If there is anything that Michigan has in common with Caltech this year, it's that neither of us will be playing in the Rose Bowl this year. (Ohio State, your days are numbered.) I say let's turn the lemons into lemonade, or however the saying goes. (Great quote from Forgetting Sarah Marshall: When life gives you lemons, just say fuck the lemons and bail!) In fact, in honor of the great Beaver tradition, I will be building a dam this week to save Boston from the flooding waters that result from global warming causing the polar ice caps to melt. In case my plan fails (or the project runs $10 billion over budget because workers from the corrupt construction firms able to bribe city officials to give them exclusive contracts for the project were "working" overtime) will also be tattooing a little child with a map of the location of the nearest remaining piece of dry land after the East Coast floods over.
...but I digress. Anyways, in 1960, Minnesota finished the regular season 8-1, was awarded the AP and UPI national championship (in those days awarded after the regular season before the bowl games), and faced Pac-10 champ Washington in the 1961 Rose Bowl. An elaborate card stunt was to be performed at halftime, but Caltech students had something else in mind. Prestigious Caltech is also located in Pasadena, and students were tired of their university constantly being overshadowed by the Rose Bowl every year, so they decided to leave their mark. As described in the first link below, students found out the card stunt sequences, gained access to the cheeleaders' hotel room, and rearranged the cards. The card stunt took place, but things started to seem off when the Washington Husky in the 4th picture supposedly appeared with the head of a beaver (how people could tell is beyond me). The next one raised a few more eyebrows when it read SIEKSUH ("huskies" backwards, of course), but it was the following stunt that would leave no doubt as to who was at work here and would go down as the greatest prank ever pulled off. On national TV broadcast by NBC, the 6th card stunt read "CALTECH"
Apparently, this caused a few moments of stunned silence, after which the announcers broke out laughing.
Yale students would later pull off a similar prank when they infamously got Harvard fans to spell "WE SUCK" at a Harvard-Yale game, but their prank did not have the same precision or ingenuity as the Caltech prank. There is also speculation that the image of "We Suck" was digitally enhanced.
I've been absolutely fascinated by the Great Rose Bowl Hoax and have scoured the internets for a video of the NBC broadcast of the altered card stunt, but to no avail. Does anyone have any idea how I might be able to find it online? I've tried youtube and Google video search. Worst comes to worst I somehow ask NBC for a reel or something. Any ideas?