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Delta House is an American sitcom that was adapted from the 1978 film National Lampoon's Animal House. The series aired from January 18 to April 21, 1979 on ABC.

Delta House
GenreSitcom
Written byJohn Hughes
Elias Davis
David Pollock
Michael Tolkin
Stephen Tolkin
Directed byHollingsworth Morse
Joshua White
Carl Gottlieb
StarringBrian Patrick Clarke
Gary Cookson
Susanna Dalton
Peter Fox
Stephen Furst
Wendy Goldman
Peter Kastner
Bruce McGill
Josh Mostel
Richard Seer
John Vernon
James Widdoes
Lee Wilkof
Theme music composerTony Hendra
Opening theme"Delta House" performed by Michael Simmons
Composer(s)Dick DeBenedictis
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Ivan Reitman
Matty Simmons
Producer(s)Elias Davis
David Pollock
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Matty Simmons-Ivan Reitman Productions
Universal Television
Release
Original networkABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJanuary 18 (1979-01-18) –
April 21, 1979 (1979-04-21)
Chronology
Preceded byNational Lampoon's Animal House

Contents

CastingEdit

Cast members reprising their roles from Animal House included John Vernon (Dean Wormer), Stephen Furst (Flounder), Bruce McGill (D-Day), and James Widdoes (Hoover). Priscilla Lauris, who played Dean Wormer's secretary in the movie, also returned to reprise her role, and her character was given a name (Miss Leonard). Josh Mostel was cast as Jim "Blotto" Blutarsky, brother of Bluto, the character played in the film by John Belushi.[1] Despite Bluto's absence (it is revealed in the pilot episode that he had been drafted into the US Army), the scriptwriters made running references to his character throughout the series. In one episode, Blotto announced that he'd received a letter from his brother Bluto, prompting a Delta brother to respond "I didn't know Bluto could write," and another Delta brother to riposte, "I didn't know Blotto could read!"

Delta House also served as an early vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer, who played "The Bombshell".[2] She appeared in all of the episodes, with the exception of the pilot. She referred to the show as good exposure and a foot in the door. The series didn't last, but she was noticed by a lot of Hollywood executives and her career picked up and she became a star soon after.

Production and scheduling problemsEdit

Because of television Standards and Practices, most of the raunchy humor, sexual references, and foul language featured in Animal House didn't survive the transition to TV. As a result, Delta House suffered in comparison. That it aired during the so-called "family hour" (8:00 PM on Saturday nights) led to even more watering down.

In addition, the other two broadcast networks rushed onto the airwaves their own sitcoms that were "inspired" by Animal House: NBC's Brothers and Sisters and CBS' Co-Ed Fever.

Delta House initially did well in the ratings. However, executive producers Matty Simmons and Ivan Reitman's constant fights with ABC over content led the network to cancel the show after 13 episodes.

Theme songEdit

The theme song was written by Jim Steinman to lyrics written by Lampoon editors Tony Hendra and Sean Kelly.[3] Steinman later reworked the melody into the song "Dead Ringer for Love", made famous by Meat Loaf and Cher from the album Dead Ringer, and a portion of the lyrics into the song "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" from the movie Streets of Fire (incidentally, Meat Loaf had been an alternate choice for the role of Bluto in Animal House had John Belushi dropped out).

In the episode "Campus Fair", the song "Pizza Man" was performed during a beauty pageant talent showcase. It was taken from National Lampoon's Off-Broadway sketch revue Lemmings, a send-up of the Woodstock Festival where it was originally sung by actress Alice Playten.[4]

CastEdit

  • John Vernon . . . Dean Vernon Wormer, the corrupt dean of Faber College and main nemesis of the Delta Fraternity.
  • Stephen Furst . . . Kent "Flounder" Dorfman, an overweight and dim-witted freshman member of the Delta House.
  • Bruce McGill . . . Daniel Simpson Day a.k.a. "D-Day," a motorcycle-riding member of the Delta House.
  • James Widdoes . . . Robert Hoover, the straight-laced president of the Delta House.
  • Josh Mostel . . . Jim "Blotto" Blutarsky, a transfer student and newest member of the Delta House who takes after his older brother Blutto.
  • Richard Seer . . . Larry "Pinto" Kroger, a freshman member of the Delta House and close friend of Flounder. The role was originally played by Thomas Hulce in the feature film Animal House.
  • Peter Fox . . . Eric "Otter" Stratton, a charismatic ladies man and member of the Delta House. The role was originally played by Tim Matheson in Animal House.
  • Gary Cookson . . . Doug Neidermeyer, the sergeant-at-arms of the rival Omega House. The role was originally played by Mark Metcalf in Animal House.
  • Susanna Dalton . . . Mandy Pepperidge, a cheerleader and ally of the Omega House. The role was originally played by Mary Louise Weller in Animal House.
  • Wendy Goldman . . . Muffy Jones, a friend of the Deltas and girlfriend of Pinto.
  • Brian Patrick Clarke . . . Greg Marmalard, the president of the rival Omega House. The role was originally played by James Daughton in Animal House.
  • Lee Wilkof . . . A.S. Einswine, a member of the Delta House who deals in fabricated term papers and other shady businesses on behalf of the Deltas.
  • Peter Kastner . . . Prof. Dave Jennings, a professor at Faber. The role was originally played by Donald Sutherland in Animal House.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer . . . The Bombshell, an attractive anthropology student and friend of the Deltas.

EpisodesEdit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The Legacy"Alan MyersonHarold Ramis, Douglas Kenney & Chris MillerJanuary 18, 1979 (1979-01-18)

In this first episode we meet the rowdy frat brothers of the Delta House on the Faber College campus in 1962 and see how they love to play pranks on the uptight preppies of the Omega House and torment Dean Wormer.

First up, Jim "Blotto" Blutarsky transfers to Faber and is intent on keeping out of trouble. But after Neidermeyer pushes him too far, he unleashes the animal inside and lives up to the Blutarsky name! Meanwhile, when Flounder's paper on Political Science gets a B+ Dean Wormer suspects him of cheating and forces him to compete for the Nerdlinger award.
2"The Shortest Yard"Don WeisJohn HughesJanuary 27, 1979 (1979-01-27)
Dean Wormer is impressed by how far Blotto can punt a football, so he recruits him for the football team for the upcoming big game. But when Blotto refuses to play, the Deltas secretly substitute Flounder in his place, who by his own admission doesn't have a sports gene in his body. So it's up to the rest of the Deltas to figure ways to help the team win and keep Flounder from... floundering on the field, and not give the Dean a reason to eject Blotto from college.
3"Parent's Day"Carl GottliebTed MannFebruary 3, 1979 (1979-02-03)
The Deltas lure the Omegas into town and away from campus by making them believe they're leading a parade for a local Congressman. Meanwhile, the Deltas switch the Greek letters on their house and the Omega's house. So the Deltas' Moms and Dads are visiting them in the clean Omega house, while the Omegas' Moms and Dads end up in the messy Delta house. The Deltas switch the letters back before the Omegas return. Naturally, the Omegas never find out that this has happened.
4"The Guns of October"Charles R. RondeauRichard Whitley & Russ DvonchFebruary 10, 1979 (1979-02-10)
A speech by John F. Kennedy leads to Omega opening an elite bunker for survival with campus security funds. When a faulty test alarm sounds like a real warning of missiles launching, everyone goes into action, the Deltas throwing a Welcome Russians party to end all parties while the Omegas just prepare for the end. Meanwhile, Professor Jennings gives Flounder an interesting assignment... prove that he exists!
5"The Lady in Weighting"Hollingsworth MorseJohn HughesFebruary 24, 1979 (1979-02-24)
Dean Wormer gives Delta House a week to clean up the house, so they hire a house mother to help get things together. Meanwhile Blotto enters a weightlifting contest to win the money that is required to make repairs to the house.
6"The Draft"Hollingsworth MorseMatty Simmons & Tod CarrollMarch 3, 1979 (1979-03-03)
Dean Wormer fixes it so that D-Day receives his draft notice so the Deltas throw him a party to see him off. But tensions arise between the Deltas after D-Day's departure which leads to Hoover moving to the Dorm, Flounder and Pinto to a civil rights activist's pad, Otter alone in Delta House and Blotto up a tree... literally!
7"The Deformity"Hollingsworth MorseJohn HughesMarch 10, 1979 (1979-03-10)
Pinto's acne makes him a self-conscious about his looks, so his frat brothers try to help him regain his confidence. Meanwhile, Dean Wormer tries angling for grant money for the science program from a visiting military officer and his best chance at getting it is Hoover's science project!
8"Big Man on Campus"Bruce BilsonStephen Tolkin & Michael TolkinMarch 17, 1979 (1979-03-17)
When Kent "Flounder" Dorfman falls in love with Mandy Pepperidge, it's up to the Deltas to make her see him as the man of her dreams, the new big man on campus.
9"The Fall of Dean Wormer"Joshua WhiteElias Davis & David PollockMarch 22, 1979 (1979-03-22)
After Dean Wormer's wife finds him in his office with a young co-ed, she reports him to the trustees who meet to vote him out and replace him. The Deltas are ready to celebrate Wormer's departure until they find out his replacement is far worse than Wormer. So they plot to help the Dean save his job.
10"The Blotto Who Came to Dinner"Joshua WhiteElias Davis & David PollockMarch 31, 1979 (1979-03-31)
Due to poor grades, Dean Wormer happily expels Blotto. However, when the Dean accidentally hits Blotto with his car, the tables are turned and Wormer must take care of Blotto to avoid a big lawsuit.
11"Campus Fair"Nicholas SgarroJohn HughesApril 5, 1979 (1979-04-05)
The Delta boys plan to use The Bombshell (Michelle Pfeiffer) to win a beauty contest, but when she is sent away on an archaeological assignment they scramble for a replacement in which they choose the less attractive Muffy.
12"Hoover and the Bomb"Carl GottliebMatty Simmons, Michael Tolkin & Stephen TolkinApril 7, 1979 (1979-04-07)
Hoover falls head over heels for The Bombshell and when she doesn't know how to let him down gently, the Deltas intervene which leads Hoover to have a nightmare about married life!
13"The Matriculation of Kent Dorfman"Joshua WhiteJohn Hughes, David Pollack & Elias DavisApril 21, 1979 (1979-04-21)
To the chagrin of Dean Wormer, Flounder's parents threaten to cancel their annual contribution to Faber College and move their son to another college. Unfortunately for Flounder, the only place that will accept him is a women's college.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Leszczak, Bob (2012). Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide. McFarland p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7864-9305-0.
  2. ^ Valenti, Lauren (April 29, 2019). "Happy Birthday, Michelle Pfeiffer! The Actress's 9 Best On-Screen Beauty Moments". Vogue. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Rabin, Nathan (October 28, 2014). "Mutations: Delta House watered down Animal House for television". The Dissolve. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Alterman, Loraine (September 9, 1973). "'Lemmings' Is No Giggle". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External linksEdit