His parties were infamous. He was a Pied Piper for young, impressionable baby boomers, a wild man disguised behind a tweed suit, pipe sucking, staid English facade. Young “Professor Ted” was a step ahead of the times, especially at conservative University of Southern California. His annual Spring Solstice soiree at his sprawling “pad” was an event for boomers and anyone who was not everyone.

A self-styled Sociology Department “chemist,” he threw combustible boomer pop culture elements in a beaker and let nature do the stirring. On the guest list were Jesuit priests, Hindus or Buddhists or both, orthodox Jews, atheists, devil-worshippers, “new agers,” and a regular from the Reformed Voodoo Church of Watts. Old Left, New Left, Anarchists, Democrats, Republicans, John  Birch Society. Interracial couples were a must. Black/white, of course, but that was becoming passe, so how about Native American and Chinese? Or black/white same sex? Beatniks, Black Panthers, feminists, male chauvinists, burlesque dancers, dwarfs, deaf, ex-cons, hippies, and nudists.

How could he know and romance so many different people? Besides his classrooms, he hung out at bars in every section of Los Angeles and managed to meld with the crowd. It was a talent. He never changed his look or personality, and everyone trusted him. As one fellow said: “He’s too weird not to be real.”

It was more than a United Nations forum. It was the Stars Wars bar. The parties were a free-or-all—-the laissez-faire market place of ideas in action. Tempers flared, nasty words were exchanged, and a punch might thrown. Yet, out of it came, if not understanding and compassion, at least a broadening of horizons. It was a far cry from “politically correct” college life today. Back then, the term meant spelling the word right.

Professor Ted’s Reading List for Sociology 101

The Stranger, Albert Camus
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Lord of the Flies, William Golding
The Crucible, Arthur Miller
The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Howl, Alan Ginsberg
The Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
Growing Up Absurd, Paul Goodman
The Other America, Michael Harrington


Match Game: Connect these personalities to their notoriety:

Mario Savio
Chuck Burris
Phil Spector
Russ Meyer
Kirk Cameron

Record Producer convicted of murder/Child Star now an evangelical Christian/Game Show Host who claimed to be a CIA agent/Led Berkeley Free Speech Movement/Director of sleazy grade-B sex movies.

Boomers  in Common: What do all these celebrities share?

Bob Denver
Phylicia Rashad
Sheena Easton
Carlos Santana
Patricia Neal

Answers at end of post


1997→  President Clinton names his Labrador retriever, “Buddy.”
1988→ Political cult leader Lyndon LaRouche convicted of tax and mail fraud.
1983 The Who announces the group is disbanding.
1980Alexander Haig names President Reagan’s Secretary of State.
1978Ronald Reagan denounces President Jimmy Carter’s recognition of China.
1976 Andrew Young is named Ambassador to the United Nations.
1975One Day at a Time premieres on television.

1972→  Miami Dolphins become the first undefeated NFL team (14-0-0).
1971Don McLean’s 8+ minute version of American Pie hits the market.
1966→  Jimi Hendrix Experience releases its first single, Hey Joe.
1962 Hollywood blockbusteer Lawrence of Arabia premieres.
1953 President Eisenhower and 161 reporters conduct the first White Press Conference.
1950 President Truman proclaims state of emergency against “Communist imperialism.”


Match Game: Connect these personalities to their notoriety:

Mario Savio→ Led Berkeley Free Speech Movement.
Chuck Burris→ Game Show Host. CIA agent?
Phil Spector→ Record Producer convicted of murder.
Russ Meyer→ Director of sleezy grade-B sex movies.
Kirk Cameron→ Child star now an evangelical Christian.

Boomers in Common: All currently have or had a Eastern religious guru.

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