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Flipping the T.V.'s channels on Monday afternoon, I happened to come across one of the classics, Garry Moore's "To Tell the Truth." Hey, I'm good for a few laughs.
Needless to say, I was more than a bit surprised at the announcement of the mystery guest--it was none other than the Harvard hockey team. I put down my Norton reader. The masked teams were saying hello.
"I am the real Harvard hockey team," Team A said. "I've lost four 3-2 games this season."
"I am the real Harvard hockey team," Team B said. "I got blown away, 9-1, by RPI and 9-2 by Michigan State."
"I am the real Harvard hockey team," Team C said. "I beat Northeastern, 10-2, in the opening round of the Beanpot."
Boy, this was going to be some show. I got out some paper for a little "at-home" tabulation.
"And now let's go to the panel," Garry Moore said. "First, the ever-present Bill Cullen."
The "ever-present" Mr. Cullen asked about shots-on-goal ratios, Tommy Murray's separated shoulder and how many of the team members regularly watched "The $10,000 Pyramid." A little self-indulgent, but he'd obviously done some research.
"And now to the lovely comedienne, Peggy Cass."
Blood and Guts
Peggy Cass went for the blood-and-guts-type stuff, like how many of the guys dropped their gloves first and asked questions later and who would rather take the man into the boards than score goals. Now she was really getting somewhere. Team B was contemplating the latter of the two when the buzzer sounded.
"Sorry Peggy," Moore interrupted. "And let's go now to a man who's probably played a lot of hockey himself, the indescribable Orson Bean."
Bean mumbled something about seeing a hockey game once, and then proudly stated that he'd met that great Harvard goaltender, Jim Craig himself. I put a big check next to Orson Bean's name on my list. He followed by asking about injuries, tough scheduling, and parties in Kirkland House. I made the check smaller.
"Finally, let's hear from the effervescent, the wonderful, the intriguing, Miss Kitty Carlisle."
Taking Moore's compliments with a little laugh and a lot of eye-lash waving. Miss Carlisle proceeded to talk at length about niceties of Crimson and white uniforms. The buzzer interrupted before she even asked a question.
"Now panel, take a few minutes to decide," Moore said. "Okay, time's up. Bill, what've you got."
"Well Garry, after careful consideration, and being the eternal optimist that I am--"
"Bill, can we have an answer?"
"Oh sure. Sorry Garry. I'm going with Team C." Mild applause.
"I don't think this team is tough enough to win the tough ones, so I'm going with Team A," Peggy snarled. The audience snarled too. I clutched my Norton.
"Thanks Peggy. Go ahead Orson."
Orson scratched his brow and then held his chin.
"To tell you the truth, Garry, I never really played hockey. But if I had, I probably would have played like Team B. They're my kind of guys."
"Is that your answer Orson?"
"Oh yeah, Team B."
"Good. Now on to the effervescent, the wonderful, the intriguing. Miss Kitty Carlisle. Kitty?"
"Well Garry, I don't know anything about hockey and to tell you the truth, I don't really care. I'm disqualifying myself. What happened to the little boy who got bitten by the bat?"
I checked my notes. That was one vote apiece, one for Team A, one for B, and one for C. Which one was right?
"Will the real Harvard hockey team please stand up?"
Team A looked at Team B. Team C wiggled. Team B hunched its shoulders. Team A. slid back its chair. The camera panned to Kitty Carlisle brushing her hair. And then...
Suddenly the scene changed and I was whizzed into the press box at the Boston Garden.
Wade Lau stood up, with 15 saves, an MVP award and an all-around spectacular performance in the nets. Bill Larson and Dave Burke stood up, scoring goals almost 50 minutes apart. Mark Fusco, Ken Code and Alan Litchfield stood up with some excellent defensive play. Greg Olson, Tommy Murray, Jimmy Turner, Phil Falcone--the entire Harvard hockey team stood up with a 2-0 Beanpot championship win over Boston College. It was Team C for the second week in a row.
I searched the stands for Bill Cullen, but so many people were jumping up and down that it would have been impossible to find him. He was probably still at the studio anyway. I underlined his name in my notebook.
Is Team C the real Harvard hockey team. Bill Cullen says yes. To tell you the truth, I really don't know.
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