B.C. Lions SNORED in ’54!

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Gordon Poppy Collection. Digital copy made from GP’s original slides. “The Lion’s Snored in ’54” Display Window for T. Eaton Company. The Lion is apparently in traction! Vancouver. 1954.

This post is a fun excuse to show off a few of Gordon Poppy’s photos of a window display he helped set up for the Vancouver flagship store of  T. Eaton Company (at the time, from 1949-1973, in the former Spencer’s Department Store space on West Hastings between Seymour and Richards).

Lions RoarThe B.C. Lions football club had been expected to do well in 1954 (unreasonably, probably). So well, in fact, that their public relations machine had ground out the slogan that “The Lions ROAR in ’54“. Annis Stukus (1914-2006) had recently been imported from the ‘near east’ as the first head coach and general manager of the Leos. And the Lions would play home games at the brand-new British Empire Games Stadium, adjacent to Hastings Park. (There was a connection between the Spenser family and the Lions and the Empire Games being hosted by Vancouver. Victor Spenser  (1924-2015), a son of store founder, David Spenser, was a key lobbyist for both.)

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Gordon Poppy Collection. Digital copy made from GP’s original slides. “The Lion’s Snored in ’54” Display Window for T. Eaton Company. Vancouver. A dejected fan sitting on the foot of the Lion’s sickbed. 1954.

But victorious roaring was not to happen that year; in fact, it would be another decade before they would win the Grey Cup. Their win:loss ratio in 1954 was 1:15 and by October they were finally knocked out of contention for the finals by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

This ditty appeared in the Calgary Herald in October 1954; it seems to me to be written for singing to the tune of The Band Played On:

Benson would walk through a shuddering line
And the Lions snored on.

He’d glide ’round the ends with the greatest of ease,
And the Lions snored on.

His team was so loaded, it nearly exploded,
The half backs would shake with alarm.

He’d ne’er leave the field ’till the game was on ice.
And the Lions snored on.

Calgary Herald. 25 Oct 1954

Speaking of Lions ditties – unofficial and otherwise – I’ve recently learned that the official ‘fight song’ of the Leos is “Roar You Lions, Roar“, composed by none other than local Big Band great, Dal Richards (1918-2015). Give it a listen. The lyrics are pretty predictable, but – as such music goes – it is quite tune-full.

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Gordon Poppy Collection. Digital copy made from GP’s original slides. “The Lion’s Snored in ’54” Display Window for T. Eaton Company. Vancouver. Two apparently dejected female fans visible (one on foot of sickbed; the other seated on the floor). 1954.

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2 Responses to B.C. Lions SNORED in ’54!

  1. jmv says:

    Gordon‘s department store ephemera is superb! Glad you featured this!

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