Throwback Thursday: “National Lampoon’s Vacation”

July 31, 2014

This 1983 summer comedy is the best road trip classic around.

The road trip is my favorite part of the American summer.  I love to get in the car and see what adventures may find me and where I might find myself.  Road trips have become more enjoyable now than in former years.  That’s because I’m in the driver’s seat and not Mom and Dad.  No offense loving parents — I am grateful that we went on summer road trips to places like Yellowstone and Montreal.  It’s just that you had every detail planned out (except, for some reason, hotel reservations).  Now, I would rather adhere to a much looser program and sleep in my hammock.

Before you know it, summer vacation will be over, students will return to their posts at school, and less summer traffic will crowd the arteries of U.S. highways.  What better way to celebrate road trip season than joining the Griswold family on National Lampoon’s Vacation?  It’ll make you laugh aloud as their strategically planned summer trip leads them into all sorts of situations they could never have prepared for.

Image courtesy of Hollywood News.

Image courtesy of Hollywood News.

Chevy Chase has been our family favorite for as long as I can remember. From his beginnings at SNL to the whole National Lampoon line-up, watching Chevy Chase was a staple in our household. Vacation, the first of the vacation series, is a story about Clark W. Griswold wanting to take his family to Walley World, a Disney World spinoff.  In their wood-paneled Wagon Queen Family Truckster, Clark, his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and their children Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron) take off on a cross-country road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The Griswolds eventually make it to “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park,” but not without a few mishaps.  The Truckster is vandalized while they are slowly making their way through a rough neighborhood in St. Louis. They stop in Kansas to see Ellen’s family. Whenever Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) is around, things are guaranteed to go awry since he always asks Clark for money. While at Uncle Eddie’s place, the kids get introduced to porno magazines and doobies by their redneck cousins. The immediate family survives the trip but not everyone makes it – poor Aunt Edna and her dog Dinky. Probably the most memorable scene is when Clark drools over Christie Brinkley in her red Ferrari.

Though it seems Clark can’t get anything right, he does end up getting his family to Walley World.  Plus, isn’t it is the things that are unplanned that make a vacation most interesting?

Check out the trailer below, and I guarantee you’ll want to watch the rest of National Lampoon’s Vacation pronto.

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