Bill Stern, the Colgate Shave Cream Man is on the air;

Bill Stern, the Colgate Shave Cream Man, with stories rare.

Bill Stern, the Colgate Shave Cream Man is on the air;
Bill Stern, the Colgate Shave Cream Man, with stories rare.
I need to explain a bit since most readers probably never heard those words before or have even heard of Bill Stern. But those who can remember when television was a rare novelty and radio was still the universal form of electronic media for who followed sports were most familiar with Bill Stern. Not only did he broadcast on radio the major college football games of the week, he hosted The Colgate Cavalcade of Sports on Friday evenings. The show was opened with a barbershop quartet harmonizing those words above.
In addition to hosting many famous people from sports and show biz on those shows, he told stories. By his own admission, some of those stories might even have been true. In case there is any recognition of Bill Stern, you may have seen him in the Abbott and Costello movie, "Here Comes the Coeds," or the classic sports movie, "The Pride of the Yankees."
And in the early days when people stayed home on Friday nights to watch "The Friday Night Fights from Madison Square Garden," while adjusting the vertical and horizontal holds on those early TV sets, Bill Stern was the first commentator on those ringside telecasts.
This edition of the Back Porch is being written early because of the holiday that Wal-mart tends to omit in favor of starting Christmas shopping before all the Halloween candy is gone. I refer to Bill Stern since the past weekend of college football would have provided a lot of material for his Cavalcade show. If you didn't know, there were upsets that makes BCS the perfect initials, if you omit the C between the B and S for the inane method used to determine a champion.
It reminded me of another big upset 69 years ago. Going into the games of Nov. 28, the 1942 Boston College Eagles were a power. The Eagles were unbeaten, 8-0. In those days, there were many more Division I teams as Ivy League and other universities have either dropped the sport or have downgraded the programs below the Division I level.
Over the four year period from 1939 to the last regular season game of 1942, Boston College was 35-3 and the wins included a 19-7 win over Tennessee in the 1941 (1940 season) Sugar Bowl. In 1942 Boston College beat West Virginia, Clemson, North Carolina Preflight, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Temple, Fordham and Boston U. After the win over cross town rival Boston U. the Eagles were ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, which was used to name the national champion back then. Only wins over Clemson (14-7) and North Carolina Preflight (7-6) were close and the preflight team had some players who not only had completed college careers, but even played professional football.
So on that Saturday, Nov. 28, 1942, Boston College was hosting its other area rival, Holy Cross, 40 miles west of Boston in Worchester, Mass. It was the final regular season game and Holy Cross was only 4-4 on the year and the four wins were against losing teams. There were big party plans to celebrate an unbeaten season and upcoming bowl game that night. There were only five bowl games in 1942.
But, alas, the unthinkable happened. When the Boston College and Holy Cross players left the field that afternoon Holy Cross was not only the winner, but the final score was 55-12. Chaos reigned in college football. In the gloom of the Boston College locker room following the game, a student manager picked up the telephone and cancelled that night's party reservations at a Boston nightclub.
Why is this a Bill Stern type story? Okay, the nightclub where the party reservations had been made for that Saturday night, Nov. 28, 1942 was the Coconut Grove in Boston. I'm sure that some are familiar enough with history to now recall what happened on Nov. 28, 1942. But for those who don't, here's the twist. That was the night the Coconut Grove burned to the ground and 492 people were killed, including movie cowboy Buck Jones.
I don't know if Bill Stern ever used this story, but it's true.
Trivia Time
Georgia Tech's 222-0 win over Cumberland in 1916 is listed as the most lopsided college football game in history. What was Cumberland's season record that year? Answer to last question. Spencer Perceval is the only British Prime minister to have been assassinated.
Contact George Frasher at 337-424-7404,