What's better than a beer and a movie? Let's try something new and head to the Attic to watch a movie."Holiday Ro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oad, Holiday Ro-o-o-o-o-o-oad..."
Hard to believe it's been 30 years since the Griswold family first took to the road in "National Lampoon's Vacation." Ever since its release on July 29, 1983, the landmark comedy seems a permanent fixture of pop culture, having created the signature roles of Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and Randy Quaid's careers, having helped make stars out of Anthony Michael Hall and Jane Krakowski, and having helped launch the filmmaking career of John Hughes. The movie seems to play on an endless loop on TV, like the neighbors' slideshow of a nightmarish trip you were grateful not to have taken yourself. (Except, let's face it, you probably have a family road trip this disastrous in your past.)
Still, as many times as you've seen the film, there are some details you may have missed. Read on to learn about the in-jokes you haven't spotted, the scenes you didn't get to see, and other secret "Vacation" lore.
1. In Hughes' original story "Vacation '58," (http://bizbag.com/Vacation/Vacation%2058.htm) initially published in National Lampoon magazine in 1979, it's Disneyland that's closed and Walt Disney who gets taken hostage by the irate dad. The story's memorable first line: "If Dad hadn't shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever!" Warner Bros. snapped up the movie rights almost immediately.
2. Anthony Michael Hall had a mouth full of metal when he passed the audition to play Rusty. The producers' only note on his casting: make sure he keeps the braces. The movie marked the first of his four films with Hughes, followed by "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," and "Weird Science."
3. Dana Barron was 16 (two years older than Hall) when she landed the role of Audrey.
4. Imogene Coca, the legendary co-star of Sid Caesar's classic TV sketch comedy series "Your Show of Shows," wasn't sure she had it in her to be mean enough to play Aunt Edna, but producer Matty Simmons convinced the 75-year-old to take the part by reassuring her that she was a great actress who could play anything.
5. Supermodel Christie Brinkley made her film debut as the nameless temptress in the Ferrari. Though she had only a few scenes in the movie, she was along for the ride throughout the whole shoot, spending her off-camera days horseback riding and whitewater rafting.
6. Jane Krakowski made her film debut at 14 as Vicki, Cousin Eddie's teenage daughter.
7. Roy Walley, the entertainment mogul behind Marty Moose and the Walley World theme park, was played by comic actor Eddie Bracken, who, at the time, was best known for his starring roles in the 1940s Preston Sturges comedies "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" and "Hail the Conquering Hero."
8. Director Harold Ramis has said the production needed five Wagon Queen Famliy Trucksters (which were actually modified Ford LTD Country Squire station wagons) to complete the cross-country odyssey because they took such a beating throughout the shoot. Stunt coordinator Dick Ziker won a bet during the shoot that he could jump the car more than 50 feet.
9. Ramis has claimed that he and Chevy Chase rewrote much of Hughes' screenplay. "At first, I was supervising John Hughes's rewrites," Ramis told Ellis Stein, author of the new book "That's Not Funny, That's Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream." Ramis added, "Then Chevy and I took over when we thought he'd gone as far as he was going to go."
10. Chase claims that no one ever spots the gag early in the film, when Ellen and Clark are doing the dishes and the dishes don't actually get washed. Ellen scrapes the food off of them, and Clark dries them and puts them back in the cabinet.
Hope to see you there!