If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

Today’s column has a Hollywood flavor.

But first, some football.

  • Did you catch this comment regarding USC coach Lincoln Riley’s tenure at Oklahoma that was made on the Paul Finebaum show?

“Every year that Lincoln Riley was the head coach, Oklahoma got just a little worse,” Oklahoma beat writer Jason Kersey of the Athletic told Finebaum.

What’s funny is Riley probably agrees. And it’s a reason he is at USC.

  • If USC doesn’t meet fans’ expectations next season, I think one reason will be the defensive coaching staff, which is not extraordinary by any measure.
  • I spoke to a Pac-12 coach this week who said many coaches throughout the league believe Oregon will bend recruiting rules and new commissioner George Kliavkoff will tolerate it.

“He’s going to let it happen and it’s going to happen,” the coach said.

  • No endorsement deals for Caleb Williams this week?
  • Whatever happened to that Detroit Lions job that Brandon Sosna supposedly interviewed for last summer?
  • USC clinched a top-four seed and first-round bye for the Pac-12 Tournament with its double-overtime victory over Oregon State on Thursday night.
  • I heard from several former USC basketball players this week after I wrote about Andy Enfield calling me an obscenity after the Washington State. They thought it was awesome I irritated him enough to draw a reaction.
  • I’m old enough to remember when UCLA was considered perhaps the best basketball team in the nation.
  • The level of service at some restaurants around USC is atrocious. At Rock and Reilly’s in the USC Village, you don’t even get a waiter or waitress. You must order your meal on your phone. Someone then brings you the food from the kitchen. Good luck getting a refill, condiments, extra napkins. The Lab, which is next to the Galen Center, also has no servers.
  • So Ken Norton decided to take the linebackers job at UCLA. I hope he does a better job than he did coaching linebackers at USC, where he wasn’t much of a presence.
  • Former USC defensive tackle Bernard Riley has been named head football coach at Austin High School in Austin, Texas.
  • Natalia Bryant, the daughter of Kobe Bryant, and actress Storm Reid (Euphoria) are roommates at USC.
  • San Jose State’s legendary sports information director Lawrence Fan passed away this week. He worked 501 consecutive San Jose State games from 1980-2021. And he was universally respected/beloved by the media.
  • USC band director Jacob Vogel will speak about “Life After Art Bartner … the future of the Trojan Marching Band” to the USC Trojan Affiliates on March 3, at a private home in San Marino. Information: 818-790-1970.
  • The L.A. Times Festival of Books is returning to USC on April 23-24 following a COVID-19 break.
  • Here is some good news: Actor James Hong is part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2022.
  • Hong, who has appeared in more than 600 TV and film roles, turned 93 this week. He studied civil engineering at USC and worked for L.A. County as a road engineer for seven years before becoming a full-time actor.
Photo/USC Annenberg Media
  • The rapper Saweetie, who graduated from USC in 2016, spoke in the business class of one of her former professors on Wednesday.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. poses in the Galen Center to promote his fight with Michael “The Problem” McKinson on March 19 in the arena.



And now for some history:

  • This really caught my eye this week. In 1958, you could go to a local restaurant and take a chartered bus to the Rams games at the Coliseum. Some of these establishments are/were landmarks: Tom Bergin’s in West L.A.; the Old Virginia steak house in South Pasadena; the Blarney Stone cafe in Burbank; the Covina Bowl; Pasta House in East L.A.

The Dal Rae in Pico Rivera opened in 1951 and is still going strong.

But I’m going to focus on the House of Serfas, which was open from around 1955-65 and located near Baldwin Hills. Ernie Serfas was a distance runner at USC in 1947 and graduated in 1948 before he opened the sports bar with his brother, Nick.

The bar became a hangout for Rams, Dodgers and Angels players, including Rams tailback Jon Arnett, Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, Rams defensive lineman Lamar Lundy, Rams coach Harland Svare and wrestler Gorgeous George.

Many athletes, including Arnett, lived in the motel that Serfas ran behind the sports bar. It also became the home for a weekly basketball press conference where John Wooden, Forrest Twogood and other local college coaches would show up and meet the media.

Serfas claimed he sent 548 people in 11 buses to one Rams game.

If you look at the ad in the program above, House of Serfas offers “50-yard-line seats.” One can only imagine how much more affordable tickets and a bus ride cost for a Rams game than today.

  • This is a picture of Wrigley Field in Los Angeles in 1961. And that is Casey Stengel standing with his back to the camera. Stengel lived in Glendale his entire life and Stengel Field in Glendale is named after him.
  • In 1991, USC did a Star Trek-themed halftime show and managed to get the cast of the original Star Trek (minus William Shatner). From left, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelly and Leonard Nimoy.
  • Actress Sally Kellerman died Thursday at age 84. Here she is at the 1970 Academy Awards presenting USC student John Longenecker with an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Subject.
  • Did you know that legendary visual artist Ray Harryhausen took night classes at USC while still in high school? Harryhausen took classes in art direction, photography and editing under the newly formed Department of Cinematography.

His movie credits include Mighty Joe Young (1949); Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1957); Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Clash of the Titans (1981) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), which is pictured above.

  • This is what USC looked like in 1940 when streets went through the campus. This is Trousdale Parkway (now University Avenue) viewed from Exposition Blvd. It’s the route many fans and the band take to the Coliseum for football games.
  • And here’s a busy intersection in 1949 with Tommy Trojan in the center.
  • Finally, here’s a photo from the 1982 USC-UCLA game. For years, this game was significant because it was the last time the teams both wore their home uniforms until 2008.

USC running back Todd Spencer is tackled by UCLA’s Kenny Page in the 1982 Crosstown Rivalry.

62 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. so, K Norton jr and great SC linebackers during PC era are not synonymous? I surely differ with that evaluation and so would the NFL. BUT the other info is great…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Fun, fun column. Kudos to Scott..
      btw, Jason Kersey was sucking up to Coach Riley last year… [and if he wants to see what it looks like when Oklahoma get worse — just pay attention come September]….
      I would like to ask the late Ray Harryhausen [who gave us kids many good times] one question: how tall was Mighty Joe Young supposed to be? He looks 25 feet tall in half the scenes and 15 feet tall in the rest.
      Finally, Sally Kellerman was fantastic —from her early days on the Outer Limits to M.A.S.H’s Hot Lips. Her appearance at the Academy Awards caused just the kind of fuss she intended.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. A lot of people give Sam all the credit for that year (which could have been better if Helton played Sam in the Stanford game). And do you agree, John, that Sam actually regressed under Helton? The Sam of 2017 developed accuracy problems cuz his throwing motion was altered…..

        Liked by 5 people

  2. I’m definitely taking a wait and see attitude with Lincoln Riley, because his Oklahoma teams didn’t really knock my socks off, they weren’t built to defeat the top physical SEC teams. So if he continues to use that same blueprint for the Trojans, then expect several PAC 12 wins, and zero national championships.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Pete, just because you won 2 college championships (and fumbled another), and won one super bowl (and fumbled another), don’t be so cruel in your judgment

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is one freezing cold take. National media flies out to L.A., drinking scotch for five hours on the plane, gets glad-handed by USC administrators, retreats back to the eastern time zone, writes nice things about administrators. Clay Helton would still be coach if it were up to Steve Lopes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bohn had it leaked to Adam Maya that Clay Helton had been fired; presumably hoping Carol Folt would go along with it. Lopes immediately killed the story through Bruce Feldman and Pete Thamel.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. One of the best Friday columns ever Wolf. Great job, it shows the work, time, and research involved. Very impressed. Wrigley Field was home to the L.A. Angels, we went there a lot when I was very young.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Consensus: Riley will be the coach who makes the most positive impact in 2022. [I didn’t hear Clay’s name mentioned in the discussion —did I miss it]?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Harriger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Caleb W

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ‘Celeb’s “family stressed NFL-specific development…”

        Who is running this SC ship anyway. When you have to kowtow to parents of players it is a set up for getting fired just like You-Know-Who (although were a hundred other reasons for Mr. Georgia Southern’s exile)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Harriger gets the drill —he offer technical advice, Riley runs the offense. It’s not Harriger’s offense. It’s not Harriger’s team.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Scott you are rolling today!!! Good stuff on some of the old restaurants, bars, and pictures of the USC campus in the 40’s when my mother was there.

    How about some shots of Little Joe’s Restaurant near Chinatown in LA which was a very popular place before and after USC football games. They were famous for having sawdust on the floors inside the restaurant, and boy did that place get packed after games.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Little Joe’s! The best American-style Italian food and the cheesiest red wine selection in the modern world —the perfect place to take the family [which we all did back in the day]…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Amercan-style Italian food” and “red wine” and “More Spaghetti”– What are you, Italian or something?

        And yes, Sam regressed under Ton-o-Hel’s expert tutelage, as did every SC quarterback on his watch. It went something like this: “You see son, I was a quarterback when I was your age, and your throwing motion is off. You got to throw like I did back in the day.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott called that one early, John —his advice to Clay: “Let Sam be Sam.”

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Scottie, offering up a 15 course menu today, a big-time smorgasbord! Brings back memories of Norm’s!

    Though I got to say that Scottie should aspire higher in life than to getting an HC to call him a freakin idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott’s Finest Moment….
      [You know what’s funny? You can’t get banned from practice for being an illiterate suck up —there are a half dozen of those guys covering USC right now….you can only get banned for telling the truth….weird]……

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Scottie’s finest moment may have been receiving and posting those contraband photos of the homeless guy in the hot tub after running drills with the punt return team.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. People can’t handle the truth (a line from Petros’s Dad).

        I mean, if your girl is looking a bit off on a particular day, not quite as cute as usual, are you going to tell her the truth?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. As William Buckley once put it “Sometimes truth isn’t the higher virtue.”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Well, Michael, it might be Wolfie’s manner that is off-putting. I mean, you got to like Wolfie, but he is probably an acquired taste

        And Scott was dealing with coaches, who he probably feels superior to intellectually, and that may have rubbed them the wrong way.

        Oh, and the fact that Scottie writes mean things about the coaches, that may also have been a factor to his getting banned.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. No question about Scott’s lack of deference. I recall a post practice presser 5 or 6 years years ago where Dan Weber asked Clay about his problems on the line of scrimmage & Clay gave an absurd answer about the problems being imaginary. Dan nodded like a moron and said “thank you, Coach.” Scott asked some question [which I’ve forgotten but was typical Scott] and didn’t say “thank you” after Clay babbled some crazy talk. I remember thinking at the time, “USC is gonna come down on our Scott one of these days.”

        Liked by 3 people

  8. One beauty about this blog is that some posters say mean things about Scott, and others like MG and I dissect his personality, and the posts are not censored and we are not banned.

    If we did these shenanigans on the OTHER’s blog, it would be censored in a New York minute, and then we would be banned in the second New York minute.

    Got to hand it to Wolf, he dishes it out, but he can take it too. The man has the hide of a rhino, which is better than being thin-skinned

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, he must have rhino skin. Can you imagine what’s like to put out a column crammed with favorite memories, lots of snark, gossip and football opinions…only to have someone say “how come you’re not kind to our coach?”
      “I kill myself trying to get a great picture and the critics say ‘if this film only had some love interest it would gross twice as much.’ It’s enough to make a guy sore!”
      —Carl Denham in “King Kong”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know about that– I thought the love interest between Kong and Fay Wray was one of the sexiest on film

        But alas, like many trial love affairs, this one was doomed from the start. Because either Kong was too big for Fay or Fay was too small for Kong.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. …..as some critic said at the time ‘you don’t get to walk around New York with a 6 foot erection without getting into trouble.’

        Liked by 2 people

  9. “More Republicans have negative view of Biden than of Putin, poll finds”

    Well, of course, Putin never took a vow to obey our laws, secure our nation (ITS BORDERS) and respect the constitution, then completely ignore all of those things. That poll is about as lame as that loser yesterday, who got on some of us for not calling out Putin.

    Putin is scum, but he never lied to us about so many things the way Biden has. I didn’t even mention the way Biden claimed he was supposedly going to be so much better than Trump, in unifying the country. What a joke. He’s every bit as divisive and then some!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anyone who doesn’t like this horrible Biden-Harris world is racist, sexist or part of a cult and “needs help”. LMAO

      The stupidity of the far left (and far right for that matter) is amusing.

      Liked by 1 person

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