Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

111. Denton Divers

November 29, 2006

Q: Do you recall an article about a rash of suicides at the University of Maryland, College Park in the mid-’70s where students were jumping off the top of a high rise dorm, Denton dormitory. The National Lampoon did a satire calling them the Denton Divers? I think it appeared around 1975 to 1977.

A: Some possible answers in the Comments below.


This rings a bell. I half-recall a story about a bunch of rowdy students who planned to welcome comedian Chevy Chase (Arriving to do a show at the college) by throwing a dummy that resembled him off the dorm roof. The twist was, they were overheard plotting the prank by a paranoid girl student who came from Chevy Chase, Maryland. She thought "throw the dummy of Chevy Chase off the roof" meant they were coming to get her, and either offed herself, or went on a violent rampage. I don't know title, author, or issue, but this story has a number of points in common with yours. That's all I remember.

—Carol Wood

February 19, 2007 8:24 pm

Don't know anything about the prank above, but saw "Lemmings" when it came to U/MD, was working for the University Program Board that booked it. Shortly before the company arrived, at least 2 students (might have been more) had committed suicide at a high-rise dorm called Denton--the field in front of the building was called Denton Beach. The cast incorporated a joke/reference to Denton Beach (hey it was Lemmings, right?) into the show. A number of the audience walked out of the show--some in obvious outrage over the Denton reference (it was recent, feelings were raw) perhaps others because they didn't get the humor in their (counter)culture being lampooned. Spoke to Chevy Chase afterwards, who seemed a little concerned about the negative reception. Don't know whether they later continued the satire in print.

—Patty C.

May 31, 2008 8:59 am

Original material (excluding quoted material) © 1997-2024 Mark Simonson.
Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site is not affiliated with National Lampoon or National Lampoon Inc.
Click here for the real thing.