Army Navy Football Programs – Gib Crockett

7th Mar 2020

Army Navy is one of the oldest rivalries in college football – dating back to 1890, when the teams first met at West Point, pictured below:

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In addition to being one of the oldest rivalries in the sport, the games also feature some of the most interesting programs ever produced.

One of the most important illustrators of Army-Navy program was Gib Crockett who was a sports cartoonist for the Washington Evening Star. His full name was Gibson Milton Crockett and he was a descendant of Davy Crockett. He illustrated Army-Navy covers for over forty years, between 1944 and 1984. An amazing feat! Mr. Crockett often used relatives, friends, and acquaintances as models for the individuals portrayed on the program covers.

A sampling of his brilliant covers is below, starting with the 1946 program:

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The 1947 program shows an eager fan putting together her scrapbook:

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For the 1948 game played in Philadelphia he featured his daughter as both the young and old woman:

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1953 featured an amusing scenee:

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1956 is my personal favoriate. The game was held at Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium. The cover features a fan trying to take a piece of the goal-post onto the train at Thirtieth Street Station.

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Uncle Sam with a football head in 1961:

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By the 1960s many college football program no longer used illustrations, relying on photographs instead. Crockett stayed with his illustrations, in our view, a much better style of program. The 1967 program is below:

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Crockett’s final progam in 1984 continued both his sense of humor and self awareness. His easel is blank and says “I give up!”. The program also contains an extensive article about Crockett and his history and some insights into the designs behind the program covers. Crockett would often take photographs of ideas he would want to incorporate into the covers and draw bits and pieces from various photographs into an integrated cover.

It’s too bad he did….Gibson died in 2000 at the age of 88…but he left us a great legacy in programs.

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The theme of each year’s Army-Navy program is decided each summer in an editorial conference. In addition to sports and political cartoons Crockett also did illustrations for various governmental agencies including the Treasury Department and Defence Department. He often gave his original drawings for the program covers to government officials.