Because certain aspects of Richmond's Old JM history (original school building, etc.) have been lost or forgotten, it is refreshing to recapture the Glory Days of our high school years at good Old John Marshall. JM football in the Fall was always an important part of those wonderful years. Pep Rally's in front of the school; Friday night at the games; the Cadet Band marching on the field and playing at half time; the rendezvous at Bill's BBQ after the games -- we will never forget those happy times of our youth!
Phil Webb knew that Jim Walthall (a hobby photographer and friend to the JM Band, Cadet Corps, JM Athletics, and the entire school) had taken films of the football games. Webb had a vision and was on a mission to find the film of the final Old JM / TJ game (that iconic Richmond high school rivalry of bygone years) last played in November 1959. The goal was to determine if the old film (if found) could be digitized and then included on the OldJayem.com web site for all to enjoy. A number of years after Walthall died, his sister had given two film reels to Henry Pollard. They were then stored away and in 2022, Webb obtained the film reels from Pollard. It was thought that the reels contained the last Old JM / TJ game and sure enough, the game was on Reel two. After extensive research and evaluation of photo processing companies in and outside of Virginia who possibly possessed the capability to effectively transfer the approximately 65 years old film (which was not in good shape) to digital, a very good local company was selected.
Now a Daunting Hurdle was faced. How to pay for the very significant cost to accomplish this special project. In stepped JM friend Floyd Harvey (Class of 1959) with the "never give up JayEm spirit". He reached out to those on his email list for help.
A huge Debt of Gratitude and Thanks is extended to the following Financial Sponsors of the project. Without their support, capturing this part of the Old JM football history may not have come to fruition.
Floyd Harvey, Phil Webb, Allen Lane, JM Class of 1960, Bill Chambers, Ned Andrews, Mel Denton,
Taft Carter, Gary Farrar, Harrell Pedigo, Bill Schwartz, Billy Yates, Willie Goode, Jesse Fulghum
These Sponsors "Kept the Spirit Alive" !! They "stepped up to the plate" not knowing for sure what was on the two film reels.
It was not possible to view the old film prior to digitizing due to the film age and a number of technical factors. The finished product revealed that there were two 1958 and two 1959 football games on the two reels.
Reel one 1958
JM 25 - Petersburg 22 (at Petersburg)
JM 28 - Benedictine 0 (at City Stadium)
Reel two 1959
JM 6 - Benedictine 6 (at Parker Field)
JM 12 - TJ 6 (at City Stadium -- Last game for Old JayEm)
Some items of interest to reflect on:
1958 : JM / Petersburg game (reel one). Petersburg was favored to win. However, JM won and quarterback Henry Pollard # 51, was carried off the field on the shoulders of team mates in joyous jubilation.
1959 : JM / Petersburg game (not on the film). QB Henry Pollard was carried off the field in an ambulance. Ponder this: Was this "payback" by Petersburg for the 1958 JM upset victory -- or-- just an unfortunate game injury?
1959 : JM / TJ game (2nd game on reel two). Scenario -- Almost end of game. JM was up 12 to 6 but TJ had the ball with time to score. Their very good passing QB # 12, was in the game with determination to win for TJ. However, JM right tackle # 74, broke through the TJ line (see film) and demolished TJ QB # 12. The stout JM defense stopped TJ again, and game time ran out. Mystery: The final score of this history making win for Old JM did not appear on the film reel. Did Jim Walthall run out of film? Did someone from TJ in later years have access to the film with the desire to remove the final score (Walthall lived very close to this West End school and knew TJ graduates)? Was the end of the reel footage with the final score just lost - or - could it still exist in someone's closet memorabilia collection?
No matter the answer as to what happened to the film footage containing the final score,
IT WILLFOREVER STAND - "Old" John Marshall 12 - " Old" Thomas Jefferson 6.
JM Football 1958 - John Marshall 25 vs Petersburg 22
John Marshall 28 vs Benedictine 0
(Games change 29 min. 11 sec. into the video)
JM Football 1959 - John Marshall 6 vs Benedictine 6