Pantsless Santa and a student enjoying the March sun at the Union
If you know those lyrics, you should be clapping your hands together right now. The Steve Miller Band’s “Take the Money and Run” topped the charts in 1976, and that’s our focus year today. I was flipping through a 1976-77 University of Texas at Austin Cactus, one of many yearbooks in my collection. What struck me the most was the level of unkemptness. If that’s not a word, I hereby decree it is now. Everything looked chaotic, in need of antiseptic wipes, hairbrushes, and ironing boards. The 1970s just needs a darn good scrubbing.
If you weren’t alive then or were too young to recall, let me offer you this glimpse into what life was like as a student in central Texas during the year before Elvis collapsed on the toilet.
During the bicentennial year of 1976, the presidential elections intensified between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. On campus, the Absurdist Group drafted an Arts & Sausages platform. These are not typos. Pictured is a rally for student government.
This next picture of student government (next to an icon of what appears to be Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses, which did not exist yet) shows bralessness, early male pattern baldness, and an overzealous male giving the “Hook ‘Em, Horns” sign.
Here you see a computer from the research department. Fitting this on your lap at Starbuck’s was cumbersome at best.
The Tavern was a great place to socialize and blow off steam, back when the drinking age was 18, which seems CUH-RAZY in retrospect–allowing high school seniors to be hitting the saloons. But I guess if they were old enough to go die in Vietnam, they should be allowed to knock back a few gin and tonics before shipping out.
The pic is not askew. The SEVENTIES were askew. What is he looking at? I’d say her chest, but her chest is identical to his. Maybe he’s taking in the scent of her Ban Roll-On.
The Texas Tavern also offered bowling. Check out the form on this hunk.
And no college bar is complete without its “Disco Night,” which showcased the talents of diverse DJ’s.
But university life wasn’t all fun and games; a shuttle bus drivers’ strike left students stranded at the bus stops. New “scab” bus drivers feared violent strikers.
Below is a portrait of The Crow’s Nest, a group formed in 1949, open to any Navy ROTC Midshipmen with a 2.0 GPA. The mission was to develop leaders and future Naval officers. Per the yearbook, “the mascot is any likely sea bird such as the penguin or albatross.” Was the entire yearbook staff stoned when they edited this?
If you really peer into this, you’ll see not only the YMCA being performed, but knives and swords at each other’s necks, a man in aviator glasses, a Greek Fisherman’s cap, and a jogging jacket, a gentleman in a nice blazer and his underwear taking a swig from a bottle, a cowboy taking a hit off a fatty–not to mention Los Tres Amigos at the bottom. Mercy.
Frat life seems much more tame by comparison. Note the gender roles being broken down as Wayne prepares a pot of chili for Wendy (whose Farrah Fawcett wings seem to be experiencing an uprising of their own). How could she resist the charms of such a hairy beast and his blow-dried tresses?
This next glimpse of campus life has no caption. With the exposed brassiere, I can only guess that it’s a feminist rally gone awry. We may never know.
And so ends our window into the dirty grime of The Bicentennial. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!