It was like a Chick-fil-A billboard -- but real.
Fifty years ago today, members of the Class of 1962 at Castleberry High School hoisted a 300-pound Holstein named Susie to the school's roof using nothing but ropes.
"She was calm through all the lifting," said Sam Melear, 68, one of the students who helped pull off the prank. "Never jerked around, just went right up."
Susie's calm helped when the teens had to lower the cow -- which they had borrowed from a dairy -- back to the ground with the same ropes, an effort immortalized in a June 1, 1962, Star-Telegram photograph and story.
What inspired Melear and his friends? The class before theirs put a Model A on the school's roof.
"We figured we had to do something," he said. "It was all about celebration of the end of school and graduating."
Officials say pranks have been around as long as there have been schools. And while today's zero-tolerance, politically correct climate has toned them down, they still happen.
But not with the flair that Castleberry displayed 50 years ago.
Current Castleberry Superintendent Gary S. Jones had to see the newspaper clipping before he believed that the Susie tale wasn't an urban myth.
"It took me a long time to buy into that it happened," he said.
No cows have scaled a school on her watch, but Lake Worth Superintendent Janice Cooper said she appreciates creativity even when a prank costs her sleep.
Late one night five years ago, about a week before school let out, police summoned Cooper to Lake Worth High. Someone had dumped several bags of concrete mix in front of the school's doors, then poured water on it.
Cooper and a maintenance man cleaned up the concrete before it could set.
"All the while I was shoveling concrete I was thinking, 'Man, isn't this going to be a great story once it's over?'" she said.
Stories are still told in Fort Worth about a Paschal High School prank on Arlington Heights that drew presidential attention.
The target was the Yellow Jackets' traditional bonfire before their November 1963 football game against the Panthers.
From a small plane flying over the site, Lee Pickens -- later the lead guitarist for the band Bloodrock -- bombed the bonfire with purple-and-white toilet paper while other Paschal students tried to push a burning car into the flames. In the wake of the chaos, 46 people were arrested. Pickens was suspended.
During President John F. Kennedy's Fort Worth visit, he met a Paschal student and quipped, "Isn't that the school with its own air force?"
Melear laments that today's environment would prevent his comparatively harmless prank on multiple levels.
"It was a totally different time," he said. "Today, the first obstacle would be getting a heifer. I don't know if there's a dairy within 50 miles of here."
Fear of consequences would also be a factor, Melear said, which wasn't the case in 1962.
He described his principal at Castleberry, Joy James, as "one of the greatest people ever was."
"When someone asked what was going to happen to us, he said, 'If the boys behave themselves the rest of the day, they'll graduate at 8 p.m.,'" Melear said.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620