Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Missing a lion?

The birthday girl, center, with her purloined mascot. (Mount Archives)
ALL THE THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL CLASSICS last week got us thinking about sports and mascots, and the time the Loyola Lion made an unauthorized appearance at the birthday party of a Mount sophomore.

Mount memorabilia belonging to the late Margaret "Pegi" Parkinson '53, who passed away in 2012, recently came to the Archives. 

In among the letters and drama programs was this April 1951 newspaper photo showing Pegi at the center of some collegiate friends trying to pin a couple of corsages onto the mane of a life-sized lion mannequin. 

The picture accompanies a clipping from the Social Notes column of the weekly La Canada-Flintridge Ledger. It describes how 50 of her closest friends helped Peggy celebrate her birthday April 23, 1951, at a surprise party at her parents' home. The papier-mache lion, which had recently gone missing after a pep rally at Loyola, had been spotted in the back seat of Peggy's yellow convertible as she roared around Brentwood and nearby communities. At the party, the Loyola Lion was returned to his rightful owners, but as a substitute the Loyola sophomores pitched in and gave Peggy a 3-foot stuffed version.

The partygoers in the picture are identified, from left, as Ellen Farmer,  Dick Sulik, Joe Kamoda, Peggy, Frank Tarrentino and Mount student Dawnie Cobb (Dolores Cobb Berry '52). In the lion's jaws is Joan Odiorne. The three men were all sophomore members of Loyola's football squad.

Postscript: The spring of 1951 was a big year for pranks involving animal statues.  Just weeks before, a giant plaster Easter Bunny showed up in the Circle, with credit apparently due to a Loyola fraternity. Maybe the lion's disappearance was payback time? 

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