This 1978 classic was inspired by a Dartmouth fraternity.

Grab Your Toga and Party! Animal House Turns 40

Submitted 10 months ago
Created by
Lee Michaelides

Animal House, the comedy classic released in 1978, was filmed in Oregon, but the movie has a true Upper Valley connection. The screenplay was co-written by Chris Miller, Dartmouth class of 1963. Many onscreen shenanigans were based on Miller's days (and nights) at Dartmouth’s Alpha Delta fraternity.

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Much to the dismay of the college, Miller visited his old frat in 1989 and wrote an article for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. He also published a raunchier account of his visit in Playboy.

"Right or wrong, to this day the reputation of the College remains inextricably entwined with the screwball farce," reported the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in 2014,  How else to explain why a screenplay autographed by the cast and crew—including Karen Allen, director John Landis and self-described “Head Animal” John Belushi—found its way to the Dartmouth Special Collections Library a few years back. 

Alpha Delta back in the day.

As the film enters its fifth-decade Animal House has earned a place in the cinematic pantheon. TimeOut London ranked it #35 on a list of 100 best comedies.

The real Alpha Delta has not fared as well. After a series of incidents— underage drinking, hazing, branding— the deans put the house on probation. (Double secret probation?)

And Dean Wormer finally won. Alpha Delta was permanently shut down by Dartmouth last year.


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