Category: Moving Images

Behind the Scenes: “Animal House” at 40

In the fall of 1977, John Landis and his Universal Pictures production crew came to Eugene, Oregon, to begin filming their college comedy Animal House on the campus of the University of Oregon. They recruited dozens of UO students as extras, and used many well-known campus buildings and landmarks as locations. The video above is a compilation of behind-the-scenes footage shot by local TV news crews, including the iconic parade scene shot in Cottage Grove, Oregon, as well as the demolition of the Delta house in the early 1980s. The news footage all comes from the KEZI-TV/Chambers Communications Corp. records (Coll 427), and the still images come from University Archives Photographs (UA Ref 3) in Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA).

Some of this same footage, plus additional clips and images from SCUA, is also available in a related video produced by the University of Oregon’s Communications & Marketing department to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the the film’s release. An article in the summer 2018 issue of the Oregon Quarterly explores the film’s local history and its ongoing impact as a cult favorite.

Both videos demonstrate how archival footage can be combined in different ways and recontextualized to tell new stories about history.

As a student delving into this archival collection of behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes, this project felt transportive as I immersed myself in images from the past forty years. It was also a learning experience in the context of the culture of UO, as well as the evolution of what we deem as socially responsible in relation to comedy. Archival video footage and images are unique in their ability to present the viewer with a view of the world as it used to be, which can lead to greater understanding of how the past influenced the present.

You don’t need to be a student at the University of Oregon to find something in KEZI-TV news collection to connect with. Parents, alumni, faculty members, fans of the movie, and all types of Eugenians will come across familiar sites as they stood forty years ago. From downtown Cottage Grove run amok to John Belushi finagling a horse through Johnson Hall, this collection provides us with a vision of our campus and the surrounding area through a retro, Hollywood lens.

For me, the image of Belushi playing his guitar in a booth at the EMU fishbowl resonates strongly. To see a Hollywood star sitting by the same windows many of us have gazed through while working on a project or getting lunch with friends makes the connection between then and now all the more palpable.

Of course, the film isn’t without certain problematic tendencies. While I’m not excusing the myriad punchlines that come at the expense of a variety of social communities, I will say that this archive is a fun look into the loose atmosphere of the film set. Furthermore, this film still serves as the largest vehicle for the city of Eugene’s representation in Hollywood lore, as it grossed over $140 million and spawned an entire generation of knock-offs. Because of this, our archival collections serve as an important look into the creation of Eugene and the University of Oregon’s Hollywood immortality.

Local celebrations will peak in August when Cottage Grove hosts a 40th anniversary parade, toga party, film screening, and other festivities. The historic Hollywood Theatre in Portland will screen a 35mm print of the film on August 17.

–Michael O’Ryan, Curatorial Assistant

5 Things You Didn’t Know Existed in the EMU 50 Years Ago

The EMU is celebrating its reopening Thursday and Friday—the building is full of new food, new spaces and even a Duck Store. But fifty years ago, the EMU was a lot different.

This is a video filmed in 1966 by a political science student named Ken Settlemier, who was trying to show how crowded the EMU had become. According to an article in the Oregon Daily Emerald, the film didn’t really achieve what it had intended when shown to the EMU Board—but today, provides us with a snapshot of student life in the EMU half a century ago.

Here are five things you probably didn’t know existed in the EMU in 1966:

1. A barber shop.

 2. Smoking.

3. A daily print newsroom.

The Emerald is now a daily online publication with two news magazines a week; in 1966, it printed every day from Monday to Friday.

4. Ping-pong.

5. A bowling alley.

Bonus points: A girl falling asleep.

The Sub 4 Reunion: Honoring UO Track and Field Athletes

The second hour included a Q & A session led by current OTC Elite runners Andrew Wheating and Tom Farrell.
The Sub 4 Mile Reunion included a Q & A session led by current OTC Elite runners Andrew Wheating and Tom Farrell. Photo by Lauren Goss.

On May 27th, a select group of University of Oregon runners were honored at the Sub Four Reunion, hosted by the Oregon Track Club.  The sold out event at the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes was filled with UO alumni, past and current UO coaches, and running enthusiasts.  The event honored the 10 surviving runners who ran a mile in less than 4 minutes under coach Bill Bowerman.  Coinciding with The Prefontaine Classic, the reunion duly recognized Steve Prefontaine as the 11th UO runner to break the 4-minute barrier in 1970.

As the Thomas Intern Film Archives Assistant for the University of Oregon Special Collection and University Archives, I’ve been working on the identification, preservation and digitization of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Films collection.  When I heard about this reunion a few months ago, I became curious about track and field films in this collection. With nearly 4,000 films, over 2.5 million feet of film, and 8 decades of University of Oregon athletic heritage, I hoped to locate some suitable material.  To my surprise and joy, I successfully discovered footage of two of the sub-four minute mile moments.  First, the unabridged film of Jim Bailey running the first sub-four minute mile in the United Stated in 1956, and second, clips of Dyrol Burleson breaking the four minute barrier at Hayward Field in 1960.



The clip reel captivated both attendees and honorees during the first hour of the event.
The clip reel captivated both attendees and honorees during the first hour of the event. Photo by Lauren Goss.


With the help of my colleagues, Elizabeth Peterson (Humanities Librarian and Curator of Moving Images) and Jennifer O’Neal (Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist), we were able to digitize the footage and offer a clip reel to the reunion organizer, Todd Bosworth.  In addition to the films, the clip reel includes photographs of the runners located by University of Oregon graduate research assistant, Zach Bigalke.  Many thanks to University of Oregon undergraduate student, Joe Hughes, for producing such a captivating clip reel.  As a third generation UO alumni, it was an honor to attend the event to celebrate fellow Ducks and their accomplishments.



List of reunion honorees and the time and date of their first sub-4 minute mile:

Jim Bailey 3:58:6 (May 5, 1956)
Dyrol Burleson 3:58:6 (April 23, 1960)
Jim Grelle 3:59:9 (April 28, 1962)
Keith Forman 3:58:3 (May 26, 1962)
Archie San Romani 3:57:6 (June 5, 1964)
Wade Bell 3:59:8 (June 2, 1966)
Roscoe Divine 3:59:1 (June 2, 1966)
Arne Kvalheim 3:59:4 (May 6, 1967)
Dave Wilborn 3:56:2 (June 23, 1967)
Steve Savage 3:59:2 (June 5, 1970)

Event media coverage:

Register Guard



Around the O

Run Blog Run

–Lauren Goss, Thomas Intern Film Archives Assistant

Peg Lynch’s typewriter: A window into the birth of sitcoms

This typewriter belonged to Peg Lynch, one of the first sitcom writers.
This typewriter belonged to Peg Lynch, one of the first sitcom writers.

The past meets the present in our Friday File series, where we delve through artifacts housed at the UO Libraries and let them talk.

Some of the first sitcoms were typed on these keys.

This typewriter belonged to Peg Lynch, creator of the TV and radio sitcom Ethel and Albert. Premiering on ABC radio in 1944 and on NBC television in 1950, Ethel and Albert was the first “show about nothing”; it followed a suburban couple through storylines as mundane as trying to open a pickle jar, dropping Lynch’s quiet but intelligent humor into them.

Ethel and Albert’s first episode was written on this L.C. Smith & Corona typewriter, which is now part of the Peg Lynch papers at the University of Oregon’s Special Collections and University Archives.

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James Blue Papers to Permanently Reside at UO Libraries

jamesblueThe University of Oregon Libraries is pleased to announce that the personal papers and collected production materials of renowned filmmaker James Blue have found a permanent home in the Special Collections and University Archives.

The James Blue Papers are a gift of the Blue family. The materials were first placed on deposit in UO Libraries Special Collections in December 2013, and the deed of gift was finalized on April 10, 2015. The collection consists of the filmmaker’s personal papers, production materials, correspondence, photographs, sound recordings, and films, including the award-winning Olive Trees of Justice (1962), The March (1963), and A Few Notes on Our Food Problem (1968).

We’ve previously highlighted the arrival of the collection here and a recent celebration of the collection here.

More information about James Blue and his legacy is available here.