1951 - 1952

Director: David A. Field

Officer Body

  • President: George Kramer
  • Vice President: Barbara Lowman
  • Secretary: Marion Copping
  • Treasurer: Fred Wagner

Award Recipients

  • Best Act: "The Quadropods" (Mixed Quads Balancing) - Pat Hoxie, Marion Copping, Tony Lisehora, & George Kramer
  • Best Female Trouper: Nancy Shrop
  • Best Male Trouper: George Kramer

In the Army Now

Having completed his teaching requirement, Dr. Field returned to the University in the fall of 1951 to take up the directorship of the Gymkana Troupe once again. 

And the Troupe continued to develop new acts.  Combining two previous acts, George Kramer did the Roman Chair while holding up a six foot perch pole with Nancy Shrop atop.

Joan Hubbell did an act called ‘AccordionTap’ involving dance and gymnastics, all while playing her accordion.

"The Morticians", a juggling act, made its first appearance that year with Eric Winter and Byron Milligan.  Jim Houck, who would take up the act along with Steck Brink in 1954-55, reminisces:

“The act was developed by Eric Winter and Byron Milligan in high school - we think.  Their ‘schtick’ was to dress in black tuxedos, bowlers, and darkened eyes.  They brought a small coffin on stage, watched the audience with deep, intent stares, and never smiled.  It was a comedy act, not a "skills" act.  They used "prop" tombstones.  The first said, "Greatest Jugglers on Earth", the second, "Greatest Jugglers on this Stage", and lastly, "Jugglers?".  The climax was to accidently cut their wrists while juggling knives.  Blood gushed out of a tube at the wrist onto the open palm.  Byron would "tense" like a board and fall backward, while hoping that Eric would catch him by the shoulders.  Eric sometimes missed!”

Another new act, "Silhouettes in a Tunnel", had the following description in an April 4, 1952 Diamondback article,

“The head of one man was chiseled off, and a serious operation was performed on a person who was reported to have recently eaten in a popular local dining establishment.”

The act was reportedly very popular with the troops, who had to endure mess hall food on military bases.

Although there was no longer an actual Gymnastics team, men from the Troupe continued to have success in competition.

The theme of the sixth annual Home Show was "Testudo Looks Back", a retrospective on important events in the history of the University of Maryland from its founding up until that day.

A little bit of Gymkana’s history was noted in the Home Show program, where mention was made of the fact that the Troupe had given 125 performances so far in front of approximately 150,000 people.

This season one of the biggest highlights for the Troupe actually came after Home Show.  The very next week, the Troupe was flown on a Military Air Transport Service C-54 transport plane out to Mountain Home and Boise in Idaho, as well as Great Falls, Montana to put on performances for servicemen.   

Despite the fact that approximately two-thirds of the troupers got airsick, including Dr. Field, a veteran pilot, the shows that the Troupe put on were enthusiastically received.  Reinforcing the title, "Ambassadors of Good Will", this was the first time Gymkana was flown by the military to distant locales to entertain the troops.  It would not be the last.

1951-52 schedule.jpg