ARCHIE WHO?

    I see that ‘COLLEGE BOWL’ is back for another TV season!  That’s one of our favorite game shows.  It stars Peyton Manning and his brother, Cooper.  In the event you’ve not watched it, it’s a question and answer show for college students who represent their college or university… and they can win money for both themselves and their school!  Many years ago, I too made some cash off the Manning name… who knows, maybe one of the very first to do so!  Let me explain

    Peyton’s father was Archie Manning, who played for Ole Miss, ’67-70.  During his college days, Archie made quite a name for himself.  Sadly, the rest of the team didn’t quite meet Archie’s level of gridiron talent, so the scores didn’t truly reflect Archie’s accomplishments on the field… as he set records!  It was as if he ‘came out of nowhere… and when talked about among fans, many had never hear of this ‘miracle maker.’  It’s said that… an opposing team’s coach, one that had no idea of Archie’s ability (nor his name for that matter) when asked how he planned to defend against Archie… his reply was, “Archie Who?”  He soon found out!  And the phrase stuck!  It became the rallying cry for Ole Miss fans!

    The school year was 1969-70.  This was Archie’s last year at Ole Miss, and the year I met Carol.  Her sister was dating Jerry and it was through this connection that I met Carol!  

    Jerry was an entrepreneur, and he had the knack of making money appear when needed.  He put two and two together, and decided that the two of us could make a little dough off Archie… and he had just the idea!  And I had both some of the supplies and the all of the ability to make this scheme become a reality.  We’d cash in on this stadium chant… ARCHIE WHO?

    We took sheets of heavy weight, white, card stock, and cut it into pieces approximately 5 or 6 inches by 18 inches.  Then, I cut a stencil and applied it to a silkscreen frame, proclaiming the phrase ARCHIE WHO? in tall, bold lettering.  Next we glued and stapled 20 inch long thin rectangular wooden strips, as a handle.  We made at least 50 of these… and headed to Mississippi Memorial Stadium on game day.  

    I must insert here, that we didn’t bother with the niceties of such things as a vendor’s permit!

    We also didn’t cut into our planned cash windfall by purchasing tickets for the actual game… but hawked our signs to the eager fans flocking into the stadium.  Our ARCHIE WHO? signs were selling like hot-cakes!  And then, as if out of nowhere, the boys in blue arrived and asked to see out license/permit/approval to be selling our popular signs!  Not being able to produce said documentation, we were asked to leave… and promptly… and that this was a one-time friendly warning… or else!  We left.

    We didn’t sell all of our signs that day.  But we did sell enough to purchase a few steak dinners.  So, you might say, that Jerry and I were the first (or surely one of the first) to make a few dollars off of the Manning name.  I suppose we owe them some small recompense. 

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