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

There’s no guarantee USC and Cal will ever meet again at the Coliseum after Saturday night’s contest.

But even after USC moves to the Big Ten, there is expected to be some pressure to keep the Bay Area rivalries going. But from who? USC fans? Do any of them care if USC plays the Golden Bears? I doubt it.

Do Cal fans want to keep losing to USC once the Trojans are out of the Pac-12? How many Cal fans are there?

If there is pressure, it might come more from the administrators at the schools. The truth is the rivalry was great at one time, like in the 1950’s. But lately it’s been a pretty boring rivalry since those memorable games in 2003 and 2004.

  • I spoke to a Pac-12 coach who recently played USC.

“Did you see the towel wavers?” I asked.

“Yeah, what the hell is that?” the coach said.


It’s the Oil Can Restaurant in Montebello in 1928. Here is what the signs say: “Eat; Put Eastside Inside, The Perfect Brew.” “Eat Whittier Ice Cream, Not just as good – but Better” and “Whistle, The Only Handy Bottle, On Ice, Whistle.”


Irvino’s, 961 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles

Imagine USC having someplace in the 1960’s that served pizza, spaghetti, ravioli. lasagna and sandwiches; offered free delivery and was open until midnight? All you had to do was get past that drawing of the guy on the left.

  • And now for some history:

USC plays Cal so let’s visit a rivalry that has been captured brilliantly through pictures.

USC vs. Cal in 1994.

USC vs. Cal in 1977. That’s Walt Underwood (95) trying to block a kick. And Mario Celotto (59). And it looks like Myron Lapka (left) on the line.

Gordon Adams prepares to take the snap from Allen Pugh in the 1980 USC-Cal game at the Coliseum.

USC vs. Cal in 1985. Linebacker Garrett Breeland making the tackle.

Charles White during his freshman year in 1976.

Pat Haden tries to gain yardage vs. Cal in 1974.

Mike Garrett finds daylight at Memorial Stadium in 1965.

For Cal fans, All-American QB Joe Roth is the epitome of a legend. He is the only Cal player to have his number retired. No. 54 is USC linebacker Dale Logie. This is the 1975 game.

  • USC tailback Willie Brown playing infield vs. UCLA in 1962. Brown hit an inside-the-park home run in this game as the Trojans beat the Bruins, 5-3, in 11 innings.
  • And for any newbies, here is Brown in the 1963 Rose Bowl, where he led the Trojans to a 42-37 victory and national title. I said “led” because Brown had 108 yards receiving, returned kickoffs 41-and-31 yards and made perhaps the key play of the game with an interception in the end zone. All-American wide receiver Hal Bedsole told me Brown should have been the MVP instead of quarterback Pete Beathard.
  • Last week, I ran a photo of singer Bobby Darin at a 1959 USC rally with a cheerleader and a chimp. Sometimes, I have so much history going through my brain I forget to write about certain things. And the chimp is an example.

Chester (the chimp) was brought to USC by Yell King Chuck Phillips (pictured) in 1959 and became Phillips’ mascot and by extension, a USC mascot. This did not sit well with some USC alumni even though he became a well-known member of the Trojan community. The controversy ended with Chester officially retired as a USC mascot.

Phillips was quite a Yell King. One of his other ideas, nixed by the administration, was to bring a date to a football game. The date? Candy Barr, a notorious stripper who dated Mickey Cohen and Jack Ruby.

  • Since 1954, one of most venerable USC traditions was Songfest, a judged fundraiser where student artists showcased their various talents and competed against each other while raising profits for Troy Camp. Naturally, it ended in 2015 although it was brought back in 2022.

How big was it? In 1962, the guest conductor was Elmer Bernstein, who won an Academy Award, seven Golden Globes and five Grammys. His most famous musical score might be for The Magnificent Seven in 1960. The Songfest jury included Lionel Newman, who was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and was musical supervisor for Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

  • USC also used to hold an annual “men’s football banquet” in late November, which was a “stag affair.” In 1943, it took place in the North Gym inside USC’s P.E. Building. The entertainment was popular singer Rudy Vallee.
  • Last week, Roz Wyman died at age 92. Did you know she was a Trojan?

Wyman graduated from USC in 1952 and in 1953 became the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council. One of her campaign promises was to bring Major League Baseball to Los Angeles and she relentlessly pursued Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley.

Roz Wyman and Supervisor Kenneth Hahn greet Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley as the Dodgers plane lands in Los Angeles on Oct. 23, 1957.

Roz Wyman and Sandy Koufax in the Dodger dugout at the Coliseum in 1959.

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

    1. I’m surprised ‘Ol Mule Shoe hasn’t been praising Cal’s offense by referring to them as the Greatest Show On Turf, knowing his shit defensive coaching staff and the Ladies of Troy are going to give up a bunch of points on Saturday


  1. I think Pat Haden is maybe enjoying himself in that pile —so apparently is one of the Cal players [judging from where he’s grabbing Pat]. Could this have marked the ‘beginning’?
    Sorry to hear about Roz Wyman’s passing —extraordinary woman. She ran for office after her Councilman husband’s untimely death and became a major force in Los Angeles politics. [I’m not sure then- Mayor Sam Yorty was too thrilled with her —but the two of them were forces to be reckoned with back in the day & helped build the beautiful L. A. that lasted until the 2000’s…. along with the Hahn family & Mayor Bradley].

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nice memorial, Michael.
      I recall hearin her name alot growing up.

      She brought the Dodgers to town. Great accomplishment.
      Gotta wonder where Roz was in the Chavez Ravine eviction story?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know Roz, while all for development of downtown Los Angeles, was VERY concerned about the negative effects of eminent domain laws on longtime residents—- During the Hoover Project, my Dad was Executive Director of Urban Renewal and Councilman Wyman always wanted to make sure owners were treated as fairly as possible [as did my Dad]…..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael writes that L.A. was beautiful up until the 2000s, but right now I am looking out my Chinatown window at the skyscrapers of downtown L.A. with the prettiest pink cloud background as the sun labors in the East.

    Love that first photo of a Trojan being mauled by faux-Bears. If that happened out in the street those Bears would have gotten 2-5 years each

    Songfest jogged my memory as to when a frat brother performer asked my opinion of our Songfest performance and I honestly told him it was ok but not worthy of a prize. That guy never spoke to me again, and that was the last time I was completely honest with anyone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything was beautiful to MG before the 2000’s. Especially his socialist free ride UC Davis education.

      Even while MG was walking around…


      1. A Dis like–not a like.

        Probably shouldn’t be disrespecting a guy battling a bad cancer, TO.
        You might be interpreted as being insensitive.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Another memorable Cal game was in 2006 when Kevin Ellison absolutely annihilated Desean Jackson going over the middle of the field with a forearm strike to the head that nearly beheaded “Mesean.”




      1. Contact the NCAA, tebow….they like to apply retroactive discipline.


  4. Dont tell timmey obama this, but that cute lil chymp in the foto, chestur, was secrutly on one uf the space missions with buz aldren. in case timmey can reed, that infurmashun is now declassifyed.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Regarding the Bay area weekender,

    It might be a good idea.
    Over the decades, USC has played a lot of MWC teams early in the season–SJSU, SDSU, Fresno, Hawaii, etc. It’s always a home game.
    Would USC set up a home/away series with Cal? Stanfurd?

    Problem is, it would be early to mid September. The weekender–back in my day–was usually October.

    Final answer? Don’t do it.
    The Trojans will be traveling a bunch in the Big10.
    If the Big10 chooses a 9 game slate (probable), then one year USC will have 4 road games and the next will be 5. Throw in the ND schedule, and USC is guaranteed 5 visits to a site that is 2-3 time zones from the West Coast.

    Probably need to book only home games versus the pre-season teams.
    Look at Nebraska’s schedule. How about tOSU? I think they never have a road non-conference game any longer. Bama?

    While I enjoyed the Bay area weekender, I think it ends next year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I predict we’ll stop playing Notre Dame whenever the current contract ends. No reason for another Midwest trip. And our schedule os gonna he hard enough travel-wise. A shame and I know it sounds blasphemous, but unless Notre Dame joins the Big 10, it’s going to stop. Just wait.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m thinking the same thing.

        ND needs to join the B1G or the ACC and give up it’s exclusive TV contract. Parents today are teaching their toddlers, “sharing is caring.”
        ND–bad toddler.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I, for one, really hope the Bay Area rivalries continue. I have so many friends and family up north and many friends and contacts who attended Cal or Stanford, that I’m going to miss that annual event where all have a game to relate to. Plus, nice to have an extra reason to go to the Bay every year.

    Just such a shame these games are going away in favor of Purdue and Maryland games.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Had Irvino’s still been around in my day, this Dago woulda’ been a regular! A quick jump from Cardinal Gardens, and I’m digging into some lasagna!

    Yes, Irvino did pre-sage the Freddie Mercury porn-stache…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. …and finally…

    USC showing how “WOKE” it was back in the 1950’s.
    We (I wasn’t born yet) understood that dressing up a chimp in human clothing and using a live animal as a mascot was cruel and inhumane. Animal rights already on the agenda at University Park.

    USC–ahead of the times again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Possibly….or maybe fans didn’t think Chester looked good in a Cheerleader’s sweater.
      btw, we got a guy who played in Lionel Newman’s band [and Frank Sinatra Junior’s too] living next door. Larry is 89 and very hard to keep up with on walks or in the pool. [Newman did the lilting score for the old Hong Kong series starring Rod Taylor —wherein Rod would flirt with a different starlet for 55 minutes and beat up a villain for the last 5 minutes each week]…..

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I doubt USC and CAL will continue their rivalry. Once the L.A. teams leave the conference, the rest will be an FCS conference. USC wants to maintain its tradition of not playing a FCS team.
    (Sorry it seemed funny when I thought about it)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Like a lot of things in life, we laugh because it’s funny, and we laugh because it’s true.” – Robert DeNiro as Al Capone in “The Untouchables”


    2. Worry about your dumpster fire of a program, we don’t care about wokelahoma here. Speaking of points scored, what about that red river beatdown ! Or was it the Texas chainsaw massacre part 49 -0


  10. Scooter,

    Ever sionce the dodger4s played in the coliseum, the colosiuem management has not been able to get rid of the dodger stench. Hate the dodgers. And the big lbow hard, Lasorda was nothing but a bog mouth with vulgarity with it. Alston was okay but he got screwed over the dodgers on those one year contracts. .


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