Duane Swanson’s life unfolded like a 1930’s Hollywood movie:  an obscure small town athlete hitch hikes  across the country  only to  rejected by a a famous coach,  but then he is discovered by a movie star and ends up playing basketball for the United States in the Olympics. It all happened.

In January of 1934, Swanson was playing freshman basketball at the University of Iowa when he and friend , Bud Froning, dropped out of school and hitch-hiked across the county to Los Angeles  with the intention of enrolling at the University of Southern California. By the time they arrived in California, a firestorm had broken out in the press. Iowa coach Rollie Williams had accused famed USC head coach Sam Barry of luring the young athletes to California.  Barry vehemently denied the accusation and  stated he would not allow either one to play basketball at the university. Instead, Swanson and Froning signed to play basketball for the rest of the season for the Columbia Studios team. In the fall of 1934, Swanson signed to play on a team sponsored by Joe E. Brown, a well-known film comedian. In  April of 1935, Swanson embarked on a 15-game tour of Japan with an AAU All-Star team. For the 1935-36 season, Swanson signed to play for the Universal Studios team. Led by 6’5″ former UCLA star Frank Lubin, Universal finished second in the National AAU tournament and first in the Olympic Trials to win the right to represent  the  United States in the Berlin Olympics. After six years playing for Hollywood  studio teams, Swanson returned to the Midwest in January of 1940 and played the rest of the season with Sheboygan in the National Basketball League. At the end of the season, Swanson retired from basketball. He returned to California where  worked in the entertainment industry for the next twenty-five  years.



DUANE SWANSON Height: 6:01 Weight: 185 College:  Illinois Wesleyan’32/Iowa (Frosh)’34
Duane Alexander Swanson Born: Aug 23, 1913 Died:  Sep 132, 2000 Hometown: DeKalb, Il.
1936 US Olympic Basketball Team REGULAR SEASON RECORD
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM   FTA  PCT.  AST  PTS   AVG
1933-34 Columbia Studios Indep
1934-35 Joe E. BrownAll-Stars Indep
1935-36 Universal Studios Indep
1936-37 Universal Studios Indep
1937-38 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Indep
1938-39 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Indep
1939-40 Sheboygan NBL 11 4 5 13 1.2
Major League Totals 11 4 5 13 1.2
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM   FTA  PCT.  AST  PTS   AVG
1939-40 Sheboygan NBL 1 0 1 1 1.0
1939-40 Sheboygan WBT 1 1 0 0 .000 2 2.0
Major League Totals 2 1 1 0 .000 3 1.5
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