EPISODE 18 (10:04)
This is the second episode that correlates to the LSU Libraries Special Collections exhibit, “Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium,” which showcases the players, the games, the facilities, and the culture that have made LSU Tigers football the spectacle it has become. Located in Hill Memorial Library’s Lecture Hall, the exhibit is open to the public until December 21. Come by if you can and check out a sampling of LSU football treasures from the University Archives, the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, and the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History– all of which are housed in LSU Libraries Special Collections.
Episode 18, “A Nationwide Audience,” features clips chosen by our Manuscripts Processor, Erin Hess, that highlight the nationwide aspects and impacts of LSU football.
The oral histories featured here are from the Williams Center’s University History Series, and while we are grateful to have the current content, this series is by no means comprehensive. If anyone out there listening or reading knows someone who ought to be interviewed, or wants to be interviewed themselves, contact Jennifer A. Cramer at email@example.com. If you’d like to make a donation to help the Center document University Athletics, please contact Jennifer or visit our donation page.
AUDIO EXCERPT TRANSCRIPTIONS AND CITATIONS
JOHN FERGUSON is the key except. *For full transcription, see below.
Ray Roy: Between 1954 to 1955, our beloved Istrouma High School had gotten beaten there by Baton Rouge High to go to the state championships. So we went out . . . Alvin did, he went out to the coaches, Coach Brown and them we knew real well, and offered that we would go set up a weight program for them. We set it up out there and then in the summertime, they all came . . .
Petra Hendry: To the gym?
Roy: . . . to the gym. They brought them in a bus. And in that group was Billy Cannon, who became a Heisman award winner. And the LSU . . . Some of the other LSU players started coming when Billy went out there. That was the time when Paul Dietzel was coach and Paul came to the gym and started getting his LSU players to come.
Hendry: So LSU didn’t have its own weight room then?
Roy: No. No, they didn’t. That was . . . Nobody in colleges were lifting weights then. Nobody in high school was lifting weights. Nobody in pro football or pro basketball was lifting weights. We started it all, right there, starting with the Istrouma High football team. They won eight out of eleven state championships in a row. I mean, they lost it a couple of times. They lost in the finals one time. But it was just a dynasty that they built out there and it all started with the . . . So all the other kids started coming in there. There we had the summers were full and it just attracted other things.
Roy, Ray, interview by Petra Munro Hendry, audio recording, 2005, 4700.1743. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
* John Ferguson: There weren’t very many people, many schools playing night football at that time. So when we broadcast games at night, we had a nationwide audience. LSU enjoyed the fruits of that. I think the radio broadcasts of the LSU games throughout the 1960s and 70s particularly were very, very important, extremely important in building the image of LSU in the athletic sense. And also letting people throughout the country know that it’s . . . you know, that people do live down here and it is a great place. And that’s one of the . . . Those are things we tried to impart through our broadcast. We just didn’t go describe the plays. We were selling . . . we were selling the state, we were selling the region, we were selling LSU, we were selling . . . We really were sales people.
Ferguson, John, interview by Scott Purdy, audio recording, 1993, 4700.0312. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Bud Johnson: I really enjoyed working for [Athletic Director] Jim Corbett because he was intellectually stimulating, you know. “Hey, Fightin’ Tigers!” the fight song, do you know that story? Okay. He goes to New York on TV business. See, he was on the NCAA Television Committee, a very important role in those days. There was a play on Broadway called Wildcat. Lucille Ball had the lead role. There was a very lively tune called, “Hey! Look Me Over.” To Jim Corbett, that sounded like a college fight song. He turned “Hey! Look Me Over” into “Hey, Fightin’ Tigers” for [Coach Charles] McClendon’s first game in Tiger Stadium. Got somebody on campus to write the words, got permission from the people to use it.
Tom Tyra, the band director . . . I was in this staff meeting and Tom Tyra said, “It’ll always be known as, ‘Hey! Look Me Over.’” Now, you find me somebody in Tiger Stadium today that knows that that was, “Hey! Look Me Over.” That’s not your normal athletic director that didn’t have any journalism background, that didn’t have any creativity about him. You know, they were an old baseball coach or an old football coach and you didn’t have . . . you know. If you saw an offense you liked you copied it, you know. You didn’t have to be creative.
Johnson, Bud, interview by Emily Nemens, audio recording, 2013, 4700.2353. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
This podcast was co-authored and produced by Jennifer A. Cramer and co-authored by Erin Hess. The audio engineer was Kyle Tanglao. Special thanks to contributors Leah Jewett, Barry Cowan, Wyatt Winnie, William Mitchell, Louise Cheetham, Gabe Harrell, Emily Nemens, Michelle Melancon, and Germain Beinvenu.
Aerial view of Tiger Stadium, c. 1960. LSU Police Department Records, RG #A0205, Louisiana State University Archives, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA.
Ad for Alvin Roy’s Gym. Daily Reveille, September 11, 1958. Microfilm 632 University Archives.
John Ferguson. Courtesy of Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information.
Drum Major with Tiger. Office of Public Relations Records, RG #A0020, LSU Archives, LSU Libraries.
King, Freddie, interviewed by Tatiana Clay and Eric Julien, audio recording, 2008, 4700.1921. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
This podcast is copyrighted by LSU Libraries Special Collections.
For a full transcript of the podcast, please contact Jennifer Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.