Dorm History

Ron Michener '71:

Since my wife is off at a scrapbooking convention, I'll share a few more random moments. Memory is a strange thing, and what I remember best are bits of pure trivia.

Someone's parents sent them back to school with a big color TV. Since this was 1968, color TVs were expensive, and few college students had one. This one was set up in the lounge area of the third floor of 290, and people gathered there to watch television. The shows that drew the biggest crowds, as best I recall, were The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Laugh-In, and Star Trek, then in first run.

There is minor tale involving one episode of Star Trek: Bread and Circuses. The evening it was first broadcast I was part of a group of 20 - 25 people crowded into the lounge watching it. The plot is that the Enterprise discovers a planet on which the Roman empire never fell, and the "Romans" now have 20th century technology. At one point in the episode, the narrator (Kirk?) is explaining all this, as various scenes on the "20th century Rome" planet are displayed. Lo and behold, a panorama of MIT's Great Court splashed up on the screen. There was an explosion of laughter, the like of which I have seldom heard.

There were one or two hall phones that handled most of the incoming and outgoing phone calls. Brian O'Connell, when we first moved in, thought it was good fun to answer the phone with greetings along the lines of "Headquarters, Sexual Revolution. General Copulation speaking. What good is sexual revolution without general copulation? May I help you?" Since this was the phone most of our parents were calling on, there was some sentiment that Brian ought to knock it off. Someone got the idea of faking a phone call. When Brian was near the phone a call was placed to it, which Brian answered very much as we expected. "This is Dean Wadleigh (Dean of Students) calling for Jim Couglan. WHO ARE YOU!" a gravelly voice demanded. Chastened, Brian's phone etiquette improved.

Yours,
Ron Michener


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