Seventy-five years ago, in 1937, it was Big Game time in Berkeley again, and once more the headline local news was of student rioting.
"Excited University of California students and outsiders -- fired to fever heat by Big Game anticipation and carried away in the riotous spirit that overflowed during the smoker rally on campus -- took over Berkeley's business section last night in such numbers that the entire police force was helpless," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported on Nov. 19, 1937.
The rioting was on the Thursday night before the Saturday game.
"Windows were smashed, theaters invaded; tomatoes, fruit, vegetables, eggs and concrete tossed at random and sometimes with vicious intent; automobiles damaged, policemen hurt, and a total of 29 persons arrested."
Sixteen of those arrested were UC students, along with seven juveniles.
"Pouring out of the campus at the end of the smoker and rally, the students and outsiders quickly descended on downtown Berkeley, spreading destruction in their wake."
Sixteen bonfires were set in the street, one burning until 3 a.m. Streetcars were halted for three hours. Automobiles were damaged, and some streetcars had windows
broken by thrown objects. "Stores along Telegraph Avenue including the Varsity Candy Shop, Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way, were raided. In the candy shop the entire display of sweets was snatched up and tossed to howling rioters waiting outside. Plate glass windows in the rug shop, Union Street and Bancroft Way, were smashed by the yelling mobs. Shouting, excited rioters forced a parked automobile into the vestibule of the United Artists Theater and smashed the cashier's window."
One fireman was injured by thrown concrete, while the assistant fire chief's car was damaged.
"A total of seven police officers suffered injuries during the evening," including two broken fingers. "Clubs, concrete, bottles, fruit and eggs" were thrown at police.
Cal would win the Big Game at Palo Alto, 13-0, that Saturday.
Red Cross drive
Berkeley's Red Cross chapter opened a fundraising appeal campaign on Nov. 15, 1937, when an estimated 2,000 volunteers were being enlisted to visit every home in Berkeley.
Councilman Frank Gaines was chairman of the Red Cross membership committee. "The roll caller's appearance at the home is the resident's only opportunity to add his membership to Berkeley Red Cross," he said.
The Gazette article writer commented, "It is pointed out, residents will perform the greatest possible service, as well as assure themselves of the least inconvenience, by cooperating with the roll caller on his first call at their homes, thus making unnecessary future calls."
Membership levels ranged from $1 for annual to $25 for supporting.
The Gazette noted in a Nov. 17, 1937, article that Berkeley's chapter had been granted its charter from the national Red Cross 23 years earlier, on Nov. 14, 1914. The chapter had morphed from the Berkeley Red Cross Society that had been formed in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.
There was a movement in Congress in fall, 1938, to put deficit reduction ahead of government investment in economic stimulus.
"Nothing would aid business more than for the country to know definitely that we are retrenching and are going to balance the budget", said Sen. Pat Harrison of Mississippi in a United Press story carried by the Gazette on Nov. 16, 2012.
The Gazette editorialized the same day that President Roosevelt, "while advocating tax revision and economy ... showed no intention of abandoning wage and hour legislation, government reorganization and TVA extension which would further harass and hamper industry and retard general business recovery."
The editorialist then expressed dismay that Roosevelt wouldn't abandon "pet measures for social and economic reform."