BRENNAN: 40 Years Since 'Animal House' Released - Script Might Have STL Connection

Charlie Brennan
June 05, 2018 - 1:45 pm
Charlie Brennan
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On Friday night, I was in Cleveland, Ohio and KMOX’s Cardinals broadcast was coming in with crystal clarity.  That’s why we call it “the 50,000 Watt Blowtorch.”

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Speaking of blowtorches, Bob “Blowtorch” Komer was inducted Saturday into the Clayton High School Alumni Hall of Fame.  While I knew Komer was a foreign policy expert who served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter - and controversially at times - I had no idea he was from St. Louis.  A graduate of Clayton High in 1938, his family told me he grew up in apartments on Hanley Road near what is now a  Starbucks.  (The nickname “blowtorch” came from Henry Cabot Lodge, the U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam, who said arguing with Komer was like getting a blowtorch fixed on the seat of your pants.)

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The New York Times has ranked the 25 best plays of the last 25 years and “The Humans,” produced in part by Fox Theatricals and Jack Lane, both from St. Louis, made the list.  Lane is currently touting this month’s run of “I Do, I Do” at Stages St. Louis and will join us Thursday morning on KMOX. 

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“Angels in America” won Tony Awards for best play in 1993 and 1994, as well as the Pulitzer Prize.   St. Louis native Rocco Landesman produced it on Broadway.  Less generally known is that dramatist Tony Kushner was at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis on a directing fellowship in 1984 when he came up with the idea for “Angels in America.”

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2018 marks 40 years since the release of “Animal House,” and it turns out the character Boon was written by Harold Ramis for himself, but director John Landis refused to cast him.  Instead, the role went to Peter Riegert.  Ramis’ script may have been based on his years here at Washington University in St. Louis where he was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.  His daughter Violet recounts his life in a new memoir and joins us on tomorrow’s “Charlie Brennan Show” on KMOX.

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