Web Extra: NoZe: A Short HistoryApril 6, 2003
Bro. Short Nose (William B.) Long compiled The Nose Brotherhood Knows: A Collection of Nothings and Non-Happenings, 1926-1965 -- the only known history of the group. Following are some excerpts from Bro. Long's book, plus additional information post-1965.
The Nose Brothers (originally an 's') began in 1926 as "just a fun-loving bunch of boys," according to Bro. Dude Nose Harrison as quoted in an April 12, 1931 story in the Dallas Morning New.
The fun-loving boys created their share of "nonevents," their name for pranks and appearances, throughout the years. There was the time the Nose disrupted a sermon given by Dr. George W. Truett, pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, at a revival President Pat Neff had arranged in the fall of 1941. They hid several alarm clocks set at three-minute intervals in the attic of Waco Hall. "Pandemonium reigned," remembers Bro. Worm (Master) Nose Bates. "Dr. Truett took the incident very well, but I thought President Neff might have a stroke." (p. 142) Then there was the incidence of "vertical exercising" at the annual Pink Tea in 1940, a routine that suspiciously resembled dancing, which was not allowed at Baylor at that time. (p. 143)
All innocent fun, really, that continued sporadically until a spring night in 1965, when the uneasy relationship between the Nose and Baylor's top officials came to a fiery and abrupt end. The wooden bridge spanning Waco Creek on campus burned down. According to legend, it was part on an ongoing prank in which the Nose Brothers painted the bridge pink and members of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, responsible for maintaining the bridge, would repaint it white. Although the details are sketchy, the first flame seemed to result from a combination of paint fumes and a spark from a lit cigar.
W.C. Perry, dean of students, released a statement to the media on April 5, 1965, announcing the Nose had been suspended. Furthermore, the release stated, "any attempt by the club to reactivate itself without compliance with regulations to which all other clubs are subject will be followed by disciplinary action against the individuals involved." (p. 136)
It seemed the student group was banished for good -- a sad, ignominious ending to what had begun as a noble experiment. They may have been gone, but they were not inactive. Prior to 1965, Nose "undress" was mostly optional, but after the bridge incident, brothers always appeared incognito. The 'z' in their group's name also became the norm.
Other changes were in The Rope. In the 1970s, its format and content changed, carrying more topical, and controversial, stories. The illicit newspaper was the only way the group could make its presence known, says Bro. IgNoZetius Reilly, current Lorde Mayor. "If we were going to be viable, we needed a presence, and if we could not be on campus, the paper was the next best thing," he says.
They were active enough to draw the wrath of President Abner McCall, who suspended the NoZe in 1978 for being "lewd, crude and grossly sacrilegious," according to an Oct. 7, 1997 article in The Lariat.
Through the '70s and '80s, the NoZe made sporadic appearances and continued to publish The Rope and hold its annual Pink Tea, one of their longest, ongoing traditions. "We'd go into seclusion for a while, they (the administration) would forget about us, and then we'd come back," Bro. Reilly says.
*[Reprinted in The Nose Brotherhood Knows: A Collection of Nothings and Non-Happenings, 1926-1965, by Bro. Short Nose (William B.) Long and Most Fortunate Mary Cole Farrow Long]