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who, what, when


Housekeeping 101? Why are these students gung-ho about cleaning? And what happened to the college’s custodial staff? If you know the answer, tell us the story at 518-580-5747,, or Scope c/o Skidmore College. We’ll report answers, and run a new quiz, in the upcoming Scope.


Nurses or Rockettes? Neither, as Heather Robinson Thorp ’60 has good reason to know. “When I saw the picture,” she writes, “I saw my mother, Janet Miller Robinson ’33, fourth from the left.” (Heather’s daughter Caitlin Robinson ’00 also recognized her grandmother, but deferred to her mom to answer the quiz.) Says Thorp, “It’s the senior vaudeville show, and they are the tap-dancing Metaphen Chorus.” The act was a send-up of the college’s experiment with Metaphen, a mercury-based germicide, as a cold and flu preventive. In the winter of 1933 more than 100 students—identified by the infirmary as especially prone to colds—were enlisted to dose themselves twice a day with Metaphen nasal spray. The results were unspectacular.

But the spoof was a hit. Thorp quotes the 1933 Eromdiks yearbook: “For perfection of technique the Metaphen tap chorus surpassed all other scenes. The lighting was grand, the costumes adorable, and the dance extremely clever and perfectly executed.”

No wonder Marjorie Yetter Walls ’33 remembers it to this day; describing it over the phone, she was still chuckling.