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A Husky Rose Bowl memory - from 1960

The Reporter's Notebook


Last updated 12/26/2018 at 9:48am

In a few days the University of Washington Huskies will be in the Rose Bowl.

It will be their 15th appearance in Pasadena and the Huskies will have the opportunity to tilt the record in their favor, currently having a 7-7 record.

Washington’s first appearance was in 1924, and their last in 2001.

But this column is about Washington’s sixth appearance, in 1960, when they defeated the University of Wisconsin, 44-8, and how I got there.

I was working for the Idaho Statesman in Boise at the time.

One day the owner of the paper, Jim Brown, came and sat down in front of my desk. I expected a long chat about something sports, because he often did so, since anything sports was his favorite topic.

He chatted for a bit, and then out of the blue he said, “How would you like to cover the Rose Bowl for us?”

It didn’t take long to respond. “Yes,” I said.

He told me to make the arrangements and to include my wife, Dorothy, then come to his office and go over the details with him.

He stated then, as he always did when you traveled for the paper, “Remember, we go first class.”

The Statesman spared no expense when you traveled for a story.

I came in early the next day and sat down with the lady who made travel arrangements for reporters. We planned to drive down to Pasadena and stay about 10 days. So the emphasis was where to stay.

I explained that I planned to visit the training sites for both teams and gave the locations for both. She had picked out a hotel somewhere in between the two.

After calling and making press arrangements, I wandered into Brown’s office. The first thing he wanted to know was where we were staying.

I told him, and he said, “Don’t stay there.” I wondered if there had been some report of “bed bugs” at the place.

Brown said we should stay at the Hollywood Hotel, a small but luxurious hotel near Hollywood and Vine, in the movie area. They were having the premiere showing of “Ben Hur” at the time, so you can understand more easily the time setting.

At the time, I was driving a near-new English Hillman Minx, a small car that got good gas mileage.

But I knew that in the snow it was more like a sled than a bulldozer.

Brown stated that he planned on being in the LA area and would be staying at the Mayflower.

He often went to LA for a month or so every year to play the ponies at Santa Anita. He suggested that we were to keep some time free so he could show us around.

True to his word, we had barely settled in when I received his call to go out to Santa Anita. He said a car and driver would appear at a certain time to pick us up.

We enjoyed Santa Anita, where he had box seats, and he sent car and driver at another time for the Olympic Stadium and the fights, and later the Brown Derby, a classy restaurant for dinner.

I planned the schedule to spend time on game day with college friends who lived in Pasadena, who were planning a spot where we could watch the Rose Parade, and then it was off to the game.

That day, Jan. 1, 1960, there were officially 100,809 paying fans at the game. Looking down on the crowd, it was probably more people than I had seen in my entire life.

The Huskies easily defeated Wisconsin, and I hurriedly wrote my story and phoned it in.

A number of young athletes and coaches from both teams are now in for a lifetime memorable experience, really like no other.

The question in a few days is whether the Huskies can tip the record their way when they compete in their 15th Rose Bowl.


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