THE GREAT ROSE BOWL HOAX
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST
STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST
The Great Rose Bowl
The College Prank that Set the Standard
Picture it: The Rose Bowl in
Pasadena, California, January 2, 1961. The game is being played on the 2nd day
of the New Year due to the 1st falling on a Sunday. The stadium is at capacity
for the college championship battle between the Washington Huskies and the
Minnesota Golden Gophers. NBC is televising the game to millions of viewers
The Huskies cheerleaders had planned an elaborate
flip card presentation for the half-time show, utilizing 2,232 Washington
students in a designated area of the stands. At the end of the first half,
Washington was up 17-0 and the audience, both live and in TV land sat back to
soak up the entertainment. As the band played on the field, the cheerleaders
gave signals to the students in the stands to hold up numbered flip cards. This
gave both the crowd at the game and the television audience a view of the huge
imaged the placards created. There were a total of fifteen images carefully
choreographed by the cheerleading squad.
Images one through eleven went without a hitch, but the twelfth, which was
supposed to show a huge Husky dog, the Washington mascot, the audience instead
saw a creature that looked surprisingly like a beaver. Determined not to miss a
beat, the cheerleaders continued on through their bewilderment. The next
presentation was supposed to spell out "HUSKIES". Instead, the world saw "SEIKSUH".
The placards were totally backward. When the signal was given for the fourteenth
set of cards to be shown, the giant word "CAL TECH" was broadcast to the shocked
crowd. Cal Tech was the small technology college located near the Rose Bowl.
The Washington band was so flustered that they
stopped playing in the middle of the field. Dead silence fell over the stadium.
Then, the entire crowd, with the possible exception of the Washington fans,
broke out into uproarious laughter. The band left the field without playing
The fifteenth display was never shown. After the laughter died down the game
continued and Washington won the championship with a final score of 17-7.
Who was behind this diabolical scheme? A group of Cal Tech students now known as
the "Fiendish Fourteen", who were upset at not being well represented in the
Rose Bowl Parade, that's who. One of the students obtained an original
instruction for the entire flip card presentation from a Washington cheerleader
simply by asking for it. Of course, the cheerleader thought that he was being
interviewed by a reporter, not a spy. Once the original sheet was theirs, they
went to a copy shop and had 2,232 copies made. Then, in a marathon of mischief
on New Year's Eve, the group of students hand-marked all of their own designs on
all 2,232 copies. When all the changes were made, three of Cal Tech students
snuck back to the Washington cheerleaders' hotel while the squad enjoyed a day
at Disneyland and replaced the original instruction sheets with their own.
The plan was carried out so smoothly, and the results were so perfect, that to
this day it is still known as the greatest college prank ever pulled off.
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