By Bruce Brooks
Airborne Hot Coffee
In Studio X in 1966 we had an early type of ESR (Electronic Surface Recording) machine come to the studio to record some point data from a full size clay model we were working on. The machine would pick the X, Y and Z points on a section of the clay surface. That information was recorded on a reel of long black paper tape by punching a series of small round holes. The tiny punched out circular dots of paper were then collected in a tray inside the machine to be disposed of later. When the point picking was complete the reel of paper with a series of holes was saved to use for the transfer of data to make an engineering line drawing.
Ken Sheridan, who was the studio engineering chief, had an idea for a prank to play using a large amount of dots from the tray. He collected a Styrofoam coffee cup full of those dots. He then pretended to pour himself a cup from the coffee pot and exclaimed that it was too hot to drink just then. As he walked over to a vertical engineering drawing board where Dick Berweiler and John Strother were working, Ken pretended to accidently trip on the edge of the rail. He stumbled forward toward them with the hot coffee cup in hand. The cup tipped over and let fly with the contents into the air. Dick and John, thinking that what they were seeing was hot coffee flying toward them, nearly fell over each other to get out of the way. With verbal grief and then some relief they realized that it was not hot coffee. They both said that when seeing all of those little black dots of paper flying toward them, it sure made it look like the real thing.
Clay Bowling Ball
During the winter months in 1967 in Studio X Dick Berweiler was a member of a Design Staff bowling league at a local bowling alley. The day of the week he was scheduled to bowl after work he would bring his bowling bag into the studio to keep warm. That way his shoes were more comfortable to put on and the ball warm and ready for play.
At that time Pete Bond-Nelson and John O’Brien were working in the studio as part of the modeling team. Pete decided he would plan a little joke on Berweiler.
During his lunch hour one day Pete began to shape a bowling ball out of modeling clay. He worked on it out of sight in a side storage area of the studio. Over a few days the ball took shape complete with finger holes. It was finished off with a coat of black Krylon spray paint.
Pete knew that John was playing with the same league that Dick was. Pete then collaborated with John to bring an extra empty bowling bag with him into the studio the day they were scheduled to play. That afternoon Dick was out of the studio on lunch hour so Pete and John did the switch then. They put Dick’s ball into John’s empty bag and the clay ball into Dick’s bag.
The plan was set with John bringing his own bag that he had left in his car and the bag with Dick’s regular ball to the bowling alley. When Dick arrived inside the alley John kept a close eye on him as he prepared to open his bag. John said that when Dick opened the bag and took out the ball the look of shocked surprise on his face was just too funny for words. Dick anguished for a few moments over what had happened with his regular ball and what was he to do without it. John then walked over to Dick with the other bag and asked him to open it. Much to his relief there it was. John then related the details of the trick he and Pete had played on him. Dick kept a close look for what was in his bag after that.