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"Bull Hyde and Little Peewee" from College Humor

by Ellis Parker Butler
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from College Humor
Bull Hyde and Little Peewee
by Ellis Parker Butler

Not all the tales told about the famous college athlete and his friend Little Peewee are true. Whenever a man becomes famous a lot of lies are told about him.

I read an item the other day that said Bull Hyde, when he was at Stanford, stood on the top of the Rocky Mountains and swung his arms three times and jumped, making a try for the wide-jump record. It said he jumped eighteen miles high and landed away up on the Canadian border, between New York and Ontario. It said he might have jumped as far as Maine except that he saw the Atlantic Ocean ahead of him, and for that reason alighted. It said he alighted between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and that he came down so hard his heels poked two holes in the rocks. It said the water pouring into one heel hole now made the American, falls, and the water pouring into the other now made the Canadian falls of Niagara Falls. Before that, the item said, there were no falls there at all.

That whole story is a fake, as anyone who ever saw Bull Hyde jump would know at once, because Bull Hyde never in his life alighted hard enough to even so much as jar himself. He would never have broken down a cliff in alighting. As a matter of fact, alighting gently after a jump was a specialty of his.

Little Peewee

When he was attending Johns Hopkins at Baltimore, he went over to Washington one afternoon and on a bet did a standing jump over Washington Monument.

This in itself was not much of a jump for Bull, but the bet stipulated that Little Peewee was to place two new-laid hen's eggs on the ground just where Bull was to alight. Bull cleared the top of the monument and came down on the eggs so lightly -- one heel on each egg -- that the shells were not even cracked.

Little Peewee took the two eggs back to Johns Hopkins and sat on them in bed for the requisite period and hatched out of them Bull Hyde's celebrated chickens, Anthony and Cleopatra. These were the chickens Little Peewee taught to translate Latin. Clever lad, that.

Bull Hyde never did much at the long jump, but he got quite a reputation by some of his other jumps. It was Bull who jumped off the Woolworth Building in New York on a bet that he could alight on the high hat of a pedestrian, in Broadway without the pedestrian's knowing it. Bull poised on the railing of the tower ready to jump and thought he heard the pistol shot that was to be the signal to jump, and he jumped, but when he was halfway down he realized that what he had heard was an automobile tire exploding, and he turned around and went back up to the tower.

To the people in the street below it looked as if he were doing the impossible, stopping in mid-air and going back up to the tower, but there was nothing miraculous about it. When Bull discovered he had jumped too soon, he looked down and saw a scrap of paper floating below him, so he landed on that for an instant and then jumped back up to the tower.

It was Bull Hyde who invented the celebrated "going-coming" jump. He made his first "going-coming" jump at Columbia. Bull had a pair of jumping shoes made out of kangaroo hide that he always wore when doing any jump of particular importance. While the kangaroo is quite a jumper, Bull never said he got much more distance by wearing those shoes, but he did think he got a little more distance when wearing them, so he usually wore them when jumping.

This day he was standing on the library steps at Columbia and somebody dared him to jump to Bedloe's Island, where the Statue of Liberty stands, in one jump. Bull swung his arms and jumped. He cleared upper New York, Times Square, and was over the Singer Building in lower New York when he saw he was not going to quite make Bedloe's Island. But Bull was always a quick thinker in athletics and he agitated his brain and saw why he had miscalculated. He had not put on his kangaroo hide shoes. So, instantly, he swerved out over Jersey City, up past Hoboken and back to Columbia, alighting on the exact step from which he had taken off.

Little Peewee has this all written down in the black book, and at Columbia they can show you the step he jumped from.

One of Bull Hyde's best jumps was made when he was attending Boston University. Bull himself never referred to it much because he considered it a stunt jump, but Little Peewee has an account of it in the black book.

It seems that Bull went for a stroll with his dog Mamie, and one of Mamie's fleas got on Bull and climbed inside his clothes and began biting him in the middle of the back. Bull could not reach the flea because of his clothes, and he could not take his clothes off because just then he had reached the vicinity of the Bunker Hill Monument and there was an excursion group of lady schoolteachers from Kansas there, looking at the monument.

Bull Hyde looked up at the top of the monument, swung his arms, stooped down and jumped. As he went up he peeled off his shoes and socks, coat, vest, trousers, shirt and underclothes, dropping them in the air as he peeled them off. He alighted on the top of the monument, grabbed the flea from the small of his back and crushed it, and immediately jumped down again. As he passed his underclothes he grabbed them and put them on; then he reached his shirt and put that on, and then -- as he came to them -- he grabbed and put on his trousers, vest, coat and socks. He was just twenty feet above the ground when he reached his shoes -- which had fallen faster than the other garments, being heavier -- and he got them both on and one of them laced, but he hit the ground before he had the second shoe laced. Perhaps that is why he never spoke of that jump; he did not consider it thoroughly successful.

Bull Hyde was a little too particular about such things, perhaps, for Little Peewee says on page 69 of the black book, "Bull was annoyed because he did not get that shoe laced before he reached the ground, but it was his own fault. On the way down, when he reached his vest and put it on, he wasted some time winding his watch. If he hadn't done that he would have had both shoes laced before he touched earth."

At any rate, it was a pretty good jump and right clever of Bull Hyde. It showed considerable quickness, too, when you remember that Bull always wore two-piece underwear and not the one-piece union suit kind.



Saturday, October 07 at 1:12:18am USA Central
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