The Sixth Story, 1968
One of the theatre projects in which Cruse participated was Arnie Powell's Playwright's Lab. During his time in this incubator, Cruse wrote a play called The Sixth Story, which was then produced by the theatre department during its 1967-1968 season. The play helped Cruse gain admission to graduate school at Pennsylvania State University as a playwright after graduating from BSC; Cruse, however, decided to focus on cartooning while at PSU, dropping out after one semester.
Cruse relates a couple of anecdotes about The Sixth Story. The first is about his concern for Lyn (Spotswood) Bailey, who he describes as "passionate for human rights:" he says he decided not to reveal the information that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated during rehearsal for the show, "because I was afraid she would have left the theatre;" he also says that she directed the first World AIDS day play in Birmingham, circa 1990. Second, the show was scheduled to be performed on the mainstage of the new theatre building, but had to be moved downstairs to Theatre One, "because insurance would cover that space, but not the complicated mechanics of the mainstage yet."
Granny Takes a Trip, 1966-1968
Cruse, along with Julie Brumlik '68, created an underground newspaper while students, which debuted in the spring semester of 1966. Though intended to be a DIY, independent affair, its publication and distribution ran afoul of the Publications Board of the College, which then required Granny to go mainstream in the 1967-1968 academic year. Cruse served as assistant editor for many issues and also wrote many of the articles for the publication, including an article about "dog kicking"--a parody of an article from The Hilltop News about marijuana.
Of the publication name, Cruse recounts that when they were deciding, friend Rand Christy told them about a boutique he had seen in England with the name "Granny Takes a Trip," so they used it to name the paper.
Short fiction from QUAD
In addition to his design work while at BSC, Howard Cruse also wrote creatively. These short stories were published by the literary magazine QUAD.
Articles from The Hilltop News
Cruse served as a staff reporter with campus newspaper The Hilltop News for parts of a couple of academic years while at 'Southern. He also wrote several letters to the editor while a student.