Delta House

Delta House
Genre Sitcom
Written by John Hughes
Elias Davis
David Pollock
Michael Tolkin
Stephen Tolkin
Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
Joshua White
Carl Gottlieb
Starring Brian Patrick Clarke
Gary Cookson
Susanna Dalton
Peter Fox
Stephen Furst
Wendy Goldman
Peter Kastner
Bruce McGill
Josh Mostel
Richard Seer
John Vernon
James Widdoes
Lee Wilkof
Theme music composer Tony Hendra
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ivan Reitman
Matty Simmons
Producer(s) Elias Davis
David Pollock
Running time 2224 minutes
Production company(s) Universal Television
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release January 18 (1979-01-18) – April 21, 1979 (1979-04-21)
Preceded by National Lampoon's Animal House

Delta House is an American sitcom that was adapted from the 1978 film National Lampoon's Animal House. The series aired from January to April 1979 on ABC.


Cast members reprising their roles from Animal House included John Vernon (Dean Wormer), Stephen Furst (Flounder), Bruce McGill (D-Day), and James Widdoes (Hoover). Priscilla Lauris, who played Dean Wormer's secretary in the movie also returned to reprise her role, and her character was given a name (Miss Leonard). Josh Mostel was cast as Jim "Blotto" Blutarsky, brother of Bluto, the character played in the film by John Belushi. Despite Bluto's absence, the scriptwriters made running references to his character. In one episode, Blotto announced that he'd received a letter from his brother Bluto, prompting a Delta brother to respond "I didn't know Bluto could write!" and another Delta brother to riposte "I didn't know Blotto could read!"

Delta House also served as an early vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer, who played 'The Bombshell'. Of the role, Pfeiffer reflected, 'It was a no-brainer, and I detested it. But it was exposure so I did the best I could with terrible scripts. I told myself: "There are so many unemployed actors around, you should be glad you're working at all."'[1]

Production and scheduling problems

Because of television Standards and Practices, the raunchy humor, drug references, and foul language featured in Animal House didn't survive the transition to TV. As a result, Delta House suffered in comparison. That it aired during the so-called "family hour" (8:00 PM on Saturday nights) led to even more watering down.

In addition, the other two broadcast networks rushed onto the airwaves their own sitcoms that were "inspired" by Animal House: NBC's Brothers and Sisters and CBS' Co-Ed Fever.

Delta House initially did well in the ratings. However, executive producers Matty Simmons and Ivan Reitman's constant fights with ABC over content, led the network to cancel the show after 13 episodes.

Theme song

The theme song was written by Jim Steinman to lyrics written by Lampoon editors Tony Hendra and Sean Kelly. Steinman later reworked the melody into the song "Dead Ringer for Love", made famous by Meat Loaf and Cher from the album Dead Ringer, and a portion of the lyrics into the song "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" from the movie Streets of Fire (incidentally, Meat Loaf had been an alternate choice for the role of Bluto in Animal House had John Belushi dropped out).

In the episode "Lady in Weighting", the song "Pizza Man" was performed during a beauty pageant talent showcase. It was taken from National Lampoon's Off-Broadway sketch revue Lemmings, a send-up of the Woodstock Festival where it was originally sung by actress Alice Playten.




  1. D. Thompson, Pfeiffer: Beyond the Age of Innocence, London, Warner Books, 1995, p. 40.

External links

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