Color War 1954 And On

The most universal experience we had across the generations at Saginaw was the anticipation of and the playing out of Color War.  No matter if it was Boys or Girls Camps these questions were on everyone’s minds from the first week each summer.

When do you think Color War is going to break?

How are they going to break it this year?

What are the teams going to be?

Who are going to be the Color War Captains?

color-war-header

It all began with the anticipation of the break.  We all knew it was likely to be in the first week in August or so but we were on pins and needles about it weeks before that.  The fake breaks were as enticing as the real thing and some of the fakes were almost as elaborate as the break itself.  We can remember crop dusters, sky writers, fire engines, fireworks, special skits, and a whole lot more.

We were spying in places like Saniford Hall or Russ Hall looking for team banners being made or eavesdropping wherever a piano could be found for a few bars and lyrics of color war songs in the works.  Pairs of counselors disappearing could be a tip off to the counselor captains.  Herbie or Connie acting even more peculiar than normal could be a tip to an imminent break.

1962: The boys Blue Buccaneers banner
1962: The boys Blue Buccaneers banner being hoisted
1967: Blue Bandits banner poolside at the Medley Relay
1967: Blue Bandits banner poolside at the Medley Relay
1957 Red Calypso Camp Capts Birdie Dwartz Peep Hayman
Retro flashback:  Peep Hayman Cohen holds a piece of the 1957 Red Calypso banner the year Peep and Birdie Dwartz were captains
color-war-uk-year
Mid 1970’s: Girl’s Blue Merlin’s Mystify
color-war-banner-red-preppies-1988
1988 Red Preppies
color-war-banner-blue-greasers-1988
versus Blue Greasers
Banners 3
Variety of the banners from when it became “Color Days” starting in the 90’s
Banners 2
The artistic depiction was always incredible despite copyright infringement

Once the break occurred there was an announcement like  “All Girls Camp go to Saniford Hall and All Boys Camp go to The Dell” and now all the waiting and anticipation was over-time for the Big Color War Reveal.

Here is when you got your first glimpse of the team names and banners and the adrenaline started to flow.  The realization of which counselors would be running the show and who their divisional camper captains, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, and P.F.C.s would be.  And finally the reading of the team rosters so you knew which side of the Color War divide you would be playing and cheering for.

1963: Boys Red Rebels led by Jim Korman, Bruce Dove, and Ken Kramer
1963: Boys Red Rebels led by Jim Korman, Bruce Dove, and Ken Kramer

Next step was splitting off into teams for the first pep talk, discussion of the schedule of events,  and the distribution of the Color War Songsheets that would become the constant companion of all the campers the next four days, trying to memorize the lyrics and figure out the tunes.

(Click to see the regulations. schedule, and scoresheet for 1968 Color War)

This was usually followed by a furious attempt by captains and some campers to make custom color war shirts for themselves.  Rit Dye and magic markers seemed to appear out of nowhere as anyone with a hair of artistic talent was called in to help conjure up the team image on a white tee shirt turned crimson or light blue.  Warning: these shirts had to be washed by hand to avoid ruining the rest of your wardrobe in the wash.

Once the schedule kicked in Color War had it’s own rhythm that was different than all other day’s of the camp year.  There were songfest rehearsals twice a day.  Older campers would pair up with the younger kids to help them learn the songs and mentor them in proper songfest behavior.

There were activities in each division-morning, afternoon, and sometimes at night-from skills competitions to swim and track meets to softball, volleyball/newcomb, and basketball games. It was up to the team captains and officers to set line-ups in all the events.

1968: Red Rebels Captain David Lipstein is talking strategy with his camper captains Paul Sherr and Lenny Feinberg on Hill Court
1968: Red Rebels Captain David Lipstein talking strategy with his camper captains Paul Sherr and Lenny Feinberg

(Click to relive the 1955 Color War Varsity Baseball and Basketball Rosters)

When your division event ended you hustled over to cheer your team’s efforts in the other divisions.  The points your team got for winning were graduated by your division but they all added up to the team total that was announced every evening and posted to the permanent scoreboards that are still on display in the canteen.

Scoreboards 1

Scoreboards 2

Scoreboards 3

The scoreboards depicted the themes, counselor and camper captains, and the daily progress of the scores.  Sometime in the late 90’s, in an act of political correctness, it changed from Color War to Color Days.

Scoreboards 4

Scoreboards 5

Scoreboards 6

The centerpiece of the field activities was the Medley Relay for the Boys and Girls Camps.  This ginormous relay included all the Inter and Senior campers in a choreographed series of individual events that culminated in the final campfire/rope burn at the side of the pool.

(Click to see the rules and regulations of the Medley Relay)

Working through all the permutations and combinations for camper medley event assignments took three days of serious study of individual performance, competitive attitude, and a bit of voodoo magic to come up with a winning relay roster.

(Click to see the 1972 Counselor Captain’s Medley Relay Worksheet)

There was no match for the intensity of the moment with the pool grandstands flush with kids from each team chanting “Burn Baby Burn!”.

1967: Girls Medley Relay firemakers Brenda Magazine and Sheri Lipstein
1967: Girls Medley Relay fire makers Brenda Magazine and Sheri Lipstein

.

Early 1970's: Captains Steffi Baer and Myra Holt toss a coin toss to determine who sings first in girls songfest
1973: Captains Steffi Baer and Myra Holt toss a coin toss to determine who sings first in girls songfest

The final stanza to Color War was the songfest in Saniford Hall the last day that ultimately decided the winner in each camp.  Fight Songs, Cheers, Alma Maters,  and Friendship Songs for the girls were something the team members carried in their memories long after the final scores were announced.

Below is a compiled list of the Boys and Girls Color War Teams of this era with links to songfest sheets and team rosters (when we found them) for your nostalgic enjoyment.

Feel free to sing along…..just make sure you are alone.

 

Boys Color War Teams

Click on your year to see songs and rosters

1954 Blue Team Songs

1955 Red Team and Blue Team Songs

1956 Red Team and Blue Team Rosters

1958 Red Crusaders and Blue Bolt Lightening Rosters

1960 Red Pirates vs Blue Romans Songs

1961 Red Braves vs Blue Stars Songs

1962 Red Raiders vs Blue Buccaneers Songs and Rosters

1963 Red Rebels vs Blue Yankees Songs

1964 Red Rockets vs Blue Jet Bombers Songs

1965 Red Vikings vs Blue Knights Songs

1966 Red Robins vs Blue Batmen Songs

1967 Red Rangers vs Blue Bandits Songs

1968 Red Rebels vs Blue Yankees Songs and Rosters

1969 Red Cosmos vs Blue Astros Songs

1970 Red Riders vs Blue Dragsters Songs

1971 Red Divers vs Blue Buccaneers Songs

1972 Red Indians vs Blue Cowboys Songs

1973 Red Sharks vs Blue Whales Songs

1974 Red Rangers vs Blue Bandits Songs

 

Girls Color War Teams

Click on your year (if highlighted) to see songs and rosters

1960  Red Blazemen vs Blue Hurricanes Songs

1961  Red Sinners vs Blue Saints Songs

1962  Red Spaniards vs Blue Frenchmen Songs

1963  Red Dragons vs Blue Knights Songs

1964 Red Army vs Blue Navy Songs

1965 Red Taurus Bulls vs Blue Leo Lions Songs

1966 Red Robins vs Blue Batmen Songs

1967 Red Spartans vs Blue Trojans Songs

1968 Red Hatfields vs Blue McCoys Songs

1969 Red Royalists vs Blue Patriots Songs

1970 Red Jetsons vs Blue Flintstones Songs

1971 Red Robbers vs Blue Cops Songs

1972 Red Warlocks vs Blue Witches

1973 Red Road Runners vs Blue Coyotes Songs

1974 Red Vikings vs Blue Crusaders

1975 Red Sinners vs Blue Saints

 

Boys and Girls Color War Teams (1987 and on)

Click on your year (if highlighted) to see songs

1987  Red North vs Blue South

1988  Red Preppies vs Blue Greasers

1989  Red Devils vs Blue Angels

1990  Red Riches vs Blue Bums

1991  Red Knights vs Blue Magicians

1992  Red Clowns vs Blue Acrobats

1993  Red Fire vs Blue Ice

1994  Red Jungle vs Blue Sea

1995  Red Royalists vs Blue Patriots

1996 Red Aliens vs Blue Astronauts Songs

1997  Red New York vs Blue California

1998  Red Vikings vs Blue Pirates

1999  Red Country vs Blue Rock and Roll

2000  Red Army vs Blue Navy

2001  Red Hot Dogs vs Blue Cool Cats

2002  Red Superheroes vs Blue Villians

2003  Red Yoga Masters vs Blue Bodybuilders

2004  Red Wild Wild West vs Blue Pirates of the Caribbean

2005  Red Saginaw Survivors vs Blue American Idols

2006  Red Robbers vs Blue Cops

2007  Red Desert vs Blue Jungle

2008  Red Robots vs Blue Jungle

2009  Red Fire vs Blue Ice

2010  Red Vampires vs Blue Wizards

2011  Red Past vs Blue Future

2012  Red Space vs Blue Sea

2013  Red Tropics vs Blue Artic

2014  Red Country vs Blue City

2015  Red Toy vs Blue Video Games

2016  Red Rockstars vs Blue Athletes

 

Note: If you have any of the songfest sheets or rosters we are missing please contact us at moedweck@comcast.net
 .

We need more photos from Color Wars past so if you have any please scan them as JPEG files and email them to moedweck@comcast.net

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2 thoughts on “Color War 1954 And On

  1. Moe:

    Just got back from our break, this stuff is terrific. Well done research and composition.

    It will bring back a lot of memories and funny banter.

    Nice job.

    Hank

    Like

  2. So, have I lost my mind? I was on the “Blue Israeli” team in the late 50’s, early 60’s but it’s not listed above. Our alma mater was to the tune of Exodus. Anyone else remember?

    Like

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