Los Angeles, CA Tower Collapses, Oct 1954



Los Angeles (AP) - Six persons were seriously hurt and nine others slightly injured Saturday when a steel tower collapsed as bands rehearsed on the University of Southern California campus.
Supports of the tower buckled and the 25-foot scaffolding collapsed on the grass at Bovard Field, as nearly 3,000 bandsmen, students and other spectators watched.

Directors, Students.
The injured were band directors watching their units rehearse for the USC-Oregon State game halftime program and students who tried to brace the crumbling tower.
Most seriously hurt were:
AUBREY MARSEE, 31, Corcoran, Calif., high school band director, possible fractured left heel and right leg.
WAYNE GILFREY, 38, of Puente, a teacher, fractured right leg, fractured ribs and possible lung injury.
FRANK SALAZAR, 27, Oxnard music teacher, possible fractured right ankle, bruises and abrasions.
CPL. JACK VIERKORN, Camp Pendleton, possible fractured collarbone.
DICK WINSLOW, 39, former USC bandleader, North Hollywood, fractured ankle.
JOEY RABIN, 39, San Francisco, bandleader, fractured right elbow.
TOMMY WALKER, director of the USC band, was slightly injured when the tower fell. He said:
"One wheel of the tower began to buckle as the bands were about to disperse. The fellows down below tried to hold it up and keep it from collapsing. But it fell right on them."
The bands were preparing to take part in an observance of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late bandmaster John Philip Sousa.

Boy Directs March.
The between-halves program went on as scheduled. One of the features was a march directed by Sousa's 7-year-old great-grandson, John Philip Sousa, IV.
The two-tiered tower had been used regularly by USC coaches to spot plays when the Trojans practiced on Bovard Field. A mobile apparatus, the tower could be wheeled to various parts of the field to allow the coaches to watch different groups of players.

San Bernardino County Sun California 1954-10-31