Henry Beard wasn’t the only one from National Lampoon magazine that took issue with “Animal House.” One of the earliest editors, Tony Hendra, was apparently disappointed that he wasn’t included and reigning editor-in-chief P.J. O’Rourke was against working in film and television altogether.
“P.J. O’Rourke stated very clearly that he had no desire to make movies,” Matty Simmons claimed in his book, “and, as a matter of fact, with one brief exception, to this day he has never been involved with moviemaking, despite his popularity.”
Simmons is presumably referring to O’Rourke’s co-writing credit on the Rodney Dangerfield comedy movie, “Easy Money.” O’Rourke may have been a “man of letters,” as Simmons put it, but he bore no ill will towards the first “National Lampoon” film.
“I bought my first house because of ‘Animal House,” O’Rourke told The A.V. Club. “Not that I had anything to do with the movie, but at one point, I went in and asked for a raise, and they cried poor and offered me stock options instead. And, in the wake of ‘Animal House,’ the stock briefly and quite wrongly shot up. So I love that movie.”
National Lampoon even helped launch careers, including that of “The Breakfast Club” director John Hughes.