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Tuesday July 17th 2018

National Lampoon's Animal House | 1978

National Lampoon's Animal House filming location: Johnson Hall, Central Campus, University of oregon, Eugene, Oregon
National Lampoon's Animal House location: the Administration Building of 'Faber College': Johnson Hall, Central Campus, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon | Photograph: Wikimedia / Andre Chinn

In the mid to late 1970s, National Lampoon was the scabrous, tasteless, satirical, scatological, undergraduate and absolutely unmissable monthly magazine.

Many of its contributors went on to the likes of Saturday Night Live and a foray into movies seemed inevitable.

The films never captured the spectacularly offensive tone of the magazine’s glory days (it continued publication until 1998) and the name was licensed to a bunch of comedies of varying quality.

The first, Animal House, with John Landis at the helm, does capture the gleeful anarchy of the time. The 1962 setting is never totally convincing but it provides a great soundtrack and gives the sex and drug references a bit more of a kick.

The campus of ‘Faber College’ is that of the University of Oregon, Eugene, on Hwys 99 and 126. The establishment was probably trying to compensate for having refused filming permission to The Graduate.

Founded in 1876, the University of Oregon is housed on a 295-acre campus along the Willamette River, with the majority of buildings located along East 13th Avenue.

Oregon weather being what it is, the snow had to be swept away before shooting, and the lawns ‘painted’ green. Pity the poor toga wearers.

The stately ‘Administration Building’ in which Dean Wormer (John Vernon) plots the downfall of the wayward Delta Fraternity is Johnson Hall on the Central Campus.

The statue of founder Emil Faber stands in front of Knight Library on Memorial Quad, 1501 Kincaid Street, reminding us all that “Knowledge is Good”.

On East 11th Street, 729 East 11th Street became the straitlaced ‘Omega House’, breeding ground for a new generation of arrogant authoritarians.

Now belonging to the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, it still stands today but, unfortunately if not surprisingly, its ramshackle neighbour, 751 home to the drunken, libidinous ‘Delta’ fraternity was demolished in 1986.

Two more college houses are used.

The Sigma Nu fraternity, 763 East 11th Avenue became the ‘Tri Pi Sorority House’, though the rear, where Bluto (John Belushi) climbs the ladder to peek in on the coeds, uses a different location.

National Lampoon's Animal House filming location: Gerlinger Hall, Women's Memorial Quadrangle, University of oregon, Eugene, Oregon
National Lampoon's Animal House location: the boys call at 'Emily Dickinson Hall': Gerlinger Hall, Women's Memorial Quadrangle, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon | Photograph: Wikimedia / Visitor7

Gerlinger Hall on the Women's Memorial Quadrangle became ‘Emily Dickinson Hall’, on which the Delta boys descend during their road trip.

The student cafeteria, where Bluto (John Belushi) stocks up his tray and does that unforgettable impersonation of a zit bursting, is the Fishbowl, café of the Erb Memorial Union, 1222 E 13th Avenue.

The home of Mayor Carmine DePastos (Cesare Danova), to which  Pinto (Tom Hulce) delivers his passed-out daughter in a shopping trolley, is south of the University campus at 2160 Potter Street, Eugene.

The drill, which becomes the target for Otter (Tim Matheson) and Boon's (Peter Riegert) golf practice, is staged on the Tennis Courts on East 18th Avenue.

The Relax Inn, 1030 N 9th Street / North Pacific Highway in Cottage Grove, twenty miles south of Eugene, became the 'Rainbow Motel' to which Otter is lured to get a drubbing from the Omega crew.

Main Street, Cottage Grove, is the site of the climactic parade, demolished in spectacularly over-the-top Landisian fashion.

More than 50 years earlier, Cottage Grove was central to another, though very different, classic screen comedy. Buster Keaton filmed The General in the area northeast of town. Cast and crew stayed at the Bartell Hotel, which stood on Main Street between 8th and 9th Streets. The building bears a mural proudly celebrating the event.

Other films shot at the university include Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces (1970), with Jack Nicholson, and Nicholson's own 1970 film Drive, He Said (1970) and Personal Best (1982), while Stand By Me (1986) was largely filmed in the town of Brownsville, north of Eugene.