Today in NC State History: State gets “punk’d” by writer

March 14, 2013
By Chris Saunders
A cover of a book written by hoaxter Alan Abel. On it, you can see SINA's solution to world's problems -- a clothed horse.

A cover of a book written by hoaxter Alan Abel. On it, you can see SINA's solution to world's problems -- a clothed horse.

A story that appeared in The Technician early in March 1963 had all the makings to launch a protest on campus. It spelled out one man’s indignation at an ill he viewed as so perilous to society, he was willing to dedicate the next 10 years of his life and his $400,000 inheritance from his father to remedy it.

As president of the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, G. Clifford Prout saw it as his duty to travel the country and clothe every animal, whose birthday suits he saw as leading to the moral decay of the country. The Technician spelled out SINA’s contention “that the immorality of America is caused by the slight skads [sic] of little naked animals running around, flaunting their ‘vital parts.'” So Prout decided to start a chapter of SINA on many college campuses, including NC State, to carry out his charge.

“Be it resolved,” the SINA constitution read, according to The Technician, “that the members of SINA shall devote their time and energy to clothe all naked animals that appear in public, namely horses, cows, dogs, and cats, including any animal that stands higher than four inches and is longer than six inches.”

Prout also proposed a march in Washington, D.C., to protest then-first lady Jackie Kennedy and her daughter, Caroline, riding nude horses. And he offered a contest that called for each participants to write an essay of between 100 and 10,000 words addressing the theme, “Why I Choose to Be a Decent Person.”

But on this day 50 years ago, The Technician admitted that it (like students at several other universities) had been pranked and that SINA and Prout were hoaxes thought up by American prankster Alan Abel. And it turns out that Prout, himself, was played in public appearances by none other than comedy writer, Saturday Night Live alumnus and screenwriter of The Graduate Buck Henry.

“Well it finally happened,” The Technician reported on this day in 1963. “THE TECHNICIAN was played for a fool. …We think it’s a shame. We can’t help but wonder how our cows would look in petticoats.”

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2 Responses to “Today in NC State History: State gets “punk’d” by writer”

  1. Alan Abel says:

    Thanks for the memory TECHNICIAN! The SINA campaign ran for 4 yrs. like a runaway horse….clothed of course…..and remember, “A nude horse is a rude horse.” It was so much fun and I’m still at it! Sincerely, Alan Abel (www.abelraisescain.com)

  2. Alan Abel says:

    P.S. A few months before he died, Walter Cronkite had dinner with a friend who told Buck Henry Walter was still angry over having promoted SINA as a real organization on his nightly news during 1963; i.e. he carried this chip on his shoulder for nearly half-a-century! He was’n remaining angry about Hitler, Hussein or Castro. Just Henry and Abel. Hmmmmmmm. Nevertheless, may he RIP.

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