Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mystery Movie: ANIMAL HIGH

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE was such a big box-office hit during the second half of 1978 that for the next year it seemed like you couldn't throw a rock in any direction without hitting somebody's half-assed attempt to leech off its success. By early '79 there were cash-in sitcoms on all three networks; Delta House (on ABC) was the official entry, with a pilot episode penned by the film's writers and several cast members on board for at least 13 easy paychecks, but how many people remember NBC's Brothers and Sisters (with Chris Lemmon) or CBS' one-episode-wonder Co-Ed Fever, featuring Heather Locklear and Jillian Kesner? All of them were cancelled by the time KING FRAT and H.O.T.S. were playing at a drive-in near you and NATURAL LAMPORN'S FRAT HOUSE was unspooling at your local XXX theater.

Today's mystery movie, ANIMAL HIGH, also carries a 1979 copyright date, but the tag line on the ad above (from January 1980) was tweaked to include a reference to "wild and crazy guy" Steve Martin, whose hit comedy THE JERK had been released a few weeks earlier and was still playing to packed theaters. The artwork is a cut-and-paste job from other campaigns -- the young lady in the denim cut-offs is from the DELINQUENT SCHOOL GIRLS ad -- but the fact that Cannon Group's CHEERLEADERS BEACH PARTY was the co-feature at all five screens originally led me to suspect that this was also a Cannon product, possibly CHERRY HILL HIGH or the second LEMON POPSICLE movie, which was playing drive-ins at the time as either GOING STEADY or GREASY KID STUFF.

However, after listening to the original radio spot for ANIMAL HIGH (which was included on the second Something Weird "Trash-O-Rama Radio Come-Ons" audiocassette), I've come to the conclusion that this campaign - like the one for SUGARPIE - is a Donn Davison creation. Both radio spots feature the same male-female voice interplay, and in the case of ANIMAL HIGH, I'm pretty sure the male voice is Davison himself. Also, note the old Davison trick of crediting fake actors with famous soundalike names: the stars of ANIMAL HIGH are supposedly Robert (did he say Robin?) Williams, Keith (not Steve) Martin, and Suzette (sounds like Suzanne) Somers.


MALE VOICE: The graduating class of Animal High, with disco daffies, love-starved jocks, and swinging cheerleaders in the driver’s seat! ANIMAL HIGH!

FEMALE VOICE: [Sing-song] Where all the playing’s not on the football field!

MALE VOICE: It’s a wild and crazy movie, where nobody wears a toga!


MALE VOICE: Starring zany Robert Williams, wacky Keith Martin, and sexy Suzette Somers!

FEMALE VOICE: Rated R! [rolls the R sexily]

MALE VOICE: ANIMAL HIGH, from Tantamount Pictures!

FEMALE VOICE: [Giggles] It’ll tickle your jeans off!

Anyone know what this thing is?


Sleazegrinder said...

A friend of mine sent me a radio spot for this not long ago. Neither of us recognized any of the names, and we're both diehard's a complete mystery!

I'll dig up the spot and send it to you,if you'd like!

PS Thanks for this great blog! I used to read Temple religiously way back when!

Movies About Gitls

screen 13 said...

Remembering the notes in Monsters Crash the Pajama Party about Donn's "Little Whorehouse on the Prairie" this could be a number of films. I can imagine Pete Perry's Hollywood High on one screen, maybe King Frat on another, something from Hemisphere playing on one (Something that would have been with SRC at this time), something from Crown, and so on. this was about half a year after King Frat's release, but knowing Donn's track record with these shows, anything was possible.

That's just my guess.

Great Blog!