Football, 1957: SMU

I had an awful time with this. For whatever reason–maybe just chance–there isn’t much to be found in the Woodson about this game. I eventually turned up a couple of things but first I’m going to subject you to the story of how I did it. Fair Warning: I am reminded here of the immortal words of Grampa Simpson: “‘Long story short’ is a phrase whose origins are complicated and rambling.”

I turned first to the scrapbook that I’ve been using for this series, only to find it barren–not even a game program. Well, I didn’t want to write this post without a game program so I started looking in other collections. No dice. Even our program collection, which is pretty thorough, is missing this one. (If you have one, please send me an email.) Turning to Coach Neely’s files for the 1957 season I discovered that there isn’t even a folder for this game. At this point I begin to suspect a conspiracy.

I finally found a story in the Thresher but it was frankly boring and so was the rest of the page that it was on. I still had several tricks up my sleeve, though, and my luck began to turn. Sort of.  I went and dug out one of the scrapbooks that the alumni used to keep–this one contained all the clippings they could find from 1955 to 1958. And when I say “all the clippings they could find” I am not kidding. These scrapbook are huge, they are enormous, they are filled with every mention in any newspaper of anything that happened at or involving Rice and anyone who ever went to school there. Truly the sublime to the ridiculous. Here is a picture of me showing the video guy, Brandon, how big this thing is. No kidding, it has to weigh at least ten pounds:

But there is a long, interesting article about the SMU game in there. Finally! However, there is also a problem. How am I going to scan it? It’s far too unwieldy to get it onto the scanning bed. A quick-witted colleague sent me to Andy Damico, a preservation librarian, who gently separated the clipping from the page with a scalpel. (Not an exacto knife–a real scalpel. This was great to watch.) Thus, I present it to you:

(A bit of Inside the Archives: See those smears on the newspaper? That’s what happens when you glue something into a scrapbook and then let it sit for fifty years. The positive side of this is that when the glue dries out so thoroughly, it’s relatively easy to pry the paper free from the book, which is what we did here.)

I then took a shot in the dark and pulled a file called simply “1957 Football” from one of the boxes in the athletics collection. I really wasn’t expecting anything, so I was surprised to find a stat sheet for this game (only the Rice stats) nestled in with some documents that might best be termed “miscellany.” So here’s that too:

Not a great game it seems, but a solid win.

Bonus: Remember this dead phone in Baker? I posted about it here.

It finally disappeared in the recent renovation.

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12 Responses to Football, 1957: SMU

  1. C Kelly says:

    Just a suggestion regarding digital images of scrapbooks & other hard-to-scan items. Try a digital camera with a stand & good lighting. Segment oversized or difficult pages with multiple pictures. Stitch them back together using Photoshop, or whatever application suits you. May not work in all cases, but does a reasonable job in many.

  2. Richard Schafer says:

    The stats really show just how different the game was in those days. Frank Hill rushed, threw passes, punted, kicked for points after touchdowns, and to top it off, returned punts. Was there anything that guy didn’t do?

    Rice only passed 5 times in the whole game! The only time Ryan threw the ball, it was intercepted and run back 100 yards for a touchdown, which certainly would have been an exciting play, although not pleasant for Rice.

  3. Grungy says:

    The Digital Resource Center that may or may not still be in Herring Hall has/had a copy stand for material unsuited for the usual scanner. This has a tall post that holds a camera at whatever height you set, and a well-lit platform below upon which to place the subject material. I’d loan you mine (Forox), but we’d have to (a) get it out of storage and (b) find a room with a ceiling high enough to set it up. Images of a copy stand here:

  4. Nancy Burch says:

    That weekend was fall break (remember, we had Saturday classes back then) and a big group of us took the train to Dallas for the game. Fun times!

  5. Wes Hansen says:

    As this game happened on the day of my birth, I have since purchased the program from ebay. I would be glad to scan and send it to you. As a forewarning, however, the cover is as boring and generic to the times as it can get – nothing compared to the wonderful Chase covers from Rice home games in the fifties and early sixties.

  6. Hugh Welsh says:

    Hugh Welsh Class of 1956-Tell Richard Schafer that our All American QB was King Hill-not Frank Hill.The better Qb was Frank Ryan,who was also an honor student earning an engineering degree..King Hill was a PhysEd major who was not in class very much-his seat in my political Science class was usually empty.Ryan starred as QB for the Cleveland Browns for years while Hill only stayed in NFL as punter for the St Louis Cardinals

  7. Bob Reinhold says:

    I was a freshman at TCU that year, and borrowed a fraternity brother’s car to drive over to the game. We completely outclassed them, but Frank Ryan threw an interception for a 100 yard return, and Don Meredith made a late entrance for SMU and passed them down the field for another TD. By the way King Hill was in the NFL for 12 seasons and threw almost 900 passes. Ryan was the better passer, but Hill was a great all-around athlete.

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  10. joecwhite says:

    Another method for scanning large-format items is to hack a flatbed scanner. I bought a used Canon LiDE 50 for a buck, but have not gotten around to trying this:

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