As noted in Welcome to Faber College Freshman Orientation Pamphlet, Fall, 1962, an informal hello from Carmine DePasto, the fictional character mayor of Faber, starts, “I want to take this opportunity to welcome you, the class of ’66 to Faber, Pennsylvania…”
So, where is Faber, Pennsylvania? Faber is a fictional town with a fictional college. And the era? According to the 2008 documentary ‘Animal House: the Inside Story’ writers Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller, and Harold Ramis saw the film’s 1962 setting as “the last innocent year … of America”, and the homecoming parade that ends the film as occurring on November 21, 1963, the day before President Kennedy’s assassination. The filmmakers submitted the script to a number of colleges and universities but “nobody wanted this movie” due to the script; according to director John Landis, “I couldn’t find ‘the look’. Every place that had ‘the look’ said, ‘no thank you.'”
‘Animal House’s’ Faber College and the Delta House were heavily based on stories from writer Chris Miller and his experiences at Dartmouth College. In The Dartmouth, Miller said “The kind of person who goes to Dartmouth probably grew up in a home whose parents had a certain amount of discipline and who will get out of college and wind up high in a corporation or teaching in a great school or being a doctor, and you got one short window in your life to go absolutely nuts, and you take it. …I am curious as to what sort of … what the coloration of the official Dartmouth College response with this will be. They were not too pleased with me when ‘Animal House’ came out. [The book] is very politically incorrect. But very accurate and honest of our serial drinking and sexual escapades and acts of depravity.” Eventually the ‘Animal House’ filmmakers were able to film at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, where the president saw the value in the opportunity to be linked with a potential classic new movie. The parade scenes were filmed in Cottage Grove, Oregon. But writers Kenney, Miller, and Ramis set the story in a “Northeastern college” with legacies from Harrisburg, PA. Many of the characters long after end up in our area (IE: Amanda Peppridge becomes a housewife in Pittsburgh. “Chip” becomes Business Branch manager in Wilkes-Barre. John Blutarski becomes Vice President at US Steel in Pittsburgh. Etc.)
So, in honor of this classic comedy which was complimentary enough to see our area as ‘the look’ of our country’s ‘last innocent year of America’, the Johnstown Film Commission would like to put the flag out and officially claim it and say a great big thank you to the filmmakers. THAN YOU! It is a great honor!
The fictional Faber college cafeteria:
The fictional Delta House, in trouble:
The boys take a road trip to the nearby “Emily Dickinson” College. This too is a fictional school. A real Dickinson College stands in nearby Carlisle, PA…
The parade in downtown fictional Faber, PA… This could be Bedford, this could be Somerset, this could be Ligonier, this could be Indiana, this could be Altoona, this could be Windber, this could be Johnstown… or any other number of communities in our area with ‘the look’.
And now, here is this gem, ‘The Making of Animal House’!