Was USC Show a Darth Vader Plot?

The ad in USC's Daily Trojan newspaper promised that a new "Star Wars" trailer would be shown at the school's Bovard Auditorium.

"Of course, the joke was that we never said exactly what kind of trailer," pointed out senior Michael Carter of the Skull and Dagger Society, which placed the ad.

An estimated 300 excited students, and some members of the media, lined up outside nevertheless. Suddenly they had to make room for a car pulling a U-Haul trailer with a poster that said: "Star Wars Trailer--Episode 1."

No movie trailer was shown.

Many disappointed attendees had skipped classes for the sneak preview.

"A friend of mine in Boston called me at 8:30 a.m. and said that he found on the Web that ['Star Wars' creator] George Lucas was coming," one student complained to the Daily Trojan.

The prank continued a tradition of Skull and Dagger, USC's secret honorary society. Each year, the group's new members must stage a stunt as part of their initiation.

And may the farce be with them.

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HORSING AROUND: Two years ago, Skull and Dagger staged a hoax memorial for Traveler IV, the school's horse mascot, which had supposedly died. Eulogies were delivered, along with USC's fight song, and then a covered trailer said to contain Traveler's successor was wheeled into view. The students' cheers ceased when a donkey appeared, wrapped in a cloth banner that read, "Traveler IV is alive. Don't you feel like an ass?"

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DUELING DIETS: John Goodlad of Glendale noticed a set of signs competing for the hearts and stomachs of passersby (see photo).

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CUSTOMIZED SPELLING: A T-shirt company's ad in a San Gabriel Valley newspaper had a couple of letters transposed (see accompanying). But the mistake could have been worse. I once received a photo of another company's sign that had one letter missing from the word "T-shirt." The worst possible letter to have missing.

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SEEING DOUBLE: The note here about the groom whose best man was his twin brother caught the eye of UCLA alumnus Mark Sanders. He and his twin, Craig, will act as best man for each other at a double wedding. They are marrying twins, Darlene and Diane Nettemier.

And where did the Sanders twins meet the Nettemier twins?

"Where else?" said Mark. "At the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio."

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SEEING DOUBLE (CONT.): More facts about the twin-twin nuptials:

* The brides will wear identical dresses and already have identical engagement rings. ("Our jeweler told us that was the first time anyone had ever requested identical engagement rings," Mark said).

* The couples will be moving into houses next to each other in Pearland, Texas. ("Which we feel should be renamed Pairland, Texas, by the way," Mark said).

* Since Craig and Mark have been roommates, sharing one dog--Shadow--they've decided not to have a fence in the backyard separating the two houses.

* "My brother, Craig, could tell Darlene and Diane apart right away but it took me several dates before I could," Mark said. "They [Darlene and Diane] could tell us apart instantly."

miscelLAny:

The disastrous showing of the Mighty Ducks in the National Hockey League playoffs--they were eliminated after losing four straight games--brought to mind the animated movie "Space Jam." There's a scene in which someone suggests naming a basketball team the Ducks, to which Bugs Bunny responds: "What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would ever call a sports team the Ducks?" "Space Jam" was made by Disney's rival, Warner Bros.

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