Harvard vs. Yale vs. The Blob?

Years from now, no one will remember the score of The Game of 1982.

But everyone who was there will remember The Blob.

In fact, several times in the course of the Harvard-Yale rivalry, pranks have been known to overshadow the other events on the field.

One of the first recorded pranks occurred before the 1933 game, when bulldog Handsome Dan, the Yale mascot, was kidnapped by Harvard students, drugged, brought to Cambridge and not fed for several days.

The famished mutt was then photographed licking some meat which had been rubbed on the boots of John Harvard.

Hatred of Handsome Dan may even date back to 1908, when Harvard Coach Percy Haughton was said to have strangled a bulldog in the locker room.

Apparently, though, this was an Eli-inspired exaggeration. In fact, Haughton merely tied a papier mache bulldog to his car and dragged it around town. More recently, however, Handsome Dan has been left in peace, as pranksters have taken a healthier direction.

Maybe the most famous prank of all occurred in 1982 when, midway through the second quarter, a huge black weather balloon emerged from the field at the 45 yard line. It took workmen several minutes to dislodge the contraption, as bemused Harvard players a few feet away, en route to a 45-7 rout of Yale, paused to watch.

"The Blob", it is said in East Cambridge, required four years of planning by MIT's Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Later at the same game MIT students distributed red and white placards to Harvard fans, supposedly to spell out "Beat Yale". However, when the placards were displayed they actually spelled the name of the school down the river.

At the 100th Game in 1983, three little pigs scurried onto the field at halftime, while, in the stands, fans were surprised to read in the what passed for the Yale Daily News that Eli President Bartlett Giamatti had resigned. The Crimson-created parody, it turned out, scooped the real Daily News by two years.

Game-related pranks have often involved paint - especially blue paint sprayed onto John Harvard. In 1963, a group of Yale students decided that attacking the statue was not enough, and they proceeded to paint a huge "Beat Harvard" across the pillars of Widener Library. The clean-up cost $1000, while, back in New Haven, the Eli humorists earned a suspension from school.

But pranks have not been limited to desecrating the opposite school's holy symbols. In 1962, the Harvard Band left Handsome Dan alone and marched through the streets of New Haven at 3:00 a.m. waking up students and town residents. In doing so, the band broke a city regulation and all its members ended up in jail.

But the most sophisticated schemes have originated at MIT. In 1978 the Techies' most ambitious plan, however, never got off -- or out from under -- the ground.

Shortly before the game, electrical wires were discovered under the turf at Harvard Stadium. The wires led to fire extinguishers full of yellow paint, and the system was triggered by mousetraps connected to benches by the end zone. Had it worked, the device would have sprayed a huge yellow "Y" on the field during the game.

Recommended Articles