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Stanford Jonah: The Mystery Continues Part II

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[Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with Pete Carroll.  However, let it be noted that when his ancestors came to this country, their name was Cheaterstein.  It was changed to Carroll at Ellis Island.]

And we are back.  Last time, we looked at the confusing situation between the Cal fight song Stanford Jonah and the Georgia Tech fight song Up With White And Gold.  You can read that post here.  And you can read more about Georgia Tech football at From The Rumble Sea. 

In that post, we looked at the 1919 version of Up With White And Gold.  We compared that with the original version of Stanford Jonah.  We discussed how the Cal Glee Club might have spread Stanford Jonah to the East Coach on a 1914 trip and how the Georgia Tech Glee Club might have heard it during that trip and used it for Up With White And Gold.  It was all very interesting.

What is more interesting is that Georgia Tech actually has a slightly different version of Up With White And Gold that was copyrighted in 1929.  Due to copyright laws, we cannot reprint it here.  However, we do discuss this song further below.  

Now, what is interesting is that in looking at the 1929 version, we realized that this song was copyrighted in the same year that Cal and Georgia Tech played in the Rose Bowl.  So, while also looking at the 1929 version of Up With White And Gold, we wanted to take a look at the season that was 1928.  Follow up after the jump for a simpler time when America was enjoying the Rose Bowl!

To understand the 1929 Rose Bowl, it would be helpful to first take a look at the 1928 season in general.  This information comes from 66 Years On The California Gridiron written by S. Dan Brodie , published in 1949.  It was a very unique season.  One that would validate many stereotypes about USC, be it 1928 or 2008!  For going to the Rose Bowl, this didn't seem like a truly dominant Cal team.  For example, their first game of the year was a 22-0 victory over Santa Clara University on September 29, 1928.  Back then, Santa Clara had a much stronger program and pushed Cal all over the field.  Both teams actually had very similar yardage, but Cal took advantage of its opportunities better to score the polints.   
The week after that, however, Cal managed to handle itself more appropriately against a future WCC team.  St. Mary's had just moved from Oakland to Moraga and the Moraga Magician "Slip" Madigan brought a very solid team to Berkeley.  Played in front of 55,000 spectators, Cal only scored one time, but shut down St. Mary's for the victory.  They actually held St. Mary's to only 76 yards, so you knew the defense was there.  Oh, you told that story!
After a 13-3 victory over Washington State, Cal faced the similarly undefeated USC Trojans.  As it is now, this was one of the biggest, if not the biggest game of the year.  Cal was lucky to escape with a tie.  USC racked up over two hundred years, while Cal only had 120.  However, a staunch Cal D managed to keep USC from converting any of those 200 yards into actual points.  If only we had tied in 2004, right?  The key to the day were punts by Benny Lom, a proto-Bryan Anger as it were.  If Bryan Anger also played QB.  And on defense.  Wikipedia reflects just how skewed USC's scheduling was that year:

In Berkeley, California and USC played to a 0-0 tie. With the exception of this game, USC played all of its other contests at home in Los Angeles in 1928.

They played all but one of their games at home!  And you thought Florida's scheduling was bad!

Here is where things get a little interesting for us 21st century fans.  Cal then proceeded to take on the Olympic Club, a non-collegiate team.  Cal ended up losing to these Olympians 12-0.  Cal then defeated those damnable Oregon Webfoots 13-0 before heading up to Seattle to take on Washington.  For several years the decade prior, Cal and Washington had played the "Big Game" because Stanford and Cal could not work out arrangements for the Big Game (which is, in and of itself, its own post).  Although a game against Washington now might have little meaning, back then the passion from those "Big Games" was still very evident.  That year, Washington was not that good of a team.  However, it rained and the field was muddy, slowing down any attempt at a Cal offense.  On November 10, 1928, Cal had only 53 yards, while Washington had three times as many yards!  However, Cal managed to produce a single score for the close victory. 
Reading this so far, you've sensed a pattern.  Not a lot of points.  Cal has scrambled and pushed and fought, but tended to win 7-0 or 13-0.  However, against Nevada the week after the Washington game, it was raining men....scoring touchdowns.  The best kind of men to rain!  Cal ended up scoring 9 touchdowns.  Cal only scored 20 of those points in the first half, so the vast majority came late in the game after a bruising Cal offense had worn down the Wolfpack D. 
After that, with Cal having beaten or tied all collegiate teams they faced, it was time for the real BIG GAME!  None of that Washington junk for us.  Maybe that was OK in the 1910s, but this is 1928 now!  It's the 20s!  Jazz age.  Stock market collapse was a year away.  Time to beat back those Lobsterbacks. 
Or tie, at least.  On November 28, 1928, Cal took on Stanford in the Big Game.  82,000 people came out to Memorial Stadium to watch the game.  They were licking their chops when Cal intercepted Stanford early in the game on a great leap by Cal star Steve Bancroft.  After a key block by Roy Riegels (more on him later), Bancroft ran 75 yards to paydirt.  Cal was up 13-0 after Benny Lom threw a TD pass in the second quarter.  Cal had a 5 year losing streak to Stanford on the line, so they were hoping to build off of that 13-0 halftime score.  Unfortunately, they were unable to do so.  Stanford scored 13 points in the second half to tie it up.  However, how they tied it up was very unique.
With just a few seconds left to play, Irv Phillips, batted down a Stanford pass which he could have intercepted.  Later, he said he thought it was 4th down and so batting it down instead of intercepting it was not a big deal.  However, it was actually not 4th down and Stanford still had one more chance, a chance they fully converted.  Cal fortunately blocked the extra point attempt to salvage a tie, but the damage was done.  Cal had grabbed a tie from the jaws of victory.  The Cal offense had actually been outplayed fairly well very Stanford.  Stanford had 239 yards to Cal's 113.  Cal only had 3 first downs on the day.  So, perhaps grabbing a tie wasn't so bad in the scheme of things.
This leads us to the end game for the 1928 season:  The 1929 Rose Bowl. 

The 1929 Rose Bowl.


via  Buy this poster here

As will be explained in just a moment, there is a 100% chance you already vaguely heard about the 1929 Rose Bowl.  It was played between Cal and Georgia Tech.  GaTech was one of the best teams in the nation that year and were named national champions by two separate organizations that year. 

However, their opponent, our beloved Cal was not the champion of the Pacific Coast Conference.  Cal went 6-1-2 in the Pacific Coast Conference. They only went, because USC for some insane reason turned down the Rose Bowl:

California was not the Pacific Coast Conference champion in 1928. The 1928 USC Trojans, under coach Howard Jones, were the PCC champions, and also were named a national champion. They were undefeated with a 9-0-1 record. The lone blemish on the Trojans' record came at Cal, who had tied USC 0-0 on October 20. USC had defeated Notre Dame 27-14, the only common opponent with Georgia Tech. The University of Southern California declined the bid to play in the Rose Bowl.[4] California, the second place team with a 3-0-2 conference record appeared instead to represent the Pacific Coast Conference. After tying USC, Cal had lost to the Olympic Club "Winged Os". The Bears beat Oregon, Washington and Nevada. They tied Stanford 13-13 in the 1928 Big Game.


They were facing Georgia Tech, who had not lost or tied a single game.  they had beaten their 9 opponents by a combined score of 213-40.  The most points they gave up in a single game was a 33-13 beatdown of Alabama.  The most points they scored was 51-0 over Alabama Poly.  And they had defeated something called a Oglethorpe 32-7.  Oglethorpe?!?!?!? 

Here is the scoring summary on the day:

Second Quarter

  • GT – Maree and Westbrook block Lom’s punt for a safety

Third Quarter

  • GT – Thomason, 14-yard run (Thomason kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

  • Cal – Phillips, 10-yard pass from Lom (Barr kick good)

You'll notice that first note up there (and the difference in the one point game) is a blocked punt for a safety.  GaTech blocked Cal's punt attempt for a 2 point safety, the difference between winning and losing the game.  How did Cal end up in a position where a blocked punt could lead to a safety?  3 words:






Mr. Brodie's book actually has a play by play for this entire game, starting on page 183.  I do not believe that readers of this site want a complete play by play, but I will try to summarize some of the more general themes, including one very key moment.  The first half did not contain a lot of action.  Teams were trading punts and no points were scored at all in the first quarter.  Georgia Tech had brought a running team with it.  In the course of the entire game, they only attempted 3 total passes (Cal only attempted 12 passes) to 42 rush attempts (51 for Cal).  Georgia Tech also had a unique rushing style where the QB would receive the ball from the center, turn completely around from the Cal D, and hand the ball off to any number of men in the backfield.

Roy Riegels was an All-American in 1928.  He would go on to join the Rose Bowl Hall Of Fame and the Cal Hall Of Fame.  However, his brightest moment was perhaps not the 1929 Rose Bowl:

Midway through the second quarter, Riegels, who played center, picked up a fumble by Tech's Jack "Stumpy" Thomason. Just 30 yards away from the Yellow Jackets' end zone, Riegels was somehow turned around and ran 65 yards in the wrong direction.

Teammate and quarterback Benny Lom chased Riegels, screaming at him to stop. Known for his speed, Lom finally caught up with Riegels at California's 3-yard line and tried to turn him around, but he was immediately hit by a wave of Tech players and tackled back to the 1-yard line. The Bears chose to punt rather than risk a play so close to their own end zone, but Tech's Vance Maree blocked Lom's punt and Georgia Tech scored a safety, giving them a 2-0 lead.

Riegels was so distraught that he had to be talked into returning to the game for the second half. Riegels turned in a stellar second half performance, including blocking a Tech punt. Lom passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point, but Tech would ultimately win the game—and their second national championship—by a final score of 8-7


Ron Fimrite's recent book Golden Bears:  A Celebration Of Cal Football's Triumps, Heartbreaks, Last-Second Miracles, Legendary Blunders And The Extraordinary People Who Made It All Possible, published in 2009 (which you can purchase here) on the history of Cal football goes into further depth on this moment.  On page 109, Fimrite notes:

It came about on the Engineer’s second possession of the second quarter, with the ball on their own 24-yard line and the game still scoreless.  On first down, Thomason plowed off tackle for six yards before he was hit hard by Phillips and Lom.  On impact, the ball squirted out of Stumpy’s grip and bounced forward to the 34, where Riegels, the Rover, fielded it cleanly on the hop.  It was…so far…a big play for the Bears.

On page 110, Fimrite notes how the QB, accurately understanding what was happening, tried to stop Riegels, but was unsuccessful initially:

Lom caught up with Riegels near the Cal 20, but instead of tackling him there, he called for a ball, hoping against hope to salvage something positive from the disaster.  Riegels was a lineman, though, and he knew how few chances to score there were for his kind.  "Get away from me," he called out to his teammate, "This is my touchdown."

Coach Nibs Price considered taking Riegels completely out of the game.  However, he was concerned that this would crush Riegels' psyche at a key time in the game.  Cal was only down 2-0 with plenty of time left.  However, concerned that Riegels had been injured, Price did remove him for the rest of the first half.  Riegels spent that time sitting on the bench attempting not to cry. 
Confusion reigned on the field and the Bears actually ended up kicking off from their 20 yard line instead of the 30, which was standard for kicks after safeties at that time.  What would those 10 yards have meant?  Who knows, but Cal and GaTech traded more punts at this time.  The Yellow Jackets tried to take control of the game by driving deep into Cal territory.  They got to the 20 yard line, but a staunch Cal D managed to hold.  They actually sacked the QB Dunlap, pushing GaTech back 15 yards.  For some reason, GaTech went for it on fourth down (there were few, if any, field goal attempts in this entire game that I can figure) and Cal batted down the pass in the end zone.
In reading this play by play, it seems that after the safety, Cal thought the football was something you didn't want.  They keep punting on second down.  I'm not entirely sure how us SBN sites would have handled seeing Cal continuously punt on second down, but I can only assume that the Fangrade for Nibs Price would have been........................low.  Perhaps Cal's focus on being on defense made sense, because in the waning moments of the 2nd quarter, Benny Lom scooped up a fumble and ran 68 yards for a TD.  However, the ref called the play back to the initial spot of the fumble, claiming that the ball was dead before Lom grabbed it.  So, in the first half, Cal had had three odd moments occur, all going against it.  Wrong Way Riegels, incorrect placement of the ball on the post-safety kick, and the fumble return called back. 
However, they were only down 2-0 as they headed into halftime.

Fimrite's book notes how distraught Riegels was at halftime on page 111:

Such a slight lead hardly seemed insurmountable, so the mood at halftime in the Bear locker room was almost jocular.  His teammates fully intended to kid Riegels out of his embarrassment, but before they could get started, Roy retreated to the bathroom where he had a solitary cry.  He was finally retrieved by fullback Jim Cockburn in time to be subjected to some well-meaning but heavy-handed jokes.  "what’s the idea of running sixty-five yards on such a hot day," went one, "when you only had to go thirty-five in the other direction."  Riegels smiled politely but was unamused.

Another interesting event occured early in the 3rd quarter when a Cal punt got blocked.  However, not only was the punt blocked, but the ball was crushed in the process.  It is unclear whether the ball was crushed before the Georgia Tech player blocked it or by the block itself.  This was clearly an odd game and the ball totally collapsing mid-play just continued that streak of insanity.  Geogria Tech gained possession at the Cal 9 yard line and 3 plays later was inside the 1.  On 4th down, Georgia Tech tried to ram its way across the goal-line.  However, Cal managed to stop them just an inch short.  YOU SHALL NOT PASS!


"Cal D" via

Cal immediately punted the ball, again opting to punt well before fourth down.  This time, they managed not to give up a safety.  However, it only took a few plays for Georgia Tech to go 44 yards for that much-needed TD.  Georgia Tech actually missed the extra point attempt and was up 8-0 at the time.  Cal ended up scoring their sole TD on a Benny Lom pass with just a minute and a quarter left in the game.   Cal tried an onside kick, but was unsuccessful and Georgia Tech quickly ran out the clock.  Cal actually outgained Georgia Tech by about 80 yards.  Cal recovered 5 of Georgia Tech's fumbles.  So, it was not as if Cal didn't acquit itself here.  The real difference in the game was that damnable safety.  Take that out and Cal wins 7-6. 


Fimrite's book even helps us feel better about laughing at Riegels by pointing out his life's success on page 112-113:

 He was elected captain of Cal’s 1929 team and president of the Big C letterman’s society.  He played so well in his senior season that he made the all-conference team and was name a first-string all American by the Associated Press.  He was graduated with a degree in agriculture and after coaching high school football joined the Army Air Corps during World Way II and rose to the rank of major.  After the war he worked for a Sacramento canning company before founding his own firm manufacturing agricultural chemicals in the northern California town of Woodland.  He became a pillar of the community, active in civic and service club affairs.  He became a director of the Cal Alumni Association and president of the Woodland rotary club.  He fathered four children and doted over ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  He was elected to both the Cal and rose Bowl Halls of Fame.

Finally, Fimrite's book notes how the story of the 1929 Rose Bowl and Stanford Jonah reaches into a political race decades later on page 113:

 Campaigning for the Presidency in 1971, Senator George McGovern said of the incumbent, "Wrong Way Riegels must be directing President Nixon’s economic policies."

Fimrite's book goes into a lot of detail about this moment and many other parts of Cal football.  I would definitely recommend purchasing it.   Brodie's book has a play by play of the game and a lot of information, too.  I would definitely recommend purchasing it, too!



So, how does this relate to Stanford Jonah?  Well, there is another publication of Up With White And Gold, Georgia Tech's version in 1929, after the Rose Bowl (which ostensibly took place on January 1, 1929).  Goldblooded again has more to say on this topic:


Goldblooded:  More evidence of tampering by Roman is found again between the 1919 and 1929 versions of the sheet music. The 1929 version lists Roman as the sole contributor and composer, eliminating the three mysterious individuals credited with writing the words on the 1919 version: "Doc" Robinson, "Muck" Werner, and "Clyde" Jordan. Some friendly correspondence with the GaTech SBN blog has revealed that these three men were all active members of the GaTech Glee Club from 1915-1916. Why Roman chose to eliminate them from subsequent versions of the tune could either reflect his own modifications to the lyrics, or (bias) his desire to distance himself from a possible source of Glee Club song thievery!! 

And now, for what I believe is the most convincing piece of evidence in favor of Haley being the composer of the song: Haley’s father. William H. Haley, better known to the world as Will H. Bray or Billy Bray, was a prolific songwriter and actor. His songs were known far and wide, and are preserved in the Library of Congress.

Ted Haley, being the son of a prominent songwriter, most likely learned how to write a catchy tune from his dad. Only talent such as the elder Haley’s could teach a man to create a tune that would be catchy enough to drive
other Glee Clubs to steal and claim for themselves!! (bias) In all seriousness, the fact that Haley’s father was a popular songwriter himself is very convincing evidence that Haley was quite capable of writing a very catchy tune and putting some timeless lyrics to it. 

I can also point out the obvious – the GaTech song makes references to an axe, a farm, "bow-wows", none of which have anything to do specifically with GaTech. The original melody is also incomplete when inserting the original 1919 lyrics. I can’t reproduce the sheet music here, but there are several instances where one syllable of the song will cascade up or down a series of tied eighth notes – implying that syllables have been removed for some reason. A noteworthy example of this is the changing of "Down on the stanfurd farm" to "Down on the o-old farm" – sing it for yourself…sounds odd, doesn’t it?

The University of Montana also play a tune "Up With Montana" that shares the tune and more questionable lyrics ( I haven't found much on this song, other than that some people claim it was written in 1914. I will again cite the 1914 tour to New York and then Europe as a likely situation in which Glee Clubs all gathered to perform joint concerts and haphazardly exchange tunes. The Naval Academy in Annapolis also plays "Up With the Navy", which share's Jonah's tune, but have given all rights to the University of Montana, essentially admitting that they stole the tune from them.

As for the fact that we have a tune of GaTech's, I found that the first instance of the "Ramblin' Wreck" tune, which happens to be taken from a popular Irish/English drinking song called "Son of a Gambolier", was written as "The Jolly Sophmore" for the sophomore class at Cal, and first appeared in songbooks in 1879. "The Jolly Sophmore" gave way to "The Cardinal Be Damned", popularized later by the junior and senior men. It's full of awesomely lewd lyrics and everyone on this blog should learn and sing it at every tailgate.

"Ramblin' Wreck" first appeared in GaTech songbooks in 1908, so the thought that Cal ‘stole' the song from GaTech is incorrect. In fact, we used the drinking song almost thirty years before they decided to. This is not to say that Tech stole the drinking song from Cal, though. As the GT blog puts it:


"The Charles Ives song "Son of a Gambolier" is old (1895) but the tune is definitely from an older song called "Bonnie Blue Flag" published in 1861. And to say that anyone stole the song from anyone is dubious. There are 2 colleges with references to the song which are older than 1879 as well (Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO). And several colleges have the same tune in school cheers.
I personally don't think there's a connection between Tech and Cal concerning the origins of "Ramblin' Wreck" other than both schools using popular folk tunes to populate their school repertoires."


This goes to show that the typical fight-song practice was to adapt popular tunes of the day, and put individualized lyrics to them to create long-lasting fight songs. This is the case for several of our beloved Cal fight songs (learn more boring facts in upcoming posts!) As far as I can tell, this is not the case with Jonah. This practice is most likely no longer as popular due to many schools choosing to honor their past traditions, but I say: who here thinks it's time for a Lady GaGa fight song?


I welcome outside opinions, and am planning on an update as soon as I can get my hands on some old Blue and Gold yearbooks. Please feel free to ask questions, as they will only drive research!

Some parting quotes, taken from my research and the senior thesis of Roschelle Paul, written in 1945 and entitled

"Song Tradition of the University of California, Berkeley": 


"The student leaders are no longer steeped in California tradition as they once were." pg. 4.

"There are too many interests in a student’s life and most of them point away from the University." pg. 4.

This from a paper written in 1945. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So, there you go.  A look at the 1928 season, the 1929 Rose Bowl, and the 1929 version of Up With White And Gold.  Hope you enjoyed the series.  GO BEARS!