They Call Him The Streak
March 28, 2017
A cultural phenomenon swept through the United States in the spring of 1974, exposing the public to, uh, ‘things’ never before seen. I’m talking, of course, about ‘streaking.’
On March 28 of that year, one of the writers for the Tonight Show stripped down and streaked on air much to the surprise of host Johnny Carson.
This was not the first or the last incident and it may have been connected to the release
the previous day (March 27) of Ray Steven’s hit record “The Streak.” The song reached number one on the charts in May 1974 and remained there for three weeks.
Streaking took place at the Academy Awards, on college campuses, and at sporting events throughout the spring. The record for simultaneous streaking was set at the University of Georgia when 1,543 students disrobed on March 7, 1974. By summer, however, the novelty was gone and streaking ran off into pop culture history.
Ray Steven’s song lives on as a reminder of far more fun and innocent times in the spring of 1974. Here’s the YouTube video for all to enjoy!
My high school was not immune from the phenomenon. I have a distinct memory of the school being all abuzz with talk that Mel C. had streaked during PE class! Mel was quite the character and of all the students in the school, he was absolutely the one to buck convention and go buck naked.
I knew Mel because, like me, he was on the Reveille staff. Between Mort, the editor in chief, the assistant editor, Dick, yearbook, and Mel, the copy editor, yearbook class was never boring. Like the time Dick climbed out of one of the second floor windows onto a flat roof adjacent to the room, taking a desk and chair with him, and then sitting outside at the desk. It was Mel who locked him out there. The sarcastic wit and barbs never ceased with that trio.
Our adviser seemed to enjoy the guys’ shenanigans and they never got in trouble. But in looking at the annual, not a single photo or reference exists to chronicle the day Mel C. streaked at Eisenhower High School in the spring of 1974.