Flashback: Why were Boca Raton students running naked at FAU in 1974?

Oh yes, they call him The Streak

He likes to show off his physique

If there’s an audience to be found,

he’ll be streakin’ around,

inviting public critique.

— “The Streak,” Ray Stevens

To this day, can anybody explain the streaking craze of 1974?

On college campuses, on sporting fields, and even the Academy Awards, the desire to doff your clothes and run bare-bottomed in public was the Me Decade’s definition of “letting it all hang out.”


And, of course, Palm Beach County couldn’t resist. Or at least the students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton couldn’t. For a few days in March 1974, FAU was the streaking capitol of the county, joining other disrobing students that week at the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami.

Reporter Mona Ross filed this report from FAU:

“Clad only in socks and tennis shoes, about 15 male students were running around campus from midnight to 2:30 am, according to campus police. As many as 300 student observers gathered around the dorm area during the three-hour streaking.”

Reports said women also participated. FAU’s student newspaper put out a special one-page streaking edition, declaring its nude runners as the nation’s finest and singling out one dude who rode bottomless on a bicycle. But an accompanying editorial took a more sober view, noting that what was on display was decidedly “ho-hum.”

A student told The Post’s reporter that it began with a prank sign about the “varsity streaking team.” The midnight run was organized by a student identified by the Post only as “Turkey,” who “wore a red scarf around his mid-section.”

Another streaker apparently won a $100 bet by jogging naked through a women’s dormitory.

“I ain’t no exhibitionist,” one streaker told the Post. “I got my inhibitions like everyone else. But we were drinking beer and it was dark. You can’t see much in the dark, you know — just rears and elbows.”

And some of the streakers figured their posteriors were good for posterity. “Jesus, it was great. Will I ever have something to tell my grandchildren.”

The streaking wasn’t confined to FAU. A streaker was spotted briefly at Boca Raton High. And a Post columnist wrote about a guy named Jack, who streaked around Clematis and Dixie in West Palm Beach calling himself “The Downtown Development Authority Streaker.”

Palm Beach County State’s Attorney David Bludworth said he was seeking legal advice and needed a “streaking expert.” And a sheriff’s department spokesman warned that they weren’t going to tolerate too much nonsense:

“We’re a little bit alarmed by this thing,” said the spokesperson. “You know, streakers run from bush to bush and in Florida, the bushes are full of red bugs. The red bugs could mean an end to their streaking careers.”

At FAU, the fad faded pretty quickly. FAU campus police talked with the streaking leader, who decided he didn’t want to get arrested.

So, what possessed people to streak?

One student chalked it up to the pressure of exams. But Jack the Streaker had a more philosophical view:

“The country is in trouble — you know that. Watergate, energy crisis, all that stuff has depressed us. Streaking just had to happen. The people want it.”

In fact, he thought he was doing the city a service. “Downtown business hasn’t been so hot lately, you know. You’ve got to do things for your community.”

Then, according to the column, he stripped off his clothes, hummed “America The Beautiful” and took off on a lunchtime run in his birthday suit through downtown.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list
BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list

Check out which films, stars and directors won big Sunday at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards in London.  Best film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding British film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: "I Am Not a Witch,"...
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers

Grammy award-winning recording artist Fergie was tasked with the pre-game national anthem for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. On paper, that sounds like a great choice, but many viewers thought it could have gone better. Critics pointed out that Fergie’s voice was oddly erratic during the anthem. One sequence even led Warriors forward...
Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart
Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart

The roar of a jet plane, the rumble of a big rig, that shrill scream from the siren of a speeding emergency vehicle: The common but loud noises that keep you awake at night and agitate you throughout the day may have a notable effect on your cardiovascular health, experts say. Researchers say noise pollution may increase the risk of heart disease,...
A cancer ‘vaccine’ is completely eliminating tumors in mice
A cancer ‘vaccine’ is completely eliminating tumors in mice

A new cancer treatment experiment at Stanford University that used immune-stimulators to target tumors in mice had remarkably encouraging results. After injecting a combination of two immune boosters directly into solid mouse tumors, the research team said the vaccination eliminated all traces of the specifically targeted cancer from the animal&rsquo...
Bacteria in milk, beef may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis
Bacteria in milk, beef may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis

Milk is good for bones, but joints are another story for some people, according to a new study. A strain of bacteria commonly found in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in individuals who are genetically at risk, according to researchers at the University of Central Florida. The bacteria — mycobacterium avium...
More Stories