I found this sequence of images in the Bill Wilson stuff we recently acquired. There are no dates or labels of any kind. I know at least one of you out there knows what’s going on here though, so if you do, please tell me. I love them, by the way, for their pure silliness:
You mad, bro?
Bonus: Front desk at Fondren. We’re doing our best.
Powderpuff, late 80s?
Definitely late 90’s – some of those folks were seniors when I matriculated in ’99. And that’s Emma Hutchinson in the second pic.
This was definitely a pig that we hand-assembled at Wiess through the winter break of 1997/1998 and into the spring. It was the brainchild and labor of love of Wiess President George Fotinos. I believe we bought industrial mylar sheeting and used duct tape to fasten the panels together in the commons over the course of many late nights. A Wiessman who shall not be named went to the Wiess Cabinet for funding to purchase hydrogen tanks to fill this pig so that, as the chant goes, “the pig will fly,” but an incredulous Dr. Bill, referencing the Hindeburg, successfully lobbied against that idea. I may be mistaken, but I think this version of the Battle Sow met her demise due to a combo of intense sun heating and a windy day, soaring away never to be seen again.
That is absolutely epic.
Bonus Spring ’98 pig info: Assembled because the prior version was irreparably damaged via a Jones College jack. And both the front and rear sections are essentially half-Buckyballs (with snout and ears tacked onto the front, and tail in the rear).
Weiss College’s “War Pig” tradition is described briefly in a 2016 Rice Magazine.
Bill Wilson gives some history of the airborne pigs in an article on page 9 of the March 26, 2004, Thresher, that centered on looking for the person who cut Wiess’ most recent lighter-than-air pig free at Beer-Bike —
… The War Pig has been a Wiess tradition for about 20 years. Wiess Resident Associate Bill Wilson said the most recent pig was preceded by a succession of three or four homemade pig balloons.
The original War Pig was built in 1986, shortly after Wiess became coed. The pig, which was made out of black garbage bags and duct tape and filled with air, was created to attend Powderpuff games. Wiessmen decided to bring the pig out for Beer-Bike that same year, Wilson said, and the pig flew for the first time.
“It got hotter as the day went on, and it lifted off the ground,” Wilson, an electrical and computer engineering professor, said. “No one had intended for it to do so, and they wanted to see what would happen, so they cut it loose. It went off across the Village, and no one ever saw it again.”
Thus began a tradition of Wiess flying pigs. However, because of the difficulty of keeping helium inside homemade balloons, the college decided to purchase a commercially made pig with capital improvement funds shortly before it moved into its new building in August 2002.
“It didn’t make sense to use (the money) on a building that was about to be torn down, so they got permission to use it for a commercial pig,” Wilson said. …
And Joe Fowler (Wiess ’94) penned a clever “Night Before Christmas, Wiess College Style” parody that appeared on page 15 of the Dec. 5, 1997, Thresher —
Twas the night before Christmas, when all throughout Wiess
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mice.
The Stockings wee hung on the buildup with care,
In hope that the War Pig soon would be there.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight owls drinking beer
With a fat, porcine driver, so amazingly big,
I knew in a moment it must be the Pig.
He was chubby and plump — a right jolly old hog —
And I laughed when I saw him, and spilled my egg nog.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He sprang to his sleigh, gave an oink to his team,
And away they all flew o’er the tennis court wing.
But I heard him exclaim, “Hanszen Sucks!” at least twice,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a TEAM WIESS!”
Seems like making balloons was a Wiess tradition. I remember folks making them with dry cleaner bags (no garbage bags in 1971).
The Weiss War Pig, as an idea, came into being in 1982, maybe 1981. I recall Jeff Zweig was involved. It took another year or so before the first actual war pig was created, a small but heavy statue made from cast iron.
The first photo is from somewhere between fall 1991 and spring 94… probably later in that range, because the Team Wiess lettering was a lot cruder in my early days. I’m almost positive that the guy in the white shirt near the War Pig’s head is Bill Fillbach, and the woman with curly red hair and dark jacket is Trisha Burton. That’s probably Amy Mellor at far right, in the Wiess sweatshirt.
Tim – the first photo is from ’97-’98 and I am 99% sure that I am the girl in the far right sitting on the bench talking with Emily Winakur and Doward Hudlow.
Oops- confirmation bias strikes! My kid is a Wiessman now, so I’ve been thinking about the place and the people… guess I saw what I thought I’d see