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Assault and Flattery

Faculty Involvement

The lampooning of UT Law Faculty, including deans, is a long-established element of Assault & Flattery. Not all of the professors were pleased with being parodied or otherwise mocked in the show. Professor Charles Alan Wright, the subject of multiple songs and parodies, expressed this firm opinion of what should be done with the show in an interview with the Texas Law Forum, a now defunct UT Law School newspaper:

Law Professors in skit, 1972
Professors Richard V. Barndt, David W. Robertson,
and Corwin W. Johnson (?)

Q: You never attended Assault & Flattery.
CAW: Never.
Q: Why?
CAW: It ought to be abolished.
Q: How do you know if you’ve never been?
CAW: As all reasonable men do except in the law courts, rely on hearsay.
Q: Why should it be abolished?
CAW: Why should the students be allowed to make fun of the faculty?
Q: How many faculty members make fun of students?
CAW: I don’t know. I hope none. I don’t.
Q: Why shouldn’t students have this right?
CAW: Because we’re working here together for a serious purpose, and I don’t think that it contributes to that purpose if we’re ridiculing one another.

- Page 4, December 9, 1967 Texas Law Forum


Happily not everyone on the faculty shared Professor Wright’s opinion. Faculty have been involved with Assault & Flattery since the show’s first official performance in 1953.

The first Assault & Flattery featured a faculty skit called “A Dozen Wicked Legs,” in which a group of faculty including Dean Page Keeton, Corwin Johnson, Gus Hodges, Gray Thoron, Joe Sneed, and Jack Proctor performed the cancan in drag. Gus Hodges' wife, Elizabeth Hodges, accompanied the men on piano. By all accounts the audience loved the skit, which took the prize for best skit of 1953. Although the faculty skit never again won best skit, faculty involvement in Assault & Flattery remained strong, with Dean Page Keeton, Associate Dean T. J. Gibson, and others making repeat appearances, performing songs and even—as in the case of soft-shoeing Professor Ernest Smith—dancing.

Faculty involvement in the show continues to the present day, both as video clips and as walk-on cameos.