On the Saturday evening of December 8, 1951 the first annual Little Men's Christmas Jolly was held up at Rick's Bar in Oakland, California. Various members of the Little Men were held up and kept from staggering at the end of the festivities by their wives, sweethearts, and what-have-you, so the score was more or less even.
The Little Men are probably the only Science fiction organization in the country which counts among its members, a combination bar-owner, painter, copper-smith, and organist and we feel quite fortunate about this. In fact, we feel that Rick Thorne will be a definite advantage to the members of the 11th World Science Fiction Convention when it gets to San Francisco in 1953. (Plug) While fairly small, Rick's held about fifty Little Men and their friends, and there was room for many more; in fact, many more wandered in, shook his, her, or their heads, and wandered back out.
The writer, ordinarily fairly level-headed, had as much discretion concerning alcohol, in its various stages, as a Jersey mosquito, so much of this report is second hand at best and should be taken with a grain of salt, unless, of course, you happen to be on a salt-free diet. 1
Early in the evening it was moved and approved by the Executive Committee that the Chairman be assassinated; upon being informed of this the Chair tabled the resolution and moved a counter-resolution that the Executive Committee be done away with. The resolution died for lack of a second.
Gladys Fabun, one of the Society's Founding Fathers - and this might strike you as odd until you realize that among the Little Men anything is possible -- was presented with a hand-wrought copper horse's head plaque as a token of the organization's esteem for having suffered for, with, and over it these last three years. Don Fabun, editor of this magazine, and always a handy man with a bon mot, suggested that this writer be hung up with the plaque, thus completing the horse. The Chair then rose and moved the assassination of the Rd editor. This motion was tabled, or rather, barred.
Stray wisps of conversation are rather unfaithfully reproduced here in the hope that these will be indicative of the temperament that historic night:
"This is the oddest science fiction group I've ever seen; no one talks about science fiction! ... outside and take a deep breath, that'll -- c'mon I'll show you. ... She was only a fire-fly's daughter, but he was a son of a bee. ... Now what could we do with mistletoe under the tables? ... Gentlemen: To the Queen! ... terms of I.A.U. units where sigma equals plus-three-four-three and eta equals plus-two-seven ... stinks, hey! The Executive Committee stinks, hey! ... C'mon pay up. You drinking beer or are you a snob? ... Why Mr. Delaplane, you look exactly like Herb Caen ... It's about time you recognized me ... do you think about Saroyan? ...so how about letting me have some fun for a while ... says, 'But what would you do with two dollars worth?' ..."
Entertainment was provided first by the Outer Okefenokee Band consisting of (1) Louie -- a non-descript character never before or after seen -- on the hot drums, (2) Rick on the hot organ, (3) Tom Quinn on the hot washboard, (4) Phil on the hot piano, (5) Bob McCary on the hot guitar, and (6) Eric Ely on the hot string washtub bass. This peculiar assemblage actually made music which was pleasant to the ear until the Jug and Jolly Boys entered the hall like a herd of frightened Diplocauli. 2 This group of characters sang -- with D.B.Moore, the hot bass; Eric Ely and George P. Finigan, the hot tenors, and T. Quinn as the hot somnambulist -- a group of songs purporting to be Berkeley Folk Music. Among these was "The Cardinals be Damned," an old ditty expressing the sincere feeling every Cal man has for every Stanford man; and "T'was Christmas on the Island" another sentimental ballad.
Here the Chair rose and moved that the Jug and Jolly Boys be assassinated, this was loudly seconded by members of the Outer Okefenokee Band, and the storm began to break. It was brother against brother, father against son, and the Boys-in-Blue gathered against the Boys-in-Grey, the whole being dominated by an authentic Rebel yell by D.B. Moore. The Little Men however are always reasonable until pushed, so bad blood was averted by the Secretary -- G. Pete Finigan -- reminding everyone that it was neither the first nor third Friday of the month, the regular meeting time of the organization, so that no business could be conducted.
The Jolly ended officially at 2 am, but was continued unofficially all the next day. This writer wouldn't know; he was in bed suffering from what seemed to be a strange form of poisoning.
1 Der Schreibgeopolitic und das Essen Salz-Frei. Wepfer, E. Zeitschr. d. d. geol. Gesell, Monatsb. 74 (1922), 39-47
2 Certaine Egalites Entre Diplocaulus et Les Garcons des Jugs et Jolis. Troulet, J. Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci., Parts, 146 (1908) 346-347.
Data entry and page scans provided by Judy Bemis
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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