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UNIVERSITY HISTORY

PHILADELPHIA BIG 5
In the News: 1964-1965

 

From the Daily Pennsylvanian, February 22, 1965:

 

Bomb in the Palestra

By Guy M. Blynn

 

At approximately 9:45 Saturday evening, an as yet, unidentified caller informed persons in the St. Joseph's locker room that one or more bombs were placed throughout the Palestra stands and that they would go off during half-time of the St. Joseph's-Villanova "Big Five" game.

The call brought quick reaction from the Philadelphia police authorities. Weekend Commander Joseph O'Neill and members of the bomb squad arrived at the Palestra just as the first half of the ball game ended.

They ordered the 9,250 fans who had turned out for the biggest game in Philadelphia of the year: "Do not panic, but as quietly as possible grab your coats and leave the Palestra." The fans were informed that they would be "readmitted as soon as possible."

The large throng remained orderly throughout the entire evacuation procedure except for the "Let's Go St. Joe" squad cheer that rang out when the Hawk squad, in street clothes, filed out of the Palestra.

About 25 minutes later, after a thorough search, the crowd was readmitted and the havoc that is Big Five basketball began as if nothing had ever happened.

If something had happened, it would have received live television coverage, as Les Keiter gallantly "stayed with his ship" throughout the scare.