Dr. Krankheit Goes To Dartmouth
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.
Some years ago, while
living in Princeton and enjoying the easy proximity of Langrock’s voluminous inventory of correctly styled gentlemens’ wear, I still traveled to Madison Avenue for nearby annual medical consults. I combined those essentials with visits to 44th Street, where a cordial welcome was always waiting.
One of those occasions was marked by the purchase of an attractive summer weight sport jacket and the replenishment of some khaki poplin trousers. When I requested the addition of cuffs, I still recall the offer of preferred dimension and how satsified I was to select the wider size. That attention to detail was always offered at JPress.
A tale of 1 Town and 2 Cities: In long ago 1947 my parents made the then required appointment with the Director of Admissions at Dartmouth, Albert Dickerson. At the insistence of my high school history teacher (and loyal Dartmouth grad), I was presented as a candidate for the Class of 1952. After a comfortable night at the Hanover Inn, Director Dickerson performed his welcoming ritual and encouraging interview.
Some months later, after similar ocçasions at Boston University, Brown, Columbia and Penn, I opted for the Wharton School and the big(?) city of Philadelphia. Penn was an Ivy League football power in those days, coached by the ever loyal single wing disciple George Munger.
The campus was home to almost 40 chapters of national fraternities and, after pledging one of these, I had my first exposure to proper narrow lapel jackets, button down oxford shirts, deepest charcoal gray cuffed slacks, repp ties and cordovan wing tips. The cost was not insignificant, but I helped out by washing dishes in the fraternity house kitchen.
Four years and City # 2 later, I found myself stationed at an Army base across the Potomac from Washington, where the fierce summer heat brought me to Julius Garfinckel and my first pair of the erstwhile darkest charcoal trousers, this time in cool lightweight tropical wool.
The rest, as the saying goes, found me never far from New Haven, Nassau Street, West 44th, or somehow best of all, at Mt. Auburn Street.
Richard – Can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed your stories over the years. The Cambridge store was a much needed education to a raw kid from South Dakota. And a source of pleasure until I moved to Minneapolis ten years later. And then there were the visits of the traveling to hotel showroom Minneapolis where I would spend entirely too much time choosing a new necktie. My tastes were so consistent that on one visit to the New York I bought a terrific tweed jacket, and when it arrived (altered, of course) my wife who had been with me when I bought it, said, “That’s identical to one you already have!” She was right, and since the original is still not worn out, I have a perfect spare stored away.
Thanks for sharing your memories.
Walt Graff, H 61
Mr. Harouse: late ‘20s through’30s Pitt was favored by Jewish collegians denied entrance to restricted Ivies.
I was on the varsity intercollegiate debate team at DePauw and competed against some of the Dartmouth boys at the Harvard Invitational in 1964. Bright college years indeed!
Great story. Good photo of Bob in a seersucker summer jacket. I enjoy wearing mine, and do as soon as the temperatures drop out of the 80s. This has been a hard year, with high summer temps. I also recently got a gift of a shaggy dog cardigan, grey and maroon, that will be good in the coldest weather to come.
I would like Richard press to let me know how his dad went to Pitt. Thanks
You’re much too young at heart for an old folk’s home.
Love it! It all sounds like such great fun!
Wah Hoo Wah!!!