Since I put up this site, many people have written to me asking where they can find or buy such-and-such issue, recording, whatever. The answer is, I really don’t know much about where you can find these things nowadays.
My own collection was amassed years ago, when many of the items were new or not that old. I had a subscription to the magazine from 1974 on, and sent away for practically all the back issues NatLamp had available at the time. I also picked up a few early issues (at a premium) in the mid-seventies from a magazine/book store that carried a lot of used magazines and comic books. Since that time, I have not spent much time looking, and in fact, had not really looked at my own collection much until recently.
However, since I suffer from Male Answer Syndrome*, I have some suggestions:
In Digital Form
The National Lampoon Complete DVD-ROM. This disc contains PDF files of all the regular monthly issues of the magazine, from the first issue (April 1970) to the last (November 1998). (Special issues and books are not included, unfortunately.) The scans are not super-high-resolution, but good enough for reading. Some of the issues they scanned from had pages missing, so a few things are missing here and there. Even so, it’s the easiest way to get back issues of the magazine if you just want to read them, and takes up a lot less space than the real thing. It may help you decide whether or not to acquire copies of the real thing. Because the PDFs were scanned using OCR, nearly all of the text is searchable from your favorite PDF reader software. I use this feature all the time to help answer questions that come up on the Answers page. The disc is unfortunately long out of print. You can still get it from Amazon for rather ridiculous prices if you want the actual disc and packaging, but happily some kind soul has made it available for download on the Internet Archive. Hopefully, it will continue to be available there.
The Real Thing
The Internet. If you found my site, you probably have heard about the internet. Here are some places on the internet where you might find old NatLamps ‘n’ stuff:
There is of course eBay, the Web-based auction site. Many people have recommended this to me as a good place to find NatLamp stuff, although I have not used it very much myself.
Doug Sulipa’s Comics World in Manatoba, Canada. Doug’s very reliable and scrupulous and usually has a good inventory of old NatLamps.
Another possibility is The Mad Store, an online store catering to humor magazine fans. Besides Mad, Cracked, and so on, they have a section devoted to National Lampoon.
Another possibility is Amazon. Just do a search for “national lampoon” and see what turns up. Add more terms like “yearbook” to get more specific results. Remember that Amazon doesn’t just sell new stuff, so you may find older, out-of-print Lampoon stuff as well.
Used book/magazine/comic stores. This is probably your best bet. There are at least a few of these stores in every major city. From time to time, I have checked such establishements, and there is usually a section of old NatLamps. Issues from about 1974 on are easiest to find, but occasionally there will be fairly early ones. A few years ago, I picked up issue No. 1 of NatLamp for only $15 at Midway Book Store in St. Paul. (Back in the ’70s I saw the same issue on sale for $100! I guess they’re not a very good investment 🙂 ) I have also found a few at The Nostalgia Zone in Minneapolis. Prices are usually around $5-20.
Buyer’s Guides. One reader informed me that there is a publication called “Comic Buyer’s Guide” which lists many sources for comics. He says they occassionally have a list of Lampoons.
Antique/collectibles dealers. Not likely, but possible. I once saw a whole pile of NatLamps at Theater Antiques in Minneapolis. They were all issues from the late seventies and early eighties which I already had, so I wasn’t interested in them myself. (In case you’re wondering, the last time I looked, they were gone.)
Garage sales and flea markets. Okay, I admit it would be a long shot, but you never know.
Used record stores. Check the comedy section. Any large used record store should have at least a few old Lampoon albums.
Looking for National Lampoon Radio Hour shows? Back in 1996, Rhino Records issued a boxed set (CD or cassette) of the best of the NLRH called “Buy This Boxed Set or We’ll Kill This Dog: The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour.” It’s been out of print for a while, but still possible to find it (here’s a link to get it from Amazon) and is quite a blast to listen to. Also, there was a collection on LP issued in 1975 called “Gold Turkey: National Lampoon Radio Hour / Greatest Hits.” (This is also available on Amazon.)
Tips and Suggestions?
If you’re reading this and you do know where to find this stuff, please contact me and I will gladly put the information here for the benefit of others.
That’s about all I can think of on acquiring old NatLamp stuff. If I think of anything or hear about anything else, I’ll put it on this page. Happy hunting!
* Male Answer Syndrome is the annoying tendency of most men to answer questions regardless of whether they actually know the answer. I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.