The Harvard area was plunged into darkness at 10:55 p.m. Saturday as the result of a blackout which struck Cambridge and neighboring Belmont for one hour and 19 minutes.
Mal F. Holman, project engineer for the Cambridge Electric company, said yesterday the power failure was caused by a short circuit at the company's Prospect St. substation.
Most Harvard students took the blackout in strike, many continuing parties only momentarily interrupted by the dousing of the lights. a well-attended South House disco party survived with emergency lights and the music of a trombone and an out-of-tune piano.
Other students was the blackout as an excuse to stop studying. "I was writing my twelve-page term paper. It was a blessing in disguise," Rick D. Molina '82 said yesterday.
Aldo A. Badini '80 and Scott H. Mittman '79, who were riding the Leverett House G-tower elevator when the power went out, found the blackout a rather disconcerting experience. While Badini and Mittman succeeded in prying open the inner doors of the elevator, Benjamin A. Berman '79 unsuccessfully tried to open its outer doors. The two were caught in the elevator until the power resumed.
A large snowball fight, involving both freshmen and upperclassmen, erupted in Harvard Yard. Jim W. Blake '82 claimed the battle started when his roommate Stephen D. Flack '82 stunned him with a snowball on the steps of Straus Hall at approximately 9:45 p.m.
The fracas spread to Weld Hall, Holworthy Hall, and other dorms, reaching epic proportions after the blackout, when freshmen emptied from their rooms. Harvard police who attempted to stop the fight were driven back by a shower of snowballs from both sides. The fight ended when the irate freshmen drove the outnumbered upperclassmen from the Yard.
Several dramatic productions were interrupted or cancelled by the blackout. "Not Necessarily In That Order," at Adams House, continued when director Andrew S. Borowitz '80 beamed a flashlight on the stage from the back of the hall. David S. Brown '79, one of the actors in the musical, said yesterday, "It was the best audience we had. They seemed to enjoy it less after the lights went on."
Some students so enjoyed the blackout that they forgot to switch the lights back on after the power returned at 12:14 a.m. "We're backward," said Loree L. Farrar '81, explaining why a group in North Houses's Holmes Living Room continued to sing carols by firelight.
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