My pal Bob Jaffe served many uproarious times with yours truly at Dartmouth, highlight among them, our Speech 15 final exam.
Speech 15 conducted in the appropriately named McNutt Hall was a hoot, its gut reputation fully justified. Populated by a combination of Animal House brethren and varsity athletes, Professor Ives provided us a witty and graceful forum. The curriculum began recapitulating orations by Dartmouth, ’01 grad Daniel Webster. Prof. Ives held the final exam at Wilder Grill, a popular roadhouse across the Connecticut River in neighboring Vermont. He allowed us a joint presentation. Bob and I gleaned our subject from an LP record featuring recordings of old-time vaudeville acts from Broadway’s Palace Theatre. Winter term we rehearsed, memorized, and entertained our Lord Hall dormitory neighbors performing vaudeville comedians Smith and Dale’s classic Dr. Krankheit routine:
You get the idea. Anyway, Bob and I employed the team’s original Yiddish stage incantations. We brought down the house (roadhouse). Prof. Ives provided us with A’s.
Another fond memory was the Dartmouth-Harvard football weekend when we took on a suite at the prestigious Ritz Carlton Hotel off the Boston Common charged on my J. Press personal account. We provided a post-game bash at the Cambridge store after the game Dartmouth won 35-0, scene of an infamous halftime riot of unruly Big Green fans storming the field attempting to kidnap the famous Harvard Drum. That evening Jaff and I did a suite party with our gang after visiting the Old Howard Burlesque Show in Scollay Square featuring the gorgeous Rose La Rose stripping upstage, privates shielded by a 12-inch shadow-spot. The following morning, Ritz Carlton suite in total disarray, Bob was in the bathroom doing whatever one does screaming the minute he heard room service breakfast arrive, “Sweetheart, have him set the butter plate beside the biscuit plate.”
His table direction elicited a sneer from the burly obviously unwoke South Boston bellhop vamoosing swiftly without having me sign the room service check.
Bob Jaffe was the son of William B. Jaffe, prominent New York lawyer and Patron of Art, mentor and involved father. A prominent attorney in the business end of moviedom, he was married to Evelyn Annenberg, Art Collector, Philanthropist, and member of the fabled Annenberg publishing family. He loved Dartmouth, receiving an honorary degree with the brilliant Hopkins Center Jaffe-Friede Art Museum bearing his Dartmouth sons family name.
Bill Jaffe was a mercurial gentleman who enjoyed a great kick regaling Bob and me stories of Hollywood and what in those days were off-color jokes. Bob and I once took dates to Reuben’s on 58th Street for post-theatre pastrami specials and booze with him signing the check on his dad’s house account. “Your friends seem to have a rather voracious appetite,” he let Bob know.
Bob recently contacted me after a long absence telling he was relocating his residence continuing as a Financial Advisor in Saratoga Springs, NY. We recalled many past road trips to Skidmore. He let me know he befriended a Dartmouth-related fellow Saratogan. “Each time he sees me he offers a big ‘Wah Hoo Wah’ (discarded cheer) rushing over to show the label in his jacket…J. Squeeze.”
Sixty-five years later bet we could still bring down the house with Dr. Krankheit— only this time at an old age home.