The Tar Heels versus the Other Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will kick off its 2013 football season tonight, August 29th, in a nationally televised game broadcast from Columbia, South Carolina.  It will be the fifty-sixth time the two teams have met, with a storied past that dates to 1903.  Morton volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a brief look at the history of this backyard battle. [EDITOR’S NOTE: this post was updated on 30 August 2013 to resolve an unknown technical gremlin that prevented the webpage from rendering properly.]

Al Grygo, University of South Carolina halfback, running during game with University of North Carolina..

Hugh Morton’s photograph from the 27 September 1941 UNC versus USC football game, cropped as published in The Daily Tar Heel with the caption, “AL GRYGO, SOUTH CAROLINA’S sensational half back, rips through the center of the Tar Heel line for a ten-yard gain during the second quarter of yesterday’s contest. Running interference for him is Krinovak, USC guard and coming in for the tackle are Carolina’s Bill Faircloth [#60], and Joe Austin. The photograph also appeared in the 1942 yearbook Yackety Yack. (In the yearbook caption, Grygo only picked up six yards.)  South Carolina defeated UNC 13-7.

When the University of North Carolina takes the field at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina to start its 125th football season on ESPN College Football Thursday Primetime, I can safely predict that Carolina will win. The thing is, which Carolina?  Will it be Larry Fedora’s North Carolina or Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina?  Vegas money is on the team from the south in 2013 by twelve points, but when these two teams meet, anything might happen as evidenced by what has gone before.

The Tar Heels and the Gamecocks first played on October 10, 1903 with the Heels winning 17 to 0 over a South Carolina team coached by C. R. Williams.  During the eleven games that followed, the boys from the North never lost.  (There were, however, two ties—one in 1912 and one in 1921).  The Gamecocks finally won in 1924.  The two Carolinas met twelve times between 1924 and 1944 with USC winning four and UNC winning six.  Again there were two ties, one in 1928 and one in 1937.  Following South Carolina’s 6-to-0 win in 1944, four seasons went by before the two met again.

When Carl Snavely’s Tar Heels flew into Columbia on Friday, October 7, 1949, they were riding atop an eighteen game regular season winning streak and were primed and ready to meet a strong South Carolina eleven.  UNC’s captain, Charlie Justice, was two games into his senior year and was leading the number sixth ranked Tar Heels.  It was like homecoming for Justice: there were six players on the South Carolina squad from his hometown of Asheville, plus Justice and USC’s head coach Rex Enright were good friends.  Enright had recruited Charlie in January of 1946; at one point Justice was planning to join Enright at USC, but that didn’t work out.

The afternoon of Saturday, October 8, 1949 was warm with a few threatening clouds as 28,500 fans poured into Carolina Stadium, (it’s Williams-Brice Stadium today), setting a record, at the time, for the largest crowd ever to see a football game in the state of South Carolina.

In place on the Tar Heel sideline was photographer Hugh Morton.

Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice evades several USC Gamecocks tacklers.

Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice evades several USC Gamecock tacklers during the October 8, 1949 USC versus USC game at Carolina Stadium. A detail from this negative appears in the February 1951 issue of The Alumni Review.

Writing in the game-day program, columnist “Red” Ballentine said, “When you mention the Tar Heels, there is one gentleman who is foremost in football minds—a genuine Southern celebrity who goes under the handle of Charlie Justice—known to all the world as Choo Choo.”

Reporting on the game, the Greensboro Daily News noted that many fans carried portable radios in order to listen to the World Series game between the Yankees and the Dodgers.

South Carolina surprised the shirt-sleeved crowd by holding the heavily-favored Tar Heels to a 7-7 halftime tie, but in the second half it was all Charlie Justice and Art Weiner. Early in the second half, with the ball at the SC 47, Justice hit Weiner on a 24-yard pass. A drive later it was Justice to Weiner again, this time for 40 yards. The Heels rolled to a final score of 28 to 13.

Rex Enright of University of South Carolina and Carl Snavely of the University of North Carolina meet after UNC's 28-13 victory on October 8, 1949 at Columbia, S.C.

CAROLINA COACHES CONFER —Head coaches Rex Enright of the University of South Carolina and Carl Snavely of the University of North Carolina meet after UNC’s 28-13 victory on October 8, 1949 at Columbia, S.C.

Following the game in an interview with Al Thomy of the Greensboro Daily News, Enright said, “Just when we stopped their running, they would pass. And if we dared concentrate on their aerial game, they would come back on the ground. . . Justice and Weiner form a great offensive combination. They are just like the Yankees.” (By the way, the New York Yankees won that World Series game over the Brooklyn Dodgers also played on October 8th by a score of 6 to 4).

Enright was not questioned about an incident that occurred in the first quarter during a UNC drive, when a close fourth down play was ruled a Tar Heel first down. Following the ruling, during a UNC time out, Enright called Justice over to the sideline and asked the Tar Heel captain to ask for a measurement, which he did and the measurement proved that referee J.D. Rogers, Jr. had made the correct call.

About two months after the game, Charlie Justice was selected for the Collier’s All America team, and the magazine published a Hugh Morton photograph of Justice from the USC game for its December 10, 1949 issue.  In 1997, that same Morton image would be placed on display in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor on the first floor of the Kenan Football Center on the UNC campus.

UNC-Chapel Hill versus University of South Carolina football game in Carolina Stadium, Columbia, SC. Player wearing uniform #25 is UNC's Irv Holdash.

UNC-Chapel Hill versus University of South Carolina football game in Carolina Stadium, Columbia, SC.  Player wearing uniform #25 is UNC’s Irv Holdash.

A little over a year after that ’49 game, Enright’s and Snavely’s teams met again in Columbia’s Carolina Stadium.  On November 18, 1950, 25,000 fans, including South Carolina’s Governor Strom Thurmond and photographer Hugh Morton, saw the Tar Heels fall behind by a 7 to 0 score early in the first quarter, but saw them come back with two scores in the second on a combination of A-formation and single wing plays.  As it turned out, the halftime score of 14 to 7 was also the final score.

South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond and wife Jean at the November 18, 1950 UNC vs. USC football game.

South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond and wife Jean at the November 18, 1950 UNC vs. USC football game at Columbia, S.C.

UNC put up another convincing win against USC when the teams met in Kenan Stadium on October 13, 1951. A homecoming crowd of 34,000 cheered the Tar Heels to a 21 to 6 victory with Larry Parker, Billy Williams, and Bud Wallace leading the Tar Heel attack. On October 14th, readers of the Wilmington Morning Star were treated to two Hugh Morton action photographs from that twenty seventh battle of the Carolinas.

Between 1951 and 1963 the teams met twelve times with UNC winning nine and USC winning three. Then starting in 1967 North Carolina suffered five straight losses before winning three, in ’77, ’78, and ’79.

The Tar Heels managed to win only two times during the 1980s and 1990s: 1983 and 1991.  The most recent game played in Kenan Stadium was on October 13, 2007, when Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks survived a furious UNC fourth quarter to win 21 to 15.

Overall North Carolina has won in the series thirty-four times while South Carolina has won seventeen, and there have been four ties.  The series renewal in 2013 will pit the number 6th ranked Gamecocks against the 24th ranked Tar Heels, but the Tar Heels just might have one thing in their favor. The August 19th issue of Sports Illustrated has a regional cover featuring South Carolina.  Ever heard of the “Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx?”

Carl Suntheimer is stretched out in front of the bench

The Charlotte News published three Morton photographs the Monday after the 1941 UNC loss at South Carolina, including this uncredited sideline candid with the caption “BEATEN AND DISPIRITED the Tar Heels couldn’t raise a grin Saturday afternoon as their ball club went down before South Carolina’s powerful Gamecocks. Co-captain Carl Suntheimer is stretched out in front of the bench with the dipper; Corn, Webb, Hussey and Gordon are on the bench (left to right). Photograph cropped, as published, from a wider view.  The 1942 Yackety Yack also published this photograph, with a wider crop, in a two-page spread called “It’s All Part of the Game.”

A(nother) Morton mystery solved

Today’s A View to Hugh post takes a look behind the scenes, as Morton volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard solves a Morton Mystery—this one centering around college football’s Sugar Bowl, which will be played in New Orleans on January 2nd.

Lilly Christine, "The Cat Girl"

Lilly Christine, “The Cat Girl,” performing at Prima’s 500 Club in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Image cropped by the editor.)

It’s always fun when researching a post for A View to Hugh that I run across information that answers a question about a previous post.  Here’s the story behind one of those posts.

In early December 2008 I suggested to Elizabeth Hull that since UNC’s football team was going to a bowl, it might be nice to look back at Carolina’s first bowl game in 1947.  AT THE TIME, I believed that Hugh Morton had traveled to New Orleans for the 1947 Sugar Bowl game, because I had seen Morton photographs of “The Cat Girl,” and based on the following two sources I believed that “The Cat Girl” photographs were taken during the ’47 Sugar Bowl trip:

  1. Starting on page 21 of the Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer 1958 book, Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story, there is an entire chapter devoted to the ’47 Sugar Bowl game, and there is this quote:  “(New Orleans) had never been confronted . . . with such rowdy partisans as the visiting forces from Georgia and North Carolina those few days before the Sugar Bowl game of 1947. . . . A number of Tar Heels became students of architecture during this sojourn, chiefly that of the Cat Girl, a lady of unusual structure who was on exhibit each night in the French Quarter.
  2. On page 53 of Bob Quincy’s 1973 book, They Made the Bell Tower Chime, there is a one-page profile of UNC fullback Walt Pupa and the ’47 Sugar Bowl with this quote: “Dinner at Antoine’s.  A march down Canal Street.  The Cat Girl and her exotic dance of soft, graceful muscle power.  A disturbing loss to Georgia.”

Both books had “The Cat Girl” at the ’47 Sugar Bowl on January 1st, 1947 and since Pupa graduated in June of 1947, he was not on the team at the 1949 Sugar Bowl.
I was really surprised when Elizabeth told me she could not find any Morton photographs from that ’47 game.

“What about the ‘Cat Girl’ shots,” I asked?

Elizabeth said they were in an envelope just labeled “Cat Girl” with no date.  What happened to Morton’s shots of the game?  He was there . . . we have the “Cat Girl” shots . . . .

Well, we did the post and worked around the missing photos and included as part of the post the Sugar Bowl 50th anniversary trip for which we did have Morton photos.  Morton’s ’47 Sugar Bowl pictures were just missing.  We made several guesses, but there were no definitive answers.

Fast forward to April, 2010, when I’m researching another V2H post and run across an article by Chuck Houser called, “The Cat Girl” in the Mid-Winter, 1950 issue of Tarnation magazine with this:

A lot of different people will remember a lot of different things about New Orleans and the ill-fated Sugar Bowl trip of (December) 1948.  But one thing all of them will remember is a diminutive French Quarter night club dancer who goes by the name of Miss Lilly Christine—‘The Cat Girl.’  Two years ago (December, 1946), when loyal Tar Heels first invaded the wrought-iron balcony-lined streets of the fabulous city of New Orleans to see another ill-fated Sugar Bowl game, they all came back with one name on the tips of their tongues—‘Stormy,’ a sultry stripper whose real handle was Stacie Laurence.

When those same football fans returned to New Orleans last month, they headed for the French Quarter to take another look at ‘Stormy’ divesting herself of her costume.

But ‘Stormy’ didn’t live there anymore.  ‘Stormy’ was married to an ex-newspaper columnist from the Crescent City and was very busily pregnant over the New Year holidays.  As a substitute, all good Tar Heels soon discovered Lilly Christine, ‘The Cat Girl,’ who didn’t take any of her clothes off, since she wasn’t wearing enough to put in your hip flask to begin with.”

So . . . “The Cat Girl” was not seen during the 1947 Sugar Bowl trip after all.  It was the 1949 Sugar Bowl trip and there are dozens of Morton photos from that game.
I still thought that Morton went to the ’47 Sugar Bowl, but now the photos that I was sure were from ’47 were really from ’49.

Fast forward once again.  I was researching a post about Morris Mason and was looking through some game programs from 1992, the year he passed away.  During the ‘92 season, the UNC athletic department invited a guest columnist to write an essay in each of the home football game programs.  On October 17, 1992, for the UNC–UVA game, the guest was Hugh Morton.  His essay looked back on his career shooting UNC football photographs and about half way through the piece Morton wrote:

Carl Snavely and his distinguished crew took Carolina to the Sugar Bowl in 1947 and 1949 and to the Cotton Bowl in 1950.  I missed the 1947 Sugar Bowl against Georgia because bad flying weather diverted some other Tar Heel rooters and me to St. Petersburg instead of New Orleans.  The Sugar Bowl that I covered was New Year’s Day 1949 against Oklahoma.

Mystery solved!  Not only was Lily Christine not at the 1947 Sugar Bowl, Hugh Morton wasn’t either.

[Editor’s question: Is there a new mystery now posed? Can anyone imagine Hugh Morton not photographing in St. Petersburg? The finding aid lists no images!]

So I then diverted my research to the ’47 Sugar Bowl weather.  I checked the Greensboro papers and there are several stories about the weather and people being stranded at airports.  There is a photograph of Greensboro Tar Heel fans holding their tickets while listening to the game on the radio.  A January 1st Greensboro Daily News headline reads:
“Bowl Tickets Plentiful—Weather Keeps Fans Home.”  There is also a magazine story in the January 11, 1947 issue of The State (pages 3-6, and continued on 18-20) written by Carl Goerch, titled “A Trip to the Sugar Bowl.”  The story tells how Goerch and a group of six Tar Heel fans started out for New Orleans, but due to bad weather wound up in Jacksonville at the Gator Bowl.

Looking back, there were two red flags that should have questioned Morton’s being at the ’47 game:

  • The 1947 pregame photos that appeared in the Greensboro papers were credited to Orville Campbell.
  • A Morton slide show during graduation/reunion weekend on May 13, 1989 put his “Cat Girl” photos in with the ’49 Sugar Bowl shots.

I didn’t catch either one at the time.  I was so sure that Morton was at the ’47 game that two V2H comments that I made (4/10/08  &  2/18/09) were based on what I thought I knew.

So that’s the story of Hugh Morton at the 1947 Sugar Bowl game—a game that he didn’t attend.

A follow-up to a previous post: Back on August 16th, Jack offered the following UNC football / Charlie Justice trivia question in his post on Morris Mason: What year did Charlie Justice complete his final pass to Art Weiner on the field at Kenan Stadium?  As you might imagine, it was a trick question.  We had no takers, so here’s the answer: November 17, 1973.  For a photograph of the event, see The University Report (second picture down on page 9 at http://www.carolinaalumnireview.com/carolinaalumnireview/ur197312#pg8).

A game fit for a queen . . . but no joy for Sunny Jim

On Saturday, November 24th the football teams for the University of North Carolina and the University of Maryland will meet for the 70th time.  In light of Maryland’s recent decision to leave the Athletic Coast Conference, however, the two will meet far fewer times in the future.   Of the sixty-nine previous games, thirty-four of them have been played away from Chapel Hill and one of those games stands out from all the others.  It made front-page news as well as sports-page news and is often called “The Queen Game.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that special Carolina–Maryland game.

Queen Elizabeth seated during the UNC Maryland football game, 1957On September 30th, 1957, Buckingham Palace released the itinerary for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Canada and the United States.  The visit was to include military and diplomatic ceremonies; luncheons, receptions, and dinners; a visit to an art gallery; religious services; and at the queen’s special request, a college football game.  The United States State Department selected the game between the University of Maryland, coached by Tommy Mont, and the University of North Carolina, coached by Jim Tatum.

During the time between this official announcement and the queen’s arrival in Canada on October 12th, an event of epic proportions took place: the Soviet Union launched an artificial earth satellite on October 4th, 1957.  The satellite would become known as Sputnik I, and the space race was on.  The queen’s visit temporarily took a backseat.

Nonetheless, on October 12th Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s four-engine DC7C landed at Uplands Air Base in Ottawa at 4:21 PM (EDT), four minutes ahead of schedule on its thirteen and a-half-hour flight from London.  As the doors opened at 4:30 (the scheduled time), a Royal Canadian Air Force band played “God Save the Queen.”  As the 31-year-old queen stepped from the plane, a tremendous cheer went up from the 30,000 gathered for her arrival.  Canada’s Governor General Vincent Massey and Prime Minister and Mrs. John Diefenbaker offered the official welcome.

After four days in Canada, it was off to the United States with a stop at the Jamestown Festival, held near Williamsburg, Virginia to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English colony in America.  The next stop was Washington, D.C. with President and Mrs. Eisenhower welcoming the royal party.

Saturday, October 19, 1957, was a blustery, chilly 54-degree day.  Queen Elizabeth attended a 9:40 AM special reception at the British Embassy, then lunched with President and Mrs. Eisenhower.  Following lunch, it was game time and the queen and prince boarded one of President Eisenhower’s bubble-top Lincolns for the 10-mile, 45-minute ride to Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.

It would be a football event like no other.  Fourteenth-ranked North Carolina would be a two-touchdown favorite, and the game would mark UNC head coach Jim Tatum’s return to the home stadium where he coached for nine years and led Maryland to a national championship in 1953.

There were reports that the game would be televised under the NCAA’s sellout rule, but ACC Commissioner Jim Weaver noted that Maryland had already made its two TV appearances for the year, so the folks back in North Carolina would only get a radio broadcast.

43,000 fans packed Byrd Stadium along with 480 accredited news personnel—which included Hugh Morton, and Life magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt, Hank Walker, and Edward Clark.  Also there were Jimmy Jeffries of the Greensboro Record and Don Sturkey of the Charlotte ObserverMorton made several photographs during the festivities.  At one point during the excitement, Morton turned his camera on the other photographers.

Photographers at UNC vs Maryland football game, 1957

Sports photographers on sidelines of during the UNC versus Maryland football game, attended by Queen Elizabeth II. The photographers are most likely photographing the queen. Photographer on right with balding head is LIFE staff photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

With 300 security personnel (Scotland Yard and FBI included) in place, at 2:10 PM, 20 motorcycles appeared at the field house end of the stadium followed by the queen and Prince Philip.  The royal party took a lap around the stadium and then took seats in a special box at the 50-yard line on the Carolina side of the field.  Already in place were University of Maryland President Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Elkins, Maryland governor Theodore R. McKeldin and wife Dorothy, British secretary Selwyn Lloyd, UNC president William C. Friday, and North Carolina governor Luther H. Hodges, who was on his way back home from a week of industry seeking in New York.  Mrs. Hodges and son, Luther, Junior had flown up from North Carolina that morning. [Editor’s note: there is some photographic evidence to suggest that Morton may have been part of the governor’s trip to New York City.  We are investigating!]

When the queen and her party were seated, the 420-member University of Maryland band took the field and put on quite a show along with the Maryland card section, which formed the letters “ER.”

Then, it was time for the teams’ co-captains to be introduced: Maryland’s Gene Alderton and Jack Healy, and Carolina’s Buddy Payne and Dave Reed.  Each team presented the queen a special gift—Maryland gave her a game ball and UNC gave her the special coin used to start the game.  Governor Hodges presented her with a miniature statue of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Luther Hodges holding Raleigh statueQueen Elizabeth receives Raleigh statue from HodgesThen it was time for the game.  As the teams lined up for the kickoff, the queen turned to Governor McKeldin and asked, “How many men on a team?”

“Eleven on each side,” he replied.

Late in the first quarter, Tar Heel halfback Daley Goff rushed 11 yards for a touchdown, much to the delight of the estimated 5,000 Tar Heels on hand.  The touchdown set off a celebration that concluded with the Carolina band playing “Dixie,” which brought Governor Hodges to his feet. The 7-0 score remained through the second quarter.

The Carolina band performed at halftime and proclaimed the “North Carolina Parade of Industries,” followed by another rendition of “Dixie.”  The queen joined in the applause, as the sun broke through the clouds. The Maryland card section formed the Union Jack.

At the 4:11 mark of the third quarter, Maryland quarterback Bob Rusevlyan scored on a one-yard sneak tying the score at 7-7.  Then in the fourth quarter, Maryland took the lead on an 81-yard touchdown run by halfback Ted Kershner.  The hometown crowd went wild . . . the Queen managed a smile.  Soon after, Maryland fullback Jim Joyce put the game away with a 13-yard touchdown run making the final score 21 to 7.

Following the game, Coach Mont was congratulated by Coach Tatum at midfield, then got a shoulder ride from his team up to the royal box.  The queen extended her hand and said, “Wonderful, just wonderful.”  Prince Philip added, “Very wonderful.”  Said Coach Mont, “Listen, I’ll revel in this one the rest of my life.”

And a long, long way from all the royal excitement, at the far end of the stadium, North Carolina Head Coach Jim Tatum began the long, slow walk to the locker room, his hands in his pockets, his head bowed.  He never got to meet the Queen.  The headline in the High Point Enterprise on October 20th read: “We Blew It,” Says ‘Not-So-Sunny’ Jim.  Less than two years, on July 23, 1959, Jim Tatum died tragically at the age of 46.  With his death, the hopes of UNC’s big-time football died also.

On Sunday, October 20, 1957, the queen and Prince Philip attended religious services at Washington’s National Cathedral, and on Monday the 21st they arrived in New York by train for a visit to the United Nations and to lunch with New York City mayor Robert Wagner.  On October 22nd, Queen Elizabeth concluded her first trip to the United States as queen and the royal party flew back to London.

A “Wrist Watch” From Another Era

It was Friday, March 9, 2012 during the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament in Atlanta that UNC’s starting forward John Henson injured his left wrist.  Nine days later at the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro, Tar Heel point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his right wrist.  Carolina’s March Madness had suddenly turned to March Sadness, but media coverage for the Tar Heel stars continued through the NCAA Tournament with lots of ink and airtime.  This, however, was not the first time a Tar Heel star had been the subject of a “wrist watch.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at another “watch” from the 1950s.

Charlie Justice and Orvile Campbell at 1952 UNC vs Texas football gameIt had been four years and two days since the University of Texas had played a game in Kenan Stadium, when the they came to Chapel Hill on September 27, 1952.  Many Tar Heel fans still remembered that day in 1948 when Charlie Justice and Art Weiner led the Heels over the Longhorns 34 to 7, so when Justice and his friend Orville Campbell entered the Carolina Section of Kenan on this day, he was mobbed by still-adoring fans.  They immediately noticed the cast on Justice’s left wrist and wanted to know the story behind it. Justice and Campbell were finally able to get to their seats, where Hugh Morton came up from his sideline position to photograph his two friends.  As the Justice fans settled down and returned to their seats, the wrist injury was still a topic of conversation.

Charlie Justice’s 1952 season with the Washington Redskins, according to most media outlets, was to be his breakout season.  He had played in eight games during his 1950 rookie season without the benefit of training camp, and had averaged 4.8 yards per carry.  Still, Sundays in Washington were nothing like Saturdays had been in Chapel Hill.  For the 1951 season, Justice came back to Chapel Hill to assist his former coach Carl Snavely.

In an interview with Howard Criswell, Jr. of The Rocky Mount Sunday Telegram on June 22, 1952, Justice said, “When I was with the Redskins before, there were 18 rookies on the team.  But this will be the third year for most of them.  We ought to have a good team.”  So ’52 was to be “the one.”

On July 21st Charlie departed for training camp at Occidental College in Los Angeles.  An early report in the Washington Post said that on his third play from scrimmage in practice on day one, he scored on an 80-yard touchdown run.  It looked like the pundits were right—’52 would be the year.

The first preseason game against the San Francisco 49’ers proved to be an all San Francisco show with Joe Perry scoring four 49’ers touchdowns in a 35-0 rout.

Then came the 8th Annual Los Angeles Times Charity game with the Rams before 87,582 fans in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 21, 1952—a game Charlie Justice fans will forever remember.  On that Thursday night, Charlie Justice had runs of 49, 53, and 63 yards.  He gained a total of 199 yards in 11 carries, a Coliseum record.  But on the final run, Rams’ defensive safety Herb Rich threw Charlie out of bounds and broke his left wrist.  The Redskins lost 45 to 23.

In an interview following the game, Justice said:  “I tried to straight-arm Rich and I never should have done it.  It was the first time I ever tried to do it in my whole football career.”  Redskins’ owner George Preston Marshall was irate.  Following the game he rushed into the dressing room and headed straight for Charlie.

“I’ve told you a thousand times,”  Marshall railed, “if you see you’re cornered, if you see you’re gonna be hit, get out of bounds.  Don’t take the punishment.  You’re worth too much money to me . . . why didn’t you get out of bounds?”

Justice in pain and without thinking answered, “Mr. Marshall, the backfield coach [Jerry Neri] told me to stiff-arm him and push him off.”

Marshall’s quick reply: “ Who the h— pays your salary?”

“You do, Mr. Marshall,” said Justice.

“Well, you listen to me.”

Three days later, Backfield Coach Jerry Neri, had taken another job with another team.  Paul Zimmerman, Sports Editor of the Los Angeles Times, wrote in his column following the game:

As long as football lives—and if the college presidents let it alone that will be forever—Los Angeles fans will never forget the exhibition of ball carrying by Charlie (Choo Choo) Justice.  It was tragic indeed that he should suffer a broken wrist, after one of the most remarkable running performances ever displayed in major league competition.

John B. Old, writing in the Los Angeles Herald-Express on August 22nd said: “Ram rookies and veterans alike got quite a lesson in ball packing from Charlie Choo Choo Justice, the North Carolina flash. . . . Before he went out in the third quarter with a broken wrist, Justice was a one-man riot.”  Rams’ head coach Joe Stydahar said in his post-game interview, “Justice was simply great.  He takes off like a jack-rabbit and is very shifty, too.”  And Dick Kaplan, writing in The Asheville Citizen in October of 1961, said “Charlie ran wild.  He gave perhaps the greatest display of running ever seen in the West in one of the epic performances of grid annals.”

Soon after the injury, Justice temporally left the team and headed home to Charlotte, but rejoined the team in San Antonio on September 3rd.  George Preston Marshall continued to pay Charlie his salary, but since he would be out of action on the field for about six weeks, he was placed in the broadcast booth with Mel Allen and Jim Gibbons starting with the game against Green Bay in Kansas City, Missouri on September 14th.  It was on to Norman, Oklahoma for a game with the Lions on September 20th and then a much-needed break.  Justice once again headed back to North Carolina and was thus available to visit Orville Campbell in Chapel Hill for the UNC-Texas game on the 27th. Following the game, Justice was off to Chicago for a Monday night game with the Cards, followed by a road game in Milwaukee with the Packers.

Finally on October 12, 1952, almost seven weeks after his injury, Justice was ready to return to action, but it was slow going: 23 yards on six carries and a 33 yard kickoff return that day against the Chicago Cardinals is all he was able to do.

Following the game, in an interview with Greensboro Daily News reporter Irwin Smallwood, Justice said, “I can’t rotate my wrist yet.  It’s hard to clutch passes on the run.  It will be all right by next week, though.  Maybe I can score and be a little help to the team by then.”  By November 2nd when the Pittsburgh Steelers came to Washington, Justice was back to form and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eddie LeBaron.

The Redskin games with the Cleveland Browns were always special and the game on November 30th was no exception.  Hugh Morton joined 22,769 fans in old Griffith Stadium for this one.  Morton was able to renew old friendships with Eddie LeBaron, Otto Graham, and of course Justice.  His sideline picture of Justice and LeBaron has been widely published and is on the front cover of his 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina.

Eddie Lebaron and Charlie Justice

Washington Redskins Eddie Lebaron and Charlie Justice

With two games remaining in the ’52 season, the Redskins were in last place of the NFL’s American Conference; those two games, however, could play an important role in the Conference championship.  A Redskins’ win on December 7th sent the New York Giants packing.  Washington play-by-play announcer Mel Allen said Justice had his best game of the season against the Giants. And then it was down to one game: the Redskins vs. the Philadelphia Eagles on December 14th.  With less than a minute remaining the score was tied at 21, Redskins with the ball at the Eagle 27-yard line.  With the clock running, LeBaron pitched out to Justice around the right side.  As I watched on TV, the play looked just like so many I had seen in Kenan.  When Justice was finally on the ground, the ball was at the one-yard line.  Now there was 18 seconds left in the ’52 season . . . 22,468 fans on their feet . . . and LeBaron took the ball into the line for the 27 to 21 win.  The Eagles had been eliminated from playoff competition.  For Justice it was a fitting ending to a season that had started with so much promise, but fate had stepped in along the way and prevented that predicted breakout season.  Once again, the writers and broadcasters said maybe 1953 will be that magic season for Charlie Justice.  They were right . . . ’53 was the one.

And as for that Carolina–Texas game, sixty years ago . . . even with Justice and Campbell cheering and Art Weiner on the sidelines with Coach Snavely . . . even with the Elizabeth City High marching band joining the Marching Tar Heels . . . and even with the UNC students waving Confederate flags . . . the Tar Heels lost to the Longhorns 28 to 7 before a near-capacity shirt-sleeved Kenan Stadium crowd.

“The Man” in Kenan Fieldhouse

Any UNC football player who came through the program between 1927 and 1973 will tell you Morris Mason “ran the place.”  He was there when Carolina played its first game in historic Kenan Stadium and he never missed a game there during his 46-year career.
If you look at a roster of the all-time lettermen under the letter “M” you will see “Mason, Morris . . . Honorary.”

September 10, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Mason’s death.  Morton volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the life and times of Morris Mason on the UNC campus.

UNC football equipment manager Morris Mason, 1958

UNC football equipment manager Morris Mason being hoisted by Don Kemper (#84) and other players after UNC's 26 to 7 win over Wake Forest in Kenan Stadium, October 25, 1958.

“He walked in the shadow of heroes and became one himself.”  —UNC Sports Information Director, Jack Williams, 1973

October 25, 1958 was band day at Kenan Stadium.  Guest conductor Joseph B. Fields, UNC class of 1953, led 3,379 student musicians from 52 high schools from across North Carolina in a spectacular halftime performance, during the 54th meeting between the Tar Heels from Carolina and the Demon Deacons from Wake Forest.  When the music stopped and the dust had settled on the Kenan turf, Carolina had won the game 26 to 7.

Following an ACC game like this one, somebody often gets a shoulder ride by the winning team. Who got the ride on this beautiful Chapel Hill afternoon?  Was it UNC quarterback Jack Cummings who completed a 55-yard touchdown pass to John Schroeder, or was it Schroeder?  Was it Wade Smith who crafted an electrifying 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter?  Was it Head Coach Jim Tatum who got his 12th win since returning to UNC?  Or was it Joseph Fields, the band director from Asheboro High, who entertained 35,000 fans at halftime?

The answer: none of the above.  The Carolina players lofted longtime equipment manager Morris Mason to their shoulders and paraded him to the middle of the field.  Hugh Morton was in place to document the celebration.

It was Labor Day, 1927, when UNC Athletic Director Robert Fetzer hired Morris Mason as fieldhouse custodian.  He soon became equipment manager, trainer, team “valet,” father figure, and unschooled psychiatrist.  He continued in all those positions until July 1, 1974 when he officially retired.

Mason had been a part of every Carolina win and loss in Kenan since its beginning in 1927—and he never missed a game, home or away, going back to 1928. In all, he was an important part of 451 Carolina football games.

“I almost missed one game when one of my relatives died,” Mason recalled in a 1973 interview.  “But I hurried from the funeral to the game and made it before the kickoff.”
He also had a near-miss during a road trip to Virginia.

“I went to sleep on the train and didn’t wake up until the train was pulling into Washington, DC.  But they put me on the next train going back toward Charlottesville and I got there in time to help unload all the equipment.”

Mason loved to travel with the team and he made every road trip starting with the ‘28 season.

“I’ve been to the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Peach Bowl, the Sun Bowl and even to the Oyster Bowl,” he said with his unique smile beaming.

In his 46 seasons at Carolina, Morris Mason worked with nine different coaches during eleven coaching changes and was on the athletic department payroll for more than 17,000 days.  In 1968, former Tar Heel players and coaches showed their thanks by presenting Mason with a new car in a special ceremony at halftime of the Carolina–Duke basketball game.  Also, as part of the tribute, he was given a plaque which reads:

With deep gratitude for sharing the joys of our victories and suffering the pain of our losses through the years. . . .

The plaque is signed by more than 200 former players and well-wishers.  Included in that list: Mister Justice, Mister Weiner, Mister Hanburger, and Mister Willard.  Morris Mason always referred to Tar Heel players as “Mister.”

Charlie Justice, Morris Mason, and others at UNC Homecoming game, 1973

UNC All-America players Charlie Justice (left) and Art Weiner (right) of Greensboro are seen with team trainer Morris Mason (second from left), who retired after 46 years, and UNC Athletic Director Homer Rice at the 1973 homecoming game in Chapel Hill on November 17.

November 17, 1973 was a cool, pleasant homecoming day at Kenan Stadium.  In addition to the homecoming game with Wake Forest, the Justice Era players held one of their reunions and the day also marked the final game for Morris Mason.  He was introduced on the field, to the delight of the 37,500 fans, with Justice, Weiner, and Athletic Director Homer Rice.  Following Carolina’s 42-to-0 win, he was presented the game ball.  Said Head Coach Bill Dooley, “Our players rode Morris Mason off the field on their shoulders and gave him the game ball.  That was a fine tribute to a fine gentleman.”

After his official retirement on July 1, 1974, Mason got to fulfill a longtime wish.  During the 1974 season he got to watch a Carolina football game from the stands.  Although retired, Morris Mason continued to be an important part of the UNC football program.  I recall during graduation/reunion weekend in May of 1989, Hugh Morton and former UNC end Bob Cox put together a slide show and panel discussion about the late 1940s.  When Morris Mason was introduced, there was a standing ovation in Memorial Hall.

A little over three years later, on September 12, 1992, a somber crowd of 48,500 filed into  Kenan Stadium for an evening game against Furman.  Morris Mason had passed away two days before on September 10th.  Football Saturdays in Chapel Hill would never be the same.  When Charlie Justice got the news that Mason had died, he traveled to Chapel Hill and spent the next two days in the Mason home consoling those left behind.

Over the years, reporters would often ask Mason to name his favorite player during his 46 years in the Carolina locker room.

But the answer was always the same: this player was good or that player was great, but he would never name a favorite.  However, shortly before his death, when asked the question he said, “Mister Justice was a great ball player.  Maybe the greatest.  And he is a wonderful man, too.  He didn’t try to be a big star off the field. He was just one of the fellows.”

As the fans filed out of Kenan on September 12th, the Carolina blue sky from earlier in the day had turned into a full Carolina moon beaming down.  Said one Tar Heel alumna,  “that’s Morris’ smile beaming down on us.”

On Wednesday, September 16, 1992, Morris Mason was laid to rest in Shriners Cemetery in Durham.  Mister Justice was scheduled to offer a eulogy to his old friend but was too choked with emotion to speak.

Legendary sports writer Furman Bisher described Mason as “one of the most lovable persons I have ever known in sports.  He was more than an equipment manager, he was a wonderful friend.”

UNC All America end, Art Weiner, in an interview following Mason’s memorial service, said:
“Morris knew everybody.  From the first day you arrived on campus as a freshman, he knew your name.  And when you’d come back years later, he always remembered your name.”

Morris Mason will forever be remembered by the Tar Heel faithful. His name in gold letters over the Kenan equipment room door will forever be a reminder.

Big Shoes to Fill

George Barclay

George Barclay, UNC's head football coach from 1953-1955.

Today’s post comes from contributor Jack Hilliard.

When Larry Fedora and the 2012 Tar Heels take the field at Kenan Stadium on September 1st, expectations will be high.  The Tar Heel faithful will be looking to Fedora to bring UNC football back to that special place where Carl Snavely had the team in 1948 and where Jim Tatum was headed in 1959.  It won’t be easy, but Fedora is not the first UNC head football coach to face this kind of situation.

The Cotton Bowl played in Dallas on January 2, 1950 marked the final game of UNC’s “Charlie Justice Era.”  The following season, head coach Carl Snavely was left with a “just average” Carolina football team.  In ’50 and ’51 his teams were able to win only five games and lost to Duke twice.  In the spring of ’52 he brought in George Barclay, head coach at Washington and Lee, as an assistant.  Tar Heel fans will remember Barclay as UNC’s first All America player in 1934, coached by Snavely.

The ’52 season wasn’t any better with only two wins, including another loss to Duke.  Following the season, the UNC Athletic Council made a coaching change; on December 2nd, head coach Carl Snavely submitted his resignation.

The Athletic Council took its time in naming Snavely’s successor.  Several names were rumored to be in the mix, including Jim Tatum.  Tatum had been the head coach in 1942, but since 1947 had been building a powerhouse at Maryland.  Finally on January 23, 1953 the Athletic Council, with the backing of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Robert B. House, named Snavely assistant George Thomas Barclay the new coach and gave him a three year contract.  Much was expected from the Tar Heel alumnus.

Barclay hit the ground running, winning his first three games during the ’53 season, but when Maryland came to town on October 17th the wheels came off and the Heels lost the next five games—and then lost the final game of the season to Duke.  The result was not much better than the final seasons under Snavely.  1954 and ’55 produced only seven wins and two more losses to Duke.  A coaching change was in the wind again and this time they got Jim Tatum.  Tatum brought in Jim Hickey, head coach at Hampden-Sydney as an assistant.  Tatum was well on his way to bringing the program back when he suddenly died on July 23, 1959.

Jim Hickey

"Jim Hickey, UNC football team, 1962"

The Athletic Council took only four days to select Tatum’s successor.  At 5:40 PM on July 27, 1959, Chancellor William B. Aycock with Athletic Director Charles (Chuck) Erickson at his side, made the announcement that Tatum assistant, 39-year-old James (Jim) Hickey would be the new Tar Heel Coach with a three year contract.  In accepting the position, Hickey told a large group of newsmen gathered at The Pines Restaurant, “I appreciate this opportunity.  It is one I have always wanted.  My only regret is the circumstances under which it had to come about.”

Hickey was able to lead the Tar Heels to five wins in his first season, but the thing most Tar Heels like to remember about the ’59 season is that 50 to 0 win at Duke on Thanksgiving Day on national television.  The seasons 1960 through ’62 produced only eleven wins, but Hickey’s high water mark came in 1963 when he led the Heels to nine regular season wins including a 16 to 14 win over Duke and UNC’s first Atlantic Coast Conference championship.  The season was capped with a 35 to 0 win over Air Force in the Gator Bowl.  The bowl win was another first for the Tar Heels.  Hickey continued as Carolina’s head coach through the 1966 season, but was never able to top the heroics of 1963.

Today in 2012, the UNC football program is at another crossroad and Larry Fedora has been selected to carry forward a program steeped in tradition.  The shoes are there to be filled.

Hugh Morton’s first daily newspaper assignment

The previous post on A View to Hugh features a Hugh Morton photograph of Grandfather Mountain, published without credit on the cover of the 8 March 1941 issue of The State.  As the blog post revealed, I suspect the photograph dates from 1940 or earlier, which is relatively early in Morton’s career as a photographer.  January of that year saw Morton beginning his second semester as a freshman at UNC.  His camera had been stolen shortly after arriving on campus in the autumn of 1939, and it was not until sometime around January or February 1940 that he bought his next camera.  So, I wondered, “How early in his career would that have been?”  Today’s exploration unravels an uncertainty and mystery that I didn’t even have until two days ago.

This is an important photograph in Morton’s career.  At the time he made it, Morton was a UNC student with a summertime job as the photography counselor at Camp Yonahnoka.  Here’s one of his accounts about the photograph, quoted from the preface of his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina:

In 1940, at nearby Linville, a fourteen-year-old kid from Tarboro named Harvie Ward embarrassed a lot of adults by winning the prestigious Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  Burke Davis, sports editor of the Charlotte News, contacted the Linville Club for a photograph of Harvie Ward, and I was called to come up from camp to carry out what was my first photo assignment for a daily newspaper.  Davis liked my Harvie Ward pictures, and this led to many photo assignments for the Charlotte News during my college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Because this assignment helped launch Hugh Morton’s career as a news photographer, and the early view of Grandfather Mountain was also likely made in 1940, I wanted to know when the Charlotte News published the Ward photograph(s) (two negatives are extant in the Morton collection) relative to publication of the early Grandfather Mountain view in The State.  I searched the Web for information on the Linville golf tournament and Harvie Ward for 1940, but only found a few bits and pieces—and nothing that said when they played the tournament.  So . . . off to the microfilm room.

I scanned through issues of the Charlotte News, Tarboro’s Daily Southerner, and Rocky Mount’s Evening Telegram published during the “golf-able” summer months through mid September, by which time Morton would have returned to Chapel Hill from Camp Yonahnoka and Ward would have already returned to Tarboro in time for their classes.  Nothing . . . at least not that mentioned Harvie Ward winning the tournament in 1940.

I turned next to Morton’s booklet, Sixty Years with a Camera published in 1996, which I recalled also included the portrait of Ward.  As The Jetsons cartoon dog Astro would say, “Ruh Roh . . . .”

The first picture I took on assignment for a newspaper (the Charlotte News) was of Harvie Ward when he won the 1941 Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  This was a very competitive event, and it was a surprise to everybody that a 15-year-old kid from Tarboro would win it.

Two different statements of fact.  What to do?  Well, I turned to a different newspaper, the Charlotte Observer and here’s what I found: Harvie Ward didn’t win the Linville Men’s Invitational Tournament in 1939, 1940, 1941, nor 1942.  (I didn’t go further, because Morton was in the army in 1943).  A detailed listing of the entrants in the Charlotte Observer revealed that Ward didn’t enter the 1940 tournament; he did, however, defeat Ed Gravell of Roaring Gap to win the “second flight” of the 1941 tournament.  I also found a congratulatory paragraph in the Daily Southerner on August 4, 1941 “for taking first place in second flight in Linville invitational golf tournament.  Harvie is having great time knocking off the little fellows.”  [For golf historians, Sam Perry emerged victorious in 1939, Charles Dudley won the championship flight in 1940, Hub Covington won the 1941 tournament, and Billy Ireland won the event in 1942.]

To be thorough, I searched for both years (1940 and 1941) through mid September.   There are no photographs of Ward in the Charlotte News.  I now even wonder if the newspaper ever published one of these portraits of Ward by Morton.

So in all likelihood, Hugh Morton had it right the first time in the 1996 booklet: the Harvie Ward, Jr. photographs probably date from 1941.  And here’s some supporting evidence: photographs began appearing in the Charlotte News sports section’s “Pigskin Review” articles with the credit line “News Photos by Hugh Morton” in mid September 1941, which is in agreement with Morton’s statement that the Ward pictures “led to many assignments.”  Morton photographed members of the 1941 football teams of UNC (published September 12th), Duke, (September 13th), NC State (September 15th), and Wake Forest (September 24th), plus two photographs made during and after UNC’s season opener on September 20th against Lenor-Rhyne that featured UNC’s standout running back Hugh Cox.  By comparison, there are no photographs in the newspaper credited to Morton in late summer or early autumn of 1940.

My conclusion? So far, the earliest Morton photograph that I’ve discovered to be published in a non-UNC publication is the early view of Grandfather Mountain.  Now, please tell me why I believe the story probably doesn’t end there?!

In the shadow of Justice

Today, August 16th, UNC’s great All America end Art Weiner celebrates his 86th birthday.  Weiner and teammate Charlie Justice were UNC’s “Touchdown Twins” of the late 1940s.  Justice, the tailback in Coach Carl Snavely’s famous single wing formation got most of the headlines.  Weiner would have received just as many accolades—maybe more—had he been on any other team without Justice.  Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the Weiner-Justice connection during the golden era of Carolina football.

UNC football team, 1949

Charlie Justice (22) and Art Weiner (50), lead the UNC football team onto the field at Kenan Stadium, 1949.

He was the perfect fit.  Art Weiner, with his wit and sense of humor, was the perfect “Roaster” for a series of Charlie Justice charity roasts during the early 1980s—one in Greensboro for multiple sclerosis, one in Asheville for the Western Carolina Children’s Foundation, and one in Charlotte for juvenile diabetes.  Weiner had tales to tell on his longtime friend and teammate.  A favorite story went something like this:

My mother-in-law never understood all of the hype about Charlie Choo Choo Justice.  She said, “If he’s as good as all the newspaper headlines say he is, why doesn’t he just go out on the field by himself and win the game, and all of you guys can just stand and watch?”

Well, at the 1949 Carolina–Duke game over in Durham I had a great day.  I caught two touchdown passes, and blocked the Duke field goal attempt in the final seconds to save the game.  So, when I got home that night I called my mother-in-law and said, “Be sure and check tomorrow’s paper . . . see who makes the headlines this time.”

Next morning, Weiner rushed out to get the morning paper off the front porch.  He ran inside and opened it up to the sports section and there it was, the headline from Saturday’s game: “Justice Scores One, Passes For Two, Leads Tar Heels Over Duke.”

In the fall of 1946, Art Weiner and Charlie Justice, through one of those quirks of fate that often happens in the world of sports, found themselves together on the practice field in Chapel Hill.  Both had played service football during World War II—Weiner in the Marines and Justice in the Navy.  Both had played in Hawaii.  Immediately they became friends, on and off the playing field.  It was on the field where they made headlines.

Charlie Justice and Art Weiner, 1949

Charlie Justice and Art Weiner, 1949.

The first game of the golden era of Carolina football came against Virginia Tech (called VPI in those days) on September 28, 1946.  On the second UNC series of that game, Weiner caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bill Maceyko.  It was Weiner’s first college play.  He went on to score three more times in ’46 despite several injuries.  In 1947 Weiner caught 19 passes for 396 yards, but it was 1948 when he was selected to Grantland Rice’s All America team.

When UNC alums, fans, and friends get together, they often look back at great Carolina wins.  Two games from 1948 almost always come up: the Texas game and the Duke game.  When Texas came to town on September 25th, Weiner had a touchdown on Carolina’s third play from scrimmage, and the Heels went on to win 34 to 7.  In the Duke game, 44,500 fans—in perfect Kenan Stadium weather—saw Weiner catch two touchdown passes: one for 13 yards from Justice, and another for 26 yards from fullback Hosea Rodgers.  It was Justice’s 43-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, however, that made all the headlines.

In addition to the Duke game that he described at the Justice roast, the 1949 season saw Weiner play a great game against NC State and have a fantastic day against the University of Georgia in Chapel Hill catching six passes—two for touchdowns.  He was selected lineman of the week by the Associated Press.  Head Coach Wally Butts, the Hall of Fame Bulldog main man, in an interview following Carolina’s win, said, “Art Weiner is the greatest pass catching end I’ve ever seen.”

Art Weiner catching pass versus Georgia.

UNC left end Art Weiner catches pass during game against Georgia at Kenan Stadium, September 27, 1947. UNC tailback Charlie Justice (left) looks on from a distance while Georgia's Dan Edwards (#55) watches from a few yards away.

Justice talked at length about his friend and teammate in the locker room following the ’49 Georgia game.  “Boy, that Art was terrific today.  Did you see him fake that safety man on the first touchdown?  I almost had to laugh when I threw the ball.  And that last (winning) touchdown?  Why, that was a run which would ordinarily take both a halfback and a fullback to make.  The guy’s terrific.”

Charlie Justice and Art Weiner in locker room

Charlie Justice and Art Weiner shake hands in a locker room after a 1949 UNC football game (negative P0081 6.2.1-1-279, cropped).

Orville Campbell, writing in The Carolina Gridiron magazine, compared Weiner to another great Carolina end, Andy Bershak.  Against NC State, Weiner had seven catches which prompted State Head Coach Beattie Feathers to conclude,  “I’m thankful that I’ll never have to set up another defense to try and stop Weiner and Justice.  They’re uncanny.”

Art Weiner (#50) with ball; NC State Full Back Paul Bruno (#32).

Art Weiner with ball eluding North Carolina State fullback Paul Bruno, 24 September 1949.

When the 1949 season ended, Weiner had 52 catches to lead the nation in receptions.  He was again selected to All America teams and was a unanimous choice for the first annual Senior Bowl game played in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl on January 7, 1950, where he caught eight passes for 139 yards and was lineman of the game.

Art WeinerIt was not surprising when Weiner was the first round NFL draft pick on January 20, 1950 of the New York Yankees.  (Yes, there was a New York Yankees pro football team in 1950.)  During the ’50 season, he caught 35 passes for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns.  His pro career, however, was cut short by a knee injury.  He coached briefly at Kings Mountain High School, and then joined Burlington Industries as a vice president for manufacturing services where he remained for 23 years.

Although they went their separate ways following their time at UNC, Weiner and Justice remained steadfast friends through the years.  The 1946-49 era UNC players held reunions from time to time, and Weiner and Justice were always there leading the cheers.  There were celebrity golf tournaments . . . there was even a UNC football alumni basketball team called the Carolina Clowns.

When the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted Weiner in 1974, Justice was at the ceremony cheering for his friend.  In June 1981 Art Weiner Travel, Inc. of Greensboro established a branch office in Greenville that was jointly owned by Charlie Justice.  In December 1992 when the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame inducted Art Weiner, Charlie Justice was there in Art’s shadow.  Charlie Justice and Art Weiner made their final appearance together on the field at Kenan Stadium on November 16, 2001 at the Justice Era Reunion.  It would be Charlie’s final visit to Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile . . . back at the roast . . . Weiner asked the question:

Did you ever wonder why there are so many fantastic Hugh Morton action pictures of Charlie Justice?  Well, Hugh Morton was a world class, fantastic photographer, but there is another reason.  We had one member on our team who never touched the ball . . . never made a tackle . . . never threw a block.  His only purpose in life was to let Charlie Justice know where Hugh Morton was on the sidelines.

The young man did a good job.  There are dozens of Justice (and Weiner) action shots—not all of which are online—in the Hugh Morton collection at Wilson Library on the UNC campus.

Here’s a postscript for UNC trivia fans: What year did Charlie Justice complete his final pass to Art Weiner on the field at Kenan Stadium?

Homecoming weekend harkens back to October 1947

On Monday my e-mailbox contained a message with the subject line “Possible Post” from regular contributor Jack Hilliard.  Given the calendar—this weekend is UNC’s homecoming—Jack’s article is timely.  Charlie Justice and UNC football in the 1940s are his topics this time around and Justice was the focus of Jack’s post last week, so he suggested that using this story later in the year might be best.  Well maybe, but on the other hand . . . ,  “Go go go go Care-lina!”

1947 UNC football team members

1947 UNC football team members. Back Row L to R: #23 Jim Camp, #86 George Sparger, #40 Walt Pupa, #22 Charlie Justice. Front Row L to R: #29 Bob Cox, #51 Len Szafaryn, #60 Sid Varney, #58 Haywood Fowle, #65 Al Bernot, #42 Bob Mitten, #50 Art Weiner.

In August of 1947, a popular preseason football magazine predicted the UNC Tar Heels would be among the nation’s elite come football season.  Smith Barrier writing in the Illustrated Football Annual said, “with Charlie Choo Choo Justice, accompanied by a brawny crew of conductors, engineers, and brakemen, North Carolina is the high pride of the Southern Conference.”

Lath Morris

Lath Morris, known as "Tarzan," unofficial cheerleader for UNC-Chapel Hill football team. Note the cigar in Morris's left hand.

Tar Heel fans and alumni were in complete agreement when the Tar Heels started off the season with a second half victory over Georgia in Chapel Hill on September 27th.  Following a 0 to 0 first half, the Tar Heels were led back on the field for the second half by a rotund man named Lath Morris…known as “Tarzan” to Tar Heel followers.  With megaphone in hand he shouted, “Go, go, go, go . . . Care-lina!”  The students shouted back, “Go, go, go . . . Tarzan.”  UNC’s Art Weiner, with five catches, led the Tar Heels over the Bulldogs 14 to 7.

1947 Illustrated Football Annual

1947 Illustrated Football Annual cover

On Friday, October 3rd, the Heels took their first plane trip as a team, heading to Austin to meet All America Bobby Layne and the undefeated University of Texas.  Saturday, October 4th was a hot 86- degree-day in Texas and the Longhorns were even hotter.  They defeated Carolina 34 to 0.  When the Associated Press rankings came out on October 6th, Texas was number three . . . the Tar Heels were 19th.

The Tar Heel faithful said OK we’ll re-group and get back on track next week when Coach Peahead Walker’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons come to Kenan.  So on October 11th, 35,000 fans crowded into comfortable 63-degree- Kenan Stadium to see the Deacs and the Heels renew a rivalry that started back in 1888.  Carolina won the toss that afternoon, but that’s about all.  Wake Forest dominated play in the first half and led 19 to 0 at the break.

The second half wasn’t much better for Coach Carl Snavely’s troops; however, they did hold Wake scoreless and in the 4th quarter Charlie Justice completed a touchdown pass to Danny Logue.  In the end, Wake’s defense had held the highly regarded UNC offense to 29 yards on the ground and 75 through the air.  Wake Forest had entered Kenan Stadium that afternoon undefeated and left the same way.  The final score:  Wake Forest 19, Carolina 7.

“We were outclassed,” said Coach Snavely after the game.

Justice, emotionally upset, blamed himself for the loss and added, “we’ve got nothing left but our press clippings.”

Hugh Morton’s image of Coach Snavely congratulating Coach Walker as his players carried him from the field, says it all.

Following October 11, 1947 UNC–Wake Forest football game in Kenan Stadium, UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely (in hat, right foreground) prepares to congratulate Wake Forest Head Coach Douglas "Peahead" Walker being carried by his players after Wake Forrest's victory over Carolina 19 to 7. This was the first time a Charlie Justice era (1946-1949) UNC team had lost in Kenan Stadium. Wake Forest players pictured left to right are: #15 Ed Haddox, Right Halfback; #22 Nick Ognovich, Quarterback; #2? (?); #44 Harry Dowda, Right Halfback; #55 Bernie Hannular, Right Tackle; #42 Bud Gregus, Left Halfback.

A promising season in early August had turned into a disaster by Mid-October.  Seven games remained on the 1947 schedule, so the season could be salvaged.  A trip to Williamsburg and a game with William & Mary was Carolina’s next challenge.  The Tar Heels won that challenge and never looked back. They reeled off seven straight wins, finished the season with an 8-2 season, and when the final AP poll was published on December 8th, Carolina was ranked 9th and received 2 first place votes.  Coach Snavely would later say the ’47 team was one of his best.

The Heels would not lose another regular season game until October 22, 1949.  The loss to Wake Forest on October 11, 1947 holds a place in the UNC football history book.  It was the first Justice Era (1946-1949) team loss in Kenan Stadium, and it’s the only Justice Era loss to any of the teams that would, six years later become the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The day the Redskins came to Raleigh

Fifty-seven years ago, the NFL’s Washington Redskins made the team’s first trip to North Carolina to play one of the state’s first professional football games.  Since that day in 1954, the Redskins have played here twenty times and will return on October 23rd to play the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.  Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a personal look back at that first game.

	Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice on sidelines with Washington Redskins head coach Joe Kuharich

Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice on sidelines with Washington Redskins head coach Joe Kuharich during game versus the Green Bay Packers at Riddick Stadium, Raleigh, N.C., Septemb 11, 1954

As a little kid growing up in North Carolina in the 1950s, my only real exposure to professional football came on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 in front of my parents’ TV set—a General Electric 14-inch black-and-white model.  Thanks to Redskins’ owner George Preston Marshall’s Amoco–Redskins TV network, I could see all regular season Redskins games that were played east of the Mississippi River.  Marshall thought of his Redskins as the “Team of the South,” since Washington was the NFL’s southernmost city.  And Marshall took full advantage of that fact by drafting players like Charlie Justice from North Carolina, Harry Gilmer from Alabama, Harry Dowda from Wake Forest, and Billy Cox from Duke.

Then, during the final game of the 1953 season, a game between the Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 13th, play-by-play announcer Mel Allen and analyst Jim Gibbons made an announcement that would change the North Carolina–Redskins perspective.  Allen and Gibbons told the TV audience that the Redskins would be playing an exhibition game (they are called preseason games today) in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 11th of 1954.  The game, sponsored by the North Carolina State University Wolfpack Club, would be a night contest against the Green Bay Packers.  In the 1950s NFL exhibition games were very different from the preseason games of today.  First string players often played the entire game and teams tried their best to win.  The games were played in stadiums across the country and provided an opportunity for teams to show off in front of fans that would likely never get to see them in person otherwise.

During the next nine months, my friends and I looked forward to being able to see our favorite team for real.  We had followed them for three years on TV, but none of us had ever seen them in person.  I saved my allowance and came up with enough money for a ticket—it was four dollars.  We talked one of our Sunday School teachers into driving us to Raleigh for the game.

The Redskins started off the ’54 season on August 6th in San Diego, then to Los Angeles . . . Sacramento . . . Detroit . . . Columbia, South Carolina, and then to Raleigh.

So on game day we loaded up a 1951 Buick in Asheboro and headed east to Raleigh—stopping at Raleigh’s S&W Cafeteria for a quick dinner.  Much of the conversation centered around the game in Columbia the weekend before.  The Redskins had lost to the Bears, but that didn’t matter.  Former UNC All America Charlie Justice had made a 47- yard run for the Redskins late in the game; that’s what mattered.  It also didn’t matter that the Packers were favored; we would get to see our football hero and that’s what mattered.

I remember walking into Riddick Stadium.  There were only 22,000 seats, but to me the place looked huge.  And through my binoculars, there on the field were the Washington Redskins warming up. Their burgundy and gold uniforms were spectacular.  I had always pictured the team in black and white.  Then I spotted #22 . . . he was walking over to the Packers’ side of the field to greet his UNC teammate Len Szafaryn who played for Green Bay.  They chatted for several minutes and were joined by Clayton Tonnemaker, the Green Bay center who Justice had teamed with at the 1950 Chicago College-All Star Game.

Soon after the start of the game, it became obvious that the Packers were the better team, but that didn’t matter.  My friends and I were there to see Charlie Justice, and he didn’t disappoint.

Washington Redskin running back Charlie Justice rushing along the left sideline.

Washington Redskin running back Charlie Justice rushing along the left sideline during an exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers at Riddick Stadium, Raleigh, N.C. on September 11, 1954. This photograph may depict the play described below; the photograph was not published in the News and Observer.

Early in the first half, he took a pitch-out from quarterback Jack Scarbath around the left side of the line . . . you could feel the excitement and hear whispers of “Choo Choo.”  Bottled up, he cut back to his right.  By now the crowd was on its feet.  He went 20 yards to the Packers’ 11 yard line.  As the TV sports guys say, “the crowd went wild.”

In the second half, Justice punted to Green Bay’s Al Carmichael who returned the punt 50 yards but was tackled by Justice at the Redskins’ 5 yard line . . . another standing ovation for the former Tar Heel.

In the fourth quarter, quarterback Al Dorrow hit Justice with a pass on a crossing pattern for an 11 yard pickup.  As Justice dodged a would-be tackler near the Redskins’ sideline, a series of flash bulbs lit up the night.  Hugh Morton’s Justice picture along with five others appeared on the front page of the Sports section of the Raleigh News and Observer on Sunday, September 12th.

Charlie Justice evades tackler

Washington Redskin running back Charlie Justice evades a tackler after catching a pass for an eleven-yard gain during an exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers at Riddick Stadium, Raleigh, N.C. on September 11, 1954.

[Editor’s note: The photographs that appear on the News and Observer microfilm in the North Carolina Collection do not show the photographs mentioned above.  It’s likely, therefore, that the edition of the N&O sold in Asheboro was different edition.  The edition on microfilm shows two uncredited photographs, one of which depicts Charlie Justice drinking water from a ladle.  The photograph above did appear (although more tightly cropped) in the edition distributed in Asheboro, which Jack Hilliard clipped from the newspaper and he still has today.]

Washington Redskins' Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice signing autographs, September 11, 1954.

Redskins' Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice signing autographs at Washington Redskins versus Green Bay Packers football game in Riddick Stadium, Raleigh, N.C., September 11, 1954.

When the game ended, the Washington Redskins had come up way short on the scoreboard, but that didn’t matter to a group of kids from Asheboro, North Carolina.  We had seen our hero up close and personal, and as was often the case, Justice stayed on the field long after the game and signed autographs.  Charlie would say in a 1973 interview, he had no problem when kids ask for an autograph.  “The problem,” said Justice, “is when they stop asking.”  (Charlie never had that problem).

Forty-nine years later, on October 20th, 2003, at Charlie Justice’s memorial service in Asheville, Woody Durham, UNC’s voice of the Tar Heels, said:  “There are folks in North Carolina who cannot commit to the Carolina Panthers, because Charlie Justice first made them Redskin fans.”

I guess I’m one of those fans.