Anything Goes

During a 1912 football game at Yale Field, just across the street from where the Yale Bowl was being constructed and would open the following year, Cole Porter joined the band for the halftime march down the field to introduce his new song, “Bulldog, Bulldog, Bow Wow Wow, Eli Yale.” By the time the game was over, Porter and his Delta Kappa Epsilon band of brothers were well lubricated and spotted a Chapel Street trolley passing the stadium. Porter gave the cry: “Hijack!”

A “Keystone Kop” chase ensued to York Street, when Porter leaped out of the trolley and ran to J. Press next to the DKE house where my grandfather hid him in the store cellar until the coast cleared.

Jacobi Press and Cole Porter are both long gone, but a commemorative line has stayed in “Anything Goes,” frequently revived since it first opened in 1932. In one scene, standing on a set designed to be the deck of an ocean liner, the romantic lead throws a stuffed animal to his drunk boss, who is heading for the Henley Regatta to cheer for Yale. “Here, Boss,” he says, “I got you the bulldog at J. Press.”

The following year Cole Porter, along with fellow Yalie Dean Acheson, roomed together at Harvard Law School. Porter eventually abandoned law to return to music, but years later, while serving as Secretary of State in the Truman administration, Acheson, renowned for his elegant wardrobe, was featured in a 1949 LIFE Magazine half-page portrait attributing his suit by J. Press.

The title song from Cole Porter’s 1932 Broadway hit still rings a bell,

And those blues you’ve got
From those news you’ve got
And those pains you’ve got
(If any brains you’ve got)
From those little radios
Anything goes.

RICHARD PRESS

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