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Michigan Football Mystery: Color 8mm film of Wolverines in action, c. 1956

June 19, 2014

Calling all University of Michigan football fans who bleed maize and blue.

Today, on Throwback Thursday, we have a real treat for you – and a mystery you could potentially help solve.

Recently, we converted a reel of 8mm home movies for an Ann Arbor client that were labeled “1956-1959. “Near the beginning, we discovered a short segment of a University of Michigan football game. Based on the labeling of the reel, we are inclined to believe that this game excerpt is from the 1956 Michigan football season, where the Wolverines (coached by Bennie Oosterbaan) finished with a 7-2 record, second in the Big Ten and No. 7 in the final AP poll.

Based on the gold helmets of the opponent, we  think that the game is the Oct. 13 clash between Michigan and Army, which the home team won 48-14. We were also able to decipher crucial uniform numbers: The quarterback is No. 24 (James Van Pelt?), the running back is No. 41 (Terry Barr?) and – most intriguingly of all – the end is possibly No. 87: All-American Ron Kramer, one of the all-time Wolverine greats.

However, not all the information matches up with the facts so we might need some diehards to a little more digging. For example, although the box score (PDF) lists Van Pelt behind center during that game, the box score does not reflect any pass attempts by him. Yet we see several passes – none of them complete – directed to the player who might be Kramer. So our guess could be completely wrong.

Also, of note: Towards the end, we see the University of Michigan Marching Band in action. Based on their formations and their uniforms, someone might be able to definitively guess the year – and potentially the game itself.

Something completely unrelated to know: The segment spotlights our newest process for converting 8mm and Super 8 films. This conversion, in particular, is outstanding in terms of the level of detail, the color and the complete absence of distracting flickering.  Just compare it to other 1956 conversions on the net like this one and that one.

So do we have any guesses out there?

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