Plainfield Teacher's College

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Plainfield Teacher's College was an imaginary college, created as a hoax, that fooled the New York Times sports department and college football fans across the country.

In 1941, stockbroker Morris Newburger and radio announcer Alexander "Bink" Dannenbaum concocted the idea of a mythical college football team. Using the name Jerry Croyden, Newburger phoned the New York papers and Dannenbaum phoned the Philadelphia papers with fantastic stories of Plainfield's lopsided victories over several (equally nonexistent) schools. For the first two weeks, the scores and the opponents in the New York and Philadelphia papers did not match but by the third week, they were better organized. When the newspapers started printing the scores week after week, Newburger and Dannenbaum invented other details, including a sophomore running back named Johnny "The Celestial Comet" Chung, whose amazing ability on the gridiron was chalked up to the rice he ate on the bench between quarters. Hop-Along Hobelitz was named as Plainfield's coach.

After six weeks of Plainfield victories (raising speculation that the team might secure a bid to a small-college bowl game), Red Smith from the Philadelphia Record (who by this time was also reporting the fake scores) decided to actually go to Plainfield, New Jersey to try to find the college. Of course, there wasn't one. (At the time, New Jersey's teacher colleges were in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Montclair, Glassboro and Trenton -- none of them fielding football teams as the student bodies were largely female.)

Finally, Newburger and Dannenbaum had to confess, and "Jerry Croyden" wrote his final press release, stating that Plainfield had cancelled its remaining schedule as Chung and several other players were declared ineligible after flunking exams. The Tribune took it in good humor, reporting the hoax; columnist Franklin Pierce Adams even wrote a song for Plainfield, to the tune of Cornell's "Far Above Cayuga's Waters": "Far above New Jersey's swamplands / Plainfield Teacher's spires! / Mark a phony, ghostly college / That got on the wires...!"

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