Fridays with Fred: a slew of pics on April Fools’ Eve-Eve

A look at historical humor in pictures.

According to the calendar, today is April Fools’ Eve-Eve. What better time, then, for sharing some of the silliest, most foolish photographs found in the Beloit College Archives? Intentionally funny or not? You decide.

Now coming to the Beloit College Field House: Attack of the Killer Basketballs, starring Lou Proctor. A 1952 gem by soon-to-be-famous photographer, Ray Metzker ’53.

Is Must You Conform a gentle treatise meant to ease the minds of this 1950s generation? Or a call to proto-Beatnik arms?

“Professors” K.C. Johnson and Todd Hansen turn the tables on their “students,” Tom McBride, Larry White, Bob Hodge, John Rosenwald, and Clint McCown. Or is it the other way around? From the 1989 Gold.

Beloit College has had its share of mad scientists, including this furtive-looking student lurking in a cobwebby laboratory somewhere in the depths of Pearsons Hall of Science. His partially scorched copy of Weird Tales dates from November 1949. Photo by Bob Miller ’50.

Beloit’s first invasion of natives from the planet Remulak occurred at the Homecoming football game in October 1982. After their spaceship landed on the 50-yard line, the aliens, forever known as Coneheads, annoyed those assembled by drinking up all of the beer and then raucously cheering for the opposing team.

Another alien invasion or simple Campus Carnival fun? The cryptic typed label pasted on the back of this photograph from the 1950’s refuses to let on: “Two pretty Beloit coeds are shown posting a sign advertising the event.”

Minds numbed by Beloit Plan-era curricular confusion and possibly by some other substances, Beloit students enjoy a TV show entitled Whiteout, circa 1974.

Students gobble down some “eats” in one of their rented rooms, circa 1898.A sign to the right advertises one of the college’s famous annual productions of Greek plays.Mrs. William Johns donated the photograph in 1951 and wrote on the back: “My mother would carefully explain that the jugs and bottle had only been brought in as stage props, and really contained molasses and catsup.She would also remark delightedly on the dust which the boys had ‘forgotten’ to wipe off.”

This tableau might be entitled, “Still Life with Fig Leaf.”Three friends gather for a chat in the Wright Museum of Art, in the early 1950’s.Photograph by Ray Metzker.

Members of the Class of 1887 commemorate their top hats in a pose at an unidentified photography studio. One of the hats, owned by classmate Amos Van Tassel, resides in the College Archives, perched on top of a marble bust depicting Professor William Porter. He doesn’t mind. On cold days it keeps his head warm.

March 29, 2012

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