheless, we made the New Year’s Eve Ball.
My second trip to the Rose Bowl was a solo one, on a rain-drenched day. I was seated in the end-zone and witnessed football great Alan Ameche score multiple touchdowns.
Following that game, I was invited to a New Year’s Day party at the home of Frank McCarthy, the Story Editor at 20th Century Fox. While there, I met several celebrities, including Jeffrey Hunter and Glynis Johns.
On my third visit to the Rose Bowl, my wife Ann and I were accompanied by Pat and Bob McClure. It was a historic game, inasmuch as the Rose Bowl had no lights and the game finished in almost total darkness.
My last trip to the storied site was in 1983, when my son Zach and I were seated in the section occupied by the UCLA players’ wives. It was the perfect setting as the UCLAns defeated Michigan. Following the game, we drove the lengthy trip from Pasadena to Lake Tahoe.
The Rose Bowl is the most perfectly designed football complex I have ever attended, since the absence of a running track around the field brings all of the 100,000 fans closer to the action.
Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.