Molarity Classic 43-47

Author: Michael Molinelli '82

Strips 43-47 of the popular comic strip Molarity, which previewed in The Observer in 1977.


43 Headlines on The Observer include a story about a Soviet MIG fighter firing upon a South Korean Airliner. It ripped a big hole in the side of fuselage, killing two. The jet landed on a frozen lake. There was also a new campus policy allowing cars on campus to drop off women at their dorms between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.


44 Perhaps this cartoon illustrates the difference in cartooning in the age of the Internet. I had this idea for the Twilight Zone – Memorial Library cartoon (before it was the Hesburgh Library), but I had no photos of Rod Serling. (I kept a scrapbook of pictures of significant people and places.) I spent hours in the library (ironic, yes?) trying to find a picture. I found one bad black-and-white in some obscure book on 1950s television. These days I just Google “Rod Serling.”


45 Inaccessible mechanical floors and rooms make great fodder for student stories. I once converted the 4th floor of an old convent to classrooms for a law school. I set aside a few rooms for the mechanical equipment, which we accessed from the attic loft above. Years later I met a law student and mentioned I renovated the classroom building. He said, “You must know the story then.” “What story?” I asked. He said that the room no one could get into on the 4th floor was where a nun gave birth to her baby and strangled it then committed suicide, and she and the baby were sealed up in the room. He was disappointed when I told him there was just a 20-ton air handler in there.


46 These days The Observer was featuring a second cartoon strip on a regular basis called Noddy, drawn by Jim Canavan. The strip featured a bear and mouse as students in a campus inhabited by animals. Dean Roemer was rechristened “Dean Rover.”


47 Goggling “UMOC NOTRE DAME” gives me nothing, so I guess I better explain. During An Tostal the school would run the Ugly Man On Campus (UMOC) campaign. Pennies were considered votes for the ugliest man on campus and whoever had the most money won. All money was donated to charity. Most dorms picked some poor guy who they promoted endlessly. Classifieds in The Observer included: Vote for Alumni’s favorite dog — Otto for UMOC; Orest is the Poorest; Terry Riely is so Ugly he was disqualified from UMOC for professionalism. The headlines on The Observer are inside jokes. Tony Arena was the name of my freshman team fencing coach. Carroll Hall had found an abandoned nest of duck eggs and was taking care of them through incubation.

See the first five classic strips. Check back monthly for more classic Molarity strips. Molarity Redux, the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends, also is posted monthly. For those new strips, check out the cartoon archives.