Up Frank Merriwell
A young man named Jerry Thinnes struck a noble blow last week against spacemen, robots, supermen and supermice?and in defense of the old Frank Merriwell Idea, which has been losing out lately because of a cynical, childish conclusion that Frank was just too old-fashioned even to make the football team in the era of the split T. Aha?couldn't, eh?
Where was Jerry Thinnes when Western Illinois State College (hereinafter referred to as Macomb, the town in which it is situated) and Eastern Illinois State College (hereinafter referred to as Charleston) began their annual football game last week? Why, Jerry, a freshman quarterback, was sitting in the stands eating hot dogs and cracking jokes with a few sweaterfuls of coeds. Jerry, in fact, wasn't even on the varsity team roster. Just the sort of spot from which Frank Merriwell zoomed to glory many's the time. So did Jerry.
Macomb, to get on with the story, ran out of quarterbacks and a coach ran feverishly into the stands, calling for Jerry Thinnes. Jerry gulped down his hot dog, hustled down under the stands, pulled on a uniform, and galloped out on the field amid wild applause. The score was tied 6 to 6. Jerry threw three passes for a total of 65 yards?the last of them for a touchdown which put Macomb ahead 13 to 6. Is it necessary to report that Charleston later tied the game up 13 to 13, and that it ended in a draw? Of course not?pay no attention to that aspect of the matter. After all, what television actor with a fish bowl on his head has ever really got to the Planet Krypton?
Final and fantastic
The Nielsen people, whose business it is to measure radio and television audiences, have just come up with final figures on two major sporting events of the early fall. The fourth game of the World Series was seen in 15,542,000 homes, the largest television audience for any sporting event ever or, to put it another way, bigger than the audience for the "I Love Lucy" program of the same week. The Marciano-Charles fight, not broadcast to home television sets, had a radio audience of 10,589,000 homes, the biggest radio audience since the 1952 elections. Or, in a word (Nielsen's), "fantastic."
Leather pushers, B.A.
During the mid-'30s there were some 50 college boxing teams banging away at each other before students in black ties and their dates in evening gowns, with bouts sternly halted if the fans so much as cheered in a partisan manner. That's how decorous it was, but it was exciting, too, and since then college boxing never has had it so good. The fabulous University of Virginia stable of boxers enjoyed more campus prestige than the football team.
Now there are little more than a score of colleges which support boxing and the sport's prestige is mighty low. A hardy little band of enthusiasts is trying to reverse the tide.
Among the leaders of the movement is J.T. Owen, boxing coach at Louisiana State since 1946 and co-coach of the American team in the last Olympics, when U.S. boxers won for the first time in history and set a world record of five out of 10 individual titles. After calling a successful boxing revival meeting among nine southwestern colleges, Owen was pretty sure last week that the sport will undergo a rebirth.
Before 1937, college boxing was fought under professional rules. Since then, safety regulations have put more emphasis on boxing, less on fighting. A survey by San Jose State College ranked boxing eleventh among college sports from the standpoint of injuries (football led), finding it more dangerous only than water polo, swimming, tennis and golf. The University of Wisconsin, after studying hundreds of bouts over a four-year period, counted only four knockouts and, even with the use of electroencephalograms, could discover no case of injury likely to be permanent. In other words, no one was knocked punch drunk.