08. July 2013 · 4 comments · Categories: 2013


/shakes fist at mgovideo!   Damn you for throwing down this unsolicited Tweet challenge to figure out what was going on in this clip:

Michigan Football 1920s by mgovideo

The think track on the investigation:

* The title of the clip reads the 1920s so I assumed that was the timing or thereabouts.  I have no idea why it leads with the German(?) text.
* The field indeed looks to be Ferry Field (pretty sure) so this would predate the opening of the Big House in 1927.
* Now…that player featured at the beginning…I was confident that is not a Michigan man:

Is this Chic H* The footage was good quality for the age, but it is short and didn’t help much to narrow down the score and significant players or plays.  The German (?) title slide didn’t help much either.
* So that leads up back to the gent above.  A few teams that Michigan played from the era at home (and away for that manner) wore jerseys with that striped design on the front, most prominently Illinois, Navy and Ohio State.   Red Grange in the early 1920s:

images[1] * That limits the possibilities of the potential games this could be, but I still thought the best clue was that striped-clad fellow.  If he was featured at the outset it must have been a prominent player. So I started to look at the all-Americans on Navy, Illinois and Ohio State from that era and match them up to photos…
* A couple image searches and I found this fellow:

Really Chic Harley * That is Buckeye great Chic Harley (photo via the Dispatch), who indeed strapped them up against Michigan at Ferry Field, although that just predated that 1920s—he was in Ann Arbor in 1918 and 1919.
* I asked my Buckeye historian pal Larry to have a look.  Via email he wrote back, “Yes that was Chic Harley and Ohio State..”  After conferring on the field and the date, we both feel it’s likely the clip is from the 1919 game at Michigan.  So mgovideo, that’s not exactly rock solid proof but I feel pretty good about that conclusion.
* Now the tough news for the M faithful—–the great Chic was indeed the hero of that team and that game and that probably explains why he was prominently featured at the onset.  It was a special one for our friends down south as that was the first time in the 16-game history of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry the Buckeyes came out on top.  But that’s ok…three years later Michigan spoiled the dedication of the Horseshoe by blanking the Bucks 19-0. :)    
* Why was he ‘Chic’?  I understand that’s derived from his original hometown of Chic-ago.  Before you beat on the man for being named Chic, I’ll remind you that our coaching ranks include men named Biff, Fielding, Chalmers and Herbert.
* Larry also passed along another clip (pretty grainy though) from that 1919 game which some epic pregame footage:

Jokes aside, thanks to Larry for the help and props one of the all-time great Buckeyes who took town Yost and the Wolverines in 1919.

Follow MVictors on Twitter


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d23ZQQVVnwE @ 4:20

    They also had a feature about Chic Harely and the 1919 game in HBO’s “The Rivalry” documentary.

  2. Pingback: 1919 Michigan vs. Ohio State | mgovideo

  3. The clip is from a film made c. 1928 by Ford Motor Co. called The Forward Movement of Detroit. Assuming that Ford was trying to put their best foot forward for interwar German dignitaries, it’s interesting that they didn’t bother to get any footage of the big new stadium. http://archive.org/details/TheForwardMovementOfDetroit

  4. Thorin, Thanks for explaining where the clip came from. It was pretty clear and good quality for that period. You can actually follow the action which is sometimes hard to do in the very old film.

  5. Pingback: 2013 Schedule Poster Revealed | MVictors.com | Michigan Football Blog

  6. First of all I want to ѕay awesome blog! I had a quick
    question that І’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Cheers!