Flashback: GM's 50 Millionth Car Parade

Flashback: GM's 50 Millionth Car Parade



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

On November 23, 1954, General Motors celebrated their 50 millionth car by throwing a massive parade in Flint, Michigan – the home of Chevrolet's Motor Division. The celebration featured bands, dancers, floats, and the 50 millionth car itself, a gold-plated Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe.


Museum Milestone: 1967 Chevrolet Caprice (GM’s 100 Millionth?)

It took General Motors nearly 50 years to build its first 50 million vehicles, and right around 12 to build its second 50 million. Therein lies irrefutable evidence of GM’s stronghold on the average consumer in mid 20th-century America. It probably was no coincidence that vehicles 50 and 100 million were ostensibly Chevrolets, but the choice for 100 million was a bit surprising, or was it?

GM’s 50 millionth car seemed like the perfect (and obvious) choice–the now iconic 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe, resplendent in an appropriate gold hue. This one rolled from the Flint, MI, assembly line in November, 1954, which is also appropriate because GM incorporated in Flint under the larger than life auspices of Billy Durant (if you haven’t read Lawrence R. Gustin’s biography of him, you should). If ever a vehicle showcased GM’s styling, engineering, and marketing might, it was the wildly popular shoebox Chevy with its new for 󈧻 V8.

On the other hand, the choice for the 100 millionth GM car seemed like an afterthought. In 1967, Chevrolet produced vehicles like the Camaro, Corvette, and Chevelle SS. Oldsmobile had their innovative Toronado. Buick produced the sinuous Riviera, Cadillac the tailored Eldorado. Pontiac was in its own universe under the GM umbrella. So why did they choose a Caprice hardtop?

I guess if I’m going to be questioning the choice of a vehicle for a celebration, I should at least use the preferred nomenclature: this is a Caprice Custom Coupe. I am an unabashed fan of 󈨅-󈨊 full-sized Chevrolets, but the 󈨇 is probably my least favorite, for reasons I don’t understand and can’t really explain. In my little world, the original 󈨅 is full-sized heaven, the boxier 󈨉 is runner-up, and the 󈨈 is probably third. I’m not in love with the 󈨆 restyle, and it seemed like they went the wrong way again in 󈨇. Obviously, that’s just my opinion, and it’s dubious, since I own a 󈨅 Dart wagon and a Corvair.

I do, however, like the one-year only round instrumentation, and saying the 󈨇 is my least favorite is like saying Rocky Road is my least favorite ice cream. It’s still ice cream. The styling is deft, like it is on almost all 1960s GM products, but the Caprice just doesn’t scream � million” to me. There’s no special color here, no special engine (I believe this Caprice is propelled by the 275-horsepower 327) it’s just a basic top-of-the-line B-body. This one was even built at the Janesville, Wisconsin, plant, which was not exactly located in GM’s epicenter.

It does appear that � million” is optioned up to rock and roll. It seems to have an 8-track tape player and air conditioning, along with a really awesome upholstery pattern. The three-spoke steering wheel in the 󈨇s was also a nice, sporty, perhaps unexpected touch. The 󈨇 Chevy’s interior practically invites a person to embark on a road trip, and I absolutely want to do Kingman, Barstow, and San Bernardino in this anniversary Chevy.

Strangely enough, the 100 millionth car had a bench seat rather than the sportier buckets shown in the 󈨇 brochure. Personally, I’d rather have the bench, and it’s probably more appropriate for a Caprice, but with all of the other options on this car, any omission is strange.

I photographed this special Caprice at the Sloan Museum in Flint in 2011, during Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary display. I believe Sloan Museum owns the car, and it’s apparently a very low mileage example, but this is the only time I’ve seen the car displayed, even though I’ve been visiting the Sloan for years.

Maybe Sloan Museum even wonders why such an important automotive milestone seems like such a letdown. I can’t imagine trying to wade through GM’s accounting labyrinth to determine what car was the 100 millionth anyway, but if you’re going to commemorate such a car at all, why this one? (I feel like I must reiterate the fact that I have nothing against 1967 Chevrolets here).

Is it possible that GM screwed up? Is their accounting department a deadly sin? I happened across the above photo online, and it clearly proclaims that the innovative 󈨆 Toronado is indeed the 100-millionth GM car, built over a year before the Caprice that is the focal point of this discussion. So which one is correct? I can find precious little in my own materials or on the internet to solve this (admittedly rather unimportant in the scheme of things) mystery. The gorgeous and iconoclastic Toronado is a more obvious choice for a milestone machine, but there is some fairly convincing evidence (such as the big sign on the side of it) pointing to the Caprice. The internet stories I’ve found are split about evenly between the two.

Can anybody in CC land shed some light on a possible interdivisionary rivalry in the making? Until then, I feel I’ve raised more questions than answers.

59 Comments

All of these honoraries are semi-bogus and used primarily as a marketing opportunity. Do you think GM really kept track, minute by minute, of the cars that rolled off their lines in order? So they figured out roughly the time when car 100,000,000 would be rolling off a line somewhere, picked a car they wanted to showcase, and said “This is it. ”

And then they did it twice because the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

That’s kind of how I think of these commemorations…how many cars come from all GM lines per minute, and with slowdowns, etc., who knows? However, maybe they can keep track of each vehicle as it’s scheduled for production, but how accurate were early records in that regard? Like you said, it’s probably staged.

Do US cars have separate chassis and / or body serial numbers, not just VIN numbers ? Did they keep records of these numbers from the earliest days of production ? I mean – if so, that would’ve been a (relatively) simple task…

E.g., AFAIK the 1, 2, 3 and 4-millionth Moskvitches, exhibited at the plant’s museum, were, indeed, the 1, 2, 3 and 4-millionth cars that rolled off the assembly line of that plant – they’ve kept records of each car’s chassis serial number from 1946 on.

But in this particular case, you’re most likely right – at least one of the two 1 000 000 000th cars is obviously fake, and that makes the entire story questionable, at best.

Easier for them – Moskvitch was a one-model/one-factory operation for most of its’ existence (depending on whether Izh was counted as a separate marque).

GM at its’ peak was probably more analogous to the entire Warsaw Pact auto industry in terms of number of cars produced, number of factories and product lines.


#7 The Healing Spring of Saginaw Street

In the 1870s, Flint was looking for adequate sources of water for manufacturing, fire protection and drinking purposes. Three artesian wells were dug. The first was located near Crapo’s Mill, but quickly abandoned. The second was dug at the corner of Garland and Fifth Streets, but the flow failed to reach the surface. The third, at the corner of Saginaw and First Streets, became a mineral spring of some renown. The spring was thought to have medicinal properties and its water was imbibed by pedestrians to the tune of over 2,000 persons a day. All claimed significant health benefits from drinking the water. Did this spring exist? And if so, is it still in operation?

The Saginaw Street artesian well did exist and is prominent in historical photos of early Flint. The well has since been moved from its original location to Hamilton Park where it still stands at the corner of MLK Avenue and E. Fifth Avenue. We may never know about the well’s supposed healing properties as the water has never been studied and the well is no longer in operation.

#8 Just a Simple Game of Cards

In 1837, William M. Fenton and New Yorker, Robert LeRoy, traveled to the settlement of Dibbleville where they decided set up shop. The men were soon joined by friend, Benjamin Rockwell. As Fenton, LeRoy and Rockwell platted the area, they had to settle on an official name for their settlement. Legend has it that to determine the name, the men played a high-stakes poker game. Mr. Fenton held the winning hand and the settlement was dubbed Fentonville (shortened to Fenton in 1863). As a consolation prize, the town’s main street was renamed LeRoy Street. The men continued playing, with the winner of each hand naming a new street. Elizabeth Street was named for LeRoy’s wife, Adelaide Street for Fenton’s wife and Lavinia Street for Rockwell’s.

The legend goes all the way back to the late 1800s when it was written by F. Ellis in The History of Genesee County, Michigan published by Everett and Abbotts. No evidence exists except the Ellis account. The legend of the card game is immortalized in a bronze sculpture called “The Game” created by artist Oleg Kedria, installed in 2017 on the grounds of the Fenton Community and Cultural Center.

#9 The Bandits of Long Lake

During the early pioneer days of Genesee County, Long Lake (now Lake Fenton) was known to the Chippewa Tribe as their “happy hunting grounds.” As the pioneers settled around the lake, the Chippewa welcomed them, as most pioneers were a hardworking and fair lot of men. But not all men are cut from the same cloth. Soon, a tightknit group of 80 white renegades found their way to the lake and began ravaging the countryside. Eventually, the group fought their way to Grand Rapids where they killed a trader and took his daughters hostage. The pioneers were too few in numbers to rid the area of the scoundrels, so the local natives took charge. The Chippewa met with their friends, the Ottawa, and devised a plan to catch the outlaws in an ever-tightening net. The outlaws were tracked by a mute native American boy named Segoguen and his dog to their hideout on Long Lake. There, the two tribes converged and none of the 80 bandits escaped.

The account above is a story that has been passed down through generations of inhabitants of the area surrounding Lake Fenton. The location of the bandit’s hideout is believed to be the land now occupied by the Fenton Moose Lodge. Actual evidence of the story, however, is lacking. As of this writing, there is no physical proof of the legend.

#10 A Visit from Saint Nicholas

“’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”

On December 24, 1822, prominent New York professor, Clement Clark Moore, sat himself down next to a beautiful marble fireplace bedecked with Christmas stockings and wrote the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Recognized throughout the world, the poem is read by millions of families to their children on Christmas Eve. And, for nearly 90 years, that special fireplace has hidden in plain sight … in Flint. Legend has it that in 1931, a local interior designer purchased the Italian marble fireplace façade from Moore’s New York home for the original residents of the house at 515 East Street – now home to Voices for Children. There it sits in operation, the focal point of annual Christmas celebrations.

This story is confirmed. Clement Clark Moore’s original fireplace façade is located in Flint at the home of Voices for Children. In fact, many people have visited the house over the years to take pictures with the historical artifact.


Disclaimer

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (User Agreement updated 1/1/21. Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement updated 5/1/2021).

© 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.

Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site.


1955 Chevrolet Bel Air



General Motor’s 50-millionth production automobile was assembled with great fanfare on November 23, 1954. At 9:50am that day, GM’s 50-millionth body met its 50-millionth chassis and assembly personnel secured its many components under banners commemorating the grand event. Within five minutes of the body-drop, the front fenders were being attached followed mere minutes later by the hood . Once complete, the car was driven to a nearby platform built specifically for this occasion while a band played “See the USA in a Chevrolet.” Chevrolet general manager, T.H. Keating made a few remarks then introduced GM president Harlow Curtice who told the employee audien ce, “Ours is a great achievement. It is one in which all of us can well take great pride. It should inspire us to even greater achievements for the future.” Curtice also noted that 50-million cars “are more than any other country or combination of countries has ever produced.” The keys to the special Bel Air were ceremoniously handed over to Harlow Curtice as part of the festivities. The Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop including its chassis was painted Anniversary Gold and had a reported 716 trim parts plated with 24-carat gold (though another report gave the number as “more than 600”) along with a duplicate set of replacement parts for repairs if necessary. The interior was color-keyed to the exterior and had the 50-millionth commemorative medallion made for the event attac hed to each door panel. Chevrolet also offered the Anniversary Gold paint color as a limited option (reportedly just 5,000) for four-door models only. The 50-millionth car not only appeared at the “Golden CARnival” parade in Flint, but also at the GM Motorama. General Motors even painted one of their diesel locomotives in Anniversary Gold with the special 50-millionth car logo as part of the celebration. The 󈧻 Chevy passenger cars were all new this year three-hundred million dollars were spent on the redesign and new tooling for its 3,825 new components. Just as with the Biscayne dream car, the new Chevrolets were designed under the leadership of Clare MacKichan as well as Ed Cole (who would later become president of GM). According to Fingertip Facts for the 1955 Chevrolet (a book printed for salesmen), “Chevrolet first found out, through exhaustive research, exactly what people want in a car of lowest cost then developed – in one compact design – values that exceed people’s greatest expectations of a car of Chevrolet’s class… As a result, the new Motoramic Chevrolet is by far the most beautiful, most enjoyable, and finest performing Chevrolet ever built.” Up front was a Ferrari-like egg-crate grille. The hood-line was nearly flush with the front fenders and the profile sported a beltline or “Dutch Darrin” dip as seen on several dream cars. The beltline dip served to make a car look lower than it really was. In this case, it accentuated the low look of the new Chevrolet that was over two inches lower than the previous 󈧺 models. Surprisingly, the 󈦗s were about one-inch shorter and one-inch narrower than the previous year models. The wraparound windshield finally made it to Chevrolet (including pickups) this year as well. With the new body came a new chassis with box-section frame rails and ball joints up front instead of king pins. The Bel Air convertible received an X-member for additional strength. A six-cylinder was standard and the new V8 optional on all models.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air



General Motor’s 50-millionth production automobile was assembled with great fanfare on November 23, 1954. At 9:50am that day, GM’s 50-millionth body met its 50-millionth chassis and assembly personnel secured its many components under banners commemorating the grand event. Within five minutes of the body-drop, the front fenders were being attached followed mere minutes later by the hood . Once complete, the car was driven to a nearby platform built specifically for this occasion while a band played “See the USA in a Chevrolet.” Chevrolet general manager, T.H. Keating made a few remarks then introduced GM president Harlow Curtice who told the employee audien ce, “Ours is a great achievement. It is one in which all of us can well take great pride. It should inspire us to even greater achievements for the future.” Curtice also noted that 50-million cars “are more than any other country or combination of countries has ever produced.” The keys to the special Bel Air were ceremoniously handed over to Harlow Curtice as part of the festivities. The Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop including its chassis was painted Anniversary Gold and had a reported 716 trim parts plated with 24-carat gold (though another report gave the number as “more than 600”) along with a duplicate set of replacement parts for repairs if necessary. The interior was color-keyed to the exterior and had the 50-millionth commemorative medallion made for the event attac hed to each door panel. Chevrolet also offered the Anniversary Gold paint color as a limited option (reportedly just 5,000) for four-door models only. The 50-millionth car not only appeared at the “Golden CARnival” parade in Flint, but also at the GM Motorama. General Motors even painted one of their diesel locomotives in Anniversary Gold with the special 50-millionth car logo as part of the celebration. The 󈧻 Chevy passenger cars were all new this year three-hundred million dollars were spent on the redesign and new tooling for its 3,825 new components. Just as with the Biscayne dream car, the new Chevrolets were designed under the leadership of Clare MacKichan as well as Ed Cole (who would later become president of GM). According to Fingertip Facts for the 1955 Chevrolet (a book printed for salesmen), “Chevrolet first found out, through exhaustive research, exactly what people want in a car of lowest cost then developed – in one compact design – values that exceed people’s greatest expectations of a car of Chevrolet’s class… As a result, the new Motoramic Chevrolet is by far the most beautiful, most enjoyable, and finest performing Chevrolet ever built.” Up front was a Ferrari-like egg-crate grille. The hood-line was nearly flush with the front fenders and the profile sported a beltline or “Dutch Darrin” dip as seen on several dream cars. The beltline dip served to make a car look lower than it really was. In this case, it accentuated the low look of the new Chevrolet that was over two inches lower than the previous 󈧺 models. Surprisingly, the 󈦗s were about one-inch shorter and one-inch narrower than the previous year models. The wraparound windshield finally made it to Chevrolet (including pickups) this year as well. With the new body came a new chassis with box-section frame rails and ball joints up front instead of king pins. The Bel Air convertible received an X-member for additional strength. A six-cylinder was standard and the new V8 optional on all models.

1950 through 1959

The 1947 Michigan football team was undefeated and headed to the Rose Bowl. (more about that team below.) Someone in MMB administration -- probably Jack Lee, Assistant Band Director in charge of marching, drills and formations -- decided that for its upcoming Rose Bowl performance the band needed a major change of its on field style, marching and, most of all, pace.

Beginning with Sousa’s first march (1890s), all of his subsequent marches were written to be played at 120 beats per minute and bands took 6 strides per 5 yards if they were marching. This became the standard for all bands, scholastic and military, until late November 1947. That’s when the MMB transitioned to 180 beats per minute for a march, such as the Victors, and on gridiron marching changed from 6-to-the 5 to 8-to-the 5. To accomplish this “transition”, the MMB was bused to a hanger at Willow Run Airport several days between the Ohio State game and the Holiday break. The Willow Run hanger was a former bomber plant (B-24s) during WW II. It was empty and large enough for a full size football field (with end zones) to be marked out on its concrete floor. Willow Run practices were from 4-6 PM just like in season MMB practice sessions.

Practices were all about marching 8 high steps to each 5 yard line – and playing Victors up and down the “field” at 180 beats per minute. That marching style and speed has become the standard for all scholastic marching bands -- but military bands are still at 120. (Sousa was Director of the US Marine Band for 13 years, so Sousa speed is indelibly stamped on military bands.)

Michigan’s 1947 Football Team

The ’47 team is arguably called the greatest college team ever, its only “rival” for this recognition being the 1946 Notre Dame team. Michigan’s ’47 team was undefeated, Big Ten champions, and headed to the Rose Bowl to represent the Big Ten in one of the first of the Big-Ten-Pac Ten Conference series. They were aware that Michigan played in the first Rose Bowl in 1903.

Fielding Yost coached the 1903 Michigan team, took only 16 players, two of whom didn’t play. In the middle of the 3d quarter, the Stanford coach threw a white towel onto the field indicating his surrender. The score was 49-0. The ’47 team, aware of this history, declared that they wanted to beat their Rose Bowl opponent (USC) 49-0 just as the 1903 team had done. And they did -- but had to play a full length game.

So --- On Jan. 1, 1948, Michigan beat their Rose Bowl opponent 49-0 for the second time, and the MMB sailed down the field at pregame playing the Victors at 180 beats per minute, the first time in public.

Tom Higby - 1952

I was a pre-med sophomore in the fall of '52, but in my first season with the MMB. At that time not many families had TV, and I had never seen a football game on TV. I had never seen the Michigan Stadium, although I had heard that it was big. I had no idea where it was located, but expected that the drum-major (Dick Smith) could get us there. We formed up at Ferry Field, near the baseball stadium, and marched to the stadium.

The first game of the season was with MSC (not U), a nonconference game, but always a full house. Coming out from the tunnel at our usual fast cadence to meet the pressure of so many cheering our entry was a never to be forgotten thrill, amplified greatly by my ignorance. I was sure that the playing field was much smaller than standard, as the towering seats seemed to shrink everything.

In my junior year I was a rank leader. In my rank was a skinny red-head with a peck-horn. His name was Reynolds. Through some amazing lack of fore-sight I failed to pick him as Revelli's successor.

Speaking of Revelli, has it ever been recorded how he complained on our trips about the public urinals being too high? (He was very short-legged.)

Bob Chartrand - 1956

Here is a story concerning the Symphony Band. In the spring of 1959 the Symphony Band toured Illinois and Iowa during spring vacation. Two concerts were scheduled for Muscatine, Iowa, which is located on the Mississippi River. One concert for students in the afternoon plus an evening concert.

During student concerts Dr. Revelli often like to play "name that instrument" with the kids in the audience. He would ask a member of the band to play his instrument and then ask members of the audience to name the instrument. On this particular occasion he asked Danny Smith, I believe, to play a few notes on the contrabassoon. He then turned to the audience and asked someone to name the instrument. Some kid in the balcony yelled out, "It’s an Evenrude!" The members of the band and the audience all knew that an Evenrude was an outboard motor and broke into loud laughter but the old man apparently had no idea of what an Evenrude was and had a look of pure confusion on his face. As the laughter grew louder his confusion grew more pronounced and his face got even redder. Finally he jumped back on the podium, turned to the band and gave the downbeat for next selection with the laughter of the audience still ringing in his ears!

Karl Andrews - 1954

An incident that happened at the September 16, 2006 Notre Dame game got me thinking about an incident that happened to me as a MMB member in 1955.

The TV announcer at the Notre Dame game was explaining that Mario Manningham, (after catching a touchdown pass), had injured his hand because of a collision with a MMB player in the end zone.

The injury was not serious because he received the Offensive Player of the Game Award.

Tuba players like myself, were told to protect your horn from damage, and always be alert, and "BEWARE OF THE TUBA PLAY".

I was involved in "The Classic Tuba Play" during the 1955 Game at Minnesota.

Minnesota had one of the best running backs in the Big 10 at that time. His Name was McNamara and he was running wild that day.

The MMB (147 members at that time) was seated in a tight cluster on the field, well back from the sidelines. The Sousaphone players (12) were seated side by side on the front row, with the Sousaphones lined up on the ground in front of us.

Suddenly I looked up and saw Mr. McNamara running down the side of the field, heading toward the band. It happened so fast! I could not move my horn out of the way before a Michigan tackler hit McNamara very hard and knocked him out of bounds. He flew through the air and landed on his back on my Sousaphone, snapping off the "neck" in the process.

The impact knocked the wind out of poor Mr. McNamara.

He remained sprawled on his back across my Sousaphone for quite some time gasping for air. The Minnesota Trainers revived him, and he was able to walk with help back to his bench.

This guy was tough as nails, because he later re-entered the game and continued to rip off more yardage against Michigan. Michigan did prevail that day and won the game by a score of 14 to 13.

Meanwhile, Dr. Revelli went ballistic and chewed me out, because he thought I could have moved faster and pulled my horn out of danger. There was no other significant damage to my horn. Those Sousaphones were made of heavy gauge brass. I don’t think they make them like like the used to! Incidentally, George Cavender, our MMB fearless leader remained calm and did not get angry with me.

This event occurred prior to halftime, so I did the Halftime Show holding the broken neck in place. I looked cool and never missed a step: but I was unable to play a single note of music.

James Heier - 1953

The Marching Band show at Crisler Arena reminded me of Band Day around 1955. I was on the early morning bus duty, directing the school buses to their parking spots. An older gentleman in a Michigan jacket came along and asked if he could help. He brought his own flashlight, just in case. He was helping us for a while and during a break in the arrivals we begin chatting. We asked his name and he replied "Fritz Crisler, and I love this High School Band Day. I think it's one of the best events we have." Yes, it was the legendary coach, athletic director and formidable presence it the Big Ten and NCAA. A very nice guy who did a nice job directing buses.

Jerry Wright - 1954

I was a member of the band for the years 1954 and 1955. I transferred from Lawrence Tech. We had to show up a week in advance for tryouts and registration as a student and selection of classes. Very happily the band furnished a guide to get me through the process(a trumpet player) later when I was in Law school and to earn money I taught as a teaching assistant a lab course in electrical engineering that all non electricals had to take-- and in one of my classes there was my former guide!

Jerry, former prof of trombone, comedian, was a classmate in the band and is now with Disney. His best routine involved King William(Revelli) and Prince George(Cavender). I still remember the parade in Flint, Michigan commemorating GM's 50 millionth car (I think). By the way, Roger Moore's movie "Roger and Me" starts with that parade but with the Michigan State Band. We stopped in front of the reviewing stand and gave a Hats Off to Red Cole who was head of Buick(later President of GM) who sponsored the band on one away trip a year. After the parade we had lunch at the Flint Country Club with the Notre Dame Band. Jerry gave one of his routines and right in the middle of it the Notre Dame band had to leave--their last words were "do we have to we want to hear the rest of the act".

RUNNING OVER THE FORMER GOV OF MICHIGAN

At a game against Army, Wilbur Brucker(sic) former governor of Michigan and now secretary of the army sat on the army side the first half and was scheduled to be escorted across the field with his generals at the 50 yd line immediately after the half endedhe delayed his crossing and the band started up from the end zone. Since I was on the left end of the rank I can only report what I saw in the film. The group started strolling across the field and no doubt saw the band approaching--the generals no doubt believed a command to Halt would be given. Little did they know that the worst faux pas a band member to commit would be to stop or turn in the wrong direction--and of course there was no such command as halt in our routine(the music determined this). On the first pass through the strolling group the tuba rank roughed up a few generals but then in accordance with the plan they did a reverse march and again went through the generals. The governor thought it somewhat amusing the generals did not. The Michigan Daily the next day heavily criticized the band(who they routinely hated). And Dr Revelli, who hated the Daily in return, told us not to worry about the incident.

REVELLI POPPING UP UNEXPECTEDLY

We practiced every afternoon and Cavender ran things with Revelli making general comments and wandering about the field. His favorite technique was to stand behind a trumpet player listening and as the player snapped his instrument down Revelli (the chief) would jump in front of him and say “that was the worst trumpet playing I have ever heard". On a road trip, sponsored by Buick, we stopped at a college union ballroom for lunch and started singing(the band of this era may have been the best singing band). Of course one of our songs was "How I love to drive by Buick with my love sitting by my side etc". After finishing that there was a pause and the Chief pops out from behind a column and says "Keep it up boys, the Buick people love it". (Again the Michigan Daily thought our singing of this song at football games was crass commercialism). On another road trip to WS Or Minnesota Buick chartered a 7 car train with vista dome cars--what a trip--the young son of a Buick VP handed out silver dollars with a brass ring saying “When better cars are built Buick will build them” (thank God we weren't sponsored by Oldsmobile).

At the beginning of each year everyone had to try out. For the clarinets over a hundred or more of us would sit in the big room in the old Harris Hall and be given a march excerpt to play Revelli would judge moving us up or down a number of chairs -- the first 44 made it and the rest GONE. (I think this is how the band first admitted woman but I don't know that story). History repeats itself. I now play in an adult group, the San Jose Wind Symphony. Our director wanted to reseat the clarinet section so we all sight read a tough piece of music and in the same way almost 50 years ago were moved up or down in the chairs.

I thought this captured the mood of a college marching band beautifully. Especially the conflict between playing good music and merely putting on a flashy show. Revelli always insisted on fine playing(although I remember him telling the trumpet players, "boys play as loud as you can but with good tone)". I think the Michigan band has wavered a bit from the early standard of Revelli.

Although Buick sponsored one of our away trips we had to pay for the other. One way we did this is stopping in Newark, Ohio and giving a show in the high school stadium--in fact three half time shows back to back. At the end of the second show a fog started to come in, at the end of the third show we couldn't see the yard lines, barely the music, and the crowd could hear only the music.

Before I came to the band I heard the story of the tuba rank at Ohio making a right turn entering the field and having to march back up to the boos of the Ohio Staters. My trip there was also exciting since the winner of the game went to the rose Bowl--we lost however we still went on the field after the game and the Ohio fans started snake dancing around us and attempted to steal our hats. They got a tuba player's hat but not for long--he ran after the culprit and came down on his head with the bell of the metal tuba the dent was never mentioned. And then the baton twirlers used them to threaten.

Malcolm A. “Mac” Danforth - 1956

I have more stories than can possibly be written here: Marching Band Train trips to Iowa, Wisconsin Northwestern, etc. Soviet Union and Near East Tour – 15 weeks/72 concerts copying music (by hand) for the marching band after Jerry Bilik would finish arranging the shows just a few days before we were to start rehearsing it, Premiering “Hawaiian War Chant”, etc., etc., etc.

Bryan Betz - 1957

During rehearsal for St. Louis Blues March dance step (Fall ’57), I turned wrong way & bent my slide (5th position). Dr. Revelli stopped the band and looking directly at me said “Get that fixed right now.” Immediately I went to A2 music and they repaired it as I waited. Of course I told them the story which was enjoyed by all. Also Flags in 1958 I broke the 1st wooden pole. We had aluminum poles in a week. I carried the Wisconsin flag for 1958 football games.

Fred Nott - 1954

  1. In one of the early band alumni meetings, the chief quoted his father as follows: “Always be child enough to enjoy the circus and adult enough to admit you can.”
  2. In rummaging through old stencils (in search of Leaky Bugle ideas) we happened across the following rank movements from a show of several years back. We haven't been able to figure out the formations, but are sure the show was a success:
  1. Tubas march 10 yards up the 50, then flank 5 yards left to the 45, then varsity kick 10 yards to the 35, then march 8 3/4 yards backwards, and 1 1/4 yards scissors step, then left about 34 yards to original position.
  2. Drums mark time 58 bars, then march from the 50 to the 22 1/2 in remaining six bars.
  3. Trombones march 35 yards to the left, then rear march 10 yards, then leave the field since there is no assignment for you in this formation.
  4. Horns march into position on afterbeats.
  5. Clarinets flank to position on 69 yard line.
  6. Freshmen wait to see what others do, then make same errors.
  7. Seniors and grads make mistakes confidently.
  8. Cornets march from 50 to the 10 in 8 measures. (This best accomplished by leaving out the 20 yards between the 45 and the 25).
  9. Reserves march off the field go back and diligently pick up music and plumes, etc. of other men, run off the field, stop smirking and go get the ladder that you forgot.
  10. Drum Major makes beautiful running entry to the right of the band, completes it with a marvelous kick salute, does a nine count about face, then sheepishly sneaks around to his correct position in front of Concert Formation on the 50.

Charles Hall - 1953

On January 1, 1976, my wife, three daughters, and I were at the Rose Parade at the curb about a block and a half past the start of the parade. When the Michigan Band came along, I shouted ‘HEY GEORGE’ George looked straight up the street. I shouted ‘HEY GEORGE’. Still no response. Then the man behind me yelled ‘HEY GEORGE’. Cavender looked over to the side and spotted my Band Jacket. He came over and shook my hand. We saw a replay on the evening news as the Michigan Band was introduced to the TV Rose Parade audience.

Bruce Galbraith - 1959

On the infamous Russian Symphony Band tour (1961) Kay Mallory (flute) and I met Lee Harvey Oswald. After a concert in Minsk, I said “your English is really good”. He said, “I’m a former marine, I married a Russian woman, and I’m working in a radio factory” (He became famous 2 years later.)

Everywhere the ’61 Russian Tour went – there was a war within a few years! Go Blue.

Hewitt Judson - 1958

I read with regret the passing of the great George Cavender. As a naive, small-town boy, I was severely intimidated by Dr. Revelli when I arrived on campus in 1965. But George as the "good cop," knew my name right away, and pumped me up to be the best damn tuba player I could be. His teaching methods have always stayed with me, and I have used them during my stint in Vietnam, as a math teacher, and for 33 years as a basketball and baseball coach. I will always remember that great man, a great father figure. "DON'T JUST DO IT AGAIN, DO IT BETTER. "

Richard Gilmartin - 1950

We played a party game one time where you were supposed to tell a story as outlandish as you wanted and then the group guessed whether it was true or an outrageous lie. So, I said the biggest thrill I ever had was coming out of the right field bullpen at Yankee Stadium as the crowd went nuts. The stadium is shaped like a gigantic steel bell, so when 60,000 people all roar, it lifts the spinal cord right out of your body.

In the Fall of '50, Michigan played Army as an away game and they scheduled it in Yankee Stadium. There were a lot more Michigan fans and alumni in NYC than there were West Pointers. So when the band came out of the bullpen at halftime playing The Victors, the crowd rang that huge bell.

Theodore C. Koenig - 1952

As an Oberlin graduate I am so grateful to have had the experience to be in the Michigan Bands with Dr. Revelli and Dr. Cavender, because Oberlin did not like Marching Band and my first job was Marching Band. I did the St. Louis Blues for years, the same as the great 52 & 53 band at Michigan did. I still love Michigan better than Oberlin.

Richard Hawley - 1951

One of our best Rose Bowl trip memories was the train trip out. Buick paid for a Super Chief, and staying and practicing at Occidental College where they were filming "The Stooge" with Jerry Lewis. It was filmed then but not released until 1953.

Richard Longfield - 1953

During the 1961 tour of the USSR and Near East, the cornet/trumpet sections had a novel encore to follow Don Tison's guaranteed smash hit of "La Virgin de la Macarena." The twelve of us made four trios for each of the sections of Agostini's "The Three Trumpeteers." As we came to the finale, each trio joined in by phrase until we all stood - capped with Bernie Peason's soaring "D." It always brought great cheers - a wonderful memory of that outstanding 15 week experience. WUOM may still have a recording from the Leningrad Conservatory.

David Elliot - 1959

Revelli to horn section when moving to a formation of a Spanish Lady during a Carmen Show "Horns, drive it into the señorita!"

During my freshman year in the MMB, Revelli had each rank march a whole half-time show by themselves. I was the only horn in the a tuba rank. The tubas spent the whole time at one side of the 50 and I joined my colleagues of the horn section on the other. Of course, during this exercise, I was alone and unprotected. The Chief walked beside me for the whole show and critiqued my every move and step. I lived to tell about it.


Flashback: GM's 50 Millionth Car Parade - HISTORY

Claudette (The Everly Brothers)
All I Have To Do Is Dream (The Everly Brothers)
At The Hop (Danny & The Juniors)
Don't (Elvis Presley)
Don't Ask Me Why (Elvis Presley)
I Beg Of You (Elvis Presley)
Hard Headed Woman (Elvis Presley)
It's All In The Game (Tommy Edwards)
Poor Little Fool (Ricky Nelson)
Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)
Tequila (The Champs)
To Know Him Is To Love Him (The Teddy Bears)
Volare (Domenico Modugno)

Auntie Mame
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Touch of evil
Vertigo
House on Haunted hill

January 20th - Lorenzo Lamas
January 26th - Ellen DeGeneres
February 3rd - Lizzie Borden
February 21st - Mary-Chapin Carpenter
March 5th - Andy Gibb
March 10th - Sharon Stone
April 3rd - Alec Baldwin
April 29th - Eve Plumb
April 29th - Michelle Pfeiffer
May 23rd - Drew Carey
June 3rd - Scott Valentine
June 15th - Wade Boggs
July 8th - Kevin Bacon
August 16th - Madonna
August 16th - Angela Bassett
August 17th - Belinda Carlisle
August 24th - Steve Guttenberg
August 29th - Michael Jackson
September 6th - Jeff Foxworthy
September 19th - Lita Ford
September 27th - Shaun Cassidy
September 29th - Andrew Dice Clay
September 30th - Marty Stuart
October 10th - Tanya Tucker
October 16th - Tim Robbins
October 17th - Alan Jackson
November 22nd - Jamie Lee Curtis
December 1st - Charlene Tilton
December 7th - Edd Hall
December 11th - Nikki Sixx


  • ►� (43)
    • ► October 2007 (15)
    • ► November 2007 (13)
    • ► December 2007 (15)
    • ►� (662)
      • ► January 2008 (30)
      • ► February 2008 (34)
      • ► March 2008 (34)
      • ► April 2008 (31)
      • ► May 2008 (61)
      • ► June 2008 (42)
      • ► July 2008 (73)
      • ► August 2008 (79)
      • ► September 2008 (57)
      • ► October 2008 (67)
      • ► November 2008 (76)
      • ► December 2008 (78)
      • ►� (538)
        • ► January 2009 (48)
        • ► February 2009 (40)
        • ► March 2009 (49)
        • ► April 2009 (54)
        • ► May 2009 (47)
        • ► June 2009 (52)
        • ► July 2009 (51)
        • ► August 2009 (47)
        • ► September 2009 (35)
        • ► October 2009 (41)
        • ► November 2009 (40)
        • ► December 2009 (34)
        • ►� (368)
          • ► January 2010 (43)
          • ► February 2010 (27)
          • ► March 2010 (41)
          • ► April 2010 (46)
          • ► May 2010 (24)
          • ► June 2010 (30)
          • ► July 2010 (25)
          • ► August 2010 (17)
          • ► September 2010 (30)
          • ► October 2010 (22)
          • ► November 2010 (33)
          • ► December 2010 (30)
          • ►� (266)
            • ► January 2011 (27)
            • ► February 2011 (24)
            • ► March 2011 (28)
            • ► April 2011 (18)
            • ► May 2011 (25)
            • ► June 2011 (18)
            • ► July 2011 (26)
            • ► August 2011 (25)
            • ► September 2011 (21)
            • ► October 2011 (20)
            • ► November 2011 (26)
            • ► December 2011 (8)
            • ►� (257)
              • ► January 2012 (14)
              • ► February 2012 (15)
              • ► March 2012 (9)
              • ► April 2012 (18)
              • ► May 2012 (26)
              • ► June 2012 (14)
              • ► July 2012 (10)
              • ► August 2012 (42)
              • ► September 2012 (38)
              • ► October 2012 (29)
              • ► November 2012 (16)
              • ► December 2012 (26)
              • ▼� (206)
                • ► January 2013 (24)
                • ► February 2013 (16)
                • ► March 2013 (10)
                • ▼ April 2013 (23)
                • ► May 2013 (20)
                • ► June 2013 (24)
                • ► July 2013 (19)
                • ► August 2013 (11)
                • ► September 2013 (17)
                • ► October 2013 (7)
                • ► November 2013 (11)
                • ► December 2013 (24)
                • ►� (114)
                  • ► January 2014 (13)
                  • ► February 2014 (7)
                  • ► March 2014 (13)
                  • ► April 2014 (17)
                  • ► May 2014 (7)
                  • ► June 2014 (15)
                  • ► July 2014 (7)
                  • ► August 2014 (7)
                  • ► September 2014 (5)
                  • ► October 2014 (7)
                  • ► November 2014 (8)
                  • ► December 2014 (8)
                  • ►� (28)
                    • ► January 2015 (5)
                    • ► February 2015 (3)
                    • ► April 2015 (1)
                    • ► June 2015 (3)
                    • ► July 2015 (1)
                    • ► August 2015 (5)
                    • ► September 2015 (2)
                    • ► October 2015 (5)
                    • ► November 2015 (2)
                    • ► December 2015 (1)
                    • ►� (71)
                      • ► January 2016 (10)
                      • ► February 2016 (10)
                      • ► March 2016 (9)
                      • ► April 2016 (13)
                      • ► May 2016 (7)
                      • ► June 2016 (3)
                      • ► July 2016 (3)
                      • ► August 2016 (1)
                      • ► September 2016 (5)
                      • ► October 2016 (2)
                      • ► November 2016 (4)
                      • ► December 2016 (4)
                      • ►� (94)
                        • ► January 2017 (35)
                        • ► February 2017 (6)
                        • ► March 2017 (2)
                        • ► April 2017 (6)
                        • ► May 2017 (1)
                        • ► June 2017 (3)
                        • ► July 2017 (1)
                        • ► August 2017 (8)
                        • ► September 2017 (4)
                        • ► October 2017 (3)
                        • ► November 2017 (22)
                        • ► December 2017 (3)
                        • ►� (18)
                          • ► January 2018 (2)
                          • ► February 2018 (1)
                          • ► April 2018 (3)
                          • ► May 2018 (1)
                          • ► July 2018 (2)
                          • ► September 2018 (1)
                          • ► October 2018 (2)
                          • ► December 2018 (6)
                          • ►� (22)
                            • ► January 2019 (3)
                            • ► February 2019 (5)
                            • ► March 2019 (1)
                            • ► May 2019 (3)
                            • ► June 2019 (2)
                            • ► July 2019 (4)
                            • ► August 2019 (1)
                            • ► September 2019 (1)
                            • ► October 2019 (1)
                            • ► November 2019 (1)
                            • ►� (7)
                              • ► January 2020 (1)
                              • ► March 2020 (1)
                              • ► April 2020 (1)
                              • ► June 2020 (1)
                              • ► August 2020 (2)
                              • ► December 2020 (1)
                              • ►� (6)
                                • ► March 2021 (5)
                                • ► April 2021 (1)

                                1955-59

                                It’s a Celebration!

                                In 1955, Flint began a five-year stretch of growth and celebration. First, a new campus for the Flint Junior College would open on 32 acres of land donated by Applewood Estate and Charles Stewart Mott. The first building to be built was Ballenger Field House, named for Buick Co-founder, William S. Ballenger.

                                Immediately after the new Flint Junior College opened its doors, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the University of Michigan-Flint Branch. C.S. Mott and U of M President, Harlan Hatcher, tossed the first shovels of dirt. Classes for the new University branch began a year later, held on the Flint Junior College campus until the first UM-Flint building was completed in 1957.

                                The summer of ’55 marked the city’s centennial and Flint held a grandiose celebration. The great Centennial Parade pulled in a crowd of over 200,000 persons as it made its way down Saginaw. After the parade, the crowds flocked to the Flintorama Pageant at Atwood Stadium. The pageant entertained the populace for hours as it told the story of Flint’s 100-year history. Special guest, Dinah Shore, was on hand to electrify the crowd. The festivities ended with a dedication of Flint’s new Municipal Center, courtesy of Richard M. Nixon. The Flint Municipal Center included the City Hall, police headquarters, fire headquarters and a small, domed auditorium. Nancy Kovacs was chosen “Miss Flint” and would go on to star in many Hollywood films.

                                That year also marked advancements in Civil Rights when WAMM-AM became the city’s first radio station to offer programming dedicated to African-Americans. One of the first deejays was the legendary Casey Kasem. The radio station is now WFLT 1420 AM. Herman Gibson, the head of the Flint NAACP, started The Bronze Reporter, a newspaper dedicated to providing news of the Civil Rights movement to the area’s African-American citizens.

                                The party wagon kept right on rolling, culminating in 1958, when GM held its 50th Anniversary Celebration in the city. It was a raucous year and GM spared no expense. The festivities started early. In November of 1957, the company aired a two-hour television special, “The General Motors Fiftieth Anniversary Show.” It was watched by over 60 million people and the highlight was Helen Hayes’ recital of “The White Magnolia Tree.” The star-studded feature included Eddie Bracken, Don Ameche, June Allyson and Claudia Crawford. Next, GM opened their plants to everyone for guided tours, and millions lined up around the country.

                                Locally, GM formed the Flint Citizens Golden Milestone Committee to coordinate activities for the occasion. “The Golden Dress-up,” a city-beautification campaign, proved very successful as the entire city pitched in leading up to the massive Golden Milestone parade, attended by residents of Flint and beyond. More than 20 bands from different colleges around the nation marched down Saginaw, followed by fantastic floats displaying GM cars from every decade. One float held an ice-skating rink where Olympic Figure Skating Champion, Tenley Albright, flashed her skills. One float held celebrity Pat Boone, and the Durant Hotel was besieged by teenage girls when the city learned where he was staying. Zorro, played by Guy Williams, was a big hit with kids lining the parade route. Local AC Delco employee, Sophia Branoff, was named “Golden Milestone Girl.”

                                While the GM festivities were in full flux, the Flint Cultural Center was beginning to form. In 1958, the DeWaters Art Center was the first building constructed in the Kearsley Street area. It was fully funded by a gift of $1,362,000 from Enos and Sarah DeWaters. The Flint Institute of Arts moved in upon its completion. In 1959, a large quantity of French and Italian Renaissance art was donated and an addition was built. Construction was also completed on the Planetarium and Bower Theater. Programs began immediately and an addition was made to the Planetarium in 1959. Higher learning in Flint was enhanced in ‘58 when the Flint Public Library was completed in its current location on the Cultural Center campus. The summer also saw the city’s first Civil Rights protest at the new Flint City Hall.

                                The last major opening celebration came in 1959, when Flint Southwestern High School was opened for students, taking the place of Flint Technical.

                                The 1950s were a banner decade for prosperity in Flint. It proved that Flint was one of the most resilient and compassionate cities in the world. The advancements in culture, education and Civil Rights would continue for Flint through most of the sixties, without a trace of worry for what the future would hold.

                                Rocket Mail!

                                During Summerfield’s tenure as Postmaster General, the image of the post office was upgraded to reflect the new era. The color scheme was re-imagined to the red, white and blue we recognize today and leaps were made in mail efficiency. Summerfield issued an increase in postal rates to raise money for mechanical innovations. In order to advertise the postal service, he started a television show entitled, “The Mail Story: Handle with Care.” The show ran for three months in 1954.


                                Watch the video: Grand Theft Auto III - Flashback FM - PC