July 19, 2024


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How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation

How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation In the late 1970s, John Hughes, working as an advertising copywriter at Leo Burnett in Chicago, was also freelancing for National Lampoon magazine. One of his earliest published works was a long short story titled “Vacation ’58.” The story, narrated by Clark Griswold’s son, was loosely based on a cross-country road trip Hughes took with his family as a child. It humorously chronicled their journey filled with mishaps, misadventures, and dark comedic twists.

Four years later, “Vacation ’58” was adapted into the Warner Bros. film “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” with Hughes writing the screenplay and Harold Ramis directing. Many elements from the original story found their way into the film, but Disney’s involvement was out of the question. Disneyland became Walley World, and the perspective shifted to Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold.

As we approach the 40th anniversary of this beloved classic comedy that spawned several sequels, we reflect on the making of “Vacation,” its enduring elements, and catch up with Anthony Michael Hall, who played the original Rusty Griswold.

Purchasing the Family Truckster

How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation
How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation

The film begins with Lindsey Buckingham’s catchy “Holiday Road” as it sets the tone with a montage of old-timey travel postcards. It then takes us to “CHICAGO, ILLINOIS” at the seedy Lou Glutz Motors, where Clark and his son Rusty plan to pick up their “Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon with the CB and the optional Rally Fun Pack.” However, their expectations are crushed when they leave with the ungainly, tank-like Wagon Queen Family Truckster, thanks to the manipulative salesman Ed, played by Eugene Levy.

Speaking via Zoom from his California home, Anthony Michael Hall, who played Rusty, recalls this being his first day on set at Lou Glutz Motors. He was just 14 years old at the time. “I grew up in New York City, and I had had this great meeting with [National Lampoon Inc. CEO] Matty Simmons and Harold Ramis,” he says. “They were very kind and paternal with me as I was reading these scenes.” His casting was sealed, and he found himself working alongside a remarkable cast.

Hall’s “Surreal” Adolescence

How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation
How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation

In addition to the Griswold family, the film featured memorable supporting actors such as Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, John Candy as Lasky the security guard, and showbiz legends like Imogene Coca and Eddie Bracken as Aunt Edna and Roy Walley. Brian Doyle-Murray played the clerk at Kamp Komfort, among others.

Hall reflects on the awe he felt working with these experienced actors and comedians. “I, like Rusty, was literally and figuratively looking up to everybody,” he says. “That whole period of time [in the 1980s], when I look back on it, it’s like a yearbook coming to life. My life was kind of surreal, from the age of 14 through being cast on ‘Saturday Night Live’ [at 17, the youngest cast member ever]. I was admittedly on one of the worst seasons in the history of ‘SNL,’ but nonetheless, to be a part of that was incredible.”

He expresses gratitude to John Hughes, Matty Simmons, and Harold Ramis for their support and the opportunities they provided him. “John would always tell me he believed in the adage, ‘Write what you know.’ When you see his film ‘She’s Having a Baby,’ which is about his life in Chicago at a certain point, it comes full circle because the main character in ‘She’s Having a Baby’ would have been writing ‘Vacation ’58’ right around that time.”

Read More : How Much Is Disney Vacation Club

Drinking Beer with Dad

How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation
How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation

The film’s production mirrored the Griswolds’ road trip in many ways, with the cast and crew traveling from location to location, often enduring harsh conditions. One memorable scene was set in Boone, Colorado, at the house of Cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and Eddie (Randy Quaid). Hall recalls that the humor in the film was occasionally dark and irreverent, which might not be acceptable by today’s standards, yet “Vacation” remains beloved by generations of fans.

The famous scene where Clark hands Rusty a beer, saying, “I spent the last 15 years of my life developing newer and better food additives, I guess I’ve missed an awful lot,” often leads people to wonder if there was actual beer in the can. Hall dispels the myth, saying, “It was empty. I tell people there’s a thing called a Foley editor, and they’re the ones who do that great job of adding all those sound effects, like downing a beer.”

The film’s original ending closely followed John Hughes’s short story. After arriving at Walley World, only to discover it’s closed for repairs, Clark takes his family to Roy Walley’s house and demands entertainment. However, test audiences didn’t respond well to this ending, leading to a last-minute change that involved John Candy as a security guard.

Today, Anthony Michael Hall remains connected to his co-stars and often sees Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Christie Brinkley at various events. He remains close friends with Dana Barron, who played his sister in the film. Just six weeks before the interview, Hall’s wife, Lucia Oskerova, gave birth to their son, Michael Anthony Hall II.

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As Hall looks forward to sharing these classic films with his son as he grows older

How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation
How Old Was Chevy Chase In Vacation

He reflects on the unique experiences and opportunities he had during his “surreal” adolescence in the 1980s.