Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2011

100 years ago: Football fans enjoy mechanized reproduction of KU-MU game

November 27, 2011


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 27, 1911:

"More than 1000 persons gathered on Massachusetts street Saturday afternoon to see the Kansas-Missouri football game played on the gridiron that had been built in front of the Journal-World office. Never in the history of Lawrence has such a thing been seen. Automobile parties, buggies, wagons, hundreds on foot, everyone who could gather to watch the game played. They began coming down town every early and they stayed until after the game was over. It was the best thing that Lawrence has ever seen. It will always be remembered.... The field was a complete one, and the device built by C. V. Leigh was so unique that everyone who saw it said he should get a patent on it. The ball was arranged so that it could be turned and shown by the colors whether it was Kansas' ball or Missouri's ball. Every minute that vast crowd kept its eyes on the ball, and how they cheered when it neared the goal line.... It took a perfect working corps to make the Saturday what it was.... There was a leased wire run from Rollins field and there was no relaying, no waiting at St. Louis, or Kansas City. At the key there was W. C. Fountaine, of the Western Union, and never has a man at the key handled a wire service in the manner that Fountaine did. His copy was accurate, it was speedy, and he took it so that there was no delay in getting the story to the outside field. Directing the work of the field was Harry Allphin of Lawrence, who megaphoned the story, who directed the action of the mechanical field. Allphin made a cheer leader also and time and again the Rock Chalk rang out from the crowd in front of the office."


Tee 6 years, 5 months ago

Displaying my ignorance of matters both sports- and Kansas-related: I thought the Rock Chalk was a basketball thing, or at least a Jayhawk thing. Is/was the football team also Jayhawks? Or is use of the cheer more widespread than I had imagined?

Sarah St. John 6 years, 5 months ago

Hello out-of-state person! Yes, everyone at KU is a Jayhawk; all sports teams have the Jayhawk as their mascot. See . The basketball team probably gets the most TV coverage in your area, so I can understand the confusion! As for the Rock Chalk Chant, you can read up on it here:

The freshmen are taught the chant during their first week, as well as the song, some other cheers, and how to "wave the wheat."

Sarah St. John 6 years, 5 months ago

This was one of the very frustrating times for me as OHT writer. The articles in the 1911 paper assumed that everyone knew what they were talking about, so why put in more details? I for one had never heard of a football game being reproduced (with the help of telegraph relays) in a different town in another state, and I was left with more questions than I arrived with. What was the Mass Street gridiron made of? How big was it? Did it have actual players on it, or just the mechanized ball mentioned in the article? Was this something that happened only in Lawrence and only that one time, or were there other similar incidents elsewhere, for other games? I've done a bit of searching, but no luck. Gahhh!!!

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