Jack Webb and Kim Novak were the original choices to play the roles of Dean and Mrs. Wormer
`Harold Ramis (I)`, who co-wrote the film, based some of the pranks on his college experiences at Washington University in St. Louis, specifically when Otter and Boone are hitting golf balls at the ROTC.
# Spawned a short-lived ABC television series, "Delta House" (1979); also "Brothers and Sisters" (1979) on NBC and "Co-ed Fever" (1979) on CBS, which was canceled after only one episode.
The tune that Otter whistles throughout the movie is the main theme ("Peter`s Theme") from Sergei Prokofiev`s "Peter and the Wolf".
The dead coed is named Fawn Leibowitz. Fawn was a character used in ‘National Lampoon`s 1964 High School Yearbook’.
Professor Jennings bites an apple while lecturing about good and evil in John Milton`s "Paradise Lost". This is a deliberate gag reference to Eve`s eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a key event in "Paradise Lost" (and referenced too perhaps by the statue pedestal motto seen in the opening titles: "Knowledge is Good"). Jennings` students miss the gag - as seems most Animal House (1978) viewers.
During interviews conducted for the 30th anniversary of this film, Karen Allen revealed some interesting trivia about her nude scene. Director John Landis wanted her to bare her bottom in the film and she was very reluctant to do so. Donald Sutherland stepped in and offered to bare his as well. Allen said "I thought he was so sweet to do that, so I sort of let go of my objections and said, `Okay, if Donald Sutherland is going to bare his bottom, by golly, I`ll bare mine too!`"
# Harold Ramis wrote the part of Boon for himself to play, but John Landis felt Ramis was too old. Ramis was so disappointed he refused to accept a smaller part Landis offered him. (Ramis was 32, Peter Riegert was 29.)
Mark Metcalf originally auditioned for the part of Otter.
Producer Matty Simmons, founder of the National Lampoon, contributed one line to the script: Bluto`s "Seven years of college down the drain!"
# A scene featuring Otter driving a girl (played by location scout Katherine Wilson) to the Rainbow Motel on Old Mill Road is seen briefly in the original trailer but was deleted from the film.
The actors who played the Deltas harassed the actors who played the Omegas off-screen as well to keep up the feelings of animosity between their characters. Mark Metcalf changed his hotel room to the one above Bruce McGill`s where the Delta actors partied every night so his anger at their noise would help him get into character.
To prepare for their roles, the actors playing the Deltas went to a real frat party at the University of Oregon`s SAE house (except Belushi who was working on "SNL" that night). The real fraternity members did not like the actors being there and a brawl ensued. When John Belushi returned to the set and heard about the fight, he had to be physically restrained from seeking revenge.
Chris Miller based the character of Pinto on himself. Dean Wormer was based on Richard Nixon and Miller`s Dean at Dartmouth.
After the first day`s shooting of the homecoming parade, there was a heavy rain that night. The next day, the production crew rented a field-burning tractor that shot flames across the width of the street to dry it.
All of John Belushi`s behavior in the cafeteria was improvised. He was not told to pile all the food on his tray and when he did the director urged the camera operator to "stay with him." The infamous "zit scene" was also improvised. The reaction from the cast is genuine.
# Originally, Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney`s idea was titled "Laser Orgy Girls", a comedy about Charles Manson as a high school student. Producer Matty Simmons suggested that the setting be changed to college and the content to be toned down. Ramis also incorporated ideas from an earlier treatment he wrote titled "Freshman Year" based on his experiences in college.
Ivan Reitman wanted to direct but the studio wanted a more experienced director. Richard Lester and Bob Rafelson were approached before Landis was hired.
The scene in which Bluto smashes a bottle over his head to cheer Flounder up took 18 takes because Furst kept laughing.
The Delta actors partied together every night but John Landis kept John Belushi away from them by having him stay in a house miles away with his wife, Judy. Belushi was a notorious partier and Landis wanted him to stay clean throughout the shoot. Belushi did host a few parties at the house but stayed clean because he saw the film as a great opportunity for him.
According to actor James Widdoes ("Hoover"), none of the seven principal Delta actors (John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Peter Riegert, Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst, Bruce McGill, or Widdoes himself) had ever belonged to a college fraternity.
# In the final climax of interrupting the parade, this whole sequence was brought to the Universal back lot. At the time this section of the back lot had been used several times over. However, the section of road the parade ends up at is the same section that Robert Zemeckis used for the clock tower sequence in _Back To The Future (1985)_. Every angle of this street is used, but never once do you see the front of the clock tower set. The only time you do see the tower is from the back end.
Niedermayer`s horse, Trooper, was portrayed by Junior, who subsequently appeared in The Black Stallion (1979) as the horse Napoleon.
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