Monday, October 12, 2009

Gordon Bombay and the Auditorium of Doom!

A funny thing happened on my way to a class at UC...

Some time ago, Venkman and I registered to take "Intro to Photography" at the University of Cincinnati's main campus. You see, we had these cameras and didn't know how to use them. The section we enrolled in was being taught by famed university employee, Dr. Henry Jones. Jones, while known primarily for his archeology studies, is also quite the notable photographer. Excited for the first day of this class, Venkman and I headed out across campus. As we walked, we joked and wondered if maybe one day the UC Bearcats would be the best ranked college football team in Ohio. We could dream couldn't we? We found what we thought was the building containing our classroom and headed on inside with our books, cameras and enthusiasm for furthering our education.

I was confused upon first entering the auditorium for our class lecture. All the other buildings at UC were so modern and nice, this one seemed as if hadn't been used in awhile, almost as if it were abandoned.

The building's lobby only had one remaining light still on. We had no time to criticize the lighting situation though, we needed to get into the classroom early to get the good seats up front.

We were the first ones to class. We grabbed two seats right up front and made sure our pencils were sharpened and our minds were ready for learning. Anxiously, we awaited the start of class.

And waited.

And waited some more.

We noticed after some time that none of our fellow students had arrived yet and Dr. Jones was nowhere to be seen. "Shit!" we exclaimed. We must be in the wrong room. We figured the class was being held in another one of the building's rooms and not in the main lecture area. So we set out in search of said classroom.

First we came across a few rooms that looked like this:

Nope, not the room we were looking for. These must've been backstage areas for the performance space/lecture hall we had just been in.

The next room we came upon was an absolute mess. Everything in the room was scattered about and there was some rather inappropriate graffiti on the walls.

Probably the work of that campus prankster Zack Morris. That jackass never really did grow up after he left Bayside High! I really wish he would've learned from the lessons Mr. Belding had taught him! Unfortunately after his recent divorce from Kelly Kapowski, it was brought to Zach's attention that the California University he had attended during the "college years," was actually a fictional school and his degree meant nothing. So he enrolled at the University of Cincinnati where he's been causing trouble ever since.

Oh yeah, back to my story. Anyways, while the classroom was a mess, there were lot's of interesting things lying about. Most notably; the large model in the middle of the room which depicted a hillside neighborhood similar to Mt. Adams:

The amount of detail and time it must have taken to construct such a model was quite impressive.

While the details of the model couldn't be attributed to a representation of any particular local neighborhood, the other things found in the room were based purely off Cincinnati. Many of these items envisioned a grand future for the city.

The above conceptual art depicts a typical downtown scene with a waiting area for buses similar to the ones seen at Government Square today. While an eventual redevelopment of Government Square occurred, like the one seen above, other projects found on the classroom floor did not.

Projects such as this one (above) called for the completion of rail transit line connecting downtown to the airport by 2010.

While others like this envisioned a futuristic monorail/light rail line going about downtown. Judging by the dates found on the surrounding papers in the room, these projects date back to the mid 1990's. The people who came up with these ideas had vision! It was kind of sad to see that many of the good ideas back then never came to fruition or are today being threatened by ridiculous special interest groups and Issue 9.

Still wondering where our photography class was, we moved on to the next classroom.

While the previous room had obviously been some sort of workspace or storage area for the university's famed DAAP program, it seemed this classroom had become storage space for a large collection of VCR's, laser disc players, televisions, cassette players and Pentium 3 computers. Many of these items were still in their original packaging.

- Your tuition dollars, hard at work!

As we were perusing over a JVC VCR manual, a voice from behind us shouted: "Hey! What the hell are you guys doing in here!?" We turned around quickly to find three men standing behind us. Three men who were not very happy to see us.

"We're looking for the "Intro to Photography" class." we exclaimed. "You've got the wrong building, there's no classes here. We use this building as a front to smuggle and move illegal VCR's across the border." the mean looking guy in the middle said. "Oh." I replied. It had become apparent that these guys were Columbian VCR smugglers. It had also become apparent that they did not want their secret getting out, because they immediately whipped out uzi's and began shooting at me and Venkman.

We ducked for cover and then made a run for it. The Columbian VCR smugglers gave chase. We debated what to do."You packing heat?" I said to Venkman. "You know it, are you?" he replied. "You know I always do after seeing True Lies!" I said.

Venkman returned fire and held them off while I looked for a way to get help. Rather than call the police, I figured it was my duty to call the JVC company and report this VCR smuggling operation to them. However, the 1997 Cincinnati Bell phone book I found was a little outdated and didn't have the number listed.

We took refuge in this room, which featured an impressive art deco style stone fireplace.

Out of ammo, we set up a trap for the smugglers. The smugglers ran into the room, tripped over the wire we had set out and went slow motion crashing through a window to the street below. I would've gotten a picture of this, but I was busy running from some guys who were trying to steal a bunch of VCR's (I wonder if they knew about DVD and Blu Ray players?).

We escaped to the upper balcony of the building's main auditorium...

...stepping over the spent shell casings that the VCR smugglers had left all over the carpet.

Taking one last look at the auditorium where we had almost met our doom, Venkman and I agreed that we had learned a valuable lesson: You should always take the time to make sure you know exactly where your classes will be located before the first day of school.

And that's a lesson we won't soon forget.

Updates | Oct. 7, 2017:
  • I have no idea why I wrote this thing as some sort of wannabe Onion/Tim and Eric sketch ripoff. Anyways, UC tore down this building and their football team still hasn't won a bowl game. 


  1. That is freakin awesome!
    So what building is that anyhow?
    Just for curiosities sake, I would never use my superpowers to sneak in there or anything.

  2. That would be Wilson Memorial Hall. I believe it's slated for demolition soon, look for a real article about the history of it and such soon. This story was mostly just done out of boredom for fun.

  3. that's one of my favorite buildings on campus. view from the roof is pretty nice (ladder behind the stage).

    dont know why they are tearing it down - they'll give you a song and dance about asbestos.

    great piece of art-deco though, and they are always complaining about not enough lecture space.

    2+2 no longer equals 4 i guess.

  4. Urban_drift, I agree the view from the roof is excellent. It's a shame such a beautiful theatre won't be saved. Definitely one of the most beautiful buildings on campus.

  5. At the very least they ought to save that fireplace.

  6. I really enjoyed the pictures of Wilson Auditorium! It would be a real tragedy if they demolished it.

    I was a student at the College-Conservatory of Music from 1962-67. I heard Glenn Gould play one of his last recitals there. I performed several Broadway shows, along with many CCM orchestra rehearsals and concerts at that wonderful auditorium. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has also played there. The acoustics were very good.

    Hopefully this recession will cause the UC administrators to decide to renovate, rather than destroy this historical and useful building.

  7. its a memorial hall i think.. nice pic.. like it.. thanks for the sharing..

  8. Wilson Memorial Hall was a commencement hall built in 1931 funded by Mrs. Wilson in memory of her late husband.

    It will not be torn down, because its a historical building and can't be destroyed because of laws pertaining to historical buildings. Plus if its built tough like Union Terminal, it would cost a ton of money to tear down.

    Every college in UC needs space for lectures, labs, and studios, so clearly cleaning up the asbestos and fixing all the damage of an old building costs too much to be worth it.

    All I'm hoping is someone donates enough money to fix it.