My interest piqued by the media and advertising blitz surrounding this week’s release of a 25th anniversary DVD of Animal House, I did a Nexis hunt for information on Doug Kenney, the National Lampoon
magazine founder who co-wrote the script. Animal House’s more avid devotees
will remember Kenney in the bit role of Stork, the frat brother the other
Delta Tau Chis once considered retarded. I had a vague recollection that
soon after the movie came out in 1978, Kenney had died in mysterious circumstances
while hiking in a rugged area of Kauai.
behold, it turns out that Ronald Reagan drove him off a cliff. Here’s the
Nexis transcript of the final portion of a July 29, 2002, story about Animal House on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition:
House, one of the biggest comedies of the ‘70s, left as legacy some personal
tragedies, too. Director Landis likes to say, ‘A little Belushi went a long
way.’ It's true in the movie. In the end, Bluto Blutarsky, class of ‘63,
goes all the way to Washington as a senator. But it was 20 years ago that
Belushi himself overdosed on cocaine and heroin, cutting short his career.
Animal House writer Doug Kenney also died young. The year Reagan was elected,
he fell from a cliff in Hawaii while on vacation. For NPR News, I’m Molly
Peterson in San Francisco.
Reagan killed Stork. Who knew? And people say NPR eschews the hard-hitting
investigative pieces in favor of stories that reflect its silly lefty worldview.
there was almost certainly no conscious attempt by the NPR reporter to posit
a causal link between Reagan’s election and Kenney’s fatal descent by mentioning
them in the same sentence. But subconsciously? Just maybe. Ronald Reagan:
the gross psychic weight on us all.
Email Chris Reed
Chris Reed is the Op-ed columns editor for the Orange County Register.
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