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White Assault and Flattery on black background, with white comedy and tragedy masks to the left

1950s

Program cover:  First Annual Law Day April 17, 1953 The University of Texas School of Law Austin

Although students enjoyed an informal collection of skits in 1952, the first official Assault & Flattery took place in 1953 as part of the first Law Day’s activities, and was organized by law student Ed Weiss. The revue (according to the 1963 playbill) aimed to “bring Faculty and students together for a night of mirth and frivolity.” In contrast to more recent performances such as Motion’s Eleven (2011), these early performances were known only as Assault & Flattery. Also unlike today’s show, the Assault & Flattery of the 1950s consisted of a series of sketches put on by various law school organizations as part of a competition. Faculty performed a sketch as well.

   First Annual Law Day Program, 1953
   Assault & Flattery Program, 1959
   Law Wives Skit, 1959

Ticket: Sixth Annual Law Day Assault & Flattery followed by Barrister's Ball Friday April 25,1958 7:15-12p.m. Townes Hall $1.25

Winners of Assault & Flattery (1953-1959):
1953: Faculty
1954: Delta Theta Phi
1955: Law Wives
1956: Praetors
1957: Phi Alpha Delta
1959: Praetors

 

 

1960s

Program cover: The First Annual Pae Keeton Law Week April 7-12, 1969

Much like the Assault & Flattery performances of the 1950s, the shows of the 1960s comprised sketches put on by various law school organizations and the faculty. Unfortunately the show took on a harsh, biting tone, offending faculty and others. Dean Page Keeton assigned Professor Byron Fullerton the task of screening Assault & Flattery submissions. However students frequently ad-libbed portions that had been omitted from the official script.

As the 1960s progressed, the show suffered from declining student interest and tired material. As a result of these problems, Assault & Flattery ceased production in 1967. The show found new life in 1969 when mid-law Milt Oberman revived a more professional and good-natured version of Assault & Flattery, and the show became an official Law Week event.

Assault & Flattery Program, 1960
Assault & Flattery Program, 1961
Assault & Flattery Program, 1962
Assault & Flattery Program, 1963
Assault & Flattery Program, 1964
Law Wives Skit 1964
Assault & Flattery Program, 1966

 

 

1970s

The 1970s brought some notable changes to Assault & Flattery. The show proved so popular that the one-night-only show turned into a two-night affair in 1977, extending to three nights in 1979. 

Performers holding "Mobil" and "Exxon" briefcases, 1978

As in the past, the shows took place during Law Week. The format of the show began to shift in the 1970s, marking the transformation of Assault & Flattery from a collection of skits to a show united by a larger theme. In 1976, Assault & Flattery bore the additional title My Fair Lawyer. The students built Act 1 around the My Fair Lawyer theme, while Act 2 comprised of the more familiar series of sketches, songs, and guest appearances.

Assault & Flattery Song Lyrics, 1975
Assault & Flattery Mailer, 1979

1980s

Although the show continued to run as part of the Law Week festivities, Assault & Flattery was no longer a collection of skits built around a competition. By the 1980s production took on the themed format it enjoys today.

Photo of band Rehearsing “La Bamba” from 1988 Peregrinus, p. 21

Rehearsing "La Bamba"

The stand-alone musical sketches in the show evolved as well. By the mid-1980s Medley, UT Law’s a cappella group, began to appear in Assault & Flattery productions. Assault & Flattery gained official student group status in 1984. Official status did not eliminate the controversy surrounding the show, and Assault & Flattery continued to occasionally offend the sensibilities of some viewers, including the Women’s Law Caucus, which elected to pull its skit from the 1989 Assault & Flattery in protest.The production's popularity continued, enjoying an all-time high of four performances in 1989.

Program cover: Assault  & Flattery 1989 Legal Shop of Horrors Productions:
1980: All That Juzztice
1981: The Best Little Law School in Texas
1982: A Juris Line
1983: Texas Cabaret
1984: Wizard of Laws
1985: My Fair Lawyer
1986: The Rocky Lawyer Picture Show
1987: Grief is the Word
1988: Heir
1989: Legal Shop of Horrors

Skit Script, Law Trek V - The Final Exam

1990s

The 1990s brought no major changes to Assault & Flattery. As before, the student organization continued to delight its audiences with an annual show performed on multiple evenings during Law Week.

Program cover:  Assault & Flattery 1990 presents The Blues Barristers March 1st and 2nd 7:00 p.m. March 3rd 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.Productions:
1990: The Blues Barristers
1991: A Corpus Line
1992: Ten Legal Indians
1993: Wizard of Lawz
1994: The Best Little Law Firm in Texas
1995: The Sound of Mersky
1996: Greed
1997: Hire
1998: Fiddler with the Truth
1999: Damn Attorneys

Many years a "cheat sheet" or key was available to the audience to introduce the characters and provide a brief overview of the traditions and history of the Law School referred to in the skits.

Cheat Sheet, 1995

2000s

In 2005, the Assault & Flattery performance occurred after, rather than during, Law Week. Since then, it has remained independent of Law Week.

Group photo of cast of The Usual Subjects, 2001

Cast of The Usual Subjects, 2001

Productions:
2000: The Law of the Jungle
2001: The Usual Subjects
2002: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courtroom
2003: The Professors
2004: Star Crossed Lawyers
2005: Issuespotting
2006: The Big Dzienkowski
2007: Willy Wonka and the Bad Legal Pun
2008: A Study Carrel
2009: Schiess All That

Audition Information, 2005

2010s

Assault & Flattery is a law school tradition that continues to the present. The musical comedy revue now boasts its own website and YouTube channel.

Assault and Flattery Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Peregrinus, 2013

Poster: Assault & Flattery Feat. Main Show, Medley, and the A & F Band A version of Top Gun that's intentionally funny Top Gunner Thursday, March 4-Sunday, March 7, 2010 UTOPIA Theatre, School of Social Work
Productions:
2010: Top Gunner
2011: Motion’s Eleven
2012: Callback to the Future
2013: Harry Potter and the Order of the Peregrinus
2014: Clue
2015: The Hutcheson Games
2016: Ward of the Rings
2017: Section X-Men