Tuesday, March 28, 2017
On this day in 1961, Edward "Teddy" Thorpe and Robert McNamara, freshmen at The College of William and Mary, who had both pledged Alpha Tau Omega with legacy status, had to be rushed to Williamsburg General Hospital, where they were treated for severe burns. The two well-liked young men had entered the Spring Fling Talent Spectacular on campus. Their act - a song, dance, and slapstick routine that called to mind Old Dixie - was made all the more amusing by the fact that the two rapscallions had applied black shoe polish to their faces and hands, and donned curly wigs. The energetic crowd loved the act, and all went well, until the high content of nitrobenzene in the shoe polish started to cause both young men discomfort and, eventually, pain. They were rushed to the E.R., where Burn Unit staff were able to flush away and neutralize the offending chemical, and treat Teddy and Robert's legions with a soothing balm. Spring Fling judges voted unanimously to award the young men the grand prize and, considering what they'd endured, none of the other acts balked.