Letters

Special praise

Illustration of banners on Langdell Hall

Credit: Illustration by Adam McCauley

Your Special Issue of the Bulletin commemorating the Harvard Law School bicentennial is the best I have ever read from any school or organization. It covers what is most important and covers it well. I liked everything about it, including the graphics (or maybe because of the graphics—after many years of experience with broadcasting art). I write to congratulate you.

An insult to his memory?

I have just read the Harvard Law Bulletin Special Issue. I liked it. I thought a lot of work went into it, but I would like to call your attention to what I think is a very significant gap. You did not have a section on most hated law professors. To omit A. James Casner from such a list is a true insult to his memory.

The importance of being frivolous

I enjoyed your article “Fun in Law.” Harvard Law School is very serious business so I think it’s vitally important to recognize frivolity and levity there. I was very pleased that you recognized the seminal significance of “Kid Me Not” and “Matter of Tot” because I was the principal writer of both of those shows in 1965-1966 along with Jim Friedlander ’66, who wrote all of the music. I don’t recall much about my classes but, significantly, I have remained corresponding friends with Jim; our director, Greg Good ’66; and our stage manager, Mark Gasarch ’66, among others. Jim and I decided to change the Law School show from unconnected sketches and songs to a more unified production, and the current “Parody” is consistent with that aim. Having been a federal administrative law judge/California state judge for almost 40 years, I learned how to be serious, but engaging in my inner child was a lot more fun.

Parody roots and shoots

I read and enjoyed your article “Fun in Law” in the Harvard Law Bulletin’s Special Issue commemorating the bicentennial of the Law School. I wish to point out that musical parodies and entertainments at the Law School began before 1961. During my stay in Cambridge there were several.

In 1958, when the film “No Time for Sergeants” appeared, a Story Hall resident wrote the parody “No Time for Sergeant Girls” with law school-oriented lyrics to show tunes including “Oklahoma” (“Har-vard Law School, where the panic comes the end of May”).

At the Class of 1959 beer party in the spring of 1959, at which comedian Mort Sahl performed, I played and sang a song I wrote about the recently opened tunnel running from Harkness Commons south to Austin Hall. It was titled “Griswold’s Folly.”

These songs were reprised at the Class of 1959’s 50th Reunion dinner in Cambridge in 2009.

Editor’s Note: “The Paper Chase”

The bicentennial issue included the account of a midnight screening at HLS in September of “The Paper Chase,” the movie based on the iconic book. After the issue came out, we heard from John Jay Osborn Jr. ’70, who wrote that book as a 3L and worked on the screenplay for the movie. His note is excerpted below:

“For some reason, it struck me powerfully that they were showing ‘The Paper Chase,’ in the open air, at HLS and the dean was in attendance. I know, I have been invited back to HLS to discuss ‘The Paper Chase.’ Also, I’ve participated in several fundraisers. But, but, … When ‘The Paper Chase’ first came out, the HLS administration was mad as hell—they hated it. Really. I was regarded as a pariah. … Oh well. So, that is why I am so grateful and amazed to see that the students, and perhaps the dean, can now recite the words to it.”