My grandparents’ 1961 Gator Bowl trip

This footage is from my grandparents’ 1961 trip starting in Jekyll Island and ending in Jacksonville, Florida where they watched Georgia Tech and Penn State play in the Gator Bowl on December 30, 1961. Penn State won 30-15.

To give you an idea of how long ago 1961 is in football years:

  • Joe Paterno was still an assistant coach for Penn State. It would be another five years before he was named head coach.
  • Georgia Tech was coached by Bobby Dodd, and was still a member of the SEC. It would be another three years before Tech defected from the SEC due to Dodd’s dispute with Alabama coach Bear Bryant.

I’ve broken a single 400-foot reel of 8mm film into three parts due to YouTube’s 10-minute limit on uploads:

Part 1 (6:53)

The trip down. This might be boring to you, but it was interesting to me. Lots of footage of roadside signs, old cars, and what a lot of locales between Jeckyll Island and Jacksonville (Camden, Georgia is the one I could recognize by name, but there were others) looked like at the time.

Part 2 (9:15)

Warm-ups, pre-game show and 1st half. See if you can recognize the coach stalking the goal line in warm-ups. I don’t think it’s Bobby Dodd, but I could be wrong.

Part 3 (7:48)

Halftime show, 2nd half, fans’ exit. I love the floats, they’re like something out of a movie. Then seeing the Ramblin’ Wreck exactly as it is now ties the whole thing experience together for me as something real. Tell me if you think that’s a young Joe Paterno walking with the Penn State mascot before the game starts back up. I think it might be, but I can’t tell.

6 thoughts on “My grandparents’ 1961 Gator Bowl trip

  1. Rusty, do you have a higher resolution version of part 2? I’d like to have the clips of the Ramblin’ Wreck just for personal collection. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the great movies. Yes, that is Brunswick Georgia, and much of the city looks the same.

    That certainly looks like Bobby Dodd. Can you imagine Paterno and Dodd on the same field? That’s class.

    Penn State’s uniforms haven’t changed, and we haven’t changed our mascot, 50 years and still the same old Ford!

    Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for posting. We drove down from State College for the game. Don’t know who that is with the Lion but it is definately not Joe. He never wore a coat like that and he wasn’t that tall. Galen Hall was Penn State’s qback and he is now their offensive coordinator. BTW, the Lion mascot hasn’t changed either. Hoping to see the Lions back in Jacksonville this New Year’s day!

  4. Thank you! Watching your clip has evoked many wonderful and unforgettable memories. Gator Bowl Queen 1961

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