This week’s Mascot Monday sees us going Hollywood! You know, in all of the years I’ve done this little mascot post, I’ve never hit the big time cities and the college mascots that dwell within them. Welp, I’m starting something new by focusing on the University of California Los Angeles’ Joe and Josephine Bruin. Okay so he’s not explicitly Hollywood, but he does have a weirdo kind of relationship with his female counterpart Josephene. We’ll learn about that among some other tasty historical items for this week’s trip down mascot lane. Get your cheap sunglasses ready and try to avoid TMZ. Here we go.
UCLA at first was the southern branch of the University of California in 1919, but has since grown to be just a little more independent. The school that sports a heavy influence in olympic athletes also sports a fairly decent football team. Fortunately for the football team, the school decided to have its first season with the school’s inception in 1919. They’ve won their fair share of Rose Bowls and had a share of a national championship in 1954. That’s great and all but how did UCLA become the Bruins?
Since they were the ‘southern branch’ of California, they adopted the name of ‘Cubs’ to start out, seeing as cubs are baby versions of bears. That grew tiresome quick and in 1924 coach Jimmie Cline dubbed the team ‘Grizzlies.’ The name stuck around for a couple of years but it had to change in 1928. Montana was a member of the same conference as UCLA at the time and they were known as the ‘Grizzlies’ as well. So the school changed the name to Bruins and it has stuck ever since.
Okay, so what about the mascot? Again at first there was a live counterpart to the costumed version we see today. In the 1930s the students wanted a mascot and they got it in the form of a live bear. The bears became hard to manage so the Coliseum banned them. Left without a mascot, it took until the 1950s for a mascot to appear again, this time as a baby bear cub. Yup, he grew too big and he was gone. Next up was Josephine in 1961 but she grew too large too and moved to the San Diego Zoo. Later on in the decade we saw the advent of the costumed Joe and later on Joesphine.
So how do these tykes stack up? They are pretty vanilla actually. Joe’s got the uniform from head to toe and then furry browness on the limbs. The head is again massive and non threatening. Josephine is the same way except it’s a cheerleader outfit and the bow on one ear. All in all, very clean and straightforward. Nothing really stands out. Or perhaps it’s a clever ruse? According to this article, the two seemed to be estranged. I wonder if life as a mascot couple have caught up to them? Let’s hope whatever differences they have can be reconciled.
There’s no reconciliation with my take on Joe and Josephine Bruin. It’s no Hollywood story like I hoped, although there may be some Jerry Springer in there for the future. Joe did notch a couple of Capital One Mascot of the Year nominations. Maybe Josephine is jealous? Who knows, let’s just hope it doesn’t end in murder. In the meantime I’m gonna kill of this week’s Mascot Monday because I have nothing left. Please don’t tell the cops.