No, it wasn’t the first. But by God it was the biggest up to that point. There were undoubtedly more “long fragile banners of victory” hung at Toomer’s during the celebration of 17-16 than any that came before it; there were undoubtedly more people there with undoubtedly more to celebrate and who might have celebrated harder than any kindred celebrants before or since. So its certainly possible, and certainly reasonable to think that the sheer volume of the toilet paper and the sheer size of the crowd that day might’ve played some sort of special role in establishing the spectacle not just as a tradition but as a gameday must.
What we know for sure is that it brought out the cameras. And, hallelujah, the one belonging to Cecil Bridges (’74) had some Kodachrome in it. And if there’s anything that can give you a feel of what rolling wires and lines and anything but trees come 2013 or whenever it is might be like, it’s these never before seen COLOR photos—the first we’ve ever seen, the only we know of—of real people* living just like we live: blue blue jeans, green green lights, blonde blondes, brunette brunettes, orange spray paint, taste the rainbow, kiss the dragon.
* And—sixth photo down—hipsters! Who knew the Quadrajets / Immortal Lee County Killers’ Chet Weise was a time traveler!
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More on the the Toomer’s oaks: Here’s what the type of tree that might replace Toomer’s Corner looks like / Wire system being considered as temporary solution for rolling Toomer’s / On the feasibility of a Toomer’s Corner transplant / Toomer’s Corner rollings didn’t start with Punt, Bama, Punt, says History / Did Auburn students celebrate Bear Bryant’s death by rolling Toomer’s Corner?