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

MPS Traditions and Origins

During my time in the Monty Python Society, we had a number of traditions at our meeting.

One of them was to do a primal scream at the end of the meeting. We would all gather outside and yell, in unison, whatever we'd decided to scream that week.

This tradition began because a number of us were staff members on a half-hour weekly comedy show on WPSU, called The Rubber Chicken Comedy Closet. The Rubber Chicken featured a primal scream each week, which students were supposed to shout out of their windows. In turn, The Rubber Chicken had borrowed the primal scream tradition from its predecessor, Absolutely Live, which was a two-hour live comedy program on WPSU, predating my time at Penn State. (Ironically, after I left the show, the Rubber Chicken renamed itself Off the Air and within a short time fulfilled their own prophecy.)

We also had an attendance sheet which included a silly question to answer. This was a tradition borrowed from the Penn State Science Fiction Society, a.k.a. PSSFS (pronounced "Pizz Fizz"), with whom we shared many members, along with the Penn State Whovians. For years these attendance sheets were passed on from president to president within the society until they inevitably met their end, used to wrap fish, I imagine.

I only made note a few times in my journal of an attendance sheet, and it was usually because I was proud of my answer. Ahem.

Question: How do you identify a Monty Python Society member from a long way off?

Answer: They are remarkably, extremely, impressively, undeniably small.

Another tradition we had was the anarchic tearing down of flyers, posted on the corkboards above the blackboards in 267 or 271 Willard, where we normally met. This tradition started this way.

On the way to the meeting on Oct. 26, 1988, I was listening to the Alan Parsons Project album, The Fall of the House of Usher, which was eerily psychedelic.

When I walked into the meeting room, Paul Farkas and Jon Acheson were playing Monty Python music. I asked them if they wouldn't rather listen to my music, but it freaked them out, so they replaced it with the theme song to George of the Jungle.

To this music, Paul began jumping around the room, ripping down posters and throwing them in a trash can. Ian Podraza joined in, and they were hopping around in unison, decimating the corkboards. Paul had kindly left up one remaining poster: for the Penn State Science Fiction Society, but Ian ran from the back of the room, leaped and ripped down the poster just as the last chord sounded.

And thus, a tradition was born.

Scott Kane designed a fantastic T-shirt for us, including all sorts of Monty Python characters. Because of the highly detailed work on the front, it was a terrific shirt to wear if you wanted people to spend more time looking at your chest.

MPS T-shirt - front (Click to enlarge)       MPS T-shirt - back (Click to enlarge)

MPS T-shirt - detail (Click to enlarge)          MPS T-shirt - detail back (Click to enlarge)

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