Purdue University Libraries Purdue Logo Purdue Libraries
 Hours  |   My Account  |   Ask a Librarian Get Help Give to the Libraries

From the Archives: The Tuba Player

September 10th, 2017

It’s football season, which means it’s band season. The “All-American” Marching Band has been a Purdue tradition since the 1880s and has seen thousands of proud Boilermakers join its ranks. This young member of the band went on to become one of Purdue’s most recognizable graduates, but can you identify him before he was famous? Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the full story!


Our mystery tuba player is Purdue class of 1928 graduate Orville Redenbacher, best known for revolutionizing the popcorn industry.  Redenbacher was a very active student, part of Alpha Gamma Rho, Agricultural Society, Agricultural Editor Society, Press Club, Band, Union Work, Class Track, Class Cross Country, Debris Yearbook Editor, and Exponent Editor.

Redenbacher didn’t slow down after graduation.  He worked in various agriculture-related positions across the state of Indiana until 1951, when he turned his full focus to the perfect popping corn.  Orville Redenbacher Popcorn launched in 1970 with its namesake front and center in all advertising.  The Purdue grad has been a recognizable face ever since!

Purdue Archives and Special Collections houses Redenbacher’s papers, including a selection of his personalized bow ties, donated by his grandson Kevin Fish.

Please join us again on September 25 for our next From the Archives post.

19 Responses to “From the Archives: The Tuba Player”

  1. Sean L McLane

    He marched before he took a giant leap for mankind.

    Neil Armstrong

  2. Andy Robison

    Orville Redenbacher, class of 1928

  3. Patrick Whalen

    Orville Redenbacher

  4. Tom Hession

    That looks like Orville Redenbacher to me. It’s the glasses!

  5. Lisa Holeman

    It’s Orville Redenbacher! My husband works there and we have the same picture!

  6. Sean L McLane

    I was doubtful about my answer, because of the glasses, but not that I’ve seen other responses, I can see that is Redenbacher’s face there.

  7. Ron

    Spots Emerick

  8. Scott Iverson

    John Wooden…the Wizard himself!

  9. Edwina McConnell

    My first thought & I believe it’s Orville Redenbacher! “Indiana Popcorn King”

  10. Kelly Cerny

    That’s Orville Redenbacher!!

  11. Blaire Westall

    Orville Redenbacher

  12. Judy Shorter

    Orville Redenbacher! He married my mother’s 1st cousin. I’ve seen this picture several times.

  13. Lindsay Haugland

    It looks like the king of popcorn himself: Orville Redenbocker.

  14. Debbie Rishel

    Orville Redenbacher. It’s the glasses.

  15. Jim Russell

    Proud to share a birthday with this legendary Boilermaker, Orville Redenbacher.

  16. Sharon Morphew

    That would be Orville Redenbacher! Boiler Up for his yummy popcorn!

  17. Annette Benson

    Definitely Orville Redenbacher!

  18. Bill Rowe

    In this photo Orville is playing an Eb helicon. It is in the tuba family but was the forerunner to the sousaphone. The helicon was developed in the late 1840s and used by cavalry units from the 1860s forward. J.W. Pepper developed the sousaphone for John Philip Sousa in 1893. It is interesting that Orville was playing a helicon at Purdue 35 years after the development of the sousaphone.

  19. Kyle Landis

    “Redenbacher, Tommy! Redenbacher!”

Leave a Reply