I think everyone can agree that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a Christmas Classic. I know my brother and I watch it every year. My office co-workers and I are constantly referencing the movie during the holidays. But one scene in the movie I think that is often over-looked is the car chase and big jump during the beginning of the movie. It could be that we're too busy getting settled in with our drinks and snacks to take note. But not this year! We want to commemorate the big jump scene as an OnScreenCars.com "Famous Jump." With that let's explore the scene.
The opening scene is set in rural Illinois. The Griswolds are on their way to find that perfect Christmas Tree. However according to the filming locations reference on IMDB. The scene was shot in Summit County Colorado near Breckenridge. I have to say. It does makes sense. I don't recall rocky mountains in rural Illinois. In the picture above you can see the rockies in the background. That's the magic of Hollywood isn't it? Now for a little background on the car.
The family car in this film unlike it's predecessor is not a custom creation of George Barris. The simulated woodgrain on the side of the body was more than likely was added on. The Ford Taurus Wagon either did not come with this feature or it was extremely limited in production. However it did come on the Ford Country Squire Wagon being sold at the same time. I have a belief that the producers had the woodgrain on the car to pay tribute to the orignal Wagon Queen Family Truckster. I like to think of it as an updated Family Truckster.
According to the commentary Dick Ziker was a stunt coordinator and stunt-driver that drove the car under the truck. He also did the jump. From the commentary it sounds like the jump was challenge because the car was front-wheel drive. You have to remember the 80's were the beginning of mass-production of front-wheel drive cars. A front-wheel drive is heavier in the front and less balanced as a real wheel drive car. They director said the car kept wanting to nose dive as the car came down from the jump. I'm glad they brought it up and that the jump was in fact real. No special effects. So there we have it. Another Famous Jump! Besure to check out our great links to Amazon Christmas Vacation goodies! Happy Holidays Folks!
References: IMCDB - IMDB
"Now, I owe it to myself to tell you that if you're taking the whole tribe cross-country, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster..." Ah the Family Truckster. The official vehicle of the Griswold Family Vacation. "Believe me if you hate it now... Wait till you drive it." Just a ton of great lines in that film. I stumped across this entry on one of my favorite LEGO blogs and knew it was On Screen Cars material. Flickr user -derjoe- did a great job of not only capturing the family, but the ride as well. Obviously this scene is after Aunt Edna passed away. Note that she's on top. Many extras on the car. Not to mention the quad headlights, the roof rack and the brown brick representing the simulated woodgrain panels. It's all 80's here folks. Besure to check out some of their other creations on Flickr. Who's the Moosiest Moose We Know?... ah here I go again. See ya folks.
Happy Holidays folks! What a better way to kick off the holidays here at On Screen Cars with a little bit of License Plate Spotting. Over the next few posts we'll be bringing you clippings from your favorite holiday tv and movie cars. You'll be sure to impress your friends with your new found trivia thanks to OnScreenCars.com! To kick us off I've decided to start with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!
T3H-762 - Ah the old front-wheel drive sleigh. A fan of John Hughes movies would know that often his movies feature cars with license plates that reference other films he wrote. For example the car the main character's mom drove in Ferris Bueller's Day Off had a license plate that read "VCTN" for National Lampoon's Vacation.
T3H-762 - Though I can't make any connections with this plate. Let try this. Nothing interesting.
597-8D4 - "Clark! I don't want to spend the Holidays dead!" How about this one? Nota.
597-8D4 - However Google found that it's an html color hex code (#5978D4 for you nerds like me) for the a nice shade of blue. What redneck truck would be complete without those mud-flap nudes? That's some classy stuff!
I can't seem to find a license plate number for Eddy's RV. If anyone comes across it let me know what part of the movie it's in and I'll snag it! My friend Branden pointed out that knowing Eddy owned the RV more than likely it doesn't have tags. If you think of any wild connections please email us through our contact page. We'll see ya later this week with another holiday tag. Merry Christmas and remember keep your tank pump'd out!
Would like to thank the folks over at ACME License Plate Maker for creating this awesome tool for making license plate images.
Alright I know this may be a little early yet for the holidays. But this year Hallmark has released an awesome ornament for us On Screen Cars fans. The famous station wagon from the Good Old Fashioned Griswold Family Christmas! This ornament features what I like to call the modern Family Truckster with the extremely large Christmas Tree on top. Even though this is not an official "Wagon Queen" model it's still a Lampoon mode of transportation. Who can forget that classic opening scene with Clark and his family.
They're just driving down the road minding their own business when they get tied up in a series of road rage games. Of course it didn't help when Clark gave the finger to the two rednecks in the Dodge truck either. The battle continued only to end up under a truck hauling timber. Clark quickly pulls the car from under the truck and onto a snow embankment sending it flying through the air. Note to self, we may cover this again as part of a Famous Jumps Holiday Edition (watch the movie and send notes for me).
Anyways back to the ornament. This is also one of the Magic type ornaments from Hallmark. My wife and I have several of the Magic series. They're known for playing music or being animated. Sometimes even both. This one happens to play the Christmas Vacation theme song when a button is pressed. You know "...Santa's on his way..." Ah I got that one in your head now didn't I. If you're not sure what song I'm talking about watch the opening credits on the YouTube embed below. I've placed a link for the ornament below as well. However keep in mind two things. These specialty theme ornaments sell out quickly (this is why I'm posting it early). Seconds after the season is over the cost of these ornaments rocket. If you don't believe me, see the link for Cousin Eddie's RV from a few years ago. Till then have fun, stay safe and keep your waste tank clear!