Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Animal House

A color photograph of John Belushi and five men in police uniforms posing in front of a vehicle in the middle of a highly decorated street. In 1977, Patrick Murphy was a police sergeant in the city of Cottage Grove, Oregon when he was hired to coordinate security for the production of the movie Animal House. Based in part on Dartmouth class of 1963 co-screenwriter Chris Miller's experience in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. The production had settled on the campus of Faber College in Oregon as a location after having been turned down by twelve colleges in six states.

According to a fan website, Sgt. Murphy was also tasked to keep John Belushi happy and out of trouble. In addition to appearing in four scenes of the movie and allowing the crew to use his personal station wagon as a dolly, Murphy received an autographed original script signed by the entire cast with a letter of thanks from director John Landis. Addressing the letter to Sgt. Murphy and "all of the other Faber Policeman," Landis quips, "When you see the finished movie and you're all movie stars just remember who made you international celebrities."

A title-page for an Animal House script, signed several times to Sergeant Murphy.
Even though critics universally panned the movie upon its release, it went on to become a commercial success, grossing more than $90 million in its first year. It also launched the movie career of John Belushi and re-introduced toga parties to college campuses

To see the script and a call sheet from the movie ask for MS-1175.


  1. This brings to mind Jean Renoir's film, The Rules of the Game, which also was roundly criticized by the critics when it came out, but has since been recognized as a classic.

  2. Landis's reference to "Faber Policemen" was another joke, since filming took place at the University of Oregon, in Eugene. Faber College was actually the fictional setting of the film. Its motto: "Knowledge is Good."