Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts

All of the Postcards From National Lampoon's Vacation Opening Title Sequence

Monday, August 29, 2022

Summertime is always fun, and we've had some fun this year for sure.  Around here, though, the days are a bit cooler, and the leaves are already turning colors and falling down.  It's not quite Labor Day, but... here we are.  

It seems like, mentally, most of us are already in Fall mode.  Stores are putting out the Halloween candy, some kids have returned to school, and we collector nerds are on the hunt for the special limited edition Halloween items.  

We've even had our first taste of New England's apple cider donuts, and my wife has picked up a few new autumn decorations.  Even my daughter is excited for "Hallah-bean" this year, thanks to youTube's algorithm pushing the Halloween Mickey Mouse special episodes.

But, as we look ahead to fall, we press on with the final days of summer.  

The final entry into our YesterYear Summer of 2022 is meant to remind us that summer and summer vacations are lifelong memories.  

I cherish my summer vacation memories, as I'm sure you do.  The good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, I wouldn't trade them for the world.  I mean, it's not like we went on an around-the-world cruise on a private yacht with a gold toilet, but... that'll never happen.  To be totally honest, I wouldn't trade my summers in New York and Maine as a kid for that kind of trip, either.  

In order to honor the memories of summer vacation, what better way to take a look back at the best summer vacation movie of all time... National Lampoon's Vacation, of course!


National Lampoon's Vacation, often referred to as simply "Vacation," is the 1983 road trip comedy starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, and John Candy.  Supermodel Christie Brinkley makes her acting debut, with special appearances by Eugene Levy and Brian Doyle-Murray.  The film was directed by 80s comedy icon Harold Ramis and written by fellow 80s movie legend John Hughes.  The story is based on Hughes' original short story titled Vacation '58, which had appeared years earlier in National Lampoon Magazine.  

National Lampoon's Vacation was successful immediately, with a low budget of $15 million, the film earned $60 million during its first run of theaters in the United States  Based on this success, five sequels have been produced, although most fans only consider three to be actual sequels.  

European Vacation was released in 1985, followed in 1989 by Christmas Vacation, the most successful film of the franchise.  Vegas Vacation followed nearly a decade later in 1997, but lacked the comedic style of the previous two.  This was likely because it was rated PG compared to PG-13 of the two other sequels or the R rating of the original Vacation.  

Following these two was the made-for-tv "Christmas Vacation 2," which barely included any original cast members.  In 2015, a "reboot/sequel" starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was released to moderate success.  Chevy Chase and Beverley D'Angelo reprise their roles of Clark and Ellen Griswold in the reboot.  

By the way, if you're looking for a great video of "filming locations" based on the 1983 movie, check out the video made by YouTuber "Adam the Woo."  He has an eclectic collection of videos from filming locations, Disney World, roadside attractions, and even baseball games.  You can see his video below, and I'll add it to the Video Drive-In. 


Wanting to spend more time with his wife Ellen and children Rusty and Audrey, Clark decides to lead the family on a cross-country road trip from the suburbs of Chicago to a southern California amusement park Walley World, a spoof of Disneyland.  Ellen wants to fly, but Clark insists on driving to have more time to bond with his family.  He has ordered a new car for the trip, but after a "mixup" at the dealership, he is forced to buy the "Wagon Queen Family Truckster," a large, ugly green station wagon.  The car becomes a sort of character itself throughout the movie.


During the road trip, the family experiences numerous mishaps.  From being targeted by vandals in St. Louis to being shot at by bartenders in Dodge City, the most memorable event in the film is Clark's repeated encounters with a beautiful young woman driving a flashy red Ferrari 308GTS (Christie Brinkley.)

After stopping at Ellen's cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie's farm in Kansas, the family is forced to take cranky old Aunt Edna home to her son Norman in Phoenix.  Along the way, Ellen loses her purse, including her cash and credit cards.

During a drive between Utah and Arizona, the car crashes while Clark and Ellen argue and become stranded in the desert near Monument Valley.  Clark sets off alone to seek help and is eventually reunited with his family after spending several hours walking through the hot desert.  His family had been rescued hours earlier by mechanics who fixed the Griswold's car.  The mechanic extorts Clark for all of his remaining cash and leaves the car barely operational.  

After stopping at the Grand Canyon, Clark tries to cash a personal check, but the hotel clerk refuses, so Clark is forced to raid the register behind the clerk's back.  


After leaving the Grand Canyon, Aunt Edna dies in her sleep.  They tie her body to the roof of the car and head for Norman's house but when he isn't home, they leave her in a chair by the back door in the pouring rain with a note pinned to her clothing.  

Overwhelmed by the disasters they have encountered on the trip, Ellen and the children want to turn around and head for home.  Clark has become obsessed about reaching Walley World, and forces them to continue.  

That night, after another argument with Ellen, Clark goes to the hotel bar, where he finally meets the Ferrari-driving blonde.  The two go skinny-dipping in the pool, but they are discovered by the family - and the whole hotel- before anything intimate happens.  Ellen forgives Clark, and they go skinny-dipping themselves.  

Despite the setbacks, they arrive the next day with high spirits to discover that Walley World is closed for repairs.  

Slipping deep into insanity, Clark purchases a realistic-looking BB gun and demands that the park security guard (John Candy) take them through the park and allow them to ride every attraction.  

Eventually, the LAPD SWAT team arrives and arrests the family.  As they are being handcuffed, park owner Roy Walley (a spoof of Walt Disney played by Eddie Bracken) arrives.  Roy understands Clark's desire for the perfect family vacation and decides not to file criminal charges against the Griswolds.  

The closing credits include a photo montage of their trip with the final photo showing that the family flew back to Chicago rather than endure another drive.

The closing credits aren't the only photo montage in the film.  The opening sequence highlights fifty-two different postcards featuring various roadside attractions, major cities, and other Americana.  

In looking to make the final Summer of '22 post special, I thought we'd look at each of the postcards in the most summer-road trip movie I could think of!  

Click Keep Reading and let's get started!  

Commercials of YesterYear: Spirit Airlines

Thursday, January 7, 2021

"Catch the spirit... on Spirit Airlines!"

As a pilot, I don't fly for Spirit.  I've never flown on them and likely never will have a reason to, but if you know anything about air travel, you've heard of Spirit.  Perhaps you've even seen the viral videos on World Star Hip Hop.  Back in the day, though, Spirit was nothing like the no-frills, nickel and dime, budget airline they are today.  

Don't get me wrong, they were certainly an economy class carrier. Still, they had a niche market of leisure destinations in Florida and the Caribbean, primarily from the northeast United States states, for dirt cheap.  Today, they are a national airline with 157 planes and 77 destinations (as of the time of writing.)  

Back when I was growing up there was three commercials that would repeatedly air on FOX 5 (WNYW), UPN 9 (WWOR), and Pix 11 (WPIX).  The first was for "Beautiful" Mount Airy Lodge (which you can read about HERE!!!)  The second was a short-lived budget startup airline called Kiwi International Airlines.  The last was Spirit.

Spirit had fun little commercials that advertised cheap fares to fun-sounding places like Orlando and Las Vegas or the Caribbean with a catchy little jingle that still stays with me today.  Every time I see a Spirit plane, even now in 2021, my mind reaches back to this commercial and its catchy little tune.

Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge

Monday, March 30, 2020

If you grew up in the New York metropolitan area during the 80s and 90s, and I sang the jingle, "All you have to bring is your love of everything..." I bet you could finish the song for me with "BEAUTIFUL MOUNT AIRY LODGE!"  

When even cable TV only had 20 channels to watch, we were inundated with the same few commercials over and over.  Among one of the more memorable was this advertisement that frequently played on WPIX-11 and other channels that featured syndicated content I so often watched, like FOX or WWOR.  Every so often, it still pops into my head, and I'm taken right back to 30 years ago as I sat on my living room floor on a summer morning.


I can still picture the commercial in my head when I hear those two lines of the song.  I can still see the happy couple riding in golf carts, lounging poolside, dancing in formalwear, riding bicycles in gaudy 80s activewear, and a happy couple embracing on a rock in the middle of a small brook. As a matter of fact, I tend to think this commercial created an image of wealthy and leisure-filled adult life that my tiny prepubescent brain decided I must strive to attain.  The "beautiful" part of the song was so ingrained in our heads as kids, many still today think it was in the actual name of the vacation resort.

Mount Airy Lodge was a vacation resort in the Pennsylvania Pocono mountain region.  The Poconos were a regional rival to the famed resorts in the Catskills mountain area in New York.  These types of vacation resorts began popping up in the 1940s as a summer getaway for mostly Jewish New York City residents.  The popularity of these resorts peaked around the '60s and '70s as a way to beat the summer heat. At the same time, they wined and dined, enjoyed outdoor leisure activities, and be entertained by big names from the national comedy scene such as Rodney Dangerfield, Henny Youngman, Don Rickles, Schecky Green, and Joan Rivers.  Think the resort in "Dirty Dancing," and you'll have an idea of what these resorts were like during days of Yester-Year.

Was that the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in Christmas Vacation?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Everyone knows National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Everyone who reads this blog knows it's my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  But did you know there is a bit of an online controversy surrounding a short 5 second scene halfway through the film?


About mid way through the movie there is a scene where the Grandmothers are watching a parade and decorating a gingerbread house while the Grandfathers take a nap in the living room.  The argument online is whether they are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or not.

So today, I thought I'd settle the score once and for all.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 30th Anniversary

Sunday, December 1, 2019

For most of us one of the best parts of Christmas is watching our favorite holiday movies over and over (and over) again.  In what I'd like to be the first in a series this coming year reviewing one of my favorite film franchises, the National Lampoon's 'Vacation' series, I'll be taking a look back at my all-time favorite Christmas movie as it turns 30 this year.

Christmas Vacation is an absolute must watch in my house every year immediately following Thanksgiving right through Christmas Day.  My wife and I often have the television on as we fall asleep at night and during the Christmas season we often drift off as the DVD for this film plays.  We even make sure to play Christmas Vacation after our Christmas dinner is over for those that have moved into the living room to loosen the belt buckle and relax.


December 1st, 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary for this film and what better way than to honor it with a look at how it reminds us of our own family get-togethers and the lighter sides of the holiday season.  This movie covers everything you could want in a Christmas movie:  comedy, drama, the value of family, the stress we all face, and the child like joy during the holidays.  The Griswold's are all of us as we attempt the picture perfect Christmas.