Monday, October 01, 2012

Sixty Years Ago

As we celebrate a hard-fought, close victory over the Saints, we are presenting a game program from exactly sixty years ago this weekend — the season-opener on September 28, 1952. The Chicago Bears came to town that Fall weekend to take on the Packers, and there are a lot of interesting things to see in this publication. Let’s get to it. 

We won’t show all the ads in this program, but we’ll show the ones that have a football focus, or have something historical that we can link to the Packers. Here, we see that the Green Bay Press-Gazette operated two radio stations (AM and FM) under the WJPG call letters in 1952. According to some quick research on our part, WJPG was started in 1947 as a 1,000 watt daytime-only station with a transmitter in Bellevue, Wis., and has evolved to become what is the current WNFL 1440 AM in Green Bay. By the way, what a great call sign for a Green Bay station — WNFL. Sadly, they do not currently carry the Packers radio broadcast.

Here’s all the background information you need about the immortal, legendary Green Bay coach Gene Ronzani and his 1952 coaching staff. 

And here’s a delightful photo of that staff. 

More spotlight on the assistants — in this case, including future Packers’ head coach Ray “Scooter” McLean. His one year at the helm in 1958 produced a franchise worst 1-10-1 record.


This page about the Packers leadership has an interesting headline, considering the fact that many in the NFL would actually wonder this in the coming few years, until the new City Stadium was built. 

Here we get a look at the Packers radio network as it existed in 1952. 

Trainers and an assistant are listed here. “Bud” Jorgensen was a long-time fixture with the team.

This page features a photo of 1951 game action in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. 

Now we’re into the pages which spotlight members of the Packers’ roster in that season. We’ve included them all, and will comment where needed. But what catches your eye is that sharp Nash at the top of the page, right?


Two Packers players make some extra cash on the side endorsing “Good Buckskin Gloves.” And we’re guessing neither of them was making $24 million per year.


In the days before the perennial sell-outs, it always helped to point out the stars of visiting teams to move some tickets. If the Packers were going to lose, at least you could see “Dorn (sic) Dibble” play. 

Bob Mann (middle) was the first black player on the Green Bay Packers team, breaking the color barrier in 1950.


Here are the stars of the Chicago Bears that were in town that day. The “Whizzer” White you see here is not the future Supreme Court justice. But be sure to meet us out at the Stratosphere for dinner after the game.

This liquor ad also features the Packers’ statistical leaders for so far in 1952. 

Long-time player and coach Dave “Hawg” Hanner is seen here in his rookie season. 

A team photo of your Green Bay Packers in 1951. And if you need a truss, we recommend Schweger’s. 

There’s a lot of info here to stash away in the cobweb-filled corners of your mind. 

Some City Stadium action against the Bears is seen here above the battery ad. 

A colorful center spread featuring the rosters for both teams. 

The Bears’ complete roster with all the details. 

Don’t forget to call Miller-Rasmussen to arrange that coal delivery before the coming frigid Green Bay winter. 

The Packers’ complete detailed roster. 

Just a neat football-themed ad. 

Two players of note here: Billy Howton was a “star” receiver on the losing Packers teams, and was dumped by Vince Lombardi before he could ever play for the coach. There is speculation that his ties to a players union was the cause of this. Also, here we see Hall of Fame halfback Tony Canadeo, who was in his final season.

We’ve got to get our hands on some “Packers Smackers.” Anything with “Wisconsin Creamery Butter” has got to be good. Listed below it are the NFL’s officials for 1952.

The Northland Hotel in downtown Green Bay is where all the visiting teams and league officials used to stay. Also, at lower left, the “Packers Playdium” was the bowling alley owned by former Packer great Don Hutson.

QB Tobin Rote led the Packers through some hopeless years. 

Tony Canadeo already had a side business lined up for his post-playing career. It is still around today. 

An action photo from the previous season’s opening loss to the Bears. 

More game action from the later 1951 game with the Bears. 

The world-famous Green Bay Packers Lumberjack Band! 

Bobby Dillon played eight years for the Packers — with only one good eye. 

Your 1952 Packers are seen at their summer training camp — in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Notice also the ad for former Packer “Buckets” Goldenberg’s restaurant and lounge in Milwaukee.

A listing of the members of the NFL in 1952, along with a spotlight on commissioner Bert Bell. The Dallas Texans were an evolving lineage of the Boston Yanks (1944-1948), New York Bulldogs (1949-1950), and the New York Yanks (1951). After one year in Dallas, the remains of the team were sold and sent to Baltimore to become the Colts. The Colts, now in Indianapolis, do not include this lineage in their history. The Chicago Cardinals, after decades in St. Louis, are now in Arizona.


We thought the listing of “Packer Cheers” at lower left was interesting. This is something that has been lost through the years. We’d love to hear them nowadays.

Here’s your full schedule for 1952. Different starting times from these days. The Packers used to also end the season on the road “out West” to avoid the cold weather in Green Bay, probably. 

No football to be seen here. Just a nifty old ad to end things. What happened in this game, you ask? The Bears won it, 24-14. We hope you’ve enjoyed this presentation and learned a few historical nuggets. Thanks for visiting!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting that the 1952 Packers had a tackle from Texas named Forrest Grigg.

Ed Kennedy said...

DG1engJust surfing through some sites relating to the Packer Band and came across this 1951 picture. Brings back many fond memories, as I was the tall kid in the back row with the trombone!
I played first trombone for the band for five seasons 1949-53 while attending St. Norbert College. I'm still an avid Packer fan and hope to continue cheering for them for many more years!

brush said...

Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Dick Afflis or William Bill Afflis played for the Packers---Later known as Dick The Bruiser of professional wrestling fame---and Verne Gagne is mentioned in the notes as playing for the Packers in preseason games in 1949!