I just got back from my summer vacation and I have sooo much to do. (Blogging about the trip is certainly on the list.) Regardless of this, I couldn't resist the urge to watch National Lampoon's Vacation within hours of my return. My geekiness prompted me to turn on the director's commentary, and that's how I learned that the vintage postcards in the wonderful title sequence were contributed by John Margolies, a name that shows up on a half dozen books on my bookshelf. He's spent decades documenting roadside America in books such as Roadside America.
In fact, many of the images used in the film appear within his bibliography. Vacation director Harold Ramis explains that a number of the postcards were actually "invented" by taking John's photographs and fashioning them into postcard format.
This new-found connection between one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite authors got me so excited that I threw my schedule to the wind and took screenshots of every postcard. They appear onscreen in frustratingly short intervals but now you can take a leisurely look at this magnificent collection. (Click any to enlarge)...
As you may recall, this last card featuring the Chicago skyline seamlessly transitions into the first shot of the film. I can't imagine a more appropriate or effective introduction to the quintessential vacation movie.