1953 National Jamboree

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1953 National Jamboree, Jamboree City, Irvine, California

John Angus at the age of 12 attended the jamboree from Las Vegas, Nevada.  The jamboree was from July 17-23, 1953.  Below are interesting articles that were saved by family members.


In 1953, the National Scout Jamboree was held on Irvine Ranch land in the area of what is now Fashion Island Shopping Center.  (Image courtesy of Irvine Company)

City of Tents Awaits the Boy Scouts

Jamboree Boy Scouts March to Worship Services


Not the brisk military cadence but with purpose and reverence, Boy Scouts by the thousands walked a winding, hilly road Sunday to worship their God.
Jamboree City, Calif.  The post office may not even list the newest western boom town, but in a few days it will have a population of almost 50,000.

All boys!

Not long ago, sheep grazed on its 3,000 acres.  but today it's a bustling little tent city, putting finishing touches on a man sized invasion by young America.

From every state they will come -- a pummeling, laughing outpouring of Boy Scouts.   For a week, the quit of vast, historic Irvine ranch will be shattered by shouts and songs, clatter and tampering feet.

This peaceful rolling land overlooking the Pacific ocean, is the site for the third national Boy Scout jamboree.  Scout leaders are working day and night to be ready for J day.  The jamboree officially opens July 17 but the scouts will start pouring in by train, auto and bus by July 13.

Visualize, if you can, the amount of food, water, refrigeration, sanitation, bandages and everything else needed for 50,000 growing boys.  Then you get the magnitude of the job.

Raw Land to Big Camp

A big chunk of the raw land with southern California brown grass covering rolling hills has been turned into a model camp site.  Roads have been built, water popes laid, electric and telephone lines strung.  As of now, the hills are marked with a scattering of service tents, shower facilities and huge navy refrigerators.7nbsp; When they boys arrive and set up their camps there will be a forest of 30,000 multicolored, varishaped tents.

Jamboree city is on the coast of highway, U.S. 101, about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles on the way to San Diego.  The land of the Irvine ranch rolls down to the seaside resort of town of Newport Beach where quite a few southern California millionaires tie up their yachts.  Newport Beach, with its population of 12,000 sprawls along the beach for about eight miles.  Nearest large city is 50,000 plus Santa Ana, five miles inland.

It is a colorful place.  From the jamboree acres you can view the dark blue ocean, the yachts in Newport harbor and the white houses of the town.  The beach is within easy hiking distance.

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Plan 34 Villages

The scout camp has been divided into 36 large sections -- each to accommodate 34 troops.  Each troop will have four patrols of eight scouts each, a senior patrol leader, scribe, quartermaster, two assistant scoutmasters and a scoutmaster.

Each section will be a self-sustaining village, with a health lodge, headquarters, commissary, equipment tents, post office and shower facilities,  In all there will be 1,248 troop campsites, each 90 by 90 feet.  It sounds quite civilized, but the boys will be sleeping in tents on the ground -- in sleeping bags and with ground cover -- and they'll be cooking their own means, issued by the commissaries, on open charcoal fires.

The scout organization has been issued some fantastic figures dealing with the appetites of 50,000 boys.  Every meal for every day already ha been planned.  For instance, for supper July 18 every scout patrol in some 5,000 outdoor kitchens will be cooking fried chicken, sweet potatoes and string beans.  this menu also includes cranberry sauce, celery, tolls, butter, canned pears, cookies and milk.

Mountains of Food Some scout leader with a flair for figuring has reported that on the morning when the boys get pancakes they would form a stack, if stacked, higher than the Empire Stat building.  Here is a sample of quantities that will be used in one week:

One hundred tons of meat, 600,000 quarts of milk, 40,000 dozen eggs, 24 tons of sugar, 160,000 gallons of vegetables, two freight car load of cereal, 10 freight car loads of charcoal and 175,000 loaves of bread.

The 100 tons of mean breads down this way:

  • Hamburger - 52,000 pounds, ground at Fort Worth, Tex.
  • Top sirloin steaks - 29,000 pounds packed in Chicago and Los Angeles.
  • Chicken - 25,00 pounds of hind quarters, each averaging seven to nine ounces, from Muskogee, Okla.
  • Frankfurters - 26,000 pounds, from Los Angeles.
  • Luncheon mean - 17,000 pounds, fro Los Angeles.
  • Shortening - 12,240 pounds.
  • Sausages and dried beef - 5,000 pounds.

The boys won't have to wash dishes, because paper ones - eight million pieces of paper goods - will be furnished.

Scouts 'Prepare' for Fun as Jamboree Starts Rolling

Jamboree City, Calif.  The army of Boy Scouts on this southern California ranch was a little sleepy Saturday morning -- the second day of their national jamboree -- after a stirring pageant from the pages of American history Friday night.

From the hills and canyons of the 3,000 acre Irvine ranch, the scouts and leaders massed in an outdoor arena to hear a recorded message from President Eisenhower and sit enthralled by the colorful extravaganza.

the president's message told how he learned "the meaning of brotherhood and the spirit of united helpfulness" when he attended the 1950 jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa.

"bonds of common purpose and common ideals can unite people, even when they come from most distance and diverse places.  This is an important lesson, and even if you learn no other, you will leave Irvine ranch with a new wisdom," the message said.

For visitors, the scene of the scouts and their leaders who thronged into the area was almost as impressive as the show itself.

The pageantry depicted George Washington and his army at Valley Forge, the Louisiana purchase area, the Lewis and Clark expedition, Indian attacks on wagon trains, the transportation era and early scenes in California.

Sunday there will be a convocation and address by Vice-President Nixon.  Tuesday will be "Hollywood night," with movie stars making appearances.  On the final night, Thursday, the scouts will present their own story in a pageant titled, "Cavalcade of Scouting."

141,000 Jam Scout Parley
Vice-President Speaks

Jamboree City, Calif.  An estimated 141,000 Boy Scouts, friends and relatives jammed this 3,000 acre ranch Sunday for a mammoth religious convocation and address by Vice-Presnedt Nixon.

A "Jamboree variety review," with Hollywood movie stars, magicians, square dance champions and animal acts was scheduled for money, plus a big navy and marine air show.  Dorothy Lamour, dick Powell, June Allyson, Jerry Colonna, the Bell sisters and other entertainers were scheduled to appear.

Scouts of all denominations took part in the convocation, which featured statements by protestants, Catholic, Mormon and Jewish representatives.  The convocation closed with each of the 45,000 scouts and leaders on the hillside arena lighting a candle to symbolize the scout oath.

Nixon, who had flown west especially for the third national scout jamboree, spoke before the convocation.

"You have been taught and have learned yourselves what is to be free - free to speak your own minds, to live your own lived and to worship God in your own way," Nixon Said.

"You have not been instilled with the shameful arrogance of dictatorial mind, the intense hatred and bigotry of those of your contemporaries behind the iron curtain who since boyhood have been taught to hate and to fear and to be contemptuous.

Got a Rattlesnake Skin

"Representatives from 16 other countries are sitting with you right now.  Let us work toward the day when Boy Scout leaders from all the nations of the world may be able to gather together with you at just such an annual jamboree.  The cause of brotherhood and peace on this earth could receive not greater testimonial."

The vice-president told the crowd that the free enterprise system was in not danger:

"All you have to do is enter one of the swap tents at this jamboree.  Before I got out, a fellow from Texas had trade me out of my fountain pen.  I got a dried rattlesnake skin."

Sunday morning the scouts attended individual denominational services.  More than 100 California and Hawaiian youths took part in Buddhist rites.


Scouts Aided by Note, Dirt
President Sends Letter to Swap; Soil Brought From Truman Farm
Put Jamboree in Full Swing
Nation's Boy Scouts
Jamboree City, Calif.  President Eisenhower took a hand Monday in the swapping at the third nation Boy Scout jamboree -- a sport that keeps thousands of boys haggling and trading during most of their waking hours.

The scouts on this 3,000 acre ranch in souther California swap like the sharpest of horse traders, exchanging such items as honed toads, cow horns, scout shoulder patches and coconut piggy banks.

Two boys from Grandview, Mo., the location of Harry S. Truman's boyhood farm, turned up with a personal letter from President Eisenhower in which he told them that he wanted to give them a hand in their jamboree swapping.  For this purpose he sent them six autographed pictures of himself, and a large picture for their own room.

Plan Good Will Move

The development had something of a partisan aspect because the two boys, Noland Gillmore, 12, and his brother, Steward, 14, are among the same group of Missouri scouts who brought along dirt from Truman's farm for swapping purposes.

The boys had written to Mr. Eisenhower, telling him of a trip they took through Europe with their father, Dr. C. Steward Gillmore, and enclosed a picture taken on their trip showing their car with an "I Like Ike" sticker on the windshield.

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The boys said that as a gesture of good will, they plan to trade the phographs with foreign scouts.  There are approximately 60 of them in camp.

Wisconsin Unit Popular

Kenneth Long of Kansas City, Mo., assistant scoutmaster of their troop, said the dirt from theTruman farm also was a "very good trading item."

Dorothy Lamour and Jerry Colonna wowed the scouts at the show Monday, Bob Hope, Jeff Chandler, Danny Kay, Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Tim McCoy and Rory Calhoun were scheduled to give a show Tuesday night.

The attention of Hollywood has been attracted to the famed Racine (Wis.) drum and bugle corps and drill squad.   Arthur Gruhl, scout executive of the Racine county Boy Scout council, said he received a call from film executive Jesse Lasky, sr., who say the Racine group perform on a television show emanating from the jamboree.

Lasky will make a trip to the jamboree to watch the scout corps.

Scouts from New Richmond, Wis., brought their own swimming pool to the jamboree.  Shipping in set up, the pool was filled with 1,700 gallons of water as the scouts formed a bucket brigade.  The pool is 12 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep.

Jamboree City, Calif.  After five days of preliminaries and happy chaos, a pattern of order and purpose emerged here Friday as the third National jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America was officially opened.

It was a great day for the approximately 45, 000 scouts and their leaders in the vast ten city.  Many of the boys had scrimped and saved for months to make the long trek from east, midwest, north and south to this southern California ranch.

They have been pouring into the 3,000 acres campsite on the shores of the Pacific since last Sunday and Friday virtually every boy expected was on hand for the flag raising ceremonies that made the opening official.  The jamboree will run through July 23.

The bursting of an aerial bomb that accompanied the raising of the huge American flag at general headquarters started the boys on their programs of scoutcraft and plan, including unit demonstrations of scouting skills, field sports, archery, angling, rifle practice, swapping, ocean swimming and hiking.

Paul Hoffman Talks

At near-by Los Angeles, Paul G. Hoffman told the national Boy Scout council Thursday night that "there is nothing harder to gain and hold - nothing more easily lost - than freedom."

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The board chairman of Studebaker Corp. said that "tomorrow belongs to our young people.  If it is to be a good and decent tomorrow, more and more of our boys and young men must become conscious of the great concepts which brought this free nation of our and other free nations into being."

Declaring that America is a nation of joiners, Hoffman said that "we have learned how to co-operate ... No other country finds its citizens co-operate with each other on such a scale.  Certainly not the Communist countries, whose unhappy people are forced into line with the lash."

Hoffman, former ECA administrator, cited the Boy Scouts as a wonderful example of a volunteer organization, adding that "first and last, and most importantly, it (scouting) equips boys to be good Americans."

Membership at Record

Addressing some 1,500 scout leaders, Hoffman said:  "For your work, no one can offer you a reward greater than you already have - the joy of doing it. ... As an American citizen, I am deeply grateful to you."

Dr. Arthur A. Schuck, chief scout executive, reported that the scouts had a record active membership of 3,183,266 boys and adult leaders.

John M. Schiff, Oyster Boy (N. Y.) banker, was re-elected Thursday to his third one year term as president of the scout council.

The council elected resident Eisenhower as honorary national president of the scouts and elected Harry S. Truman and Herbert Hoover as honorary vice-presidents.


Movie Stars Charm Scouts
Appear at Jamboree
Scout Parley Comes to End
Youths Plan Pageant
Scouts Begin Mass Exodus
21,000 Head Home

Bob Hope, one of half a dozen film stars on hand to entertain the 45,000 scouts, engaged in necktie horseplay.

Jamboree City, Calif.  Boy Scouts Tuesday night enjoyed a big Hollywood show that brought them Bob Hope and a full line-up of film talent.

As master of ceremonies, Hope set the pace for the fun night of the third national Boy Scout jamboree in a big outdoor arena on this southern California ranch.  When he looked out over the 45,000 scouts and leaders, including 66 scouts from 23 foreign lands, he quipped:  "This is the United Nations in short pants."

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"Loves" the Scouts

The hillside jammed with boys in regulation jamboree short pants, roared and Hope continued:  "I love the Boy Scouts.  but I just wish they wouldn't help me across the street.  I was a Boy Scout myself once, but I didn't like the short pants.  the boys kept rubbing my knees together to start fires."

Jane Powell, accompanied by a marine corps band, sang "The Star Spangled Banner."  Debbie Reynolds, favorite of the teen agers, sang a couple of songs, joked with the boys and responded to their whistles with:  "Sounds like the world patrol."

Stars Hungry, Too

Other stars at the show included Danny Kaye, Dick Powell, Preston Foster, George Montgomery, Vera Ellen and Rory Calhoun.

Jamboree officials estimated that, counting visitors and scout leaders, approximately 1000,000 attended the show.

Before the event some of the Holly celebrities took a look over the 3,000 acres of the jamboree site.

Foster was wandering around the jamboree when boys from Wausau, Wis., spotted him and invited him to join in a camp mean with jamboree troop 20.  He accepted.

Miss Reynolds accepted an invitation to a cam supper of hamburger with scouts from Alaska.  When patrol cool Don Leege, 14, of Anchorage, ran into a little difficulty, Debbie stepped in and did the cooking.

Jamboree City, Calif.  Some 45,000 sun burned and dusty Boy Scouts reached the end of their third national jamboree Thursday.

Friday the scouts, from the 48 states and 15 foreign countries, begin breaking camp a task expected to take four days.

Eighty special trains and 91 buses will carry the scouts back to their homes, together with owls, toads, alligators, pigs, birch trees, totem poles and other mementos of the jamboree.

Among prominent personalities who visited the scout encampment Wednesday were Arizona's Gov. Howard Pyle, Mitzi Gaynor, Irene Dunne, Jimmy Stewart, Bill Holden and Andy Devine.

Final activities Thursday included shows staring Bob Crosby and the Sons of the Pioneers.  The jamboree's climax comes in the evening with the scouts themselves staging a pageant called "Scouting's train to the future," the story of the jamboree on this vast California ranch.

Before the pageant, scouts will mark another final event - a $22,032 stead dinner.

The meal, according to O. B. Evenson, chief commissary officer for the jamboree, should empty the storage depots of the $750,000 worth of food he started with a week ago.

While the scouts prepared all meals themselves, that task of getting it to them each day was far from simple, but was accomplished without a hitch.

Jamboree City, Calif.  A mass exodus of more than 21,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders began Friday from the third national scout jamboree on this vast California ranch.

The encampment ended officially Thursday night with a pageant in which 8,000 took part.  Scouts demonstrated skills in various fields, and a prologue told that story of this old Spanish grant area.

the sprawling city of 30,000 tents began to disappear Friday as scouts packed and boarded 688 buses, which took them to special trains at four near-by temporary terminals.  Others will return home by special bus and car.

Good Turn - Bad Odor

Two Ohio scouts Thursday did a good turn for an Appleton (Wis.) youth, but wound up in extremely bad odor.

the two hunted diligently for the pet skunk which Nick Baldwin brought with him, found an animal and returned it to sectional headquarters.

It was the wrong skunk.

The two Ohioans spent long periods in the shower and Stinky, Baldwin's deodorized pet, was still at large.

Another Appleton scout, Garry Krieck, 14, expressed satisfaction with the jamboree.

Asks for Chlorophyll

"I learned a lot of things." he said Thursday, "and I think attending the shows in the arena at night was just about the most fun."  Movie and radio stars appeared.

A 17 year old Plymouth (Wis.) scout, who wired his parents to send "Chlorophyll," received it Friday by air express from Dr. and Mrs. Walter Johnson.  When Millard opened the box, out stepped Chlorophyll, his deodorized pet skunk.