Home movie shows 1950 Vols vs Bama

Mary Pom ClaiborneFeature

Mary Pom Claiborne gave her space this week to Janine Winfree, assistant archivist from TAMIS, who wrote this summary. Here is a link to the film on Vimeo.

The third Saturday in October is a signifier for many things. October is in full swing, autumnal leaves frame the horizon with their beauty, and the Tennessee Vols will face the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Since 1928, Alabama and UT have gone head-to-head on The Third Saturday in October. Throughout the years, Volunteers have fought hard against the Alabama team, giving their all for Tennessee.

Unfortunately, since 2007, Alabama has been on their longest winning streak. However, with the Tennessee Vols 5-0, many believe that this could be the year that streak is broken.

Andy Kozar’s second quarter touchdown puts Tennessee in the lead, 6-3

Timely, then, that the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS) has recently digitized portions of an 8mm home movie depicting the notable October 21, 1950, game at Shields-Watkins Field, where Tennessee came from behind with a 14-9 win before a crowd of 52,000 fans.

Pat Shires delivers the extra point, putting the Vols ahead 7-3 at the half.

The film comes from the collection of prolific filmmaker Arthur Burl Carr (1902-1963), owner of the Good Luck Dry Cleaners, who documented his life and family in the East Tennessee region. An avid outdoorsman, much of his film shows hunting and fishing trips, hiking and quality time with his family, including sports.

Interestingly, the film is shot in slow motion, with Carr cleverly slowing down the frame rate to keep more of the action in focus. The result is a clear image of the Tennessee Vols as Andy Kozar’s touchdown run in the second quarter gives the Vols a 7-3 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Alabama ekes ahead with a 9-7 lead after a 43-yard touchdown run by Bobby Marlow. When watching this film, one can feel the pressure as Carr cuts from scoreboard to field, anxiously checking the score as he continues filming.

In a nail-biting victory, Tennessee bounces back with Kozar’s game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-one play from the Alabama one-yard line with less than one minute remaining in the game. Tennessee beats their rival team in a move few saw coming, including a bootleg play by Ed Morgan and passes by future Hall of Famer Hank Lauricella that set up Kozar’s push to victory. This game set the stage for their win against the Texas Longhorns during the 1951 Cotton Bowl.

Unfortunately, we are unable to view how Carr captured the unlikely victory for the Vols of this 1950 match. The last few minutes of the game were shot on a different film stock that degraded throughout the years. While scanning the 72-year-old film, assistant archivist Janine Winfree determined that it would not survive digitization due to its age and stopped the process in order to protect the artifact.

According to TAMIS audiovisual archivist John Morton, the current condition of the film requires outsourcing to a professional film laboratory to digitally scan and restore the cracking film, a costly process.

TAMIS will continue to store this film in archival storage in the hopes that one day the decaying portion can be salvaged. In the meantime, we can all enjoy watching the first half of a Tennessee victory on The Third Saturday in October, 1950.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library


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