Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The National Lampoon Takes Its Lumps

My teenage years coincided with the glory years of the National Lampoon magazine. Everything associated with the National Lampoon brand, including the movies and the stage shows, would never have existed had it not been for the magazine. Saturday Night Live itself (Lorne Michaels' version, not Howard Cosell's version) was in some respects a cross-pollination between Second City and National Lampoon. While people like John Belushi and Gilda Radner worked on both, certain SNL powers such as Michael O'Donoghue were clearly identified with the Lampoon side of things.

But John Belushi died, Eddie Murphy ascended, and Chevy Chase became...Chevy Chase. The magazine continued to chug along and got new owners, but eventually the magazine closed, and J2 Communications (previously known for the Dorf videos) was sold to Daniel Laikin and another new owner and renamed itself National Lampoon Inc.

Then things really began to get fun.

National Lampoon Inc. former Chief Executive Officer Daniel Laikin remains wealthy after being sentenced to 45 months in prison for conspiring to manipulate the stock price of the media company, a U.S. prosecutor said....

Prosecutors alleged Laikin, 48, of Carmel, Indiana, bribed individuals to make it appear there was interest in the stock. He sought to fraudulently increase National Lampoon’s share price from $2 a share to $5 a share, according to court filings.

When the scheme became public, National Lampoon’s share price lost about 80 percent of its value over three days, the government alleges. The shares last traded over the counter Sept. 1 for 17 cents.

It's enough to make an investor plunge steel needles into his eyes.
blog comments powered by Disqus