August 23, 2010

EVERY POSTCARD FROM THE OPENING TITLES OF NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION


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.

9 comments:

Jamey said...

NICE. love those.

Jeremy said...

I just picked up one of Mr. Margolies's works (Signs of Our Time) on eBay. Cool to know that he has a connection to one of my favorite movies.

Ms. Robinson said...

when i was a kid we spent summer vacation moving to another state and we always stayed or visited these places along the way..thanks for the great reminience...

Mattmannish said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hPZFUz0YOY


I listened to this as I perused your postcards! It inspired me to make some for the Monster Cafe in Saltillo!

Anonymous said...

i've waited 27 yrs for a better look at those postcards.I live 10 minutes from the Margate City Elephant in Southern New Jersey,in case you didn't know, Her name is Lucy.

Kirk D. said...

Jamey- You would.

Jeremy- awesome. His books are great reference material, and a lot of those signs are long gone by now so it's nice that he captured them.

Ms. Robinson- You bet! I've had the pleasure of visiting a number of these, but I need to see the rest before they vanish.

Mattmannish- Perfect! I bring that song with me on every vacation and listen to it often. this song too..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygqXKVssHAs

Anonymous- ha ha, glad I could be of service. And I did not know that about the elephant. Glad to hear she's still there!

Brother Bill said...

From late grade school through high school, we would rent the VHS of this film every summer before going on our annual family vacation (yes... RENT. Can you imagine?) There would always be this kind of uncomfortable vibe in the room during the "bomp your bologna" scene (as well as the few glimpses of a topless Beverly D'Angelo)

Toemailer said...

Those are great!

Jay Amabile said...

wow - an amazing post from a classic comedy. Lucy the Elephant!