The Traveling Griswold's, they've been everywhere from "Walley World" to "Europe" to "Vegas". They travel so much that on only one occasion did they have time to spend Christmas at home and what a disaster it was. This page is a tribute to Clark Wilhelm Griswold Jr., "The World's Greatest Family Man". Clark believes that the best way to keep his family together is to take them on "Vacation". One thing is for sure when the Griswold's go on "Vacation" anything and everything can happen.
The legacy of this typical American family began in 1983 when Clark (Chevy Chase) and his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) decided to take their kids Rusty and Audrey on a cross-country summer vacation to a Disneyland type theme park known as Walley World. This was to be the Griswold's first big trip away from home. Clark left nothing to chance using his new wiz-bang home computer to streamline all the finer details to ensure nothing went wrong. The Griswold's had been planning this perfect summer vacation all year and they were determined to make the most of it, but as they say "nothing ever goes according to plan", especially for the Griswold's. What could possibly go wrong, everything! They lose their money, their new car gets wrecked and Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) insists that Clark takes old Aunt Edna with them cross-country. Well if you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Griswold's, your wrong, old Aunt Edna unexpectedly dies and thrown in for good measure just to distract Clark from all the madness is the mysterious blonde (Christie Brinkley) in the flashy red Ferrari. This first Griswold adventure "National Lampoon's Vacation" introduces us to Chevy Chase's hilarious portrayal of Clark W. Griswold. This fast, funny satire written by John Hughes was a big success at the American box office bringing in over $61 million. Look out for a special appearance by comedy genius John Candy in the film's finale. Outstanding performances, beautiful location scenery (Grand Canyon Arizona, Monument Valley Utah, Magic Mountain California ), a first rate soundtrack ("Holiday Road" and "Dancin' Cross The U.S.A" by Lindsey Buckingham, plus "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters) and extremely funny situations have all contributed to the success of this highly entertaining comedy. It was inevitable that sequels would follow.
"For over two thousand years, Europe has survived many great disasters. Now for the real test. Chevy Chase & his family are coming from America!" In this 1985 sequel, the Griswold's win a deluxe "European Vacation" tour on a primetime TV game show. When the disaster prone Griswold family pack their bags and go to Europe, anything goes. In fact Europe will never be the same again. Their promised 5 star accommodation is missing a few stars and the fun doesn't let up as Clark has a go at left-hand driving, Audrey eats herself silly, Rusty goes nightclubbing and Clark's sexy home video ends up in the hands of a sleazy porno filmmaker. The Griswold's literally bowl over Stonehenge as they wreak havoc on their journey across the European continent. Sadly in this episode Clark's gross-out Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) is absent, nevertheless "European Vacation" still brought in a neat $49.4 million at the US box office.
Your vision of Christmas will never be the same again when the Griswold's decide to spend their Christmas holidays at home. In "Christmas Vacation" (1989) Clark wants to make sure his family enjoys Christmas the old-fashioned way, so the well-intentioned walking disaster zone invites the relatives and decides to light up his house like a Christmas tree. He gets 25,000 lights and covers the house from head to toe, but Clark is quickly driven insane when the lights refuse to switch on. The plot thickens when Clark discovers he has missed out on his Christmas bonus cheque that he was going to use to install a swimming pool in the backyard. Temperatures continue to rise when uninvited Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) turns up in his mobile home and when Clark kidnaps his boss in retaliation for not receiving his bonus cheque a SWAT team raids his house. "Christmas Vacation" was a smash hit and became the highest grossing of the four "Vacation" films bringing in over $71million at the US box office.
Bumbling family man Clark Griswold is back in "Vegas Vacation" (1997), the fourth instalment of the "Vacation" series and as the movie poster says, "This time the Griswold's are on a roll." "Vegas Vacation" was a moderate hit at the US box office grossing $36.4 million. When Clark receives a work bonus for developing a food preservative, he spends the money in the only way he knows how, take the family on "Vacation". This time the Griswold's head off to the gambling capital of the world Las Vegas or as Clark would prefer to say "the new family entertainment capital of the world". The glitz and glamour of the Vegas casinos form the perfect backdrop for this Griswold family adventure. Randy Quaid is back as Clark's grubby goofball cousin Eddie and Mr.Las Vegas himself, crooner Wayne Newton adds to the atmosphere as he tries to romance Clark's wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo). To add to the hilarity, Clark nearly destroys the famous Hover Dam, takes part in a Siegfried and Roy disappearing trick and loses the family fortune to a shifty blackjack dealer, played with expertise by Wallace Shawn. Even old favourite Sid Caesar makes an unexpected but memorable appearance in the film's nail-bitting finale. "Vegas Vacation" has a fitting ending to a wonderful series of four films when it is revealed that Clark's son Rusty (Ethan Embry) has won 4 brand new vehicles during his round the clock gambling binge. In the final scene Clark, Ellen, Audrey and Rusty ride out of Vegas and onto the dusty desert highway leaving the audience with a smile on their faces and anxiously waiting for the fifth instalment.