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It's toga time again for 'Animal House'

Has it really been 30 years since these guys rocked the Delta House?


Has it really been 30 years since these guys rocked the Delta House?

Wrap a bedsheet around yourself and grab a brew -- "Don't cost nothing" -- because National Lampoon's Animal House is 30 years old.

And it's good for a buzz once again with a special edition DVD, with lots of extras.

The 1978 comedy, based on stories published in the National Lampoon magazine, is so ingrained in popular culture that in 2001 the Library of Congress tapped it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Though two of the movie's bigger stars have now left us -- John Belushi ("Bluto") in 1982 and John Vernon ("Dean Wormer") in 2005 -- the rest of the cast still gets together for reunions to celebrate what for most of them remains their signature movie.

Here's what the stars have been doing since those glorious years at Faber College:

Peter Riegert ("Boon")

Great line: "It's not gonna be an orgy! It's a toga party."

Now what: Poor Boon. Years after walking in on Katy and Professor Jennings dancing in the sheets, he is probably best known for playing "State Assemblyman Ronald Zellman" in The Sopranos. Wow. He should have stuck with his original career plan: Getting drunk every night.

Tim Matheson ("Otter")

Great line: "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

Now what: Having tackled that people are sensuous (and vegetables are sensual), Matheson's acting career took off, including juicy roles in Fletch, 1941 and The West Wing. In 2002, he parodied his Animal House role, playing dad to a smooth-talking Ryan Reynolds in another National Lampoon flick, Van Wilder.

Mark Metcalf ("Neidermeyer")

Great line: "You're all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me 20!"

Now what: More than any of his co-stars, Metcalf really milked his Animal House role as the deranged ROTC commander, using his signature quotes in several memorable Twisted Sister music videos. But did anyone recognize him under the heavy makeup playing "The Master" on TV's version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Karen Allen ("Katy")

Great line: "I think I'm in love with a retard."

Now what: Allen, who went on to dazzle in Starman and Scrooged, is one of the few cast members who doesn't have to say Animal House was a career pinnacle. She recently reprised her Raiders of the Lost Ark role as "Marion Ravenwood" in the latest Indiana Jones flick, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Tom Hulce ("Pinto")

Great line: "I won't go schizo, will I?"

Now what: Having dropped his penchant for under-aged nymphomaniacs, Pinto grabbed an Oscar nomination for playing the twerpy "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" in 1984's Amadeus. (Sadly, he lost to co-star F. Murray Abraham.)

Stephen Furst ("Flounder")

Great line: "May I have 10,000 marbles, please?"

Now what: After throwing up on Dean Wormer, "Flounder" went Up The Creek in 1984 with co-star Tim Matheson. These days, he's all the rage among the sci-fi crowd for his turn as "Vir Cotto" in Babylon 5.

Kevin Bacon ("Chip")

Great line: "Thank you, sir! May I have another?"

Now what: You'd think with all that kinky paddling, "Chip" would have pursued a career in fetish flicks. Alas, he's best known today as that troublesome but foxy "Ren" from Footloose. Bacon, who made his film debut in Animal House, also shined in Apollo 13 and Mystic River.

Donald Sutherland ("Prof. Jennings")

Great line: "Listen, I'm not joking. This is my job!"

Now what: Playing a stoned and lecherous English professor probably seemed like a step down for Sutherland, who was the most experienced actor in the cast, having already starred in MASH and The Dirty Dozen. The 73-year-old actor has won raves for roles in Ordinary People, Citizen X and most recently in 2006 for the TV movie Human Trafficking.

Martha Smith ("Babs")

Great line: "That boy is a P-I-G pig."

Now what: Oh, Babs. Trying to separate Otter and Mandy Pepperidge was bad karma for your acting career. Though Smith had a recurring role as "Francine Desmond" in TV's Scarecrow and Mrs. King, she's probably best known as Playboy's July 1973 Playmate of the Month.

Bruce McGill ("D-Day")

Great line: "War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one."

Now what: D-Day showed off his musical pipes in Animal House, playing the William Tell Overture by drumming his fingers on his windpipe. The character actor has done well over the years, landing prominent roles in The Legend of Bagger Vance ("Walter Hagen"), MacGyver ("Jack Dalton") and My Cousin Vinny ("Sheriff Farley").

Animal House 30th Anniversary Edition DVD

Universal has re-released the classic comedy to mark the special anniversary. Some of the extras in the 2-DVD set include:

-- A DVD container modeled after the Delta House.

-- The Faber College Yearbook.

-- Animal House: The Inside Story, a 98-minute documentary on the film.

-- Mini-editions of the Scene-it DVD game.

It's toga time again for 'Animal House' 11/06/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:30pm]
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