The Muzak droned as usual, but the pressure was on.
Louis Beer '66 mashed twelve pancakes together, spent 20 seconds kneading them into a ball, managed to wedge the spongy mass into his mouth, waited till time was up, and suddenly bolted towards the men's room. Thus ended the International House of Pancakes' Boston Area Pancake Eating Contest.
Those last twelve pancakes made all the difference, as Beer and his Radcliffe teammate, Patience Carden '66, out stuffed a team from Brandeis, 150-139, in the half-hour batter battle. Beer's personal achievement--119 pancakes consumed or inserted entirely into his mouth--set a Harvard record, but it was far short of the 248 consumed last year by John Henry, a 6 ft., 5 in, 240-pound, Boston University football tackle.
Beer and Miss Carden had been in training for a week before the contest. They ate large amounts of starches and sugar to stimulate their pancreases to produce excess insulin, which facilitates digestion. Yesterday morning they consumed nothing but coffee and tea supersaturated with sugar.
"By the time the contest began," Beer said, "we managed to manipulate our stomachs so that we really wanted pancakes." Both the Brandeis and the Harvard duos got off to last starts. Beer wadded up eight pancakes at a time and gorged them down.
But within five minutes the pace slackened. Miss Carden began to look decidedly uncomfortable. As the pauses between pancakes grew longer and longer, a group of Brandeis students started shouting, "Eat!"
But the Brandeis duo found themselves less and less able to do so. They made several trips to the rest rooms and finally just sat surfeited and watched Beer stuff in the final, decisive wad of pancakes.
Beer and Miss Carden won $25 and a Jan and Dean album for their efforts. They will also win a color television if their total is highest in the region.