4th Row Films has announced that they have acquired the rights to develop a feature-length documentary that will share tell the complete story of one of the more beloved banners in comedy history, National Lampoon.
National Lampoon began in 1970 as a comedy magazine, branching out from the Harvard Lampoon (which was started at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1876). Since then, the name has gone on to spawn many books, albums, shows, and of course movies — most notably of which were Animal House and all of the Vacation movies with Chevy Chase and friends. Since those great early days, sadly, many complications, financial troubles, and exchanges in ownership have resulted in the steady decline of quality and a pile of straight-to-DVD movies that don’t deserve to wear the National Lampoon title.
Douglas Tirola and Susan Bedusa of 4th Row will be the duo bringing us the film, with Tirola taking on the directorial duties. Their goal is to showcase the entire story of this once-famed name in comedy, its evolution, decline, and what they claim is an upcoming “rebirth.” Tirola has previously directed the documentaries All In — The Poker Movie, which one Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival, and An Omar Broadway Film, which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Tirola had this to say about the announcement:
As a kid I loved all things National Lampoon, and as I have come to understand all of the talented and influential people that have worked with the Lampoon, I realized on some level, I have never actually stopped reading, listening or watching the National Lampoon. It is still alive in what we watch every day. Our goal is to tell the story of National Lampoon in a way that takes audiences back to an era with all of the laughs and tragedies that came along with it.
Also chiming in on the exciting news for fans of classic Lampoon is P.J. O’Rourke, who was a writer and editor on the publication:
‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Beavis & Butthead,’ The Onion, ‘South Park,’ and the national use of irony as lingua franca — forty years of American humor has been shaped by the 1970s National Lampoon. At times I suspect that we surviving veterans of National Lampoon should be chased through the streets by howling mobs bent on vengeance. But, even if that doesn’t happen, this will be a damn interesting documentary.
Even more exciting about the documentary is the fact that it will feature a lot of a rare and never-before-seen footage from over the years.
No word yet on when we can expect to see the completed film.