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November 17, 1957 - Image 9

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Sunday, November 17, 1957

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

Pnn iN

rage Nine

SURPRISE!-J. Fred Lawton looks pleasantly surprised after being shown a display contajning the
first copy of "Varsity," written by Lawton and Dean Earl V. Moore of the music school. The display
is in a local restaurant.

For His Christmas Gift-
Visit Our Store Full of Fine
Quality Men's Wear Gifts from
Nationally Advertised Lines
Beau Brummell Ties Field & Stream Jackets
Shapely Shirts Robitshek Surburban Coats
Jerks Sox Chippewa Bavarian Coats
Gates Mills Gloves Lie Long Suede Jackets
Coopers Jockey Underwear Alligator Raincoats
Champ Hots Middishade Suits
Pioneer Belts A. Wolf Topcoats
Pleetwoy Pajamas Imported Harris Tweed
Coats
Walk a Few Steps and Save Dollars
FROM OUR HUMOR DEPARTMENT

J. FRED LAWTON
He's Part of a Fast-Disappearing Species

By LANE VANDERSLICE facts and figures lie likes to tell
Daiy staff writer most is the story of how he and
CARICATURED by movies. sup- (now) music school Dean Earl
posedly feared by f o o tb a l1 V. Moore wrote "Varsity."
coaches and rarely seen by stu- Lawton tells it so well that it
dents, the "old grad" in his tradi- seems a shame to let anyone but
tional form is rapidly becoming him do so. Leanng forward on his
the most recent kind of "vanishing chair, his glasses slipped down on
American." his nose, his hands emphasizing
For the alumnus who devotes details, he absorbs the 'listener
much of his time to his old school into his story.
is disappearing as the modern stu- It was October 3, 1911. Dean
den, whose interests and affection Moore and Lawton met in front
lie elsewhere, takes over, of the Majestic Building in De-
But the University still has troit. Lawton lived in Detroit,
alumni who devote time and effort having been graduated the year
to it. Perhaps none of them ex- before. "We talked for a while,"
emplify he traditional concept of Lawton said, "and then Earl said
the "old grad' as well as does J. Michigan needed a new song."

Fred Lawton.
Although he is the man who
wrote the lyrics to "Varsity," and
many other Michigan songs, in
recent years he has needed more
and more of an introduction to
University students.
A HEALTHY, active man whose
69 years would pass for 15 less
if it were not for a slight stoop
and his reminiscences, Lawton can
talk your arm off and make it a
painless operation.
Alive with memories of the Uni-
versity, he is. a treasure house of
Michigan lore dating from both
before and after his attendance
here - and can quote facts and
figures at the drop of a name or
date.
And probably the collection of
Observatory
(Continued from Page 8,
mits the continuous recording of
gas motions along the line of sight
simultaneously with the ordinary
two-dimensional photographs of
motion in the plane of the sky.
Combination of the two records
results in the determination of the
actual three-dimensional space
motions of solar gases.
To complete the observatory's
instrumentation the 70-foot Mc-
Gregor Tower Telescope was con-
structed in 1940. That tower is
designed for the recording of the
radiant energy of solar phenom-
ena, simultaneously with the re-
cording of motions in the 50-foot
tower. The McGregory Tower, or
solar telescope, feeds sunlight to
a great variety of the most modern
instruments of analysis.
An office building, library and
instrument and machine shop ad-
join the telescopes.
A major part of the cost of the
physical plant and instruments has
been met with private funds, but
the University has contributed an
Increasing share of the costs of
operation as the observatory has
grown to be an integral part of the
observing facilities of the depart-
ment of astronomy.

SO THEY DECIDED to write one.
Having no place nearby where
they could go, they got on a street-
car and rode to Lawton's house.
'While we were riding, I tried to
think of some words. Then the
words came." and Lawton paused
and lowered his voice, 'Varsity,
we're for you-Here for you-to
cheer for you-we have no fear
for you-our Varsity.'
"'Geez,' I said, 'there's four
rhsymes.' Earl and I repeated them
to ourselves until we came to our
stop.,
Then, according to Lawton, they
got off the trolley and "ran like
the devil" down to his house and
the piano. Dean Moore sat down
to play. "Evidently he had gotten
the meter on he trolley," Lawton
said, "because he played the mel-
ody once and it hasn't been
changed since.
"After we went through this, I
said to Earl that it was one of
the easiest songs we had ever
written. 'It isn't written yet,' he
said, 'we still need a First stanza.' "
Dean Moore told Lawton it
needed something about defense
and offense and loyalty.
AND SO THE PRESENT first
stanza of 'Varsity' was the re-
sult. "Varsity-Down the field-
Never yield-Raise high our shield
--march on to victory for Michi-
gan ..." But here they were stuck.
Finding the tag "., . and the
Maize and Blue." took almost as
much time as writing the rest of
it. But they did, and finally were
done.
But they were not nearly done
with the playing of it. That Fri-
day, Lawton came to Ann Arbor
for a pep meeting in the old Uni-
versity Hall. Pep rallies were not
the seemingly well-organized af-
fairs that they are today, for Dean
Moore had to climb up on a lad-
der to play the organ and the
janitor said everyone had to be
out by 9 p.m.
They cheered and sang, and
then "Varsity" was given its pre-
miere. It wasn't too long before
it was time to close, but the crowd
shouted "to hell with the janitor"
every time he mentioned closing
up,

So after more cheering, "Var-
sity" was given an encore. When
the rally finally broke up, Lawton
"heard some of the crowd whis-
tling 'Varsity' as they walked
across campus. We had no idea,
or at least didn't have very great
hopes, that the song would ever'
last," Lawton said.
SONGS during this time seem
to have been written at the
drop of the then-traditional fresh-
man beanie, and La'ton wrote as
many as anyone. He helped write
and was in the first four all-male
operas, before the Union became
associated with them. Students
could make small fortunes by
writing songs for these operas.
Lawton, for example, made $500
in royalties from one song, "My
Dear" dedicated to his wife, the
former Marjorie Newton. In those
days, $500 was nearly enough to
put Lawton through school for
a year.
Besides song wiing Lawton
was a member of the varsity foot-
ball team, The Daily, Sphinx and
Michigamua and Trigon frater-
nity.
Lawton has devoted much of
his time since graduation to being
an alumnus. In one of the first
operas he did an imitation of
Fielding H. Yost which he still
does for alumni groups.
On the more serious side, he
edits the Detroit University of
Michigan Club newspaper and has
written enough poems and songs
for the University to fill a good-
sized book.
He and Dean Moore were honor-
ed last year by the Los Angeles
U-M Club for their contributions
to University tradition.
At this program, the University
Glee Club premiered his and Dean
Moore's latest composition, a sa-
lute to the Glee Club for its 100th
anniversary.
LAWTON emphasizes service to
the University. He says "a
student should feel himself en-
rolled for all his life in his Uni-
versity."
"There should be five stages in
a University man's life," Lawton
says. The first four-Freshman,
Sophomore, Junior and Senior-
should be where a University man
learns to appreciate and benefit
from his University, and the final
stage - alumnus - is where he
should give back to the University
part of what the University has
given him.
This "giving back" seems to
have shaped Lawton's life. What
has he gained from all this? One
of his remarks gives the answer
as well as it can be given. "If I
knew of anyone from here to Chi-
cago who has been as happy as I
have, I'd pay his way to my home
so I could talk with him and find
out how he did it."

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