Post-production was finished in 1984, but the film wasn't released until three years later.
Adapted from a single issue of the National Lampoon magazine, 1982's "Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs".
After poor test screenings MGM shelved the film, only granting it a limited release in 1987.
MGM had wanted a straightforward teen comedy, a genre that was enjoying great success at the time with films like Porky's (1981) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). Robert Altman had a different take on the idea, however. As he disliked the teen comedy genre, his notion was to make a satire of such films.
The first Robert Altman movie in around three years that had not been a filmed adaptation of a play.
Robert Altman has conceded that the film did not work but has consistently defended and praised the ensemble cast's work.
Dennis Hopper's character is a parody of the role he portrayed in Apocalypse Now (1979). Both characters are photographers that have chronicled happenings in Vietnam during the war.
During a 1991 interview with David Letterman, Martin Mull revealed that he was 'Robert Altman''s second choice for his character, the first choice being CBS Newsman Walter Cronkite.
The script originally called for Clifton Chenier to perform but they could not get him. As Robert Altman was already a big fan of King Sunny Ade he changed the script and they flew him and his near 40 band members to be in the film.
According to 'Time Out', this film was "[Director Robert] Altman's one major studio picture between Popeye (1980) and The Player (1992)".
British Film Institute stated that this film was "probably [director Robert] Altman's least successful film".
Robert Altman once said of this film: "It was a satire of teen sex comedies, gosh darn it, not an example of that dubious breed!". Altman maintains that critics and audiences misunderstood the film and its intentions.
Trade paper 'Variety' reported that the picture "was finished in 1984 but not released until 1987".
One of a number of collaborations of cinematographer Pierre Mignot and director Robert Altman.
The entire October 1982 edition of National Lampoon magazine was devoted to O.C and Stiggs, it being called "The Utterly Monstrous Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs". The movie was made around a couple years after this issue was first published.
One of two mid-late 1980s comedy flops for director Robert Altman. The other was Beyond Therapy (1987). Both titles frequently went straight to video in various territories.
According to 'Allmovie', actor Thomas Hal Phillips reprized "his role as Hal Phillip Walker from [director Robert Altman's] Nashville (1975)" which had been made and released about a decade earlier.
Humourous sound effects were tracked over the lion's roar during the MGM's opening logo presentation.
Some movie posters for this film featured a text preamble that read: "These two friends have one last chance to turn this summer into the most mind-roasting, incredible time you've ever had. O.C. AND STIGGS. Adventures in upper middle class suburbia".
An extensive oral history of the film and its National Lampoon origins was authored by Hunter Stephenson and published in Apology Magazine in 2014. Interviews were conducted with Daniel Jenkins, Neill Barry, producer Peter Newman, Allan Nicholls, Martin Mull, Victor Ho, writer Ted Mann, and Paul Dooley. A version can be found online at ocandstiggs.tumblr.com.
Producer Peter Newman believed that Robert Altman was very unhappy making the film and really didn't want to direct it. Newman also claimed that despite Altman's frequent clashes with studios' interference with his films, "[it was] one of the few instances were [he] didn't want to hang around and fight the fight. He didn't finish that movie. The studio finished that movie."
Prior to the film's production, no major studio wanted to back a Robert Altman film. His former agent worked at MGM at the time, and only greenlit the project under the condition that Altman would make the film for no more than $8 million, and that he stick to the script.
Though based on a 'National Lampoon' story / edition, the movie's title was not prefixed as "National Lampoon's..." as other National Lampoon Movies were like National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and Class Reunion (1982).
Reportedly, there were creative differences between director Robert Altman and the writers who apparently distanced themselves from the picture.
The make and model of the O.C. and Stiggsmobile, what they called their "Gila Monster", was a blue 'Bulletnose' Studebaker.