Chevy Chase as Clark W. Griswold, Jr., hapless family man
Chicago to Los Angeles, Summer 1982
Film: National Lampoon’s Vacation
Release Date: July 29, 1983
Director: Harold Ramis
Men’s Costumer: Robert Harris Jr.
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun, you know that!
Today is the 40th anniversary of the release National Lampoon’s Vacation, a comedy classic celebrating the great American tradition of the family summer road trip. Inspired by John Hughes’ short story “Vacation ’58” about a fictitious cross-country trip to Disneyland in a lemony station wagon that ends with our protagonist’s Dad shooting Walt Disney in the leg, Vacation introduced audiences to Clark W. Griswold, Jr., a well-intended family man who regularly goes disastrously above and beyond expectations to attempt to create memorable experiences for his family.
National Lampoon’s Vacation sends the Griswold family toward the fictional southern California destination of Walley World, a thinly veiled nomen à clef of Disneyland, though filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valenica. Clark packs his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and their children Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron) into a clunky conglomeration of American automotive excess for a nightmarish family vacation from the Windy City to Walley World that Clark eventually describes to Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken) as “two weeks of living hell.” Continue reading