20 Secrets You Should Know About ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’

The 1983 family hit National Lampoon’s Vacation is a must-see. It’s actually hard to believe this classic was made 35 years ago! It’s still a fan favorite among audiences of all ages, and for good reason. These behind-the-scenes facts will make you fall in love with the movie all over again.

20. Chevy Chase Improvised The Scene Where He Gets Pulled Over After Accidentally Killing Aunt Edna’s Dog

Chase improvised the scene where Clark is talking to the officer after forgetting to untie Aunt Edna's dog from the back bumper. Both actors are visibly trying not to laugh during the dialogue.

19. The Film Crew And Cast Actually Went On A Road Trip

The movie was shot in over 15 different locations in four states.

18. There Were Five Wagon Queen Family Trucksters Used In The Movie

They rotated the cars out in order to alter each one to show the wear and tear from the trip.

17. One Of Chevy Chase’s Favorite Scenes Is When Clark Helps Ellen Do The Dishes

Clark helps Ellen with the dishes, but he never actually washes them or puts them in the dishwasher. Instead, he wipes them off and puts them back in the cabinets.

16. Director Harold Ramis Was Worried The Movie Was Too Edgy For His Style

In particular, Ramis said the St. Louis scene was “the most politically incorrect sequence I’ve ever shot.”

15. The Actor Who Played Rusty Was Going Through Puberty During Filming And Grew Three Inches

Anthony Michael Hall, the actor who played Rusty, grew three inches during production and appears at different heights throughout the movie.


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14. Chevy Chase Accidentally Nearly Hit An Extra When He Threw The License Plate During A Gas Station Scene

While searing for the gas cap for the family car during a scene, Chevy Chase accidentally threw the license plate of the Truckster after pulling it off. It almost hit another actress at the pump behind him, and the look of concern on his face is real.

 

13. Model Christie Brinkley Traveled With The Crew For Most Of The Shooting Despite Only Appearing In A Few Scenes

Model Christie Brinkley made her movie debut in Vacation as the blonde in the red sports cars who distracts Clark. She traveled with the crew for much of the filming even though she only had a small role in the movie.

12. The Original Ending Had The Family Not Enter Walley World At All

Upon arriving at Walley World, the Griswolds are saddened to find the park closed. In the original script, Clark leaves the amusement park to go to the CEO’s home, where he holds him hostage. However, test audiences didn’t like this ending, so the writers changed it. In the edited version, the family enters the closed park instead.

11. The Shots Of Walley World Were Actually Matte Paintings

You can tell the park is actually a painting in this parking lot scene.

10. The Roller Coaster Scenes Were Shot At Six Flags Magic Mountain

The cast even rode the roller coasters for the scenes, and their expressions of fear and nausea were real.

9. The Crew Actually Saved A Dog That Was Tied To A Car Bumper

The crew saw a car start to drive off with a dog still tied to the bumper at one of the hotels they stayed at during filming. They managed to alert the driver and save the dog’s life, unlike the scene featuring Aunt Edna's poor pooch.

8. The Cast Had To Run From The Car To Walley World Park In 100 Degree Heat

Chevy Chase and Anthony Michael Hall raced from the car to Walley World in the 100 degree heat at the Santa Anita race track in California.


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7. The Actress Who Played Aunt Edna Had To Be Talked Into Taking The Role

Actress Imogene Coca was worried she wouldn’t be mean enough to play the part, but the producer talked her into the role.

6. Actress Beverly D’Angelo (Ellen) Was Actually A Great Singer During The Sing-along Parts According To Chevy Chase

Beverly D’Angelo starred in the 1979 musical “Hair,” which explains her vocals during the movie.

 

5. The Movie Was Based On A 1979 Story By John Hughes Published In The National Lampoon Magazine

The original story was called Vacation '58.

4. Randy Quaid Added Cousin Eddie’s Tongue Click To The Script

The actor based the sound on someone he knew in high school, and went through the scripts to mark where he wanted to add the tongue click.

3. The Beer Can Clark And Rusty Drink From In The Desert Scene Is Empty

The actors had to pretend to drink from the empty can.

2. The Stunt Coordinator Jumped The Family Truckster Over 50 Feet During The Desert Scene

Stunt coordinator Dick Ziker made a bet against other crew members that he would be able to jump the car over 50 feet, and he did.


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1. Cousin Vicki Was Played By 14-Year-Old Jane Krakowski

The movie was Jane’s first big movie, and it’s safe to say the teen rocked the part.

The Theme Song, "Holiday Road," Was A Big Hit On The Billboard Charts

Even though the soundtrack album never made it on the charts, Lindsey Buckingham's catchy theme song was ranked 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

The Movie Originally Had A Not So Pleasant Ending

The original ending had the Griswolds invade Roy Walley's house, hold him and his associates hostage, and force them to entertain their family by dancing and singing Marty Moose songs. Apparently, the test audiences really didn't like this ending, so Hughes had to write a new one with a more peaceful ending. In order to shoot the new finale, the cast had to be reunited four months after filming had wrapped.

It Has Some Pretty Ridiculous Deleted Scenes...


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One, which included Clark spotting a camel while wandering through the desert. Unfortunately, the camel the filmmakers rented was raised in captivity in southern California and refused to cooperate because it had never walked on sand before.

They Created A Re-make Of The Film In 2015

We have to admit the new Vacation, starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was pretty funny, but it'll never compare the the original film!

There Is A Reason The Films Poster Looks So Familiar

Boris Vallejo who painted this poster, also painted the iconic poster for the 1977 reissue of Barbarella.

Hall Is Two Different Heights Throughout The Film

Remember when we mentioned they had to re-film the finale? Well during that time, Hall grew three inches, making him noticeably taller than D'Angelo.


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