From "Out of Bounds"


It was a beautiful idea. Before the 1924 Army game, star center Adam Walsh pulled the tape off his broken hand. He then bandaged his good hand as though it were the broken one. A wise student of human nature, Adam figured that Army might concentrate on reinjuring the broken hand - anything to knock one of Notre Dame's Seven Mules out of the line-up. Now, with the fractured hand bare and the good hand taped, Army would really be confused.
And they were. The more vicious Cadets left the broken hand alone and stomped and smashed and pounded the bandaged hand until they broke it as well.

Adam played over half the game with two broken hands, snapping every Irish hike with precision and making an important interception in the 13-7 victory.

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The Irishmen got a big break when Stanford's Bill Solomon fumbled a punt that Notre Dame's Ed Hunsinger alertly fielded and ran in for a touchdown.

"What a jerk I am," moaned the anguished Solomon, beating his fists into the ground. "What an idiot! I have got to be the worst . . ."

"Solomon," said Crowley, "you can shut up. Nobody's arguing with you."

* * * * * *

After the success of the 1924 season, the Four Horsemen, including Elmer Layden, were invited to audition for the Balabon and Katz theater chain in Chicago. The boys arrived in the Windy City one day in Holy Week and limped through a few hours of uninspiring rehearsals. The famous four were about as underwhelming as a backfield of Al Jolsen, Eddy Cantor, Georgie Jessel and Sophie Tucker would have been on the gridiron. Before they left, the Horsemen were herded into a photographer's studio to pose with chorus girls for some publicity stills.

Elmer Layden was worried all the way back to school. It was bad enough to look ridiculous on stage. Now there were these publicity pictures to deal with. The girls in them were dressed as all chorus girls dress: the minute you saw them, you had one thing on your mind. Elmer remembered that it was Holy Week. If the priests at Notre Dame ever see those pictures, he thought, they'll toss us out of school. As soon as he got back to South Bend, Elmer phoned the theater people and told them to forget it.

So much for Elmer Layden's vaudeville career. A few years later, Elmer was called to Hollywood to act in a movie, The Spirit of Notre Dame, an Irish setter if ever there was one. Elmer never quite got over it. He played himself in the picture, but got paid as an extra. For the rest of his life he had people phoning him in the wee hours of the morning, waking him up and bubbling, "Guess who I just saw on the late show?!" After the first fifty or so, these calls are not nearly as exciting as they sound.

So much for Elmer Layden's movie career. That's showbiz. Elmer Layden egg.


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