Today would have been the 75th birthday of the late Doug Kenney, who was possibly the funniest American satirist of all time, most remembered as the original editor and co-founder of National Lampoon magazine and co-writer on Animal House and for doing the same zany duty plus producing the film Caddyshack, two films which remain for many people, some of the funniest comedy films of all time.
In honor of the 41st anniversary this week of National Lampoon’s Animal House, the uproarious frat comedy that is still vibrant, raunchy, refreshingly un-PC, and hilarious as ever, Universal Pictures has released a “Best of Bluto” video that compiles some of the most memorable scenes by John Belushi‘s iconic and slovenly character.
Watch the 10-minute compilation video here below (note – it contains explicit language).
National Lampoon has certainly seen better days; a few decades before they became a brand synonymous with puerile, sophomoric frat boy humor and cheap direct-to-video “comedies,” the Lampoon was a brain trust of America’s boldest and most fearless young satirists who used their incisive, inventive wit to offend, compel, and amuse and who would lay the foundation for some of the great works of modern comedy, from the small screen success of Saturday Night Live to the celluloid classics Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and This is Spinal Tap.
Animal House, the 1978 smash hit comedy which ushered in a new genre at the time in Hollywood known as the “gross-out picture,” was instrumental in making the magazine and brand name National Lampoon more prominent to the mainstream, and made a superstar out of last-of-the-rebels comedic kamikaze pilot, John Belushi, celebrated its 35th Anniversary late last month.
Produced on a small budget, shot up in Oregon for the most part, directed by John Landis, and written by Lampoon stalwarts as Chris Miller, Harold Ramis, and the late Douglas Kenney (who was the first editor of Lampoon and who has a role in the film as “Stork”), Animal House was originally released in the teeming summer of 1978 and surprised everybody by going on to make over $120 million and making a total and complete template of the juvenile delinquents taking on the school system which represents authority kind of comedic narrative that has been going on since The Marx Brothers’ Horsefeathers and probably even earlier.
Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, the stars of National Lampoon’s long-running Vacation series, have entered into talks to reprise their role for New Line Cinema’s reboot of the franchise, fittingly titled Vacation.
The movie stars Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) as Rusty Griswold, the son of Chase’s Clark Griswold, who’s now all grown up and with a family of his own he’s taking on vacation. Christina Applegate is attached to play his wife.