July 28, 1978 On this day, Universal Pictures’ “National Lampoon’s Animal House” had its premiere in New York City. The film centers on the fictional Delta Tau Chi fraternity. New pledges Lawrence “Pinto” Kroger (Thomas Hulce) and Kent “Flounder” Dorfman (Stephen Furst) arrive in time to join members — including Eric “Otter” Stratton (Tim Matheson), Donald “Boon” Schoenstein (Peter Riegert) and John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi) — in their war against college dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon). Wormer is intent on getting rid of Delta Tau Chi with the help of Delta’s snooty next-door rival Omega Theta Pi. When the film opened in Washington in August, Washington Post film critic Gary Arnold praised many of the performances, but singled out Belushi, then a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” His Bluto “seems to be in a permanent stupor from the gratification of his ravenous thirst, hunger and lust,” Arnold wrote. “Belushi’s looks are ideal for the role: at once swarthy and cherubic, he suggests a baby sunk in dissipation.” Made on a shoestring budget, “Animal House” went on to become one of the most profitable movies of all time and, despite some early mixed reviews, is now included in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American comedies.