Bears Release Historic Footage From 1925 Thanksgiving Day Game Found In Fans' Storage

The video features the only known footage of George S. Halas as a player

WBBM Newsradio Staff
December 12, 2019 - 7:52 am
16mm Projector

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- I guess you will never know what you are going to find in storage...

The Chicago Bears released Thursday newly found footage from 1925.

The video footage is from the 1925 Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Chicago Cardinals at Cubs Field (now Wrigley Field), including the only known video of George S. Halas as a player.

The three-and-a-half minutes of silent video also features Red Grange’s first-ever NFL game, which drew 39,000 fans.

According to the Bears, the footage was recently discovered by the McKearnan family. After their father, Robert, passed away in 1997, Patrick, Paul, and Mike McKearnan began the process of sorting the things their father had left behind. Among them, there was a beat-up, wooden box that contained an assortment of small film reels. The brothers found the proper device to play the film, a 16mm projector, and started to watch the collection of films and eventually came upon something truly special.

"I think we knew we had something special, but we didn't know what at the time," Mike McKearnan told the Bears. "We weren't positive of the time frame, what game it was, who was playing. You couldn't really tell from the uniforms ‘cause it's pretty hard to see, but we knew we had something old and something special."

Two decades later, the borthers decided to convert the decaying film into something more accessible and durable. And according to the Bears, by then, the brothers thought they recognized one of the faces on the screen. If they were right, they knew who might be interested in that old film reel.

"We thought, you know what?" Paul McKearnan told the Bears. "This footage really belongs with the Bears."

Once the Bears organization was able to watch the old footage, they let the McKearnan brothers know what they really found, a truly historic game.

“The first time I saw it, I couldn't believe what I was seeing,” said Bears Vice President Brian McCaskey, in a statement. “I felt like, wow, this is the Holy Grail of historical footage in terms of what it means to the Bears. We are so thankful to the McKearnan family for sharing it with us.”

You can watch the video footage on the Chicago Bears website.