In the Summer of 1999, the Johns Hopkins University Barnstormers began preparation for their annual Orientation performance. The show to be produced: David Ives' "All in the Timing." One of the plays, Words, Words, Words, called for a tire swing to be suspended from the ceiling of the theater so that a character representing a monkey could swing on it.

Since the "theater" was actually a converted lecture hall, there was no lattice of supporting beams from which human-and-tire-load-bearing ropes could be hung. Enter one anonymous yet creative technical director who, with the help of some scraps of lumber, a concrete drill bit, and several 3/4" bolts, attached a rig to the building structure that could be used as an attachment point for a variety of set pieces.

As the show closed, it quickly became apparent that the administrators of the building were suspicious of the hack-job that had been accomplished, so it was decided by the production staff of the show that the rig should be removed and most evidence covered up. During the typical set tear-down, the technical director who built the ceiling-mounted atrocity climbed a ladder with a circular saw and went to work on destroying his masterpiece.

One of the scraps of lumber that fell back to earth consisted of a 4x4 with a 2x4 securely attached to it. There were two slots in in the 4x4 on the side facing the 2x4 such that a person with large enough hands could carry the piece of scrap and have his or her fingers "guarded" from any attack. This particular piece of wood also had a short length of 4x4 attached at a 90 degree angle on one end. Thus, with someone holding the wood by the "handles," it appeared to be a large wooden Thor-like hammer. The Official Barnstormers Beat Down Stick was born.

The implement of destruction was quickly dubbed The Godfather and was used for dismantling remaining portions of the set. It has remained in the custody of Barnstormers technical crew and has been decorated numerous times in the shows that have occurred since.

Names have been removed to protect the guilty.

There are unsubstantiated rumors of students crying for the Gods of Dongtar prior to swings of The Godfather.