This month marks the 75th anniversary of a much-loved OSU tradition—Script Ohio.
Interestingly, the first performance of Script Ohio was by the University of Michigan’s marching band in 1932. According to the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily: “Probably the most effective single formation was the word ‘OHIO’ spelled out in script diagonally across the field in the double-deck Ohio stadium to the accompaniment of the O.S.U. marching song, ‘Fight the Team.’ ”
It wasn’t until four years later, in October of 1936, that the OSU Marching Band first performed Script Ohio in Ohio Stadium. There is some debate over which game exactly: It was either on Oct. 10 when OSU went up against Pittsburgh or Oct. 24 when OSU played Indiana. Surprisingly, a trumpet player (John Walter Brungart) dotted the “i” that day. Four games later, a sousaphone player (Glenn R. Johnson) dotted the “i” on the orders of band director Eugene Weigel. The characteristic turn and bow performed by the sousaphone player did not become part of the “i” dotting tradition until 1938.
Some interesting facts: Since position charts were not yet in use, the first drum major, Wesley Leas, led the band through the new formation out of necessity rather than ceremony. And the band has gotten larger: The original band had 120 pieces; now there are more than 200.
The Marching Band, along with the alumni band, first performed dual Script Ohios in 1966 (OSU vs. Texas Christian), and four Script Ohios in 1977 (OSU vs. University of Miami).
Would you like to learn even more about the history of the OSU Marching Band? Either visit its Web site at http://tbdbitl.osu.edu/ or read a very thorough history of the band called Script Ohio. (We have several copies here at the Archives you can peruse.)