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2013 Centennial

When Alpha Kappa Delta created "Hasty Pudding"

Each year, all Greek groups and the Independent Club staged a variety show sponsored by the Lettermen's Club. "Campus Capers" had been a tradition for years.

The show consisted of three extended acts, loosely based on a Hollywood movie such as "Brigadoon." Each of the three sororities teamed with the Alpha Kappa Delta fraternity, the Mu Sigma Tau fraternity and the Independent Club. The pairing changed each year.

Campus Capers was well received, and a trophy was awarded to the winning team for each member's trophy case. The Lettermen Club used ticket revenue to purchase sweaters, jackets and blankets awarded to second, third, and fourth year letter winners.

In 1955, the organized system went awry. The preceding fall, the Lettermen Club made a bold and rather unwise act. It decided to ignore tradition and nominate an attractive, vivacious transfer co-ed for Homecoming Queen. It had long been the practice and understanding that only the three sororities and the Independent Club could nominate queen candidates.

There were loud objections to this change. As Homecoming chair that year, I could find nothing in the rules and regulations that would nullify the Lettermen Club's actions.

The election was held as scheduled, and the transfer co-ed won big. In fact, too big. There were more ballots than voters. I nullified the election and set a date for a re-election. Some students sent a formal letter objecting to my decision, insisting that I had no such authority. I took the matter to the Student Association who ratified my decision, but also ordered me to tighten balloting procedures.

The sororities devised a "secret" plan to vote for the second place runner up of the first election. Vedell Alma, Sigma Sigma Sigma, was chosen Homecoming Queen. Things went back to normal, but the Lettermen Club malfeasance was not forgotten.

Planning for Campus Capers began after Christmas vacation. If a group was awarded first act for three consecutive years, the trophy was permanently theirs, and the Lettermen Club purchased a new one. The Alpha Kappa Delta had two permanent trophies, and they hoped for a win that year, which would result in another permanent trophy.

Normally, the Lettermen Club sent out a notice of the date and a suggested pairings list, but none arrived. The Alpha Kappa Deltas were "scheduled" to pair with the Beta Theta Sorority, but when we contacted them, we were informed the Betas were not participating. They felt the Greek students did all the work, and the Lettermen got all the money. We got the same refusal from the other sororities.

Alpha Kappa Delta's 70 members were disappointed that a major event was going to be a no show. One member knew about an all-male-review at Harvard that was established and well received; Alpha Kappa Delta voted to perform a "Hasty Pudding" entertainment show with an all-male cast.

Two Alpha Kappa Delta members approached McFarland Auditorium managers and reserved the Campus Capers date for its variety show. We named our event Kappa Kapers and decided that ticket revenue would fund a Hubbard Range House frontier museum.

An Alpha Kappa Delta committee planned the show; Lloyd Mickelson, Kenmare, directed the event. The show's site would be a party at Sophie Tucker's palatial home, and her invited guests were to bring their special talents. The guest list included Al Jolson, W.C. Fields, Rudy Valle, Mae West, Will Rogers, Fanny Brice, Rudy Valentino, and the "all in black" silent woman who stalked Valentino throughout the show.

The evening's highlight was a bevy of new "girls," who performed in a chorus line that opened with the Charleston and finished with a can-can rendition of "a swell tuxedo girl you see" and a bouncy ta-rah-rah-boom-delay. Dancers' costumes included picture bonnets, halter-tops, flower, pleated bottoms and fluffy booties. Jack Geving provided piano accompaniment.

Individual sorority members helped with costumes and makeup, and Betas and Phis attended rehearsals. One Beta had the challenge of turning a tall, lean male into a hefty Sophie Tucker, who ended up looking more like an older Minot State faculty member than Sophie.

The fraternity had a ball, even though Mickelson was a tough "director." We were never good enough to please him. He wanted the Alpha Kappa Delta show to be good entertainment, in spite of lacking polish.

Still, the whole enterprise was fun. We played to a full house. The audience, many fellow students - even Lettermen - provided energy from the very beginning, laughed and applauded at (mostly) appropriate times. Quite a bit of dialogue was spontaneously exchanged, which added to the farce.

At show's ending, one Lettermen was heard to say, "These Alpha Kappa can fall into the stinkiest pit and come up smelling like roses."

"Kappa Kapers" did not replace Campus Capers. The following year, Campus Capers returned.

Tom Myhra '57 Lubbock, TX