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In the 1930s, well-orchestrated, precision card formations were a regular feature during football games. In the 1930s, well-orchestrated, precision card formations were a regular feature during football games.
 


Aztecs Share School Spirit

Decades Ago at San Diego State: looking at school spirit from 'yelling themselves hoarse' to The Show.
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In recognition of “The Show,” the highly spirited and “rollicking student section that many experts call the best of its kind,” Decades Ago looks back on a long tradition of displays of school spirit at San Diego State.

Cheers from the sidelines and the crowd have always been a part of athletic competitions at San Diego State.

During the 1900-championship football season, President Samuel T. Black and other members of the faculty and student body “yelled themselves hoarse” in a game against a team of sailors from the U.S.S. Iowa.

Yell leaders and kings

In the 1930s, well-orchestrated, precision card formations were a regular feature during football games. These card stunts creating huge shapes of the letters “S” or “SD” and other patterns were created by student spectator card sections in the stands directed by “yell leaders” and “yell kings.”

Cheerleading and majorettes in glamorous dress were necessary when intercollegiate athletics became an important part of campus life in the 1920s, and this has been true ever since.

A noble mascot

1941 was reportedly the first appearance of “Monty Montezuma,” the Aztec mascot whose likeness was taken from Donal Hord’s Montezuma sculpture. The 1941 show had Monty emerging from a teepee during the homecoming game in pursuit of Aztec maidens.

Monty remained a regular figure at athletic and other events throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and beginning in the 1980s, Monty’s costume and make-up reflected research into Aztec life and a distinct seriousness about the character’s importance for school spirit.

One incomparable chicken

Undoubtedly, however, the greatest “show” that ever emerged from San Diego State was a one-person comic extravaganza that began as a temporary promotional stunt for San Diego’s KGB radio.

Known variously as the KGB Chicken, The San Diego Chicken, The Famous Chicken or just The Chicken, SDSU student Ted Giannoulas was in the right place at the right time and, most importantly, was the right size for the chicken costume he tried on in 1974 when he agreed to the job. The Chicken was featured often in the Daily Aztec throughout the 1970s, sometimes promoting “Homegrown” (a musical collection of local San Diego talent) and other times handing out peaches on campus to promote a 1975 rock concert. He participated in SDSU’s 1983 Homecoming and Parade and numerous other events throughout the years.

“The Sir Lawrence Olivier of mascots” and “Charles Chaplin in chicken feathers” went on to achieve national and worldwide recognition to the extent that The Sporting News named him one of the top 100 most powerful people in sports of the 20th century.

“The Show” certainly deserves the highest accolades as one of the top five student sections in the nation this year. This recognition is perhaps not too surprising since “The Show” comes out of a long San Diego State tradition of spirited and talented cheerleaders, “yell kings,” a noble mascot and one incomparable chicken.

 
Aztecs Share School Spirit
Decades Ago at San Diego State: looking at school spirit from 'yelling themselves hoarse' to The Show.
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