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VINE VOICEon December 7, 2007
National Lampoon at this point is an icon. To people of a certain age, they remember the counter-culture magazine that pushed the boundaries in every conceivable direction. For younger people, the name is associated with cheesy titillation movies. The magazine itself was usually funny, and had a bit of an underground cachet about it.

Well, they've brought it back in the form of a bunch of PDF files that take about 7 gigabytes on a DVD-ROM. It's basically every page of every issue, including (thankfully!) the ads which tended towards stereo equipment, male "protection", beer & liquor, and cigarette ads. [personally, I love the old stereo receiver ads because they had a couple that I wanted to buy, couldn't afford, and by the time I could, they didn't make them anymore!]

It works fine on a windows PC, and I'm guessing it would work fine on a Mac, provided you installed the Adobe reader.

But there are two problems. First, the scans are only fair. It looks like in some cases the magazines themselves were damaged, but even when that didn't happen, the quality is no better than you or I just scanning a magazine at home. However, what really spoils this collection is that there was no attempt to turn this into something that was searchable and indexable because each page is simply a photograph of the page with no attempt at OCR or transcription.

And while it doesn't spoil a trip down memory lane, it does make you wish they'd spent more money, asked for $10 more and given us something that would be a lot more fun.

As it is, for those who remember, it's a trip worth every penny of the $33 Amazon is asking for it. But it frustrates you because it could have been so much more.
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on December 10, 2007
I was really excited to finally have a collection of these classic issues in their entirety.

It would have been even better if they were readable.

Some scans were cropped too tightly, and cut off text or parts of a photograph. Other scans had crummy exposure, resulting in dark photos and filled-in, unreadable reverse type. Some scans went the other direction, rendering black print as light gray. And still other scans are inexplicably blurry.

It's not just the photos and drawings that suffer, either. The scans were done at too low a resolution to capture the small type in some of the articles and ads, so you'll have a hard time reading those.

Quality control on the final scans is nonexistent. No attempt was made to correct density levels or colors on any of the scanned pages -- or even to match densities on double-page spreads. The result is an annoying mish-mash of too-light or too-dark pages with wildly varying brightness, contrast, sharpness, and color density. By what amounts to sheer luck, some of the pages look, eh, not bad.

A few of the scanned magazines had leftover bind-in ad inserts attached to them, and these inserts were inexcusably scanned as pages in and of themselves. Sheesh!

Clearly, this is a slapped-together project straight out of an automated scanning farm. It might have been better if the publisher of this compilation had outsourced the scanning of these magazines to some offshore outfit that could have hand-corrected the images as they came off the scanner. It probably would have only cost pennies per magazine to vastly improve the scan quality.

Bottom line, this collection is a great concept with a deeply flawed execution. It's a disappointment. The artwork, photography, and writing in the old National Lampoon magazines was of the highest caliber -- it's hard to find anything published today that's as sophisticated and incisive. Too bad this DVD compilation doesn't live up to that standard.
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on November 6, 2007
Having had great difficulty finding reasonably-priced original National Lampoon Magazines, I was looking forward to this product which claimed to have EVERY ISSUE scanned. The deluxe glossy packaging is better than expected, including the famous "We'll Kill This Dog" dog on the cover.

As for the DVD-ROM itself, it initially WOULD NOT stay in my disc drive (I use an Apple iMac - OS 10.4) - there was obviously something wrong with the disc...however, after several tries the DVD-ROM stayed in my computer...though the disc continues to resist staying in my other words, it dosn't seem to like Macs

It seems best to use the Adobe Acrobat PDF viewer supplied on the disc...when using Apple's PREVIEW program to view the PDFs I got ugly "National Lampoon" watermarks on all of the scans. However, when using Adobe Acrobat everything was fine and the watermarks are now gone.

As for the scans, they're decent but definitely look like they were taken from actual old magazines and not the original magazine lay-out "boards" - sometimes words are cut-off and the general coloration of the scans is brown-ish and a little dark

But ultimately the important thing is the comedy material of the magazine and that holds up very well. It's especially nice to see the many cartoons, satirical ads (and the real ads, too which are included)

Overall, it's a package worth buying and a good value.

Several other Nat Lamp projects are NOT included (High School Yearbook, Newspaper parody) - but it looks like these side projects are all being released separately in book form.
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on March 7, 2008
First subscribed to NatLamp August 1970, magazine was great until it jumped the shark in the mid 80's, had every issue until the basement flooded in 1991 and destroyed my entire collection. I cried. Been waiting for this DVD for a loooong time. Only slightly disappointed. I was not really aware of the sheer number of advertisements in each issue, this DVD has them all. There is a National Lampoon "watermark" running across every page when displayed, not sure if that can be turned off but I find it very distracting and it interferes badly with some of the pages that didn't scan too well to begin with.
Loved seeing the "Trots and Bonnie" comics again, had forgotten how funny "True Facts" really was, and reading Chris Millers many pre-"Animal House" stories was icing on the cake.
Would have liked to have had a "search" function, for the price this is a decent piece of work. 4 stars.
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on March 1, 2008
It is great to be able to reread the humor of the past, even to the issue with Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter duking it out on the cover for the November 1976 election issue. The ads for cigarettes, rolling papers, and turntables and stereos are classic. The articles are hip, and the use of nudity and total irreverence was challenging then and makes you wish for something that intelligent now.
On the other hand, the books were scanned by morons who could care less about what they were doing. There are pages missing. There are pages upside down and crooked. The Funny pages are yellowing. The sharpness and brightness of the pages is missing. There is no index or way to search the pages. You want to read Nuts? Flip through issue after issue to the Funny Pages. The scanned originals look like they were stored in somebody's garage for about 20 years. Amazing there aren't stains on the pages with FotoFunnies!
Even the simplest of picture editors--like Microsoft's--can adjust color and brightness to improve an image. Gitcorp obviously paid someone (who could not care less) minimum wage to grab a book, slap it on a scanner, press go, then do the next page. Absolutely NO attention to what they were doing or quality whatsoever. The real shame of this is that whoever has the copyright has no reason to care either--there's no other way you're going to get to read all this stuff.
So, buy the disk. Marvel at the total politically incorrect humor--from cartoons of a naked 13-year-old to spoofs of Ebony and MRs. Agnew's Diary. Then add your opinion of Gitcorp and its scanning techniques.
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on February 19, 2010
First let me comment that I was a tremendous Nat-Lamp fan when many of these issues - generally the ones from the 1970's - were current. Thus, I am a sympathetic reviewer to the content. It is both gratifying and frustrating that these issues are available again, especially to those like me who recall how great they were, but have long since lost track of the Lampoon collection we once possessed. As some have noted, at least we have most of these issues for us to read again. But as many of the reviewers have remarked, this compilation was obviously created through scanning issues of the magazine, and I have seldom seen a more erratic, amateurish job of scanned documents. I swear in some cases I could do a better job on my home scanner, while intoxicated!

OK, in fairness, there is some "garbage in/garbage out" to be considered, and I suppose whatever so-called master set of mags that were used were likely of highly differing quality. But that doesn't explain it all... it looks hastily done with little or no effective image enhancement being performed when needed.

Less forgivable is the fact that the issues do not appear in all cases to be complete. Like another reviewer, I was especially looking for the special cartoon section in the "Self Indulgence Issue" from 1973. This was perhaps one of their best efforts, containing self-lampoons of the various Nat-Lamp editors and writers from that time (the self-parody of Michael O'Donohue, "Poon-Wise" being especially hilarious). Alas, this whole section is not present, and I agree with the other reviewer who surmises that the centerfold cartoon section was likely previously ripped out of the scanned copy. Obviously, this means those who created the DVD did not verify the material to ensure completeness (or didn't care), and it can't be assumed that this is the only omission.

So, everyone will have to judge for themselves if this DVD is worth buying for what you DO get. I noticed that the price went down from when this DVD first appeared in Amazon, and I'm glad I refused to buy it at the original, outrageous price. As it is, I feel it's a partial rip-off. The makers of the DVD really ought to be ashamed of such a shoddy effort. The material deserved much better.
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on November 15, 2007
Buyer Beware!!! I was only able to access 1970-1979 on this DVD. I received a note from the support line (noted on the Disc) who replied as follows:

"We've seen some conflicts with some third-part cd-burning software. Some third party cd-burning software( Roxio, Nero, Sonic, etc...) contain their own default pdf viewer which conflicts with viewing the comics in Adobe Reader. Uninstall this component or the entire cd-burning suite from your system and try the disk again. If you have access, attempt to use the disk on another computer."

I tried it on 3 computers and the result was the same.

From what I was able to access, the program is very counter-intuitive, and consisted largely of going through each and every issue to find what I was looking for. After locating it, I did a search and according to the results, what I had just found did not exist?!

Bad Design.

I really want to keep this but couldn't for the above reasons. I hope the producers will repair the problems and reissue it.
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on March 20, 2009
I gave it two stars only because of what actually WAS there. It was nice to be able to see these again without spending a month browsing auction sites. Otherwise I'd go one star or less.

This collection must have been pulled from someones basement. Many issues are missing whole segments, and I think at least a couple of entire issues are missing.

The source material looks worn and faded, and the scans are awful. Pages are misaligned and often the last few lines of text are cut off or covered by the watermark. And the PDFs are locked so you can't correct any of this.
Also the disk doesn't play on all DVD drives. I can load it on my desktop but on my laptop the autorun hangs, and none of the folders will open.

If you are feeling nostalgic, go ahead and get this, but only on sale and don't go in hoping to see your favorite bits again. They probably won't be there.
Overall this is a good idea thrown together by people who don't give a damn.
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on October 25, 2010
There are many, many pages missing. Whether Matty Simmons was directly involved with this project or not, his greasy legacy of painting a cigarette brown and selling it as a cigar lives on. Read the blurb on the cover: "...246 issues, 22,632 pages of pure comic gold. Every National Lampoon Magazine..." Probably all true-every issue, and 22,632 pages. UNFORTUNATELY THERE WERE ABOUT 24,000 PAGES IN THOSE 246 ISSUES. Jerk.
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on April 23, 2008
The first thing I looked for on this DVD was one of my favorite issues, "Self Indulgence" only to discover the 1973 issue #12 is missing pages 31-41. This was a comic page centerfold and had probably been ripped out of the copy which was scanned for this DVD. How many other issues have whole sections like this missing? Also for some reason my DVD-ROM drive was unable to access any of the program files on this disc. The only folders which show up are 1970's issues. I have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat but it couldn't open the start file either. I tried it on a friends computer and it worked normally there. I don't know why my drive at home can't read it. I wrote to technical support at GIT almost a week ago, but I have received no response yet. I also mentioned the missing pages.
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