A look at shooting locations for “National Lampoon’s Vacation”

This new 34-minute video by Adam the Woo, whose road-trip videos have been featured on this website before, exhaustively chronicles all the shooting sites for the 1983 hit comedy movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

Adam wrote in the video description:

I set out on an adventure to document every location from the 1983 comedy classic National Lampoon’s Vacation. This consisted of Flying to Chicago, renting a car and driving cross country along the same route that Clark Griswold and his family did in hopes of making it to Walley World in California. This was an undertaking that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and am proud to say that now it is a reality. Enjoy !

Adam’s video has been out only a few days, and it’s racked up more than 50,000 views.

Because Griswold (portrayed by Chevy Chase) takes his family from the Chicago suburbs to Walley World in southern California in a Wagon Queen Family Truckster station wagon, the film implies a road trip on at least some of the Route 66 corridor.

The film also includes side trips to Kansas, Colorado, Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, and shooting locals included Utah as well.

The film script, written by future teen-flick director John Hughes, sprung from a National Lampoon magazine article published in 1979, “Vacation ’59.” The Hollywood Reporter reprinted the essay many years later.

And if this paragraph from the essay doesn’t show Hughes had Route 66 in mind when writing his story, nothing will:

Finally, Dad gave in and said we would get a station wagon and drive the 2,448 miles from 74 Rivard Boulevard, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to 1313 Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim, California.

The mileage between those two cities doesn’t match up. But the 2,448 miles was cited for decades as the original distance of Route 66. Hughes’ citation might be a coincidence, but I doubt it. It’s oddly specific.

I haven’t seen “National Lampoon’s Vacation” in many years, but Adam the Woo’s video sparked a lot of memories and made me realize how terrific the movie was. The film contains so many memorable scenes, the top-50 comedy-movie ranking by Total Film magazine probably is justified.

(Screen-capture image of Adam the Woo at one of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” shooting locations)

6 thoughts on “A look at shooting locations for “National Lampoon’s Vacation”

  1. They shot a scene in Amboy last year for the movie when the car blows up. They featured the Amboy traffic sign in the intro

  2. Planes, Trains & Automobiles and National Lampoon’s Vacation are two films that are as much a part of me as, say, my fingernails.

    1. these films seem to be something average folks can relate to..probably through shared experiences of the boomer generation..I know I certainly can…right down to that hotel in London!…

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