Web Exclusives: On the Campus...

December 4 , 2002:

May 1, 1953

By John Angus McPhee '53

During spring vacation, Princeton musical organizations could be found all over the shallow, waist-high and deep South, also on nearby islands. After an engagement at Jimmy Ryan's, a New York firm, The Tigertown Five went to Bermuda, where they sprayed Dixieland jazz at delighted crowds in the Elbow Beach Hotel.

The Tigertones, a vocal unit, were located at the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda, while their rivals, The Nassoons, were at the Condado Beach Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, 40 of the Varsity Glee Club's 65 members were making an eight-concert tour that began in Baltimore and ended at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Va., where the National Alumni Association was holding a three-day conference. Alumni entertained the Glee Club handsomely at Hot Springs and another group did the same at Charlotte, N.C. The club, which made the trip by motorcar, also gave concerts at White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Sea Island, Ga., Ponte Vedra, Fla., Daytona Beach, Fla., and Hollins College, Roanoke, Va.


One Lump or Two?

The day is not distant when Princetonians will be referring to "The Spring Riot" as one of the University's most ingrained traditions. There seems to be a mystical connection between the deciduous trees and the undergraduates on the campus. When the former bloom, the latter explode.

The causes are different. Last year a pillow fight became a sit-down strike on Nassau Street and the mob cried "We want janitors!" The 1953 version was not so spontaneous. A group of opportunists calling themselves "The Friends of Joe Sugar" took advantage of Princeton's first blanket of warm air and incited a small furor designed to publicize the name of Joseph A. Sugar Jr. '54. Sugar is his friends' candidate for President of next year's senior class.

The riot began in the Henry-'01 court. Employing pyrotechnical novelties and bugle calls to accompany concerted cries of Sugar's name, The Friends of Joe Sugar collected a mob of about 800. With undergraduate facility, the subject of the mob's interest soon shifted from Sugar to whiskey. A march to the Nassau Tavern followed and there the cry "we want whiskey" was raised in protest against the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control's crackdown on liquor sales to minors. Ignored by the nabob of the Nass, the mob repaired to Nassau Street where it spent 15 minutes blocking traffic.

It was at this point that some persuasive oratory by Dean F. R. B. Godolphin '24 was delivered from the bumper of an automobile. Said the Dean: "Knock it off!"—and with that the Sugar-riot dissolved.

For The Friends of Joe Sugar, this was only the beginning. In the days that followed, sugar lumps marked "Joe" were given away in quantity by diligent workers for the cause; the front wall of the S.P.I.A. building was decorated with Sugar's name in whitewash; and the campaign was endorsed by a visiting singer, a Dixieland band and two proctors.

Sugar, who slept through the riot, had this to say: "The Friends of Joe Sugar know more about this than I do. They like the sound of my name. They think it's euphonious." Meanwhile, as the excitement happily disintegrated, the observation was made by a faculty member that "this business may have a positive effect on the undergraduates' customary apathy toward their class elections." But, like most of the undergraduates (and, possibly, The Friends of Joe Sugar themselves), the faculty in general did not take Sugar seriously; indeed, many of them wondered "if there really is such a character."

There is.



Theatre Intime recently presented a 30-minute motion picture (with sound) that was written and filmed by undergraduates. Based on William Goyen's "The White Rooster," the film (same title) was adapted to the screen by Charles K. Robinson '54, next year's Triangle president. The photography was done by Robert S. Macfarlane Jr. '54. Local critics gave it a mixed reception. Some liked it. Some didn't. . . . The Princeton Tiger, which annoyed the Interclub Committee during bickertime by presenting an acid guide to Prospect Street, has scored again. This time Nassau Hall is irate because a Tiger editorial claimed that the Class of 1957 will be required to sign a pledge that they won't keep liquor in their rooms. The Dean reprimanded the Tiger and assured the campus that the editorial had "no basis in fact." . . . The Intercollegiate Contract Bridge Tournament, involving more than 3,000 students representing 110 U.S. colleges and universities, was won by Harlow S. Lewis and David W. Bradley Jr., both '54.