Back in January 1960, the craze that swept college campuses was creating massive icicles. And students at MIT took top honors by creating a four-story icicle down the side of Baker House. In fact, they declared it to be the largest man-made icicle ever created.
As reported in an Associated Press story about it from Jan 1960:
"They tied an ice cube to a string and lowered it from their window. Then a trickle of water was siphoned from a barrel down the string. By using colored water at times, they got a red, white and blue icicle, which at one point is about 14 inches wide."
The icicle only existed for a few days before it was destroyed, for safety reasons, by the campus authorities.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any color photographs of it, but these are some news photos of it I found. There's a brief article about it at the MIT Museum.
"Top campus style for both boys and girls this fall is reported to be charcoal gray flannel Bermuda shorts, pink man-tailored shirts, knee socks either in matching gray or a contrasting color, and the short storm coat originally designed for men, now adopted by girls.
Universal choice in shoes to go with this outfit is the loafer or moccasin, for both boys and girls.
So far the only deviation in this look-alike fad is that girls prefer their knee socks in vivid colors or Argyle patterns, while men stick to dark socks to match their sweaters, which may be bright red, green or any of a range of pastels now offered by alert manufacturers.
The dress-alike craze, of course, holds good only for casual daytime occasions. For dances and dates the girls go back to their petticoats and high hells, earrings and perfume, and look as feminine as any old-fashioned beau could desire."
~The Free Lance-Star — Aug 14, 1954
The "peg-leg" was a brief dance craze back in 1953. To do the peg leg, a man simply wore a wooden leg over his right leg as he danced with his partner. The dance was imported from the Dominican Republic where, so the story goes, a sailor with a wooden leg once was so seized by the rhythm of the merengue that "he stood up and took part in the dancing. The people loudly applauded and imitated the clumsy and awkward dancing of the seaman. This way a new dance came into existence." [Montreal Gazette, May 1953]
Whatever happened to long-distance bed pushing? It was a craze that swept across colleges in 1961. Time magazine (Feb. 24, 1961) reported on it:
The latest caper in Canadian colleges is bed pushing. Born at the University of Rhodesia, and perfected—as was last year's college craze, phone-booth stacking —at South Africa's University of Natal, it spread over some sort of Commonwealth bush telegraph. Last week Canadian college students from Nova Scotia to British Columbia were indefatigably mounting beds on wheels and pushing them over highways, prairies and frozen lakes. The current world's record of 1,000 continuous miles is claimed by a team from Ontario's Queens University, which kept its Simmons rolling day and night for a week.
I found reports of students continuing to push beds long distances as late as 1979 when a new world record was set (1,980 miles by students from Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College who pushed a bed in laps around a shopping center). But then the fad seemed to fade away. At least, I haven't been able to find reports of more recent updates to the record.
The picture below shows students from Ontario Western University pushing a bed along a highway back in 1961.
It was back in 1970 that "trucking" became all the rage. The "Youthbeat" column in the Winnipeg Free Press (Oct 19, 1970) attempted to explain what the phenomenon was all about, and how it originated:
"Trucking," the expression for an exaggerated let-it-all-hang-out style of walking, is catching on.
The walk, which emphasizes a long forward step with the body tilted backward and the arms flapping in a Jackie Gleason and-away-we-go style, represent something similar to the Negro spirituals' "we shall overcome."
The walk says: "regardless how much we may be put down, we'll keep on trucking."
The expression originates in a blues song played by Duke Ellington in the 1930s. The lyrics say, "keep on trucking, truck your troubles away."
Kids say trucking around in school halls and outside makes you forget about frustrating classes.
The movement was popularized by the underground press. A cartoon strip which I believe originated in the Los Angeles Free Press and was printed locally about a year or so ago showed a grotesque person "trucking."
The cartoon the writer was referring to is, I believe, this one by R. Crumb:
1952 was the year that the panty raid craze hit campuses across America. One of the primary goals of the raids was to cause chaos and commotion (and grab panties, of course), but a few students at the University of Idaho decided to use the raids to achieve a greater social good. They conducted a "reverse" panty-raid. This involved showing up, "whoopin' and hollerin," in the middle of the night at a female dormitory, and then they auctioned off panties to the girls, instead of stealing panties from them. They donated all the proceeds of the auction to the Crippled Children's Fund. It was a nice gesture, but the slogan they chose for the event, "I'd Give My Panties for a Crippled Kid," probably wouldn't pass muster with the guardians of political correctness on campuses today.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.