[Ads-l] Zoom Schwartz... (1966)

Andy Bach afbach at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 21 17:58:52 UTC 2020

A friend mentioned the game "fizzbin" which turns out to have a similar
rule set (as if designed by somebody who knows ZSP) but - WikiP

Fizzbin is a fictional card game created by James T. Kirk
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk> in the *Original Series
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series>* episode "A
Piece of the Action
While being held hostage on Sigma Iota II with Spock
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock> and Leonard McCoy
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_McCoy>, he spontaneously invented a
confusing card game to distract the henchmen guarding them.

The rules were intentionally complex. Each player gets six cards, except
for the player on the dealer's right, who gets seven. Simultaneously, the
first and second card are turned up, except on Tuesdays, when the first
card alone is turned up. Kirk dealt the henchman two like cards (jacks),
which are a "half-fizzbin". When the henchman said he needs another jack,
Kirk warned that a third jack is a "shralk" and is grounds for
disqualification. With a half-fizzbin, one wants a king and a deuce, except
at night, when one wants a queen and a four.

At this point, Kirk dealt a third jack, but to keep the ruse going, he
ignored the disqualification rule he had just made up. He explained that,
had a king been dealt instead of a jack, the player would get another card,
except when it is dark, in which case he'd have to give it back. The top
hand is a "royal fizzbin", consisting of a king, a two, a jack, a six, two
queens and two aces during the day, and a queen, a four, an ace, an eight,
two kings, and two jacks at night; however, the odds against getting one
are c. 1,022 to 1.

Kirk called the last card a "kronk", which is two like cards and either a
king, queen, jack, ace, two, four, six, or eight (time of day applicable),
and then purposely dealt a card such that it fell on the floor. As the
henchman being taught reached down, Spock nerve-pinched
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_nerve_pinch> him while Kirk and McCoy
attacked the other guards, allowing the three to escape.

On Tue, Apr 21, 2020 at 9:29 AM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The Quad-City Times in May 1965 refers to a Lewis Sears from Moline who
> was attending Williams at the time. He could have brought it back.  I know
> I brought the game back from Pennsylvania to a much smaller town in Iowa in
> 1980.
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben
> Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 11:37:36 PM
> Subject: Zoom Schwartz... (1966)
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Zoom Schwartz... (1966)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There's a "tag"-style drinking game commonly known as "Zoom Schwartz
> Profigliano," though the third word has many variants. Wikipedia has a page
> that currently gives anecdotal evidence from the 1970s.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Schwartz_Profigliano
> The earliest reference I've found is from the Williams College student
> newspaper in 1966, though the game only goes by "Zoom-Schwartz" there.
> ---
> https://archive.org/details/thewilliamsrecord_vol79_80/page/n237/mode/2up/
> The Williams Record (Williamstown, Mass.), May 3, 1966, p. 2, col. 1
> Today's "dawn patrols," characterized by drinking games and methodical
> basement destruction, have little in common with the storied meetings of
> the people of the night. They came singly or in pairs, met with a muttered
> greeting, drank hard and long and silently, and slouched away at dawn.
> "Whales' Tails" and "Zoom-Schwartz" would have been offensive to their
> somber dignity.
> ---
> Interestingly enough, the game is described later in 1966 played by
> students at an Iowa high school (though not, presumably, with alcohol
> involved). The game isn't explicitly named, but the three key commands are
> given, rendered as "zoom," "schwartz," and "perfigliano."
> ---
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/49167371/zoom-schwartz-perfigliano/
> Quad-City
> <https://www.newspapers.com/clip/49167371/zoom-schwartz-perfigliano/Quad-City>
> Times (Davenport, Iowa), Oct. 23, 1966, p. 14C, col. 5
> If you happen to meander past Room 66 at Bettendorf High School and you
> hear what sounds like a language course in Swahili, the Growl staff is
> probably just putting together another issue of the paper, and playing
> their answer to Trivia.
> The rules are complicated, but hilarious especially when instructing
> newcomers in the fine art of "sweep-zooming."
> Four or five seniors and a few juniors assemble in, a circle during break.
> A leader turns to "nobody" point blank and says "zoom!" The zoom-ee then
> becomes a somebody. The somebody may then sweep-zoom a nobody (one who
> hasn't previously been zoomed), or "schwartz' his zoom-er.
> If he chooses to sweep-zoom a nobody the game continues; however, if he
> decides to schwartz, he may not sweep a schwartz. That is considered a
> mistake. (A mistake is shown by painting an elbow at the one who has
> committed the blunder -- using one's finger to point is also a mistake).
> After the schwartzing move has been executed, the schwartz-ee may either
> zoom a nobody, or "perfigliano," the player who has been perfiglianoed has
> no other choice but to say zoom to the individual who has perfiglianoed
> him. The zoom-ee then sweeps a zoom to anybody and the cycle begins anew.
> ---
> A 1971 book written by students at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts gives
> the name of the game as "Zoom Schwartz Perphigliano" (again, presumably a
> non-alcoholic version).
> ---
> https://books.google.com/books?id=nhZZAAAAYAAJ
> Rory Cowan and Lee Phillips, _A Sigh of Change: The Greening of Deerfield
> Academy_ (1971), pp. 74-5
> One small group started playing "Zoom Schwartz Perphigliano" and in short
> order we had all twenty people sitting on the floor in a large irregular
> circle. I overcame my amazement to explain the rules to the group. Almost
> everyone had trouble at first with the complexities of the simple game but
> eventually most of the guests caught on and were caught up in the spirit
> and humor of the whole thing.
> ---
> By 1973, "Zoom Schwartz Profigliano" was common enough across North America
> that it could be used as an in-joke in the student paper at the University
> of Victoria in British Columbia and as the name of a singing group in
> Milwaukee. And at Stanford, the name of the game could already be used as a
> verb.
> ---
> https://archive.org/details/TheMartlet19730315/page/n13/mode/2up/
> The Martlet (Univ. of Victoria), Mar. 15, 1973, p. 14, col. 5
> Way ahead in the voting for Teammate of the Year were Chris Hall for
> Basketball, Scott Munro for hockey, Jim "A.P." Wenman for rugby, and Zoom,
> Schwartz, and Profigliano for three man beaver shooting.
> ---
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/49150348/zoom-schwartz-profigliano/
> Green Bay (Wisc.) Press-Gazette, July 19, 1973, p. C11, col. 1
> When I saw the ad for Zoom, Schwartz and Profigliano, I thought to myself,
> "Any group with a monicker like that must think it's got something special
> to offer." Sure enough, Zoom, Schwartz and Profigliano does perform a cut
> above the ordinary. Named after a Milwaukee drinking game, the five-member
> show group is performing this week at The Victorian House.
> ---
> https://newspaperarchive.com/other-articles-clipping-sep-26-1973-1671024/
> Stanford Daily, Sep. 26, 1973, p. 2, col. 3
> Finding the drinking age to be 18, the Bandsmen ordered an unending stream
> of pitchers and proceeded to Zoom, Schwartz, and Profigliano themselves
> into inebriation. (Those last three Albanian words are the name of an
> arcane drinking game and Band Puberty Rite.)
> ---
> There are plenty of examples from later in the '70s, but I'll leave it
> there.
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org



Andy Bach,
afbach at gmail.com
608 658-1890 cell
608 261-5738 wk

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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