NatLamp Complete DVD: A First Look

National Lampoon Complete Collection DVD-ROMWell, it finally arrived today. The box is the usual DVD box size, but contains very little: The disc and a 1-page installation guide in a DVD jewelcase.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The DVD-ROM contains all the regular issues of National Lampoon ever published, from April 1970 to November 1998. Special issues, with original material, such as the High School Yearbook Parody, Encyclopedia of Humor, etc. are not included, but everything that appeared in the anthology issues (“Best of” issues) is here. Even the ads are included, which is kind of cool. Not surprisingly, bind-in cards, such as the famous “You May Already Be a Wiener” subscription card, are left out. Unfortunately, at least one article, “In Search of the Midnight Tapes” from the May 1973 issue, which was printed on a bind-in insert card that looked like a flexible 33 rpm record, was also left out. I have not had time to see if anything else is missing.

The issues are medium-resolution scans of mediocre quality. They are good enough for reading and browsing, but a lot of the photography and illustration suffers from being overexposed and washed out. Color balance is also off on some of the scans.

Even with its flaws, at $49.95 retail, I think it’s a good deal and a convenient package for anyone who wants to browse the issues, find their favorite articles or cartoons, or even discover it all for the first time. It would have been fantastic if they had lovingly restored every page to its pristine original appearance, but I imagine the market for something like that is simply too small to justify the effort. For those people, I would recommend acquiring the real issues. But even for collectors, the DVD would be worth having if only so you could look at the issues without removing them from their protective plastic wrappers.

After I’ve spent more time looking it over, I will post more details. (There are some reports on Amazon.com that the disc doesn’t work properly for some people, but I’ve had no trouble on my Mac.)

More NatLamp DVD Info

A few people, who ordered from places other than Amazon.com, have written to tell me they’ve already got their copies, and for lower prices than Amazon.com. One is a seller on eBay called SellIt4U, and the other is Aramedia (see list of Amazon resellers here). Early reports say that the scan quality is not great, but, considering the convenience, acceptable.

National Lampoon Complete on DVD Update

Last month I wrote about the new collection of National Lampoon magazine about to be released on DVD. Naturally, I ordered it immediately from Amazon.com. Initially, it was supposed to ship at the end of September. Shortly after I ordered it, the expected ship date was moved to mid-to-late October. Today I was notified that it will arrive early November. Let’s hope this is the last delay.

When it does finally arrive, I will tell all about it.

Further Update (11/3/07): I spoke too soon. I just received word from Amazon that the estimated arrival date is now some time between December 8 and 26.

The Real Animal House Out in Paperback

Chris Miller’s The Real Animal House was recently released in paperback. The new edition includes an additional 45-page early Sixties pop culture glossary. Available at Amazon and other fine book sellers.

In other Chris Miller news, he has recently posted on his website two of his classic National Lampoon short stories, Telejester and Boxed In. Update: Chris’s site is dead. Don’t bother clicking.

Finally, Chris will be doing a special night in New York City on Monday, October 29th. It’ll be a recounting of the long strange trip that led from his joining the Alpha Delta Phi house at Dartmouth in 1960 to the creation of both Animal House the movie and his book, The Real Animal House. Peter Reigert (“Boon”) will be along to reminisce with him about the former, and two of the guys who he featured in the book—John “Magpie” Walters and Dick “Black Whit” Whitfield–will also appear to share their memories of fraternity madness, early sixties-style. His appearance will be at the Housing Works Cafe in Soho, at 126 Crosby Street, starting at 7 PM. It should be a lot of fun for all, and he’ll be signing copies of the paperback edition of his book.

National Lampoon on DVD?

Apparently so. According to the information on Amazon.com, this little box contains every issue from 1970 to 1998. It’s not clear whether special issues (the Yearbook Parody, Encyclopedia of Humor, Very Large History of Comics, etc.) are included.

I was very surprised to learn of this (thanks to Brian for the tip). I was under the impression that the copyright issues surrounding the magazine would have prevented this. But apparently a recent court ruling concerning National Geographic putting its back issues on DVD made it possible. There was a short item about it today on Boing Boing.

In any case, I think it’s great news for NatLamp fans, who can now peruse through every issue of the magazine for fifty bucks. (Nothing beats the real thing, though, what with all the printing tricks and different paper stocks they used for the sake of a joke.)

National Lampoon Event in Chicago

An evening with some of the finest writers from the golden 1970s era of National Lampoon will be held August 27th, 2007 at The Hideout in Chicago. Admission: $5. Scheduled to appear are Chris Miller, Brian McConnachie and more. The event will be moderated by Josh Karp (author of A Futile and Stupid Gesture). More information here and here. (Thanks to Dan K. for the tip. Wish I could be there.) Update: Anne Beatts has been added to the event.

NatLamp Revival Plan

According to Levine Breaking News, National Lampoon is going to be producing its own films again. For the last twenty-odd years, films with the “Lampoon” name have been connected with the company in name only, through licensing deals, so this is a new thing. Best of luck, guys! (And thanks for the tip, Chris.) Update: No idea whatever happened with this, but the link with the info is dead.

1978 Animal House Book Reissued

This is a new edition of the illustrated novelization of the movie that National Lampoon published as a special issue when Animal House was released. Chris Miller has more info about the new edition on his site. You can get the book from Amazon. Update: You can still get the book, but that “info” link to Chris’s site is gone.