Friday Afternoon Follies

Total mayhem, 1960. You need to click on these to really see what’s going on.

What’s coming from up there?


Someone’s on the roof.

The  empire strikes back.


These pictures came in the mail last week but the sender refuses to answer any questions, citing the long statute of limitations on goofiness. If anyone else would like to testify about this bizarre sequence of events, though, please let me know.  I can’t claim to really understand what this is all about.

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17 Responses to Friday Afternoon Follies

  1. C Kelly says:

    These old-timers get excellent marks for enthusiasm, but average ones for ingenuity. (They must have been ‘academes.’) In my day (just a few years later than these pictures), we used 2-by-4s as supports for the surgical tubing – thereby creating a real big, accurate sling-shot. We also shot ‘mystery meat’ & ‘hockey pucks’ at Will Rice. I’m sure there’s still some crust on the upper windows that were hard to wash. Furthermore, some of my confreres would get their baseball gloves & try to catch water balloons shot back at us in Lovett College. Of course, the balloons broke on contact, but we counted lots of coup if someone made a good catch. Oh, those were the days.

  2. Hanszenite says:

    This is taking place at Hanszen and the college system would have been in place by 1960. As such, there might be something in Hanszen’s own archives about this. We’re placing an emphasis next year about getting back to our history and we’ve been doing a lot of digging…

    • Richard Miller says:

      During my years, the Hanszen/Weiss baloon wars reach a climax in the fall of 1972. (The first year that Dr. Stephan Baker was master). Up until then, the practice was to add up the damager from broken windows and the like and pay out of the college funds. That fall a certain person (again naming no names) started using frozen ballons and one memorable night (after Dr. Baker had mentioned things were getting a bit out of control) he showed up at dinner annoucing he had just broken 10-2o windows. I think the colleges put halt to it when the clay tiles on Weiss started getting broken to the tune of around $1,000 – $2,000 which was serious money in those days

      If you are digging, look to see if there are any records still around of the graffiti left when old Hanszen was renovated and it was announced that the women were going to get the tower the next year. This did not go over well since the tower was conidered to be the premium space @ Hanszen and there was a bunch of resentment over the ‘newcomers’ getting the ‘best space’ . When the residents vacated in the spring, they started the demolition process as well as decorating the walls with ‘well wishes’ to the new residents. I think this would be around 1975 since that was the summer the commons burned (with all of the stored furniture)

  3. Joseph Lockett ('91) says:

    By later times, I believe, these home-built catapults were known as “gazilchers” (that may be a phonetic spelling) and eventually were suppressed by the administration after they began causing property damage. Evidently the ammunition graduated from eggs and citrus fruit to chunks of peanut butter and even, in one disturbing bit of creativity, liquid-nitrogen-frozen lab mice which shattered on impact. Students more endowed with energy than forethought punched a few holes in residential college walls — and, in one case, an athletic team pulling surgical tubing attached to some goalposts evidently managed to loft a golf ball through an upper-floor office window in the Medical Center….

    I can’t claim to have witnessed any of the above in person; it comes from conversations with older alumni, so I recommend at least a few grains of salt.

  4. Lisa Childs says:

    Gazilchers were still prevalent when I was there. Weiss ’87. (1st class of co-eds at Weiss.) Those sure look like gazilchers to me.

  5. Gloria Meckel Tarpley '81 says:

    Yes, those were what we called gazilchers — they were most often used to launch projectiles among what are now known as the South Colleges, and the gazilcher wars often went on late into the night (along with the yelling wars). One choice object for flight was an individual sized carton of Dannon Yogurt (probably 6-8 ounces, I’d guess?) from the commons — they were a popular choice at breakfast and lunch at that time. I was at Rice from ’77 to ’81, and the gazilcher wars were alive and well, and it now appears they had begun at least as early as 1960. Those were the days, indeed….. None of that went on in my own college, Brown, which was all-female at the time — although I’m sure there must have been some thought about taking on Jones (also all girls at the time) in a gazilcher battle. We had other raids, instead…….

  6. John "Grungy" Gladu says:


    Some balloons were less pleasant – urine, butyric acid, etc.

  7. Bill Free WRC '65 says:

    Yes, this definitely is Hanszen at their “finest.” However, while I lived on campus ’61-63
    the Hanszen “gentlemen” rarely won a gazilcher battle with Will Rice men (only males need {permanently} reside therein at that time.) We even caused a few abandonments of the Hanszen tower water balloonists by our superb marksmanship from the ground below. High grade hospital tubing was often purloinable from across the boulevard. Even my wife, who did not attend Rice, knew what these pictures depicted. Springtime and campus minds turned to fancy, and it was too far to trek to Jones for entertainment on a study break…yes, those were the days of “cloistering” of the TRGs.

    • Richard Miller says:

      By my time, I think very rarely did Hanzen and Will Rice go at it. Hanzen primarily battled Weiss. By that point both Lovett and Sid Richardson were
      the foes of Will Rice. I remember seeing some very spirited battles between Will Rice and Sid Rich (thing about the height advantage) and I believe Lovett
      and Will Rice also had some epic battles.

  8. Melissa Kean says:

    This doesn’t still go on, does it?

    • Hanszenite says:

      Unfortunately not (we ironically just had a joint tailgate with Will Rice last weekend). But all of this talk has this Hanszenite wanting to bring this back (we’re bringing back the Gentlemen’s Dinners) so I’m sure you’ll hear about it if it does come back…

      • Richard Miller says:


        Those were ending by my time. My freshman year we still had Sunday tie rule. I do recall one memorable sunday when two Hanzenites showed up in their ties (only) arguing that there was nothing in the dress code that mandated they had to have any other clothing.

    • CW McCullagh says:

      If I recall, possession of one in the early 2000s was a rusticatable offense. That said, my roommate had one (no doubt inspired by his dad’s 1970s Hanszen antics) and we often snuck on the roof of the Will Rice commons to launch week-old oranges at Lovett during Willy Week (sometimes accidentally clearing Lovett all together and flying well into the Allen Center parking lot)

  9. This tradition continued well into the late 90’s in clandestine/secret society fashion. AS I SEEM TO RECALL……….there were a couple of underclassmen in the late 90’s that used to load up on ammunition from the Commons at Jones, sneak onto the roof of Jones South, and ‘gazilch’ (NOUN trans. VERB) food rounds at the unsuspecting Brown proletarians. On one such occasion, a fifth floor window at Brown imploded from a extremely “aged”, rock-hard bagel that was standard fare. I’m not sure if the end result or the quality of Rice food was more shocking.

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