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The Preacher, Creature, Reacher and Teacher
The Barbarians - led by drummer Moulty who played with a hand and a hook
Andy's puppet show at Grahm Jr. College
Andy's Classic Mighty Mouse routine
by Bill Russo
They didn’t have to say please to get me to come to Boston. Going to school there was a pleasure more than a chore - just like it is for the 150,000 students that annually enter one of the 36 colleges and universities in the Athens of America.
Not the class part. The bother of fussing with the books and studying is an unpleasant fee that must be paid if you wish to obtain the ticket to the real fun of college life – the dorm, the parties, Fenway Park, Boston Garden, and most of all a collection of questionable establishments that the Boston newspapers called “The Combat Zone”.
For me and three of my friends the 1964 school year promised to be historic – for we four were poised to become the first men ever admitted to a ladies sorority!
I’m not kidding. The girls had set up a task for us to do, and if we were able to complete it, we would be admitted to the sorority of the Kappa Alpha Betas. We were to be taken in as associate members with the title of DD - a phrase which I will explain later as I tell you the true story of how we four - the Preacher, The Reacher, The Teacher and The Creature competed as hard as we could to become full-fledged ladies men.
The caper starts, as did most of our adventures, in the Kenmore Deli, a fabulous all night eatery near our dorm in historic Kenmore Square. We had been summoned to a meeting at three in the morning by a message from Emily Sphere – none other than the beautiful president of the Kappa Alpha Betas (aka the ‘Kabs’).
In response, I and my pals straightaway left our dorm rooms in the old Kenmore Hotel and walked down Grahm Street (so named for our school, Grahm Junior College) to the well lit oasis just a minute’s walk away.
The usual pre dawn crowd was there; an eclectic blend of all nighters out late and morning workers just starting their day.
There were a couple of guys from The Who hanging out with the local heroes The Barbarians whose chart topper, “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” would make them icons to every super-group from the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles to the New Kids on the Block.
I gave a nod to Moulty, the one armed drummer and leader of the Barbs, and he banged out a little paradiddle with his fork, striking his plate in classic alternating single and double strokes.
“Cool beans man!” I affirmed to the musician as I peeked over to the table where the Kabs were seated. Happily I noticed that they noticed that the Barbarians and the Whos had given me a little salute.
Before sitting down with the Kabs, I stopped to speak with a statue – a living statue.
“Hello Andy,” I said quietly. “You’re doing a great job. The whole room is admiring the way you just stand there looking silly.”
“Thanks Creature,” the statue said without moving his lips, in the manner of a ventriloquist. “Are the tuttets ready? (he couldn’t say the letter “P” without moving his lips so puppets became tuttets).
“Yes they are. I finished outfitting them this afternoon so we can film the show tomorrow and schedule it for broadcast on WCSB next week.”
“Thanks nan. This show is going to de great. I think I will de on the Tonight show dy this time next year.”
“Okay pal,” I said “I’ll see you in the studio tomorrow.” I mentally translated his closed lip sentence to “Thanks Man. This show is going to be great. I think I will be on the Tonight Show by this time next year.”
“Who is that guy?” The Preacher asked me.
“Don’t you know Andy? I thought everybody knew Andy Kaufman. He’s in my TV Production class here at Grahm. He calls himself a performance artist. Most everybody else calls him a nut. Mr. Kaufman is very different. We’re putting together a puppet show for the college TV station. It’s a comedy program for adults not kids. In one part of the show Andy simply stands like a statue next to a record player while the song “Mighty Mouse” is loudly playing. He keeps his mouth shut during the entire song except when the singer intones, “Here he comes to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on the way”; which Andy lip synchs. It’s very funny but I don’t think that my pal Andy Kaufman will ever have any commercial success with it.”
Emily was Marilyn Monroe Blond
Maria was Liz Taylor Sepia
Rayleen was Rhonda Fleming red
Emmylou's hair was liquid silver
The Creature in the 1950s
Meeting the Ladies
We went over and sat down in the seats offered by the Kabs. We didn’t say anything, waiting for them to explain their plan.
Just then the waiter brought us plates of grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles and chips piled up high on the side; along with the steaming hybrid espresso/americano coffee that made the Kenmore Deli famous.
“I ordered for you boys,” smiled elegant Emily Sphere. She was sitting with three other Kabs who were nearly as stunning as she.
With their long curly hair reaching their shoulders, between them the girls had all the colors of the rainbow covered.
Emily was Marilyn Monroe blond, but fuller and softer than the fragile movie star ever could be. Her figure reminded everyone of the road sign on Route 128 near the quarries – Dangerous Curves Ahead.
The girl to her right, Maria, was Liz Taylor sepia – her thick black tresses battled for supremacy with diamond eyes so sparkly that it required sunglasses to even glance at her.
Next to her was Rayleen Ransom from Atlanta, Georgia who was Rhonda Flemming red. Her bright red curls slinked down her forehead and caressed flashing green eyes that gave men a single thought, “All I want for Christmas is Rayleen Ransom”.
The fourth and final young lady was Snow White. Her real name was Emmylou Snow but she became “Snow White” due to her flowing silver locks. Silver was her hair, not white. Its color was remarkable, but what made it even more so is that her hair appeared not to be hair at all but smooth flowing rivers of soft, liquid silver.
“Hello Preacher, Creature, Teacher, and Reacher. You gentlemen are probably wondering what task is in store for your initiation into the sorority.”
Author’s note. Dear reader, To reveal the boys’ task I will keep you waiting no longer than episode two of this series. In that episode you will learn not only of the daring deeds the lads must do to earn their 'dresses' but you'll also discover their real names and how they came to be called, The Preacher, The Creature, The Teacher and The Reacher.