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War Eagle Relics gets with the program

We’ve featured game programs before and certainly will again, but for today’s post we will focus on a collection of programs from a single collector. Because I really liked the way these particular covers fit together to show a progression of styles and… oh, who am I kidding? I love that he did all the work for me and provided not only great items to feature but also a nice little blurb on each. So, without too much blathering from me, I’ll hand it over to our generous contributor, Jim Naftel.

“Love the WER feature!  The recent post on the Hardin-Simmons cover from 1959 prompted me to pull out my collection of old programs that were passed down to me from my stepfather.  He grew up in Auburn and was in his early teens during those glorious years in the 1950’s.  Sure enough, I had that H-S cover. I never guessed at the significance of it. I am attaching to this email the following:

–       Jim Naftel, Birmingham

Auburn – Mississippi State Game Program (1955)

“The contrast between this cover and when Phil Neel started doing them is . . . striking.  I picked MSU out of the 1955 programs purely because I thought it was awesome that they were still called the “Maroons” and because they were coached by the legendary Darrell Royal.”

Eat your heart out, Brian VanGorder.  The greatest mustache in Auburn history belongs to the gentleman gracing the cover of this program and has since 1955. I have no idea if he is a real player or not, and I’m not sure what that is hanging around his neck, but I love everything about this cover. I also love that MSU was the Maroons.  With Dan Mullen around, they really should bring that name back. Also note the hand-written score next to the schools’ names. You’ll see that on a few of the following covers as well.

Auburn – Clemson Game Program (1955)

“Again, the cover art is less than extraordinary.  Played in Mobile (can you imagine that happening today?).  Earliest program I have of AU and Clemson.”

Auburn fan or not, that woman scares the hell out of me. There is crazy in those eyes.

Auburn – Alabama Game Program (1955)

“Same cover as the Clemson game from the week before!  Did they think that nobody would notice since the venue changed?”

Seriously?! They brought crazy eyes back the very next week. I’ll have nightmares of that woman hitting me over the head with a rolled up program for weeks now.

Auburn – Kentucky Game Program (1959)

“The next week after the Hardin-Simmons cover and Aubie appears again.”

As I’ve said before, I have a particular affinity for cartoon animal on cartoon animal violence that likely stems from my love of Tom and Jerry and Looney Toons as a kid. It’s just not something you see much of these days. I’m not a fan of the UGA roadkill groom’s cake that made the rounds last week, however. If that’s where cartoon mascot violence was heading, I guess it’s a good thing that it’s not around anymore. At least we’ll always have the works of Phil Neel to remind us what used to be.

Auburn – Mississippi Southern Game Program (1959) 

“Later in the 1959 season, Aubie is now a fixture.”

At this point in time Auburn’s opponent was still known as Mississippi Southern College and their sports teams were called the Mississippi Southerners. That would explain the Colonel Reb looking character and the now highly anachronistic rebel flag flying from Aubie’s tail. Southern Miss achieved university status three years later and renamed its teams the Golden Eagles in 1972.

Auburn – Clemson Game Program (1961)

“Another Phil Neel classic.”

This is easily among my favorite Neel covers, which would make it one of my favorite program covers period.

Auburn – Georgia Game Program (1964)

“The evolution of Aubie?”

Here we see Aubie in the Auburn jersey that would become a regular part of his appearances moving forward. Naked Aubie was no more.

That will do it for today’s edition. Thanks again to Jim for taking the time to dig up and scan all of these classic covers. We’ll be back with more Relics soon; you can check previous editions here while you wait. If you have something you’d like to share, please send it to me at [email protected] or tweet me @FearlessandTrue.

Editor’s Note: TWER is currently in the process of building the greatest Phil Neel repository ever. Luke 12:48.

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