Tar Heels are going bowling…again!

Note from Elizabeth: This post was written by someone whose name will be familiar to readers of this blog: our knowledgeable commenter Jack Hilliard. Hilliard is a North Carolina native, UNC-CH alumni (1963) and retired television producer/director (primarily for WFMY-TV in Greensboro). Hilliard got to know Hugh Morton through legendary UNC footballer Charlie Justice, and they worked closely together on the 2004 campaign for the Justice statue that stands in front of UNC’s Kenan Football Center. Hilliard now works as a volunteer for UNC Libraries, helping us identify Morton football images from the Justice era.

Butch Davis and his 2008 Tar Heels are headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte on December 27.  It will mark Carolina’s first bowl appearance since 2004, and will be their overall 26th. Hugh Morton covered several of those games over the years.

UNC’s first bowl game was the 13th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic (link to archival film of game) in foggy New Orleans on January 1, 1947.  That game was billed as the “Battle of the Charlies.”  Leading Coach Carl Snavely’s Tar Heels was freshman sensation Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, and leading Coach Wally Butts’ Georgia Bulldogs was senior All America Charley Trippi. The Bulldogs were unbeaten, untied and ranked number three in the country.  Carolina was 8-1-1 and ranked number nine. The game lived up to its advance billing.  Carolina led 7-0 at the half, but Georgia came from behind twice in the second half to take the game 20-10.

UNC 1947 Sugar Bowl startersThe game was not without controversy. Two second half calls (or really one no-call and one call) went against the Tar Heels. An interception-lateral play was allowed to stand and put Georgia into scoring position and a Carolina interference call nullified a Tar Heel touchdown. (The interception-lateral play would be reviewed today, but since there was no replay in 1947, the call stood). When the 16mm film was developed and shown the next week, both plays were shown to be questionable — too late to help the Heels.

When the game ended, 75,000 fans stood and cheered both teams as the two Charlies shook hands at mid-field. That friendship would continue as both Justice and Trippi would meet as opponents seven times during their NFL careers between 1950 and 1954 — Justice with the Washington Redskins and Trippi with the old Chicago Cardinals. (Ironically, Justice’s first and last games as a professional, on 10/22/50 and 12/12/54, would come against Trippi and the Cardinals).

Reunion of 1947 UNC Sugar Bowl Team, at Greensboro Train Station, 12/31/1996At 11:30 AM on Tuesday, December 31, 1996, a 20-car Norfolk Southern train pulled out of the station in Greensboro (the same way it had done on December 21, 1946) headed for New Orleans and this time for the 63rd Annual Sugar Bowl.  90 UNC players, managers, wives and special guests of the 1947 Sugar Bowl team would meet up with about 40 members of the ’47 Georgia  Sugar Bowl team. . . including the two Charlies.  Justice, Trippi, and Carolina’s 1946 Co-Captain Ralph Strayhorn took part in a pre-game 50-yard-line ceremony at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 1997.

Reunion of 1947 Sugar Bowl Teams, January 2, 1997The outcome of the 1947 Sugar Bowl was settled a long time ago, but for one final time, Justice and Trippi would replay that game played 50 years before and add their own “what ifs.”  The reunion trip was truly “A Time Remembered and a Sentimental Journey,” and of course, Hugh Morton was there with his camera.

— Jack Hilliard

22 thoughts on “Tar Heels are going bowling…again!”

  1. How wonderful that I get to comment on one of your posts for once! 🙂 I love hearing your stories and knowing you probably have the answer to many of our questions. Thank you for all the help you give us.

  2. Thank you, Elizabeth, for the kind words. It is indeed a genuine honor for me to be mentioned in the same paragraph with Hugh Morton and Charlie Justice.

  3. as i recall, there are 2 pinback buttons in the collection from the 47 sugar bowl, one of which says something like ‘let’s go choo choo’… the other button i found with a strip of what appeared to be white housepaint across the bottom and the puzzling inked notation ’14-7’… eventually i thumbnailed off the paint and figured out the story: after losing on jan 1, unc by chance played georgia at chapel hill in the next season’s sept 27 opener — and won 14-7.

  4. Thanks Amber for the nice comment. I have really enjoyed commenting on V2H posts this year, and I look forward to some additional ones in 2009.

  5. A very interesting comment Lew. I’m familiar with one of the pinbacks you describe. I have several in my Carolina memorabilia collection.
    (1) There is a 2-inch pinback with blue background and white letters from the 1947 Sugar Bowl that reads:
    “Let’s Go Carolina Beat Georgia 1947 Sugar Bowl.” There is one of these on display in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor on the first floor of the Kenan Football Center.
    (2) There is also a one-and-a-half-inch pinback with white background and dark blue letters superimposed over a Sugar Bowl Trophy that reads: “Sugar Bowl Classic North Carolina New Orleans 1947.”
    (3) There is a modern-day 2-inch pinback which shows the 1947 Sugar Bowl Game Program. There is also one of these for the 1950 Cotton Bowl Program.
    (4) There is a one-inch pinback from the 1949 Sugar Bowl which has a white background with Carolina Blue letters and it reads: “The Sugar Bowl U of NC New Orleans, La.”
    (5) And finally, in addition to the 1947 Choo Choo pinback that you describe, there is a 2-inch pinback with white background and Carolina Blue letters that reads: “Carolina Choo Choo 1949 Sugar Bowl.”
    Also a great story about the “14-7” writing on one of your pins. You are right on point with what that means.
    Following Carolina’s loss to Georgia in the 1947 Sugar Bowl, Georgia’s Bulldogs came into Chapel Hill on September 27, 1947, along with 43,000 fans. The game was billed as a “Sugar Bowl Rematch,” and it drew major national interest. Jack Saunders, writing in the “Alumni Review,” said that 55 reporters and photographers, five newsreel services (MGM, Warner-Bros.-Pathe, Fox Movietone, Universal, and Paramount), and five radio networks (ABC, CBS, Atlantic, WRAL’ s Tobacco Sports Network, and the University of Georgia Network), all jammed into, on top of, and around, the old press box at Kenan. Sportscaster Harry Wismer came in for ABC and Red Barber for CBS. And of course Hugh Morton was there in his familiar place on the sidelines.
    With 2:35 left in the game and the score tied at 7, Carolina fullback Walt Pupa hit Art Weiner with a 17-yard pass that put Carolina ahead for good 14-7. Coming into this game, Georgia hadn’t lost in 18 games, but late in the afternoon of September 27, 1947, the media outlets were reporting a Georgia loss. (It should be pointed out that Georgia no longer had All America Charley Trippi…his final game for the Bulldogs was the ’47 Sugar Bowl).
    On page 116 of the Quincy-Scheer Justice biography, there is a classic Hugh Morton photograph of Art Weiner catching a pass in this game.
    Carolina would go on to beat Georgia in Athens in 1948 and Charlie Justice would have his best day as a Tar Heel, and when the
    Bulldogs came back to Chapel Hill in 1949, Art Weiner would once again catch a game-winning pass.

  6. jack, thanks very much for the interesting background… relying on my memory instead of my photocopies, i was wrong about the “carolina choo choo” button being from the ’47 sugar bowl — it was ’49, likely your button no. 5….your button no. 1 was the one on which my payback-minded fan had painted over ‘1947 sugar bowl’…. btw, one of my life highlights was being a pallbearer with charlie justice and hugh morton at the funeral of former observer sports editor wilton garrison….

  7. Wow! Charlie Justice…Hugh Morton…Wilton Garrison…three North Carolina treasures.
    I remember as a little kid, my dad letting me buy a copy of the October, 1947 issue of “Sport” magazine. In it was a feature article about my hero Charlie Justice…written by Wilton Garrison. There are four Justice pictures in the article…one of them I believe is a Hugh Morton picture. I still have that magazine. (The cost in 1947 was a quarter).
    In January of 1949, while he was in New Orleans for Carolina’s game with Oklahoma in the 15th Annual Sugar Bowl, Hugh Morton took a picture of all the major sports editors from North Carolina…..including Wilton Garrison Sports Editor of the “Charlotte Observer.” That picture is on page 158 of Hugh’s 1988 book, “Making A Difference in North Carolina.”
    Lew, I can easily see why being a pallbearer with Justice and Morton for Wilton Garrison would be a life highlight. Thank you so much for sharing that.

  8. one more glancing encounter with history, jack: when wilton and eudora moved to a charlotte retirement home, dannye and i bought their house, which was the first or second built by c d spangler, who in 1940 was just going out on his own after having been secretary to dilworth developer e d latta… c d jr (dick) knocked on our door one day with an armload of blueprints, contracts, change orders, etc, listing every nail and fence picket… he had found the 50-year-old file while cleaning out his father’s papers…dick recalled having played in the foundation while the house was being built…. you could buy a nice little cottage back then for $10,000…it’s in its second generation as an ‘observer house’ — not likely, alas, to see a third…

  9. C. D. Spangler, Jr….. a favorite photo subject of Hugh Morton. Many of those images were taken at UNC while Spangler was President….like the one on page 209 of “Making A Difference in North Carolina.” But a couple of my favorites show Spangler holding a number 22 Charlie Justice jersey….same book page 254 and page 4 of Hugh’s 1996 book, “Sixty Years With A Camera.” Also Hugh’s 2003 book, “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina,” has a picture of Justice and Spangler holding the famous jersey. That picture is on page 204.
    The story behind the jersey was one Hugh loved to tell.
    On November 27, 1948 C. D. Spangler, Jr., an 11th grade student at Woodberry Forest, was one of the 26,000 fans that jammed into UVA’s Scott Stadium to see Carolina play Virginia. Of course leading the Tar Heels was junior sensation Charlie Justice. On that Saturday, Justice had a field day with runs of 50 and 80 yards and UNC won the game 34 to 12…finishing the ’48 season undefeated for the first time since 1898. On one of Charlie great plays that day his number 22 jersey was torn, and equipment manager, “Sarge” Keller, quickly got out a new one…tossing the torn one over behind the bench. Spangler quickly called a Carolina cheerleader over and made a deal to get the torn jersey. He kept the prized souvenir for over 50 years. Then on November 20, 1999, during halftime of the Carolina – Duke game, Spangler presented the jersey to UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour and it is now on display in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor at the Kenan Football Center. And of course Hugh Morton photographed the presentation.
    There is also a photo of Spangler, Justice, and Morton at UNC-TV’s Biographical Conversations web page photo journal:
    Lew, have you ever thought about doing a book on your “glancing encounters with history?” And speaking of your books, do you remember being interviewed on WFMY-TV in Greensboro when your 1996 book, “On This Day in North Carolina,” came out? Good Morning Show host Lee Kinard would have done the interview, and I was working for him in those days. As I recall, the interview was set up by the public relations folks at John F. Blair in Winston-Salem.

  10. thanks jack for remembering my modest ‘on this day’ tour… what i remember most viscerally about my lee kinard interview was getting lost and running late!… back to hugh morton for a moment: is there a chronology of his use of color film vs black and white? how he chose? im not a photographer, but i sometimes cites the b&ws of justice at yankee stadium, etc, as an example of how color isnt (wasnt) always the best choice….

  11. Lew, you were not the only Good Morning Show interviewee to get lost. Finding the WFMY-TV studios in northeast Greensboro was not the easiest thing to do…especially in the middle of the night. One of the many lessons I learned from working with Lee Kinard for 40-plus years: be flexible…if someone’s late, do something else until they arrive.
    You pose a couple of interesting questions. Let me say off the top, I don’t know if anyone has done a chronology of Morton’s black & white VS. color photographs. I do know that when Stephen, Elizabeth, Amber and David finish their work, such a study could possibly be done. As far as why Hugh chose black & white over color for most of the Justice Era photos, I can only offer a comment or two based on my limited photographic experience.
    In 1966, when WFMY-TV changed from shooting black & white film to shooting color, our deadlines changed drastically. The color film took a lot longer to process. So deadlines might have been a factor in the late 1940’s. I recall Bob Terrell, the longtime sports editor of “The Asheville Citizen,” telling me how his paper and the “The Charlotte Observer” would fly their photographer to the games in Chapel Hill, then fly him home in order to get the pictures in the Sunday edition. Most newspapers in that era used only black & white images.
    As a kid with my Brownie camera, I remember the costs of buying and getting color film printed were much higher that black & white.
    Then there are those folks that believe the true art form of photography lies in the black & white image. I don’t know if any of my thoughts would apply to Hugh’s photography.
    Now let me describe an instance when black & white film would have been a better choice. I made this discovery in 1984 while working on a Charlie Justice documentary with sports producer David Solomon.
    It was November 19, 1949 and Carolina would meet Duke for the 36th time. A record crowd of 57,500 fans made their way into Duke Stadium (now Wallace Wade Stadium). That record stood as the largest crowd for any sporting event in North Carolina until the Charlotte Motor Speedway opened in 1961. It would be the last Duke – Carolina game of the Justice Era, so someone in the Carolina football office decided it would be great to shoot the game in color. In 1949, the color film of choice was Kodachrome. And if I remember my UNC Physics 45 class from 1961, Kodachrome film, in ’49, had a speed of 10. (Let’s see, the larger the number the faster the film and the faster films needed less light). Hugh Morton was in his position on the Carolina sideline. (His credentials badge from that day is part of the Morton collection).
    The traffic was so bad that the Carolina team bus had difficulty getting through, and the Tar Heels arrived on the field for the first time at 1:45. The game was scheduled for 2:00. Needless to say, there was a slight delay.
    The game was back and forth most of the afternoon. With less than 20 seconds left, Carolina’s lead was 21 to 20. Duke had the ball at the Carolina 26 yard line. Duke All America tailback Billy Cox dropped back to pass but was trapped by the swarming Tar Heels, and he threw incomplete. The clock stopped following the incomplete pass at 4 seconds and the Duke field goal team came on the field. As Duke broke the huddle, Referee J.D. Rogers wound the clock and the 4 seconds ran off before Duke could get the field goal attempt away. Delirious Tar Heel fans stormed the field by the thousands. But Duke Coach Wallace Wade stormed the field as well. “You can’t start that clock until the play starts, ” he shouted. Rogers realized he’d made a mistake, but by now several thousand fans were all over the field. In fact, some Tar Heel players were headed to the dressing room.
    About 20 minutes later, the field was finally cleared, except for the players and the final 4 seconds could be played.
    Remember the two o’clock start time was delayed and it took about 20 minutes to clear the fans from the field. It’s after 5:30 and the November sun is sinking. (Lights would not be a part of Wade Stadium until 1984).
    Mike Souchak would attempt the field goal for the win. Center Carl Perkinson snapped the ball to holder Fred Shoonmaker. Souchak’s leg came forward and hit the ball…he also hit Art Weiner’s back side. Weiner had come through untouched. When Art realized that he had almost overrun the ball, he just sat down on it. Game now really over…Heels win 21 to 20.
    The Carolina photographer shot the entire game, but much of the final quarter is black on the film. The Kodachrome speed of 10 could not sustain the darkness of the hour. The newsreel photographers were shooting black & white and had no problem.

  12. truly a cautionary tale, jack… today’s photographers (and sportswriters) are similarly squeezed by 9 pm acc tipoffs, although at least they dont have to fly the film back in the dark!

  13. When Hugh Morton photographed Georgia All America Charley Trippi leading the Bulldogs to victory in the 1947 Sugar Bowl against UNC, Trippi had already been drafted by the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals and later that year he led the Cardinals to a NFL championship. On December 28, 1947, Charley Trippi scored two touchdowns on a frozen Comiskey Park field before 30,759 fans. The Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles 28 to 21.
    In 1960 the Chicago Cardinals became the St. Louis Cardinals and in 1988 the St. Louis Cardinals became the Arizona Cardinals. No championship games along the way. Today (1/18/09) the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Championship game and became eligible to play in Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009…61 years, 1 month, and 4 days after Trippi led the ’47 Cardinals to a World Championship, the ’09 Cardinals will finally play for the World Championship again.

  14. Yesterday’s Super Bowl game between the Cardinals and the Steelers prompted a popular University of Georgia web page to feature UGA and Cardinal great Charley Trippi; and as part of that page they added a link to the 1947 Sugar Bowl film. There is also a 1948 George Skadding “Life” magazine photograph of Trippi, UNC’s Charlie Justice, and NFL superhero from the 1920’s and 1930’s Red Grange.
    DawgsOnline – http://www.dawgsonline.com/
    When I think of Red Grange, I always remember a favorite story he use to tell:
    Soon after Grange joined the Chicago Bears in 1925, he and Bears’ Head Coach George Halas were invited to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge. When they arrived, the White House protocol officer greeted them and took them into the office where the President was busy at his desk. The officer said, “Mr. President, I’d for you to meet Red Grange and George Halas with the Chicago Bears.” President Coolidge, who obviously didn’t know who they were, said, “welcome gentlemen, I always did like animal acts.”

  15. Hugh used black and white film until the newspapers began to print color. In the easrly post-WWII days (The Justice Era particularly )he would drive up to the games, drive back to Wulmington, develop and print the pictures and take them to the bus station to go to the towns where the newspapers would pick them up. Which meant the afternoon papers, and there were’nt many. Which is why the locker room post-game pictures were always part of his coverage. He never sent the same picture to two different papers, of course. If he had a really good action shot it had to wait till Monday to be used. The Charlotte News would sell a print to anyone who asked for it for $1.00, if I remember correctly. Which meant dark room time for Hugh. Peahead Walker had a fan who was guaranteed to order a print of any photograph of him that ran and Hugh always made a print for her without being asked.

  16. I was a 12 year-old boy who’d scored a ticket to the 1947 game through my uncle’s father-in-law who was a “heavy hitter” in New Orleans. My seat was directly behind Georgia bench on the East Side — near mid-field.
    The call on Joe Terrashinski’s pass was horrible. It happened right in front of me. It was NOT a lateral. It went FORWARD from where he threw it.
    Another remembrance from that game was how Carolina’s offense shifted into Snavely’s unbalanced line single wing. They came out of the huddle into a T-formation and then shifted , usually to the right. the LG would pul out and move behind the Center into the position vacated by the Right Guard as the three linemen on the right side shifted one position to the right. The Left End and Left tackle also shifted right one position. In the backfield everyone shifted. Choo Choo, the Left Halfback, shifted to the right and back a step so that he was about 5 yards deep behind the Center. Pupa, the Fullback, moved to the right. The Quarterback (actually another blocker) shifted to a position behind the two guards, while the Right Halfback stepped right and forward to a spot just outside the RE’s position. It was like a choreographed ballet — and then BANG, the ball was snapped and the play was in motion. Essentially, they never stopped.
    This “non-stop”shift into the single wing, which was used all over the country back then, eventually was outlawed. Now you’re supposed to be set for a full second before the ball can be put in play.
    Anyhow, being there was quite a treat for me. There were two Hall of Fame coaches, two All-American running backs, numerous other future All-Americand players and one future NFL Super Bowl winning coach inside the stadium that day. WOW!

  17. There has been a lot of media coverage about that questionable call in the final two minutes of the 2015 ACC Championship game in Charlotte on December 5th. Since an official review was not to be, the TV folks have played the replay time and time again. UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora was quoted in Monday’s Greensboro paper… “I looked at the tape. They missed it. They got it wrong.” Then he added, “It isn’t going to change…and that’s just the way it is.”
    This is not the first time Carolina has been in the middle of a big game controversial play. On January 1, 1947, Carolina faced Georgia in the 13th Annual Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. With Carolina leading 7 to 0 in the third quarter, the Tar Heels were moving in Bulldog territory when Tar Heel fullback Walt Pupa dropped back to pass…his aerial was picked off by Georgia defensive back Joe Tereshinski at the Georgia 24. As he started back up field, he saw nothing but blue jerseys ahead, so he looked for someone to lateral the ball to and found Dick McPhee moving up fast. In the open field, McPhee appeared to be headed for a score, but Tar Heel Dan Steigman caught him from behind at the Carolina 14.
    The Tar Heel players immediately protested saying that McPhee was in front of Tereshinski and therefore the lateral would have been an illegal forward lateral. Tar Heel Head Coach Carl Snavely was outraged. Charlie Justice, in a 1973 interview, said “I saw one of the game officials pull out his yellow flag, then decided to put it back in his pocket.” Of course there were no replays in those days and like last Saturday’s ACC Championship game, the play stood. The controversial no-call-play has become known in Tar Heel circles as the “forward-lateral incident.”
    Following the “incident,” Georgia went on to win the game 20 to 10. In a post-game interview, one of the Carolina assistant coaches said, “We were not the same team after the disputed play…The emotional side of football wins as often as the physical side.”
    Several days later, when the 16mm game film was shown, the heated discussions began anew, with each team sticking to its point of view.

  18. I just learned this morning that we have lost another Tar Heel from “the best of times at UNC.”
    Joe Swicegood passed away back on March 22nd, 2018. He was a center, Jersey #21, on the Justice Era teams and was, along with his wife Peggy, a participant in the 50th anniversary Sugar Bowl trip in 1997. He is pictured front row, 3rd from the left, in the team picture above by Hugh Morton.
    He was also a teammate of Justice at Lee Edwards High in Asheville, 1940-1942.
    And of course, he is famous for his legendary barbecue restaurant in Asheville.
    Joe Swicegood was 91-years-old.

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