Don Ivan Punchatz, R.I.P.

National Lampoon, November 1974 (Civics) issueIllustrator Don Ivan Punchatz has died at age 73. He was a frequent contributor to National Lampoon in the seventies, including the “official National Lampoon portait” of Gerald Ford on the November 1974 cover. You can read the obituary in the New York Times here.

National Lampoon Complete DVD Price Drops

Amazon has dropped the price of the National Lampoon Complete DVD-ROM, which contains PDF scans of all the regular issues of the magazine (1970-1998). The reader who alerted me to this wondered if it was because a new and better edition is forthcoming. Unfortunately, I think it’s more likely that it’s because it’s not selling as quickly as they’d like.

Admittedly, the quality leaves a lot to be desired, and there are occasional unexplained omissions (perhaps the issues they scanned were not completely intact), but it is a very handy reference if you are a collector or simply want to read the back issues without spending a lot on the real thing, which tend to go for at least $5 for a single issue. If you’ve been sitting on the fence because of the price, seems like a good time to make your move.

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.)

NL.com 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 http://web.archive.org/web/*hh_/nationallampoon.com/. 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 Archive.org’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.