John Hughes, R.I.P.

John Hughes died today at 59. Hughes made a big name for himself in Hollywood in the ’80s, writing and sometimes directing comedies such as National Lampoon’s Vacation, Home Alone, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but many readers of this site will remember his work as a writer and editor for National Lampoon from 1977 to 1981. Vacation and Christmas Vacation in fact appeared as stories in the magazine long before they were made into movies. I wonder if there is still any chance that his stories “My Vagina” and “My Penis” will make ever make it to Hollywood. (More about his life and death here.) Flashbacks Section Workaround

The Flashbacks section used to be a feature of the official National Lampoon website. It contained online versions of popular articles from the old print version of the magazine. It was dropped some time in the last few years. However, reader Mark Mann passes along this tip:

“I was looking for old articles from NL mags, but could not find any. Then I remembered the Wayback Machine, which holds a history of internet websites dating back to the ’90s. The link below takes you to the former NL website, and provides a link to old NL articles. I found Hughes’ articles Christmas ’59 and Vacation ’58 from 1980.

“Go to*hh_/ From there, click on February 5, 2001. It will pull up the website as it was on that date. From there, click the ‘flashback link’ and that will give you some old material. “

Thanks for the tip, Mark!

Update: This trick doesn’t seem to work anymore. But there is probably a way to get to the old Flashbacks section using’s Wayback Machine.

Answers Page Update

I’ve just added a new feature to the Answers page to make things easier for know-it-alls. Unanswered questions are now marked with bright red numbers. I also fixed answers that had errors or out-of-date information or links.

Life Imitates Art

Reader David Rolfe got that strange feeling of déjà vu when he read a news story about a teenager who got knocked out when a fish jumped out of the water and smacked him in the face. It reminded him of an article in the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody (Section C, page 9): “Last year, 100 times as many people died from choking on food in restaurants than died from being hit in the face with live game fish.”

Autographed Animal House Books For Sale

Chris Miller is selling personalized, autographed copies of his Animal House books (the 1978 National Lampoon‘s Animal House movie book, and the current one, The Real Animal House) on his website. Update: Forget it. Chris’s site is long gone.

In Chris Miller News…

On August 13 at 9 p.m. EST, the Biography Channel will premier “National Lampoon‘s Animal House–The Inside Story,” a two-hour documentary maring the 30th anniversary of the film’s release. More on Chris’s site and on the Biography Channel’s site.

Chris is also one of the interviewees featured in a documentary about “gross out” comedy called “In The Gutter,” which has been running periodically on the Starz network since July 29.

Finally, Chris has just added another of his classic National Lampoon short stories, “Practice Makes,” about a guy who has to keep reliving the same failed attempt to get laid.