Published May 15, 2014 by Gregg Schieve
About 10 years ago Tweedee Productions produced a feature-length documentary called In the Red Zone, The History of Camp Randall. We interviewed scores of former University of Wisconsin football players, coaches and fans. We spent several fall Saturdays capturing the experience of attending a game at Camp Randall Stadium. We also documented the construction of the new luxury suites, the new scoreboard and additional seating in the south end zone. We attended the grand "re-opening" ceremony, capturing the "new" Camp Randall in all it's glory. We added historical footage of games and world events and produced a two-hour DVD that was sold to thousands of Badger Football fans across the country. In the end we had recorded 80, 30-minute videotapes - 40 hours of material - that told the story of Camp Randall!
Up until last week, these tapes had been stored in the Tweedee Productions secure storage facility (a.k.a. my basement). Lately I've been trying to simplify my life by getting rid of the unnecessary things that I have saved. Unfortunately, 80 Camp Randall tapes made the list. They served their purpose well, but are no longer needed in my life. Kinda sad, don't you think? A bit of Madison history passing by. In addition to being a bit of a pack rat, I also don't like throwing away things of value. First of all, we can't really "throw" something away. We can only relocate it, like to a landfill. Besides, 80 tapes about an historically significant football stadium could have some historic value to someone, right?
So I reached out to the University of Wisconsin Archives and offered the tapes to them. They were thrilled to accept the donation! I boxed up 40 hours of Camp Randall history and delivered four large boxes to Steenbock Memorial Library one rainy day this spring. Images and media archivist Vicki Tobias could hardly contain herself. She said they could potentially digitize many of the tapes (the originals are analog tape) and make them available to the general public. Hearing this made me very happy. Like I said, I hate throwing things of value away.
Camp Randall is an historic gem not only because it is the fourth oldest college football stadium in the country, but for how its stories intertwine with the people of the city of Madison, the University, and the State of Wisconsin. I'm proud that we played a small part in preserving some of the lasting memories of this very special place. Perhaps someday people will be able to watch the interviews we did with people like Pat Richter, Barry Alvarez, 1920's quarterback Sam Behr, John Roberts of the 40's, Pat O'Donahue of the legendary 1951 "hard rocks" defense, and modern-day players like Darrell Bevell, Terrell Fletcher and of course Ron Dayne!
In this age of instant video that has no staying power (YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, etc.), it's reassuring that places like the UW Archives is willing to preserve an important part of our past.