I was feeling kind of down today, so I thought I should do something that would cheer me up. I hope you will be the beneficiary of my efforts.
About seven years ago, I posted a link to some photos I took while I was a freshman at Penn State in
1864 (oops, typo) 1964. On the fiftieth anniversary of taking these glorious pictures of Beaver Stadium, I felt that it would be fun to re-post them for people who didn’t get a chance to see them way back when.
Actually, Todd Sponsler (The Lion’s Den, Living the Eye Life) had posted a link to the original site of the pictures when he had a blog on PennLive.com at the time I first published them, so they got a lot of views, but maybe you missed them back then.
The scoreboard is particularly appropriate in view of the recent brouhaha about our new scoreboards concentrating on scores instead of advertising.
Please enjoy da photos and remember, they were taken by a 17 year-old freshman with illegal access to alcohol! If you wish to see larger pictures, just click on any of the photos below.
I had a brand-new 35 mm camera and a brand new 70-270 mm telephoto lens, but I obviously had no tripod with which to steady that rig for this shot. Nevertheless, in addition to the Beaver Stadium as it was back then, you can find some vintage automotive machinery parked in the fields between my dorm (East Hall E, now McKean) and the stadium. Many were parked on the fields on which the Blue Band used to practice. As it was Band Day, the stadium was filling up with multi-colored high school bands, undoubtedly conveyed to the stadium by those vintage school buses. I’m glad I was a profligate spender back then, buying unaffordable color film for my photographic exploits that would live on for a half-century.
Note the pennants flying from atop the east and west stands representing each of our opponents.
Beaver Stadium photo above taken from what was then the freshman/sophomore section, at what was called “the closed end of the horseshoe” and is now referred to as the north stands. Now, both ends are closed and there is no view of Mt. Nittany from inside the stadium. The Block S card section salutes the mighty Nittany Lions and the University, 1964-style, on Band Day.
Syracuse vs. Penn State. Guess who won? You’re right, it was Syracuse, 21-14. Syracuse beat us three years in a row from 1964 to 1966. Under head coach Rip Engle, the Nittany Lions went on to finish 6-4 that year and were ranked #14 in the final AP poll. (Syracuse was ranked #12, doggone it!) Floyd Little #44 was the stud runner for Syracuse that day, and it was only his sophomore year. Big Jim Nance wore number 32. Both were unstoppable. The following year, a converted linebacker named Larry Csonka would take over for Nance. Syracuse was a running powerhouse in the 1950s and 1960s! Nevertheless, the sun shone brightly upon Mt. Nittany, visible behind the east stands, on that glorious fall day.
In the Friday night/Saturday morning darkness the night before the game, a bunch of us students held an all-night vigil to guard the Nittany Lion shrine, as it was rumored that a contingent from Syracuse had loaded up a trunk with orange paint they were going to use to deface the holy shrine. The girls served coffee outside the Pattee Library and a few of us got lucky that night just by hanging around exuding team spirit — but not this freshman.
Note the wider goal posts, which were 23′ 4″ wide until 1991, when the present width of 18′ 6″ was adopted. Only three FBS schools still use the twin posts instead of a single stanchion for supporting the goal posts. Those are FSU, LSU, and Washington State.
There is no longer such a glorious view of Mt. Nittany from inside the stadium, as there was on this day in 1964. The Blue Band would always line up the same way under the direction of director James W. Dunlop, who served from 1947 through 1975. It was pretty ordinary, but the Floating Lions Drill jazzed it up beginning in 1965.
In this age of JumboTrons and lots and lots of advertisements, it is tempting to want to simplify stuff to the way it was back in the day–at least for us geezers. With Mt. Nittany and the ridges surrounding Happy Valley as a backdrop, the old scoreboard was a beautiful sight. It showed only game status, although the modest sign below asked for support for the alumni fund. This scoreboard, along with the stadium timer and a bronze plaque for the scoreboard, was a gift from the Class of 1926. The clock on the scoreboard was a gift of the recently graduated Class of 1964.
The guys who helped with parking were given seats in the south stands under the scoreboard behind the south end zone.
The incoming freshmen got their own salute from Block S in 1964.
I’ve published other pictures during the 10 years the Nittany Turkey has been in existence as a blog. A couple of cool ones can be found in “A Time-Trip with the Lions“, published in 2009. That one was also Band Day in 1964, but it dissected the loss to Oregon on that day. How things were at Penn State in 1964 can be found in “Footballistic Confessions of a Geezer“, published in 2007. Finally, for a picture of Beaver Stadium in 1959 (before it was physically moved piece-by-piece to its current location), check out “Beaver Stadium, Wayyyy Back“, also published in 2007.