Pranks and gags: What would university life be without them?

By in Culture

As long as there have been students at the University of Saskatchewan, there have been pranks. The following four examples show that a mischievous spirit has always been alive on this campus, no matter the decade.

Hollywood starlet hoax visits U of S to promote blood drive

In 1954, Winnipeg theatre actress Marie-Ann Meyers, was flown to Saskatoon and given the royal treatment to convince students, media — including the Sheaf! — and Saskatoon residents that she was a well-known Hollywood actress. The idea was born from a desire to encourage participation in a blood donation drive. Meyers gave a speech to 2,000 students on campus, had an all-expenses paid stay at the Bessborough Hotel and gave a radio interview, during which she described her everyday life as a starlet. Only a handful of people were in on the prank. Four days later the Ottawa Citizen picked up the story, reporting the hoax.

Straddling the Physics Building — for a thrill?

Little is known as to who the man in this photograph is or how he found his way to the rooftop of the Physics Building in 1914. As is often the case with history, some secrets are meant to disappear along with those involved. One thing is certain — it would be much more difficult to get away with this prank today.

Graffiti on the Engineering building advertises law cabaret

The wild days of the 1950s didn’t end with the starlet prank. By 1957, a feud between the law students and the engineering students resulted in this paint job on the front of the Engineering Building, aiming to promote the College of Law’s upcoming cabaret. Accompanying the graffiti was an anonymous poem on a piece of cardboard: “Here’s to the legal eagle, that great and glorious bird; here’s to the Engineering Building, where our eagle drops his t***!”

Drinkle Building an ideal spot for pranksters looking for trouble

In 1909, the Drinkle building at 3rd Avenue and 22nd Street in Saskatoon was the official U of S campus. Perhaps in an effort to keep the fun alive between classes, students would sneak onto the rooftop of the building and drop paper bags full of water onto the heads of unsuspecting passers-by. It was even rumoured that one particular student dropped some rotten tomatoes onto the head of the police commissioner. Nobody — except those involved — is sure how this turned out.


University Library, Archives & Special Collections / Sheaf February 19, 1954 cover

University Library, Archives & Special Collections / A-289

University Library, Archives & Special Collections / Greystone 1956-57

University Library, Archives & Special Collections / A-10842