B.K. Taylor News

An acquaintance of his has informed me that B.K. Taylor, the artist and writer responsible for The Appletons and Timberland Tales comic strips that appeared regularly for years in the National Lampoon, has a deal with a major television company. No more details, other than the fact that he lives in Michigan, used to be an advertising storyboard artist and is a very, very funny guy.

Vaughn Bodé Site

A reader passed along this link to Da Vaughn Bodé Site. Bodé was known to National Lampoon fans for his Cheech Wizard comic strip which featured the eponymous ill-tempered hatted wizard and numerous lizards and nymphettes. Bodé was only 33 when he died of accidental strangulation in 1975.

National Lampoon Gets an Internet Hosting Account

Go to www.NationalLampoon.com and you will see what they call a “teaser.” It requires Macromedia’s Flash plug-in and lasts a couple of minutes. It’s too early to tell, but it looks like they’re working on something. Only time will tell. (Just to be clear, Mark’s Very Large National Lampoon Site is not affiliated with the owners of National Lampoon or their new website or vice versa.)

Going Into Low-Maintenance Mode

As you may have noticed, this is the first new News page since March. This is partly because I have been busy putting together the new Radio Hour pages. But, it’s also because I’m starting to lose interest in maintaining this site. (I am now doing web design full-time in my day job and doing the same in my free time doesn’t seem quite so diverting anymore.) Rather than pull the plug, the site is officially going into low maintainance mode until further notice. I will continue to post new ads on the Classifieds page, but please be patient if you write me with questions for the Answers page. These can be very time-consuming, so I will only answer the ones I know off the top of my head and only when it’s convenient. I will post News pages less frequently—maybe two or three per year. The bottom line is, the site will remain up indefinitely, though it may not change as often as it used to. —Mark

Shary Flenniken News

Bonnie, Pepsi, and Trots.Late last Spring, I was contacted by Shary Flenniken, creator of the popular and long-running Funny Pages strip “Trots and Bonnie.” Ms. Flenniken contributed to the National Lampoon as a freelancer through most of its history (though she joined the staff for several years in the around 1980 as an editor). She is alive and well, and has been living in Seattle since the late ’80s in the house she grew up in. Lately, she has been a contributor to Mad magazine. A friend pointed her Mark’s Very Large National Lampoon Site and she finds it hard to believe anyone’s still interested in this stuff. (She says that it seems like the only fans of National Lampoon left are guys in prison!) Anyway, the big news for Trots and Bonnie fans is that Ms. Flenniken has graciously given me permission to run a couple of her strips. I chose two from the early years that I think are classic examples. Just follow the links on Shary’s page.


New Radio Hour Section Finished

“Hi. I’m Jill St. John. And I am so thrilled to be a guest hostess of this, the very first National Lampoon Radio Hour, I can hardly talk.” Those words—read by Michael O’Donoghue, sounding exactly like Michael O’Donoghue and nothing like Jill St. John—began the 59-week run of one of the funniest and most provocative radio shows of all time. Through the efforts of dilligent Radio Hour afficianado Dave Meredith and myself, Mark’s Very Large National Lampoon Site is proud to bring you, at last, bit-by-bit listings of National Lampoon Radio Hour from show number 1, broadcast on November 17, 1973, to the last show, broadcast on December 28, 1974. A year in the making, this is the most significant addition to my site in quite a while, and is probably the only resource of its kind available to the public. For more info about the show, see my intro.

National Lampoon Magazine, 1970-1998, R.I.P.

I recently got confirmation of something that I had been hearing rumors about over the last few months: National Lampoon magazine has ceased publication. The November 1998 (Failure) issue was the final new issue published by J2 Communications, the current owners all things National Lampoon.

According to documents filed with the SEC last October, J2 Communications has renegotiated its contract with the Harvard Lampoon which dates back to the 1970 founding of National Lampoon by Harvard Lampoon alums Henry Beard, Doug Kenney, and Rob Hoffman, and magazine publisher 21st Century Communications. (Harvard Lampoon apparently owns the rights to the name “Lampoon” and has considerable say over what the owners of National Lampoon may do with the name and anything associated with it.) In the new agreement, J2 Communications is no longer required to publish new issues of the magazine (in fact, it is barred from doing so), though it may do whatever it wants with previously published materials and retains the rights to the “National Lampoon” name.

This news should not be surprising to anyone who has followed the magazine in recent years. Since the early ’90s, National Lampoon magazine has been published only once yearly—the minimum required by the previous contract—apparently in order to retain the right to use the name for licensing.

So, no more magazine but we can look forward to more made-for-tv movies on Fox Family, not to mention the possibility of “National Lampoon” labeled sweat pants.