In the fourth part of Pretty in Podcast’s series inspired by the works of John Hughes, I investigate the unproduced screenplay for National Lampoon’s The History of Ohio from the Dawn of Time Until the End of the Universe a.k.a. National Lampoon’s Dacron, OH, a script written with P.J. O’Rourke.
Interview with P.J. O’Rourke
P.J. O’Rourke wasn’t available for a proper interview, but gave some quick answers to a few questions. I tried distil my questions as much as possible so not to re-tread questions that have been asked and answered in other places.
Pretty in Podcast: Although, Dacron, OH seems to relate The Sunday Newspaper parody, there doesn’t seem to be any direct connection. What was the catalyst for the script?
P.J. O’Rourke: We both loved the Midwest and thought it was hilarious. We used Ohio because it had the funniest name.
PiP: Hughes has said that you had “educated, trained, and conditioned” him as a writer. What was the writing process like?
PJO: I did? As John’s editor I just turned him loose on an idea (usually his own). And the assignment would be completed within 48 hours.
PiP: Were you aware of the Mel Brooks History of the World: Part I? Did that play any part in the Lampoon film not getting made?
PJO: The movie didn’t get made because we couldn’t figure out a story line.
PiP: Like The Yearbook Parody and Sunday Newspaper, Dacron, OH plays with the idea of PC humour. Have your feelings about political correctness in humour changed over the years? How? (Canadian spellings)
PJO: Society always needs something to be prudish about. Once it was “Honor” then it was “Sex” now it’s “PC.”
PiP: I’d love to hear more, about the time as a writer in Hollywood—I watched Easy Money for the first time last night and thought it was great. Plus, seeing early performances by Jeffrey Jones and Joe Pesci was a treat!
PJO: Thanks for the kind words about Easy Money. But when we handed in the script it had an ending.
History of Ohio artwork based on poster artwork for Mel Brook’s The History of the World, Part 1.
- Beck, Marilyn. “Mel Brooks Becomes a Historian.” The Milwaukee Journal. Jan 19, 1980
- Brooks, Mel. “I’m Living Proof That Bad Jokes Never Die.” The Sydney Morning Herald. Jan 24, 1982
- Hughes, John. “Vacation ’58 / Foreword ’08” in Zoetrope: All-Story. Volume 12, Number 2. Summer 2008.
- Humphries, James. “Box Office Duels – Hollywood’s Reliance On Copycat Movies.” Cineramble.com. March 23, 2014.
- Honeycutt, Kirk. John Hughes: A Life on Film. Race Point Publishing. 2015.
- Minkoff, Alysse. “From Left to Right” interview with P.J. O’Rourke in Cigar Aficianado. Nov/Dec 98.
- O’Rourke, P.J. And John Hughes. National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody. National Lampoon, June 1978.
With sound effects by GKillhour, Juanicotolengo, Mangiedog, Smokum, Suonho, SVarvarn, Unfa, and Zimbot from freesound.org.