Every year, the Varsity Show likes to remind us that they are really fucking old. For today’s #TBT resident throwbacker Anna Hotter went deep into the Veesh’s archives to resurrect the show’s institutional history.

Before Roone Arledge there was the Waldorf Astoria. The Varsity Show was traditionally held in its grand ballroom until the advent of WWII. The first show to be held on Columbia’s campus was On The Double, the poster of which calls it a “navy-civilian presentation.”

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Another idiosyncrasy of the Varsity Show’s history is the fact that for a long time, women weren’t allowed to participate. This meant that male students of the College would have to play female roles, resulting in the infamous “Pony Ballet,” pictured below.

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Following Columbia’s turbulent ’68 protests, the show disappeared for over a decade. It was resurrected with the production of Columbia Graffiti in 1982 by a group of overzealous Sophomores.
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Columbia’s most well-known fight song Roar, Lion, Roar was actually written for the 1923 Varsity Show! This ties back in with the fact that profits from ticket sales used to be given to the athletics department, which is how the show got its name.

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Photos via the University Archives