FRIDAY NIGHT! LYRICS and SCRIPT

“HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT YALE”

HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT YALE!
HOW I’D LOVE TO RELIVE ALL THE OLDEN TIMES.
JUST TO BE THERE RIGHT NOW
UNDERNEATH HARKNESS TOWER
AND HEAR EVERY HOUR TOLLED ON GOLDEN CHIMES!
‘CROSS THE NEW HAVEN GREEN I’D STROLL,
AND I’D CHEER FOR THE TEAM FIGHTING IN THE BOWL.
TELL THE POSTMAN TO SEND MY MAIL
TO THAT POST OFFICE DOWN AT YALE.

JUST AS FAST AS MY LEGS WILL HASTEN ME I’LL GO
FOR A LOOK AT THAT FAMOUS MASONRY
FROM FARNAM AND WRIGHT OVER TO WOOLSEY!

GIVE ME SOME MORY’S BEER.
LET ME BASK IN THAT SCHOLARLY ATMOSPHERE.
I RECALL EVERY BRIGHT DETAIL.
HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT YALE!

WHO NEEDS COLUMBIA?
HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT YALE
THUMBS DOWN TO PRINCETON!
HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT…
TO HELL WITH HARVARD!
HOW I WISH I WERE BACK AT YALE!


“MY REUNION PRAYER”

PLEASE, DEAR LORD,
LET MY ROOMMATE NOT BE CHAIRMAN OF A BOARD
OR A BILLIONAIRE.
THIS IS MY REUNION PRAYER.

OH, DEAR GOD,
LET ME LOOK AS IF I HAD A PERFECT BOD
AND A LOT OF HAIR.
THIS IS MY REUNION PRAYER.

AT THIS HEAVY-DUTY CELEBRATION
LET ME HAVE THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST SPOUSE.
LET IT PLEASE COME UP IN CONVERSATION
I’M ABOUT TO BUILD A SECOND HOUSE.

HEY, BIG GUY,
MAKE ME LOOK IMPORTANT IN MY POWER TIE.
LET ME KNOW YOU CARE.
ANSWER MY REUNION PRAYER.
LET NOBODY SEE I’M APPREHENSIVE
THAT I’M SPENDING TEN TIMES WHAT I EARN.
LOOKING LIKE I’VE MADE IT IS EXPENSIVE.
MY INVESTMENT NEEDS A GOOD RETURN.

YOU UP THERE,
I ADMIT I FUDGED THINGS ON THE QUESTIONNAIRE.
SAID I HAD A FORTUNE TO DECLARE,
SAID I OWNED A TOP ARABIAN MARE,
SAID I HAD A LONDON PIED A TERRE,
RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM TONY BLAIR,

BUT, PLEASE, DEAR LORD,
GET ME THROUGH THIS WEEKEND THAT I CAN’T AFFORD.
SEE ME THROUGH THE WHOLE AFFAIR,
AND I’LL PAY YOU BACK, I SWEAR.
YOU’LL GET MY EVERY FACEBOOK SHARE!
THIS IS MY REUNION PRAYER!


“OLD FARTS”

OLD FARTS.
WE’RE ALL OF US OLD FARTS.
WE USED TO BE SWEETHEARTS,
BUT IT’S FIFTY YEARS ON.
AND WHEN OLD FARTS
HAVE TROUBLE WITH NEW STARTS,
YOU’D SWEAR THAT THEIR OLD SMARTS
WERE ENTIRELY GONE.

OLD FARTS.
WE’RE ALL OF US OLD FARTS.
OUTFITTED WITH OLD PARTS,
FIFTY YEARS ON.
WE USED TO BE SWEETHEARTS,
BUT NOW WE’RE JUST OLD FARTS.
YOU’D SWEAR THAT OUR OLD SMARTS
WERE ENTIRELY GONE.

WHEN THE SUBJECT TURNS TO AGING,
MANY CLASS-OF-’62ERS START IN RAGING,
AND BEFORE TOO LONG THEY FIND THEMSELVES ENGAGING
IN A MEGA-KVETCH.

THEY SAY WOULDA, THEY SAY COULDA,
THEY SAY ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SHOULDA.
AND THE WAY THEY CARRY ON ABOUT IT
IT COULD MAKE YOU RETCH.

WELL, IT SEEMS THEY’RE SOMEWHAT BITTER.
‘CAUSE THEY REALLY HATE “THE TWITTER”
EVEN THOUGH THEY WISH THEY’D HAD IT
BACK IN SAYBROOK AND T.D.

AND THEY FROWN ON MARIJUANA
BUT THEY THINK THEY MIGHTA REACHED NIRVANA
IF THEY’D ONLY TOKED IN TRUMBULL.

THEN THEY FOLLOW THAT WITH SOME BULL
LIKE “WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE GONE CO-ED
BUT IF WE HAD TO GO CO-ED
TOO BAD WE DIDN’T GO CO-ED
A LITTLE SOONER THAN WE DID.”

OLD FARTS
THEN THERE ARE THOSE WHO STAND ALONE
WHO’VE NEVER USED A MOBILE PHONE,
WHO DON’T INTEND TO TEXT OR TWEET,
WHO THINK AN IPAD IS EFFETE,
WHO SWEAR THE WEB WILL NEVER LAST,
AND CALL THEMSELVES ICONOCLASTIC.

OLD FARTS.
WE’RE ALL OF US OLD FARTS.
OUTFITTED WITH NEW PARTS,
FIFTY YEARS ON.
WE USED TO BE SWEETHEARTS,
BUT NOW WE’RE JUST OLD FARTS.
YOU’D SWEAR THAT OUR OLD SMARTS
WERE ENTIRELY GONE.

WELL, THE FACTS ARE TIME JUST WHIZZES
AND WHAT WAS WAS AND WHAT IS IS
AND THERE’S LOTSA NEATO STUFF WE NEVER HAD.

WHAT WE HAVE ARE LINES AND WRINKLES
(LOOK AT WEEDEN’S.)
(LOOK AT FINKLE’S.)
AND THERE’S JUST NO GOING BACK TO UNDERGRAD.

BUT THE SHORTEST GLADDEST YEARS OF LIFE
YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT WERE THROUGH
DID NOT COME TO A SCREECHING HALT IN 1962.
FOR LIKE THE SONG SAYS, IF YOU REMEMBER,
DAYS ARE SHORT WHEN YOU REACH SEPTEMBER,
AND ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS THEY SURE ARE GLAD!

OLD FARTS ARE ONCE AGAIN SWEETHEARTS!
ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS OLD FARTS CAN STILL BE GLAD!

“How I Wish I Were Back at Yale” ©1962 Bill Weeden, David Finkle. “Reunion Prayer” ©1987 Bill Weeden, David Finkle and Sally Fay. “Old Farts” ©2012 Bill Weeden, David Finkle. All rights reserved.


YALE 1962 FRIDAY NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

Lights go to black and come up as entire cast enters. WEEDEN leads one group in from stage left. These include STEWART, SIPPLE, MOORE, KAESTLE, GROSS, BETSY RODGERS. FINKLE leads in the other group from stage right, which includes HONNEUS, WISNER, GARVIN, GARVIN, WATERSTON, PETERSON, PROCTOR. WEEDEN goes to piano, FINKLE by the piano with hand-held mic.

FINKLE: Good evening, Yale ’62. That’s Bill Weeden at the piano.

WEEDEN: And that’s David Finkle. Not at the piano. (or near enough to the piano.) We feel extremely honored to be part of this very, very significant cultural event.

FINKLE: And not just cultural, but spiritual, very spiritual.

WEEDEN: Right. Now of course every spiritual event must begin with an invocation. And we happen to have one right in our pocket, so to speak. We presented this same invocation at our 25th reunion. But we feel that a really good invocation never goes out of style. So if we could all bow our heads. Or not.

(Cast on stage bows heads, as WEEDEN and FINKLE sing “My Reunion Prayer”)

WEEDEN: And now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the show proper.

FINKLE: Or improper, as the case may be.

WEEDEN: We thought we’d start with a little nostalgia, helped by tonight’s resident singers, Johnny and the Nostalgics.

(WEEDEN, FINKLE indicate STEWART, MOORE, SIPPLE, KAESTLE, GROSS, who acknowledge the designation, then…)

WEEDEN, FINKLE sing “How I Wish I Were Back at Yale” through once, joined by JOHNNY AND THE NOSTALGICS, who rise just before they’re to sing.

HONNEUS: (Rises during applause for song, goes to downstage right lectern.) Okay, Yale ’62, as long as we’re here, why don’t we relive all those olden times? Let’s go back to September 1958, when 1009 of us arrive on the Old Campus. The Yale Daily News reports, “The class of 1962 fits the pattern that has been forming since the war.” We’re talking about the Second World War here, of course — not one of the later brand. “Emphasizing variety, it is made up of dozens of football players and swimmers, platoons of school editors, hundreds of honor students and more mundane types.” We’re not going to ask the mundane types to stand up, but we know who we are.

Within days, if not hours, we stand in line at Dwight Hall to get our pictures taken. These photos were different from those buck-naked posture shots they took of us at the Whitney gym. Incidentally, rumor has it those naked snaps are still circulating, and, apparently you can Google them. Or check YouTube.

We go to Woolsey to hear Whitney Griswold speak and take placement tests. Some of us even study for the Library test. The big news is we got the highest aptitude scores Yale has ever seen.

Yes, we’re definitely apt, but apt to do what? Evidently, we’re apt to stage our first riot in less than two weeks. On September 26, we dump refuse all over the place and sing beer-infused choruses of “Boola, Boola.” Campus police chief John F. Bowers calls it “the worst of the last four years.” Shortly thereafter, word speeds through Freshman Commons that we’re going to ruin campus plumbing by flushing all of our toilets at the same time. Nothing comes of this.

Topic A on freshman bull session agendas: High School vs. Prep School dress. Everybody knows Preppies only wear Brooks Brothers suits and speak as if recovering from a cold. Everybody knows high school grads have a chip on their padded shoulders and have been accepted at Yale by mistake.

Other topics include “Maverick,” which we watch on Sunday nights. We also tune in to Ingmar Bergman and Brigitte Bardot for different reasons. There’s Van Cliburn. There’s “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. There’s The Kingston Trio.

(At the mention of the Kingston Trio, JOHNNY AND THE NOSTALGICS rise, sing Kingston Trio medley. As they do, HONNEUS, who has remained at the lectern, immediately resumes.)

HONNEUS: That fall the football team loses every game. Not so the freshman football team, which only bows to Harvard, which evidently fights fiercely enough. Come spring, we can join other campus organizations and play with the big boys. We can heel — whatever that is — the Daily News, sign up at WYBC, the Lit, the Record. Or we can do nothing, since it’s the year of the beatnik. Allen Ginsberg comes to campus. So does Gregory Corso, Norman Mailer, Paul Goodman. So does Robert Frost, who isn’t a beatnik. Other non-beatniks are Henry Ford II and Walter Reuther, although not at the same visiting-campus time, Prescott Bush, Adlai Stevenson, Carmine DeSapio, Eileen Farrell.

Which brings us to the year’s major event. It isn’t the March 12 Old Campus snowball fight that results in the first curfew imposed on freshmen since 1919. The big one occurs five days later at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, when we get our hands on more snowballs and lob them at the marchers. This gets the New Haven police wielding billy clubs. According to some accounts, town-gown relations are set back ten years. And never forget we’re supposedly part of a generation frequently described as “apathetic.”

(On the word “apathetic,” WISNER walks downstage to lectern.)

WISNER: We’re no longer freshmen. We’re sophomores. Our cars are legal. We have access to fraternities — if we want. We can earn varsity letters — if we want. We don’t have access to Porter Gate, because in the wake of the Paddy’s Day riot the local police are cracking down on us crossing in the middle of Elm Street and not at the light. Tuition skyrockets to $2500. The Sterling Memorial Library has new rules we need to abide by. No feet on furniture, no food brought in, coats to be hung in the coat room and coat room only. We don’t abide by them.

Paul Bursiek plays for the varsity as the only one of us to do so, and the team loses only to Dartmouth and Harvard. Bill Madden plays basketball, and the swimmers among us help with wins that include trouncing Harvard. On more political fronts, William Buckley and Norman Thomas stop by. So do Ayn Rand. Bill Coffin, also no longer a Yale freshman, debates Paul Weiss about the necessity of Christianity. And there are other, less spiritual, developments…

JOHNNY AND THE NOSTALGICS: “If you knew Susie like we knew Susie. Oh, oh, what a girl.
There’s none so classy as that fair lassie.
Heaven help us,
what a chassis.
If you knew Susie like we knew Susie. Oh, oh, what a gal!”

WISNER: Some Yalie Daily sophomore year headlines: “Yale Property Taxes Increase by $29,000” “Coffin Reports Plans for Trip to Africa, 120 Students Apply” “Saarinen Uncovers New College Plans, Cost Estimate $6,200,000” “Yale Raises Minimum Professor Salary to $12,000, Keeps Maximum at $20,000” “Five Yale Students Arrested for Picketing New Haven Woolworths About Discrimination at Woolworth stores in South” “Hockey Coaches Approve Resolution to Limit Recruitment of Canadians” “Evils, Strengths of Secret Societies Examined.”

FINKLE: And now we interrupt our collective backward glance to give you another angle on the Yale years. Ladies and gentleman, Phil Proctor and Melinda Peterson.

PROCTOR, PETERSON: Tell the story of horrible suicides from Harkness Tower, greeted by inappropriate laughter from the audience.

GARVIN: There’s some anonymous doggerel that goes “Junior year is such a bore, existence has become a chore, life holds nothing more in store, junior year is such a bore.” Well, to some extent it describes us exactly. We kill plenty of time at George and Harry’s, the Yorkside and the United, better known to most of us as the Untidy. Okay, the 12 Chi Psi members move to Chapel Street, and the OCD editorializes, “If Chi Psi survives, anybody can.”

Elsewhere in the OCD these headlines surface: “Russian Chorus Attacks Treatment Given by Soviets on Tour” “Yale NAACP Opens Discrimination Issue on Fraternity Rushing” “Student, Faculty Controversy Besets Architecture of Rare Book Library.”

Nixon and Kennedy campaign. Here’s how the Yale Daily News headlines the episode as it unfolds. “Nixon Ticket Favored Two to One in Undergraduate Poll” “Poll of Faculty Show Kennedy Backed Five to One” “Over 75,000 Cheering Partisans Give Kennedy Welcome to New Haven” “Kennedy Clinches White House After Night-Long Count-Down.” No headline is found for Nixon’s ride past campus on the open back of a car. All the same, he gets the Yalie Daily’s endorsement. In a troubled outside world, the News also opines that “Eisenhower, Khrushchev, MacMillan and DeGaulle should solve all their difficulties by a yearly bladderball contest.”

Remember those all-encompassing events? Bull session topics include the erstwhile HUAC, birth control, and Cuba. Though some of us just play bridge, poker and/or pool.

Perhaps the year’s most controversial event is the movie “All the Fine Young Cannibals,” set at Yale, in which Natalie Wood calls New Haven “dinky,” and her co-star Susan Kohner calls Yale “boring.” Of course.

Not everything bores us. Certainly not the undefeated football team. We take over The Lit, WYBC. The Record, the varsity teams, The Dramat. We’re tapped for senior societies. Or we aren’t. Either way, we’re outwardly nonchalant. Or apathetic, but we throw off “apathetic” when many of our number take up the crusade against segregation and wave goodbye to Bill Coffin, who sets an example by going South on a Freedom bus. For those of us who don’t, Joan Baez comes to sing about freedom and equality. And we sing, too. We’re now The Whiffenpoofs.

WATERSTON: Okay, the football team did less well fall of senior year, even losing to Harvard—although the worst part of that was captured in the OCD headline “Smith Changes Class Calendar,” which translated as “Smithies unable to attend the game.” Well, six busfulls from Northampton did drive up on Saturday. Otherwise, nothing. On the other hand, captain Bill Madden led a championship basketball season.

Speaking of getting out on the floor, we all turn into dance champions when The Twist hits us.
(JOHNNY AND THE NOSTALGICS sing “Let’s Twist Again.” They do the twist.)

WATERSTON: Chubby Checker doesn’t come to the campus in person, although we hear him plenty, along with Ray Charles, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden. Senators Goldwater and Bush hit town. So does Margaret Mead.

For the third straight year, we set the all-time record for class members appearing on the Dean’s List. Prompting the obvious question: If we’re so smart, why aren’t we rich? Many of us determine we will be. We’re Yalie. We have access to top-notch economics courses. It may be the folk music era, but we know we should be on the fast track to somewhere.

WEEDEN and FINKLE: (sing “IF I HAD A HAMMER,” finish, and as they do and end, RODGERS rises, crosses stage behind to lectern)

RODGERS: I’ve been asked to reflect on those weekends at Yale which I had the pleasure of sharing with you, the Class of 1962. Yes, those glamorous, sophisticated, romantic weekends at Yale so coveted by college girls all over the East Coast and beyond. A great environment for husband hunting. You know visions of the Great Gatsby, Cole Porter, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers.

Well, back to reality. The first step is climbing on a beat-up old bus in Northampton on Friday afternoon for the luxurious ride to New Haven. After bumping along a lot of single lane roads for three hours or more, we arrive in beautiful downtown New Haven, which is usually pitch dark and cold. This is just in time to rush to the gourmet dinner being served at Calhoun, which always — always — features on the extensive menu lots of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes.

Dinner is followed by an elegant soiree in one of the tastefully and lavishly decorated four-man suites, with the valuable antique furnishings pushed back against the wall. Unidentifiable cocktails are poured straight from the booze bottles into plastic cups, to be accompanied by pretzels and potato chips. If we we’re lucky, we get a chance to hear the Whiffenpoofs — as we just now did — who show some class in their white tie and tails. That’s more like it.

A typical fall Saturday proceeds from one frantic event to another, most of which include some type of alcoholic refreshment. There’s the famous pre-game get together, followed by the game itself, which is a minor distraction. In the evening we’re off to the weekend highlight, a gracefully arranged fete at DKE. Here, the Yalies gyrate around the dance floor, showing off their recently acquired skills in the newly arrived rock and roll dance styles like the Twist – as we just saw now. Where was Fred Astaire? Joyfully leading the festivities are Tom Luckey and Bob Kemp.

Internationally recognized musicians play, including one band with a lead singer called “The Bullet,” a man who unfortunately has no arms and who, at the climax of the song, flops on his back to cheers from the crowd. To be fair, I’m sure more restrained and polished activities are going on at Fence and other venues. I’m sure.

The glamorous weekend continues with an after-party at some five-star motel outside New Haven, where I share a room with a couple of other fortunate young ladies from fine Eastern Women’s Colleges. After a few hours of sleep, I wake up to the odor and snores of several Yalies on the floor sleeping off last night’s festivities. On Sunday afternoon, I climb back on the bumpy bus to Northampton, where I stay up late catching up on the work I should have been doing over the weekend.

Now guess what. When the invitation comes for another weekend at Yale, I again, romantic visions still intact, eagerly board that bus to New Haven. The end of the story? I marry my ill-mannered Yalie date, Bo Rodgers. And now Bo and I are looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary this August. So I guess those weekends at Yale really paid off after all. I don’t know where the gentleman is today, but I guess this is the proper time to say a belated “Thank you” to “The Bullet.”

WATERSTON: It’s still senior year. So we’re concerned about what paths we’ll be following once June comes around. In the meantime, however, we have to be careful about the paths we follow around campus. There are lots of holes in the hallowed ground. Stiles and Morse are two of them. The Beinecke Library is another. Will it ever be finished? What about the Pierson-Sage Science Quadrangle and the Art and Architecture Center, which even when it’s finished isn’t finished?

But we finish — with honorary-degree John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressing us, as Dean Acheson, Prescott Bush and Artur Rubinstein sit beside him. We graduate on June 11, 1962. We end our shortest, gladdest years.

(As WATERSTON concludes and returns to his seat, FINKLE rises and goes to the piano. Simultaneously, JOHNNY AND THE NOSTALGICS rise, move downstage to sing opening “Bright College Years” anthem, but are cut off by WEEDEN and FINKLE, who begin to sing “Old Farts.” joined soon enough by THE FIVE NOSTALGICS to end of song.

END

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1 comment to FRIDAY NIGHT! LYRICS and SCRIPT

  • Tim Adams

    Yes, the ride to and from New Haven was long and grim. though I had the good fortune of riding the rails on the East Coast’s worst. And yes, food was in short supply. My date’s roommate insisted on a trip to the Quick & Easy for weekend rations, with limits on anything that tasted good or had nutritional value! And thogh in abundance, the drinks left one either nauseous or flat out sick by Sunday morning. I do remember a few football games. But I’m afraid most of my sports entertainment was spent alone while my date ate steak at training table, followed by 3 hours in a freezing hockey rink — a prelude to over 10,000 hockey games played by my 3 sons! But no regrets. I did stay in the President’s guest bedroom, not a cheap motel; a Wiffenpoof sang at our wedding; and I have been happily rewarded by the many “friendships formed at Yale”. Oh I forgot to add that somewhere in those years I had the opportunity to attend Winter Carnival at Dartmouth. Yes, those visits to New Haven weren’t so bad after all!

    Another Smithie celebrating her 50th wedding Anniversary (with input from her Clas of ’62 “steady”

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