Monday, May 5, 2014

Auburn Colorization: Interview

For today, I have a very special treat! A couple of weeks ago, David Bivin emailed me a couple of pictures asking for some back info. I replied with what I knew, and we began emailing back and forth. After a while, I contacted David about doing an interview with me. He obliged, so I sent him a few questions. His answers were just awesome and intriguing, so I sent some more questions! I don't want to give away anything, so let's allow David to explain everything himself.

1941 Glomerata

Auburn Uniforms Database: Give me a brief introduction of yourself. Age (if you want), graduate of Auburn if you are, how you became an Auburn fan, how you became interested in colorizing these pictures.

David Bivin: I am a lifelong Auburn fan and 1987 graduate. My parents and grandparents went to Auburn, and I’ve been coming to Auburn games since I was a kid. I was one of the original Tiger Walk kids. We’d walk to the stadium with the players, getting autographs in our programs (which I still have). We’d run down on the field after the games (and sometimes after touchdowns, which you can see on old 70’s video). I had a great collection of chin straps and wrist bands as a kid. I played little league football and never bought a chin strap. I was always the kid who was interested in the uniform. I wasn’t a very good football player. I think I probably played for the jersey.

In the 70’s, there weren’t a ton of folks in the crowd. As kids, we’d move from end zone to end zone, depending on which way Auburn’s offense was going. As a touchdown was scored, we’d hop on the field, slap the players on the shoulder pads, and then hop back in the stands.

One of the most memorable games was the Auburn vs Georgia game when we came out in orange jerseys. My group of friends was sitting in the South endzone waiting for Auburn to run onto the field. All of a sudden a team in orange appeared in the Auburn tunnel (which was at the corner of the end zone then). The crowd went crazy when they ran onto the field. I even remember the shirt that I was wearing that day. It was a navy t-shirt that read “Kick ‘em in the Butt Big Blue”, which I thought was kind of ironic.

AUD: What is your criteria for picking a new photo? What are your favorite pictures that you tend to lean towards?

DB I try to find a picture with high resolution from an era where very few color pictures exist. I want to know what the uniforms looked like, yet there are no color photos (that I know of) that exist. That’s my motivation.

1929 Tiger Head jersey

AUDTell me about the process. How do you go about doing this? How long does it take?

DBThere are a couple of free programs that I use. The time depends on the detail. Some can take just a few minutes. I colorized an old photo of my dad from the ‘50’s that took a lot longer because of all the detail.

AUDHave you shared your colorizations with anyone else? Have you ever done anything with them (sold one, blown one up for a poster, etc.)?

DBI’ve shared some of them with the usual suspects… The War Eagle Reader, War Blogle, and you. I don’t own the rights to the photos that I’m colorizing, so I’m not doing this for monetary gain. I haven’t blown up any as a poster either.

1940s uniform

AUD: We've seen orange and green jerseys and blue pants. Do you have an opinion on what Auburn should "throwback" to? Any one thing (or two) that stands out as "pure, true" Auburn history?

DBPersonally, I think the best looking uniforms were worn by some of our worst teams. Just before Shug arrived, Auburn worn both blue helmets and orange helmets during games. Backs wore orange and linemen wore blue. The orange helmets had a single orange stripe, and the blue had a single orange stripe. The pants were two-toned, but I don’t know what two colors. Were they orange and white, satin tan and flat tan, tan and white, satin white and flat white? It’s a mystery to me. I’ve colorized one making the front of the pants orange, but I don’t know if that’s accurate.

If we ever wore throwbacks, I would favor the early 40’s uniform: Orange jersey with three equal stripes, navy numbers, navy pants, navy helmets.


AUD: What is your favorite Auburn uniform/combo? Favorite other sport uniforms?

DB: I liked that the early 40’s team apparently alternated between navy and orange jerseys. In some pictures, it looks like the numbers are trimmed in white, which looks really nice. My primary focus is football. I’m not familiar with the uniforms of the other sports.

My biggest pet peeve, however, is what Under Armour has done with the sleeve stripe and numbers. The numbers are too small. The A-Day jersey’s looked great, until I realized that we were using old jerseys. UA has reduced Auburn’s Northwestern Stripe to a patch, basically. It is truncated down too much. This is the 21st century. Under Armour should have the technology to wrap a stripe around a sleeve. (AUD: We've talked about that travesty on here before. You can read about this right here)

AUD: Explain these Tiger Walk kids to me. This is the first I've heard of them. How did you get chosen? What was the role of the group? You mentioned jumping on the field and celebrating with the players. How were you allowed on the field so easily (with no press passes)? How did the players receive you guys?

DBTiger walk originated organically. Shug had the players gather at Sewell Hall before the game and then walked to the stadium together. As kids, we would hang out along the road between Sewell and the stadium meeting the players and getting autographs. It was actually better after the games. We would hang around outside the locker room or outside Sewell and get tons of autographs.

As far as jumping on the field, you need to remember, this was a different time and security was nonexistent. They had a few rent-a-cops who would come tell us to get back in the stands. The end zone just had a short rail. Auburn would score and we’d hop over and slap the players on the shoulder and hop back in the stands… mainly on plays in the back of the end zone, where it wasn’t too far to run. We’d all watch the Auburn football review on Sunday to see if we made it on TV that week. They also let you run onto the field after games then. As soon as the clock hit zero, all the kids in the stadium were flooding the field, begging for chin straps and sweat bands. We rushed the field too soon one week. They made everyone go stand on the sidelines until the game was over… next to the players. A guy from my neighborhood, Danny Arnold, played defensive back at the time. I asked Danny if I could have his chin straps and sweat bands. I remember him telling me, “Sure, but I may have to go back in the game, so let’s wait until the game is over”. Danny also got me a jersey one year. He was number 20. When Joe Cribbs got to Auburn, Joe wanted 20, so Danny became 22. The #20 jersey was lost over time as my parents moved. We would stay on the field for a long time after the game playing football with all the other kids.

Eddie Mizerany, mid-1940s

AUDWould you mind sharing some pictures of the old autographed programs? Do you happen to have any of the old chin straps, wrist bands, and other items still? I'd love to see some of those (or own one!).

DBI’ll look and see what I can find. (AUD: Here's the picture he sent along with that question. Autographs from the David Langner era)

AUD Let's talk more about the orange jersey game. What year and game was it? How did they look from the stands? And from the ground, if you happened to be down there. Outside of the initial buzz when the team entered the field, how were they received from everyone?

DB: The first orange jersey game was the 1978 Georgia game. We should’ve won the game, but it ended in a tie. In 1979 we wore them against Mississippi State (win) and in 1980 against Georgia again (loss). At the first game in 78, the crowd was stunned. No one knew it was coming. The team warmed up in the navy jerseys. The student section wasn’t fenced off back then. We (all us kids) were sitting near the tunnel in the student section where the visiting team used to come out. The students used to throw dog biscuits at Georgia and Miss St when they ran on the field. When Auburn ran out, I did a double take… we’re not playing Tennessee, I thought to myself. The crowd went wild and we almost upset Georgia. The final was 22-22. William Andrews scored on a long run as time expired in the first half, but the referee said his knee hit at the one, and we didn’t get the score. My gang and I were in that end zone (we switched every quarter) and I believe to this day that he scored. It was the same corner where Cam flew through the air to score against South Carolina.

The infamous green jerseys of 1939

Wow! Thank you Dave for all these pictures and your time to answer my questions. I love your work and hope to see some more of it in the future. Maybe we'll even host some more here! Be sure to follow Dave on Twitter at @aubie1

Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did working on it and going through the picture. I might take a few of these pictures and go a bit more in-depth with them at some point. Some of these would make for a great story!

War Eagle!


  1. This is interesting stuff! What were the green jerseys for (did I miss that?)? My favorite throwback helmets were from the late 50's/early 60's. They had the same striping pattern as we have now, but had huge numerals on the side instead of a logo. I've read that the numbers were actually black, instead of navy blue.

    1. The War Eagle Reader has been covering the green jerseys for a while now. Basically, the coach in the 30s (can't remember name right now) was a Notre Dame fan and believed everyone should know. So they ordered green jerseys to showcase that. The players supposedly hated it.

      As for the old helmet, I love the one you described. Those numbers were extremely large. As for being black rather than navy, that's a possibility. I haven't heard that before, but I wouldn't be surprised at all.