The Fighting Red Onionhead, a.k.a. Roger, a.k.a. Ode de Capa  Dedicated Idiocy, A personal history of the Penn State Monty Python Society by Alyce Wilson

School Year 1988-1989

Homecoming Parade: Holy Grail

(page 1 of 2)

A couple days before the Homecoming Parade in 1988, we gathered at a dorm room in East Halls to construct our props. (In those days, saying, "Props to you" would have meant giving someone, say, a ukulele or an unplugged phone, providing they were on stage, of course.)

We were working from meticulous plans, which appear to be in Matt Pyson's handwriting (courtesy of Fred Coppersmith, president emeritus of the Monty Python Society).

Parade 1988 plans (Click to enlarge)        Parade 1988 plans - page 2 (Click to enlarge)

Parade 1988 notes - page 3 (Click to enlarge)       Parade 1988 notes - page 4 (Click to enlarge)

We soon discovered a flaw in our plan. If we built a Trojan Rabbit inside the dorm room, we wouldn't be able to get it out of the building.

Welcome, Plan B: constructing and spray-painting cardboard props in the wind-whipped East Halls commons. We managed to find a relatively non-windy area and created our props, consisting of a Trojan Rabbit, sundry swords and shields, and a variety of knights' attire. There was much rejoicing.

Then the exciting day arrived: October 7, 1988, my first ever Homecoming Parade. I donned horribly fuchsia tights and an equally horrible fuchsia leotard, along with abominably raspberry cut-off sweatpants. My friend Jen Hoffman and I completed our ensembles with garbage bag tunics. We were to be minstrels.

"Where are you going dressed like that?" my roommate asked.

"Well, wherever we're going, it's not to the Homecoming Parade with the Monty Python Society," I told her. She clicked her tongue.

At the rendezvous point, we gathered:

Two pigeon fanciers (John and Tom);

Three or four knights (Xande, Matt Pyson, Abner Mintz);

Knights of the Round Table (Click to enlarge)   Sir Robin (Click to enlarge)

(from left) Matt Pyson, Xande Anderson (?) (standing), Abner Mintz, Damon Buckwalter.
(photo by Paul Farkas)

Several Gumbies (Paul Farkas, L.J. Sparvero);

Three minstrels (me, Jen Hoffman and Jennifer "Jake" Spangler);

Sir Robin (Damon Buckwalter);

Minstrels (Click to enlarge)  Minstrels & Sir Robin (Click to enlarge)

Jen Hoffman (in red), Jennifer "Jake" Spangler and me with Damon Buckwalter as Sir Robin
(photo by Paul Farkas)

A lumberjack (Bob);

Two shrubberies (Heather and Christine);

The shrubberies (Click to enlarge)

Two very nice shrubberies whose names elude me
(photo by Paul Farkas)

And a Trojan Rabbit.

Trojan rabbit (Click to enlarge)    Trojan rabbit (Click to enlarge)

(Unfortunately, I neglected to include full names in the newsletter and in my journal, so I'm giving full names where I can.)

As we were lining up on the far end of campus, past Parking Lot 80 (which one day, I understand, will be considered "center campus," with the full campus extended to Boalsburg in one direction, Bellefonte in the other and including 12 floating dorm structures reached via transporter beam), two girls wearing Greek sweatshirts stumbled by and fell in some bushes about 50 yards away.

Paul Farkas mumbled, "I would put a tax on all people who fall into bushes."

And then we were off! During the parade, we improvised sword battles with a plastic banjo, worshipped a marshmallow and sang all sorts of Monty Python songs at the top of our lungs, including, of course, "The Ballad of Sir Robin." Damon Buckwalter, who played Sir Robin, kept running away.

Whenever we hit a corner, we kept going straight until we ran into the crowd on the opposite side. Someone would yell, "This way!" and point in a random direction, and we'd follow them until we got it all straightened out.

A "nudge-nudge wink-wink" man (Eric Schr9ager — the "9" is silent) joined us along the way, wearing a sweater with a clashing plaid jacket and a pair of dress pants.

Whenever there was a pause during the parade route, either Paul would hold up a stick with something on it and we would all bow down, or Damon Buckwalter and Xande would start the witch sketch with a bystander.

In front of the judges' stand, we bowed down in front of them.

To the contents page, ducky  Get inside the caverns of my mind  Why are we here?   Hop in, the water's fine!    Founding of Completely Different Homecoming Parade 1988 - page 2  e-mail: