Tag Archive for The Walking Dead

(Digital Collections) An Open Letter to Andrew Lincoln, a.k.a. “The Walking Dead’s” Sheriff Rick Grimes

open_letter_andrew_lincoln_header Dear Mr. Lincoln,

That all of us at the Digital Projects Group are big fans of your work on America’s #1 Zombie Apocalypse Themed Television series is no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. Over the course of five seasons we’ve seen you grow from startled victim to grizzled leader of a hardened band of survivors. And far be it from us to tell you where you should go with Rick’s character development in season 6, but we found some information in our Baylor archives that we think would add some unexpected depth to a man pushed to the edge by events he can’t understand, let alone control.

I’m talking, of course, about playing the organ and joining a fraternity.

Now, hear me out. At first glance those don’t seem like the kind of skills RICK GRIMES would need in his tool set. But that would mean ignoring the contributions of two very real men named Rick Grimes, who happened to be Baylor students in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Rick Grimes I (The Organ Playing One)

The first Rick Grimes to show up in our records does so by way of an announcement of his junior organ recital.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.58.59 PMSee the original, full item here.

It was such a big deal, it even got coverage in the Lariat, the campus newspaper.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 2.02.11 PMSee the full newspaper issue here.

“Big deal,” you’re probably saying to yourself in your real, English accent. “So he could play a bunch of songs on an organ. How does that help Sheriff Rick?”

Well, take a listen (and look) at this clip of what the Toccata and Fugue in D minor sounds like, and tell us if that isn’t the perfect score for the post-zombie apocalypse.

Aside from it being atmospherically perfect for the blighted, paranoia-inducing nightmare landscape Sheriff Rick has to operate in every single day, the sheer complexity and overwhelming nature of it would stun every walker within a two-mile radius into complete submission by its awesomeness.

And 1961 Baylor student Rick Grimes played it – and five other pieces – to perfection.

Sure, toting around a gigantic pipe organ would be unrealistic. We’ll give you that one. But Sheriff Rick Grimes’ group spent time in a church this past season, and it’s not unrealistic to think that, now that you’re all in Alexandria, VA, you couldn’t just pop over to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and use its 1938 Skinner and Son Organ Company organ to effectively neutralize the zombie menace in our nation’s capital. We’re just saying.

Rick Grimes II (The Fraternity One)

Maybe more practical skills are the kind of thing you’d like to bring to your character next season. Fine – how about the companionship, leadership abilities and general bonhomie to be found in a fraternity? Then you could take a tip from 1970s Baylor student Rick Grimes, who was a member of Kappa Omega Tau (KOT), a local fraternity.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 2.21.43 PMClick here for full item in the 1974 Round Up.

Look at that group of fresh faced young men, ready to take on any challenge … including an outbreak of a killer virus that turns the recently deceased into ambulatory corpses. Yes, even that!

This image of 1970s Baylor Rick Grimes – taken from the KOT photo for 1972 – shows an upright, clear eyed young man with an eye toward his future …

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.00.51 AM… not unlike a certain group leader, whose steely reserve has seen his ad hoc family through a series of increasingly desperate trials.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.30.57 AMYou’re practically twins!

We’d never presume to tell you how to play your character next season. Heck, we’re just so excited to see what you’ll do now that you’re poised to assume an even larger role in the leadership of the Alexandria Safe Zone that we’d be happy if you wound up doing a total 180 with Sheriff Rick and turning him into some Father Gabriel style pacifist. (Actually, scratch that. We wouldn’t like that at all.)

But if season 6 finds you seated at an immense pipe organ, wearing a sash with Greek letters on it and grimly dispatching of rotters, walkers, biters and the like with just the skill in your fingers and the determination in your heart, we wouldn’t have a problem with that, either.

This post is part of a series of Open Letters to musicians, authors and others that we hope will connect our collections to prominent people in America. If you have someone to suggest, or if you’re the subject of this post and want to drop us a line, send us an email (digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu).

Season 6 of The Walking Dead premieres this fall. You can follow them on Twitter at @walkingdead_amc.

(Digital Collections) Zombies at Baylor University, A Retrospective Via The “Lariat” Archives


With apologies to the fine folks at AMC. But doesn’t Allyson look pretty boss with a katana? (Click to enlarge, if you dare.)


All of us in the DPG are big fans of AMC’s post-zombie-apocalypse series The Walking Dead. We watch for various reasons – escapism, mostly – but we all love its unique blend of storytelling, pathos and outright, ick-inducing gore. If you’re not a fan, or if you’ve managed to miss the barrage of ads related to this fact, you may not know that the new season will premiere on Sunday night, and we are unilaterally excited.

That got us to thinking: where do zombies show up on the pages of our campus newspaper, the Baylor Lariat? Surely, over the course of more than a hundred years, there would be at least a few mentions of the word “zombies.” Turns out there were 22, and we wanted to highlight a few of them here.

Earliest reference: June 20, 1947

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No, that’s not a typo: the oldest reference to zombies comes in 1947, but it’s in a context that may surprise you. In an ad for Snaman’s Women’s Wear and Shoes, we are informed that a new shipment of Zombies (a shoe style) have arrived and are available for the low, low price of just $5.95.

Oldest Use of Zombies as Metaphor for Listlessness: May 8, 1959

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Shirley Henderson’s regular Friday column was given over to covering the aftermath of 1959’s “May Day,” a precursor to today’s Dia Del Oso. She conjures up a terrifying crustacean-undead hybrid by mentioning the sight of sunburned students “walking stiffly around the campus like zombies,” red enough to look like “broiled lobsters.” Maybe she was having a premonition of the Walking Dead season 4 episode where several zombies had an unfortunate encounter with a fire set at a backwoods still by fan favorite character Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus)?

Throughout the next couple of decades, there are numerous references in the Lariat archives to Zombies, as the word appears in the title of a number of movies shown at Waco’s movie houses. My favorite title? The Plague of the Zombies (1966).

First Use of Zombies as Metaphor for Social Ill of the Day: January 13, 1983

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The question of whether or not video games contribute to delinquency has gone back decades, and it had made an appearance in the pages of the Lariat as early as 1983, when Shelly Williamson wrote this opinion piece about whether or not video games are turning children into “video zombies.” Best part of the piece: Williamson’s citing Asteroids, Pac Man and Donkey Kong as potential carriers of “zombieism.” By today’s standards, those video games are about as inoffensive and non-threatening as a basket full of rainbow-colored kittens.

First Use of Zombieism as Symptom of Caffeine Withdrawal: September 24, 2004

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Almost exactly one decade ago, Kevin Chandler wrote a story about the “oft-used, oft-abused’ nature of coffee on Baylor’s campus, and he opens with this sentence: “It’s 8 a.m., and zombies are invading campus.” Chandler outlines the kinds of coffee available on campus, including those served by the recently opened Starbucks location in the Dutton Avenue Parking Garage (closed in 2013) and the Java City location formerly housed in the Moody Library garden level (replaced by, ironically, a Starbucks in the lobby).

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the ways shambling, undead, unstoppable, reanimated corpses are used in the pages of a well-regarded collegiate newspaper. And if anyone on our team seems more tired or paranoid than usual on Monday morning, you’ll know why: we spent our Sunday evening glued to the TV, intently focused and staring like …. well, you know.