- Author • Rick Tucker
- Date updated • 13 August 2022
- Date originally published • 13 July 2014
- Publication format • online web page
© 2014–2022 Rick Tucker. All Rights Reserved. Does not apply to images or quotation text.
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by Rick Tucker
In August and September 1962, four winkers from Oxford University in England toured the United States, playing winks against college teams and other quickly-assembled teams on both the east and west coasts. Oxford’s tour of the U.S. left a lasting impact… the jump-start of intercollegiate play in the U.S.
From 1960 to 1962, members of the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (OUTS) wrote letters to a variety of American colleges, challenging each to a tiddlywinks match. Here are two reports:
Note that Oxford’s rivals at Cambridge University had planned to play winks against competitors in the U.S. in 1959, but were foiled in their attempts to raise enough money for the visit.
Less than a month before their arrival in the U.S., the Oxford team was still seeking competition for matches during their tour of the U.S.
The Oxford Winkers
Four Oxford winkers toured the U.S. during the Summer of 1962:
- Philip Moore, 21 years old, from Wolverhampton, who was identified in a few, but not all articles as the captain of the OUTS team. He had just completed his first year at Oxford’s Keble College, where he studied mathematics. He was deemed the Master of the Winks at the college from 1962 to 1963. In the early 2010s, Oxford winker Philip Moore blogged about the 1962 tour in “50 Years Ago” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath” when he was living at the Severn Hospice with terminal cancer. He was born in 1941 and died on 1 November 2014. Obituary of Thomas Philip Moore.
- Peter Freeman, 24 years old and left-handed, is from Malvern, and was the captain of the OUTS team. He attended Oxford’s University College, had a chemistry degree, and was performing graduate-level work in this history and philosophy of science. He had been a member of the OUTS team for 4 years, and had met fellow Oxford tour winker, Elizabeth King, 3 years before.
- David Willis, 23 years old, from Doncast. He attended Oxford’s Worcester College and had just graduated in 1962, with studies in philosophy, politics, and economics.
- Elizabeth King, 22 years old, from London. She attended St. Hugh’s College and studied experimental nuclear physics. She was secretary of OUTS in the previous year. She and fellow Oxford tour winker Peter Freeman were engaged.
Guinness Sponsors the Tour
Guinness, the well-known beer company, sponsored most of the 1962 Oxford tiddlywinks tour of the United States. Philip Moore states:
Guinness reportedly provided $1500 to the team for their travel from England to the U.S. (Source: The Levittown Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania), 4 September 1962, page 3, column 1.)
Arrival in America
East Coast Competitions, Part 1
The Cin Cin Irregulars—the First Match
Date: 4 August 1962
Venue: Maria’s Cin Cin restaurant, 224 East 53rd Street, New York, New York USA
Result: OUTS, 23 to 5 points
The OUTS’ first match was held in an Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan. OUTS beat the Cin Cin Irregulars team with game scores of 6-1, 5-2, 6-1, and 6-1, for a final winning score of 23 to 5. (Note: in 1962, 6-1 was the best possible score in the game; it wasn’t until 1965 when the rules were changed to transfer a point to the winners of a pot-out from the losing side, which resulted in 7-0 being the best possible score thereafter.)
The Cin Cin Irregulars team consisted of Ken Baker (captain), Bill Fitzimmons, Bryan Clare, Fred Roloff, and George Winslow, including 4 Madison Avenue public relations executives, and was coached by Miss Mary Hoffman. During the match, the Oxford men wore tiddlywinks ties; Elizabeth King played in stocking feet. The Parker Golden Squidger prize was awarded to the winners by former world heavyweight champion boxer, Jack Dempsey.
Source: Philip Moore newspaper clippings
Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), 5 August 1962, page 10A, column 1
On 7 August 1962, the Oxford team and some of the New York competitors appeared on NBC’s Today television show, hosted by Edwin Newman.
Source: Independent (Long Beach, California), 7 August 1962, page B-7, column 1.
New York Giants "Match"
Date: before 12 August 1962 and before the Tanglewood match
Venue: Mermaid Tavern of the Stratford Motor Inn, Stratford, Connecticut USA
Result: OUTS by forfeit of the New York Giants
According to Philip Moore:
Asbury Park Tiddlywinks Team - 4th Match
Date: 14 August 1962, at 8:30 pm
Venue: Convention Room of the Empress Motel on Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park NJ
Results: OUTs wins, 24-4. Each of the 4 games ended with 6-1 scores
The opponent team members were all residents of Monmouth Beach:
- John McGrath, captain, of Northwestern University
- Joseph Heimbold of the University of Toronto
- James Heimbold of Seton Hall University
- Vincent LaHiff of Fairleigh Dickinson University
In addition, Polly Seitz of Long Branch, New Jersey was on the team but did not compete. (Source: Asbury Evening Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey), 21 August 1962, page 30, column 2)
Tanglewood Music Students
Date: before 16 August 1962
Venue: Lenox School dining hall, Tanglewood, Massachusetts USA
Result: OUTS, 24 to 4 points
OUTS won this match against three Tanglewood music students and “one deaf ringer”, who was a photographer-recorder assigned to photograph the match.
Source: The North Adams Massachusetts Transcript, 16 August 1962, page 4, column 3.
Josiah Carbury Tiddly Wink Society of Philadelphia
Date: ? 1962, 6 pm
Venue: 1918 Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Result: OUTS, 24 to 4 points
Coming into this match, Oxford had won all three matches against American challengers. This opponent team, the Josiah Carbury Tiddly Wink Society of Philadelphia, was named after a “famed scholar-athlete long associated with the tradition of minor sports at Wesleyan”, comprised of mostly theological students from Princeton and/or 3 Wesleyan University (Connecticut) students, including:
- Ed Fisk (captain, left wink)
- Dave Fisk (flanker wink)
- Ray Scott (center wink)
- Tom Arndt (slot wink)
In addition, Franny Murray, a former Penn and Eagle back served as field judge, referee, and chief umpire.
Off to the West Coast
On 20 August 1962, the OUTS team flew from New York and arrived at the San Francisco International Airport; their flight was paid for by the Sicks’ Rainier Brewing Company. The Reverend Franklin Clark Fry, president of the Lutheran World Federation, was also on their flight. Upon arrival in San Francisco, they put out a mat in the airport’s Admiral’s Room, where Arthur Fiedler, famed conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, potted a wink. The team stayed in the Press Club while in San Francisco.
San Francisco Matches
San Francisco All-Stars
Date: 22 August 1962, starting at 10:10½ am
Venue: Garden Court, Sheraton Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California USA
Result: 1 to 1 tie in games won
The OUTS had “five straight triumphs over East Coast teams” prior to this match. The San Francisco All-Stars team included:
- Billy Pearson, the captain: a jockey who became an authority on art.
- Enrico Banducci, the owner of San Francisco’s famous hungry i night club
- Howard Gossage, advertising executive in the Weiner & Gossage advertising agency (formed in 1957)
- J. J. Weiner, advertising executive in the Weiner & Gossage ad agency
- Suzy (or Susie) Lee, 10 years old
- Janet Lee, Suzy’s cousin, 7 years old
Sicks’ Rainier Brewing Company, represented by their advertising agency, Weiner & Gossage, sponsored the match. Rainier’s “liquids” were provided and consumed at the event, which attracted 200 spectators according to Advertising Age.
To spark interest in the match, at 9:45 am, relay runners carried a Flaming Squidger from the (fictitious) Pan Pacific Tiddlywinks Association headquarters at 451 Pacific Avenue (the headquarters of the Weiner & Gossage advertising agency), down Montgomery Street, and through the lobby of the Sheraton Palace Hotel, where John F. “Old Legs” Stall, 80 years old and sporting a long white beard, trotted in with the Flaming Squidger.
A 10:09 am, the respective team captains ceremoniously exchanged gold winks.
Originally, San Francisco’s mayor, George Christopher, was to squidge the first wink. Instead, British Consul-General Handle Reid-Adam squidged the first wink to open the festivities. Mr. H. Louie served as the chief referee, and John Klempner the official interpreter between the Brits and Americans. Reporters from newsreel and television press services covered the match.
Montgomery Street Brokers plus Pacific Heights
Date: 23 August 1962
Venue: Mike’s Pool Hall, San Francisco
Results: (not known, but OUTS would have won)
Two matches were scheduled to be held at Mike’s Pool Hall. The Montgomery Street Brokers team was captained by Mr. Leslie Dorking, who represented San Francisco’s financial district. Dr. Gerald Feigen served as captain of the Pacific Heights team.
Off to Los Angeles
The OUTS team then flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles, California, where they appeared on the Who in the World? television show, a show hosted by Warren Hull that replaced the Jack Benny Show on CBS during the summer of 1962.
And Then to Seattle!
Seattle World's Fair Century 21 All-Stars
Date: 27 August 1962, at 3 pm
Venue: Plaza of the States on the Seattle World’s Fair fairgrounds
Results: Oxford, 6-1
All-Stars winkers came from both Seattle and Vancouver, and included the following:
- Jack Wasserman, captain, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun newspaper
- Saeed Kahn, the World’s Fair protocol officer from the U.S. Department of State, a graduate of Cambridge University, and a former member of the Bengal Lancers, which was a regiment of the British Indian Army
- Anthony Jackson of Seattle
plus “a couple of gorgeous girls from the fair’s staff to distract the champions”:
- Evelyn von Munchhausen, special-events department secretary
- Georgia McVey, publicity-department receptionist
Both the British and American national anthems were played at the opening the match as the U.K. and U.S. flags were raised. The World’s Fair band also played a fanfare of Pomp and Circumstance.
Chief justice (the referee), Cy Noe, who worked in the World’s Fair special events department, started the match thus: “I call now for the squidging of the first wink”, upon which Mrs. Joseph E. Gandy squidged the first wink, which sailed over the pot.
In the match, each winker was given 4 winks to pot. Jack Wasserman reports:
Two prizes were presented to OUTS for winning the match: a World’s Fair trophy and a wallaby trophy.
Back to the East Coast
The Oxford team flew from Seattle to New York and then to Boston for one of its most influential matches, the one against Harvard. After the completion of the Oxford 1962 tour, Harvard’s Gargoyle Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society went on to beat every college it challenged to a tiddlywinks match in the next year.
The Harvard Match
Date: 31 August 1962
Venue: Allston Burr Lecture Hall, Harvard University, 40 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA
Results: OUTs defeats Harvard, 21 points to 7
The following Harvard winker, most from the humor magazine The Gargoyle, played against OUTS in this match:
- Jim Parry (link), captain, 18 years old, from Hamilton, New York
- Fred Goldberg (link), master of winks, from Providence, Rhode Island
- Dave Hirschfeld, from Woods Hole, Massachusetts
- Leon Jackson (in another report: Jacobson), from Brookline, Massachusetts
- Doug Brenner, of Washington
- Bill Gould, a Yale student playing for Harvard
“We’ve defeated every U.S. team we’ve been up against so far,” Peter Freeman said at the outset of the match. The Harvard team wore Harvard sweatshirts with an “H” during the match, which drew 50 spectators.
Here are several reports on the match:
Bucks County Playhouse Players
Date: 3 September 1962
Venue: Ballroom of Tom Reddy’s Playhouse Inn, next to the Bucks County Playhouse in Bucks County, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Results: OUTS wins, 23 to 5 points
The Bucks County team members included:
- Mike Ellis, captain, the producer-director of the Bucks County Playhouse
- Dennis King, actor
- Patricia Scott, publicity director (though one report lists her as an actress)
- S. J. Perelman, famous humorist and author
- Tom Ewell, actor, who served as a back-up to the main four winkers
Date: 5 September 1962—planned (source: Levittown Times (Pennsylvania), 4 September 1962, page 3, column 2)
Venue: a New York restaurant
This was the last OUTS match in America.
Other Possible Matches
References were found to the following additional matches that may have been played, though no details are known, and should not be considered to be confirmed matches:
- 1962 at Lake Tarleton Club in Pike, New Hampshire—planned in advance but probably did not take place (source: Sports Illustrated, 30 July 1962)
- 1962 in Washington, D.C.
Date: (unknown) 1962
Results: OUTS win, 24 to 4 points
The OUTS opponents were the Long Ranch (or Branch) Demons of New Jersey.
Back to England
The OUTS winkers departed the U.S. on 8 September 1962. One report states that they flew back, arriving at Gatwick Airport, and another states that they sailed back to England.
Here’s how Time magazine reported on the 1962 Oxford tour after its conclusion:
- Tiddlywinks, Anyone?
New York Times, 17 June 1962, page S3, column 8
Christian Science Monitor, 3 August 1962, page 3 (Eastern edition)
- Britain Tops U.S. in Tiddlywinks
New York Times, 5 August 1962, page 23, column 1
- Tiddlywink Drive
New York Times, 8 August 1962, page 38, column 6
- Rainier Beer’s Tiddlywinks Tourney Is Smashing Success
Advertising Age, 10 September 1962, page 30
- Winking In
Time, 14 September 1962, page 56
- Tiddlywinks Across the Sea! (in Charlie Rice’s Punchbowl column)
This Week magazine (Sunday newspaper supplement), 4 November 1962, pages 20-21
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