09 – National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)

John Hughes’ first film National Lampoon’s Class Reunion is a seldom-seen but seminal work in the career of John Hughes. Released October 29, 1982, Mike Miller (Silent Rage) directs a Bechdel Test–passing film which features the “undistinguished” talents of Gerrit Graham (Used Cars), Michael Lerner (Barton Fink), Stephen Furst (Animal House), Mews Small (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), Blackie Dammett, and a superfluous appearance by the legendary Chuck Berry.

National Lampoon’s Class Reunion is currently unavailable to stream legally but can be purchased used on DVD.

Special guest stars: Tanya as Tish Sweater, and Kelly Hopeless as herself!

Synopsis

Lizzie Borden High’s class of ’72 are going through the motions at their tenth-year reunion, until deranged alum Walter Baylor, driven insane by a sadistic senior-year prank, escapes from the mental institution and crashes the party. When guests start getting bumped off, the other alumni, including snooty yacht salesman Bob Spinnaker, class tease Bunny Packard, and class zero Gary Nash, spring into action to uncover the culprit. Chuck Berry makes an onstage appearance. (William Agee from IMDB)

Select Cast & Crew

  • Gerrit Graham … Bob Spinnaker
  • Michael Lerner … Dr. Young
  • Fred McCarren … Gary Nash
  • Miriam Flynn … Bunny Packard
  • Stephen Furst … Hubert Downs
  • Mews Small … Iris Augen (as Marya Small)
  • Shelley Smith … Meredith Modess
  • Zane Buzby … Delores Salk
  • Jacklyn Zeman … Jane Washburn
  • Blackie Dammett … Walter Baylor
  • Barry Diamond … Chip Hendrix
  • Art Evans … Carl Clapton
  • Marla Pennington … Mary Beth McFadden
  • Randy Powell … Jeff Barnes (as Randolph Powell)
  • Misty Rowe … Cindy Shears
  • Jim Staahl … Egon Von Stoker
  • Gary Hibbard … Fritz Shears
  • Anne Ramsey … Mrs. Tabazooski
  • Steve Tracy … Milt Friedman
  • Chuck Berry … as himself
  • Karen Rea … casting
  • Paul Stewart … special effects

The Soundtrack

The score was written by Peter Bernstein and Mark Goldenberg, and is unreleased. Here are the few tracks used in the film. Note: Chuck Berry’s Performances were recorded live.

  • “Class Reunion” – Gary US Bonds (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982) YouTube.
  • “Festival (Live)” – Chuck Berry (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982)
  • “It Wasn’t Me (Live)” – Chuck Berry (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982)
  • “My Ding-a-Ling (Live)” – Chuck Berry (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982. Compare with a version from a Tokyo concert in 1982, via YouTube).
  • “Stop! in the Name of Love” – performed by the cast (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982)
  • “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” – performed by the cast (from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Unreleased. 1982)

Mentioned in the script, but unused in the film was “Friends,” by Barbara Streisand, which was intended to be played during the final dance scene in the gym.

Visuals

Episode artwork is adapted from Berni and Michelle Wrightson’s work in the November 1982 issue of Heavy Metal Magazine.

Panels from Heavy Metal, November, 1982.
Sketches of the Powder Room Prowler from the Dacron Republican-Democrat. One of the drawings is likely by John Hughes.
Chuck Berry in National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, 1982. ©Copyright Twentieth Century Fox Films. All rights reserved..

 

Class Reunion has two instances of intentional nudity. One is a still shot of an unidentified actress/model. Click for the un-blurry version.

 

Explosives expert Paul Stewart’s script for National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Final Draft, dated January 20, 1982. Available from themoviewizard. (Please buy it for me.)

 

References

  • American Film Institute interview. March 1, 1985.
  • Bedell-Smith, Sally. “ABC’s Brandon Stoddard Bids for the Larger Screen.” New York Times. Dec, 18, 1983.
  • Box Office Mojo. “American Werewolf in London” and “National Lampoon’s Class Reunion.” Boxofficemojo.com.
  • Choron, Sandra. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Based on a screenplay by John Hughes. Dell Publishing. 1982.
  • Dammett, Blackie. Lords of the Sunset Strip. The Spencer Company. 2013.
  • Gibley, Ryan. “John Hughes.” The Guardian. August 7, 2009.
  • Harmentz, Aljean, “Tentative Accord Reached in Strike of Screen Writers.” New York Times, July 12, 1981.
  • Honeycutt, Kirk. John Hughes: A Life on Film. Race Point Publishing. 2015.
  • Hughes, John. The Breakfast Club. Universal Studios, 1985.
  • Hughes, John. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Directed by Michael Miller. ABC Motion Pictures. October 29, 1982.
  • Hughes, John. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. Final Draft. January 20, 1982.
  • Lucid Films. “Twilight Zone Tragedy – Helicopter Accident Scenes Reconstructed.” Feb 20, 2012. via YouTube
  • Marsh, Betsa. “Class Reunion is Sparce on humor.” The Cincinnati Enquirer. Nov 2, 1982.
  • Maza, Michael. “ Nobody worth laughing at makes the scene in Class Reunion.” Arizona Republic. Nov, 3ed, 1982.
  • Moore, David J. “Director Michael Miller Remembers 1982’s Silent Rage and Class Reunion” Comingsoon.net. April 16, 2016.
  • National Lampoon Magazine. NL Communications Inc. May 1981.
  • O’Rourke, P.J. And John Hughes. National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody. National Lampoon, June 1978.
  • Pasadena College of Chiropractic Alumni website.
  • Reed, John-Michael. “Starts Sing for their supper.” The Republic. March 27, 1982.
  • Reich, Howard. “Major risks, untried talents and one cool Chicago director.” Chicago Tribune, August 21, 1983.
  • Roberts, Jerry. “Butler man stars in new Lampoon Film.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 20, 1982
  • Rose, Mickey. Student Bodies. Directed by Mickey Rose and Michael Ritchie (uncredited). August 7, 1981.
  • Uricchio, Marilyn. “This Class Reunion is One to Avoid.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 30, 1982.
  • Washington Steam Magnet Academy Homepage. www.pusd.us
  • Wikipedia. “Twilight Zone Accident.” Wikipedia.com.
  • Wrightson, Berni and Michelle Wrightson. “National Lampoon’s Class Reunion Welcomes You.” Heavy Metal Magazine. November, 1982.

Credits

Theme music by Bradley Davis (Fresh Snow).

With sound effects by Dickspiritmasterunit, Panzen, Raymonster, and Suonho from freesound.org.

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