Sunday, April 26, 2015

You Never Forget Your First

Remembering  #35 and #41
Love, kiss, crush, doctor, ice cream, Beer...

Fill in the blank.

I think we chronologically gifted citizens have so many "never forgets" packed away in our once agile brains that the "retrieval"mechanism gets clogged, and slows down. However, as I get older, I think my mind is just as good as ever; in fact even better, but it's become more selective; concentrating on important matters, significant, and wonderful events and memories;  shoving aside the mundane and less interesting matters of the everyday aside.

I can always re-schedule the 2 doctors appointments I missed last week.

Glen Davis  Doc Blanchard
But there's no way to replace the memory of listening on the radio to the Army football games of the
Nineteen forties and hearing Mr. Outside, Glen Davis (number 41) and Mr. Inside, Doc Blanchard (number 35) rip through their opponents defenses to go undefeated for 5 consecutive years!
I would even "see" the touchdown twins fabulous runs the following week in the movie theatre's "Movietone News" shown prior to the main picture show.

From the Internet:

"Felix Anthony Blanchard, Jr. was born on December 11, 1924, to Dr. Felix Anthony Blanchard, Sr. and his wife Mary.  The younger Blanchard got his nickname “Little Doc” because he went on house calls with his father in Bishopville, South Carolina where he spent his childhood years. 
Doc played for Army and Earl “Red” Blaik from 1944-46 and what he accomplished on the gridiron is nothing short of phenomenal. He was a consensus three-time first team All-American that helped lead Army to a three-year record of 27-0-1 and three consecutive national championships. During that time span, Army averaged 56 points per game while holding opponents to an NCAA record average 3.9 points per game.

Doc was a massive football player for his time. He stood 6’1” and weighed 210-pounds which was bigger than just about any lineman of the day. Yet, he could run faster than anyone else on the field and possessed the brute strength of a bull ox. He played the same position as his father which was fullback. And, he dazzled crowds everywhere with his football exploits.

Doc Blanchard

Blanchard began his college career at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to attend Saint Stanislaus College located in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which is where Felix Sr. attended and graduated. After leading that small school to their first Bowl game, he switched to the University of North Carolina, which was close to his home, and more importantly the team was coached by his mother's first cousin Jim Tatum. In those days freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity team so he spent just one year at UNC (1942-43).

In the spring of 1943, Blanchard felt the urge to become a part of the United States Army as the country’s involvement in World War II was strengthening. He volunteered, although some say he was drafted, and was trained as a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps which would later become the United States Air Force. While he bounced from location to location with the Army, his prowess in football remained at the forefront of his career. He was offered the chance to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point. He studied for the entrance exam and was accepted. Doc entered West Point in the summer of 1944."

Glen Davis
Glen Davis, "Mr Outside" began his amazing career with the Army Black Knights directly from high
school. He averaged over 8 yards per carry over his career and an amazing 11 and a half yards per carry in 1945...both records which still stand. He led the nation in 1944 with 120 points, he scored 59 touchdowns in his career, His single season mark of 20 touchdowns stood as a record for 10 years.

Army coach Red Blaik is quoted as saying: 

"Anybody who ever saw Davis carry the football must realize there could not have been a greater, more dangerous running back in the history of the game," Blaik said. "He was emphatically the greatest halfback I ever knew. He was not so much a dodger and side stepper as a blazing runner who had a fourth, even fifth gear in reserve, could change direction at top speed, and fly away from tacklers as if jet-propelled."

Imagine my youthful excitement when I read in the Charlotte Observer that Doc Blanchard would be coming to Charlotte to play for our very own professional Dixie League Charlotte Clippers!

My hero himself!.....the man about whom Notre Dame coach Ed McKeever once said,  "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears number 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard."

It was almost too good to be true!

If fact, it was.  

He wanted to, but he was still officially in the U.S. Army, and......someone higher up said "no."

I'm not sure of the details....but like I said, I only store good and happy memories in my mental ceder chest.


(Blanchard later embarked on a decorated and dramatic military career in the Air Force. He served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars flying over 113 missions in Vietnam. Because of his fearless attitude, he was allowed to fly the newest and fastest jets that included the F-84, F-94, F-100 and F-105/)