Genius Prankster

The following is an excerpt from one of my college professors, who, in reminiscing on my scallywagging ways in the Ursinus College Bulletin, marked an entire decade of activity at the school with various infamous pranks, calling me a genius prankster in the printing below. The original note was published in the February 1975 edition of the bulletin, written by Roger P. Staiger, ’43 (Chemistry Professor), originally titled “Hearse and Moth: Capers of Collegeville”

“Memories of Ursinus past? For some who really never left the greenswarded campus, this encompasses over three decades of riches and experiences…

[W]hen socializing over a warm toddy, memories of Ursinus past nearly always bring to mind memories of the campus prankster. Several outstanding scintillations are probably worth your recalling. One such highlight, during the reign of Camilla Stahr as Dean of Women (1938-1959)…

Again, in the mid-fifties, the campus student, naturalist, ecologist and prankster was Ed Dawkins, another of our since-successful medics. Ed was forever collecting snakes, taking faculty children fishing at Y retreats, and thinking up new biological projects. One of his best flashes of uncontrolled genius that is indelibly imprinted on my mind, is a trip to Norristown, to the flicks one early all evening in order to relax after an afternoon botany fieldtrip. At that time, you could still get a roundtrip bus fair and movie admission for a dollar. Ed clutched a plain, brown paper bag that seemed well inflated, but was extremely light. Someone might have passed it off as his own supply of popcorn. In due time, the preshow, recorded music receded, the houselights faded, and the projector’s arc beam pierced the overhead darkness, creating its moving images on the silver screen. After a reasonable length of time when the dialogue was changing from shoot-em-ups to heavy sentimental breathing, one might have heard the almost inaudible crunching as a brown paper bag was being opened. Ed’s part of the program commenced. Out of the midst of the audience rose a small cloud of live moths, spiraling upward into the projector beam, creating huge whirls of shadow images, obliterating the building climax of a love scene [Ed had collected hundreds of the things as they de-hibernated at the base of a tree near campus]. This was followed by rumblings of voices from the projection room, raised house lights, and a manager armed with a large Flit gun passing through the aisles, shooting all directions with relatively little effect. And there sat Ed Dawkins, holding only an empty brown paper bag, naively asking what was happening.

Could you top these?”

Doctor Ed: the original prankster

Artist’s “moth” rendition

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