By Jack RobinsonWell with the new Vacation DVD coming in August and Warner Brother’s refusal to give us decent Special Features I thought I would show case some of the “lost Griswold footage,” including the famous lost ending!
This first picture is a deleted scene in which the Griswold’s run out of Gas and are forced to push the Family Truckster! Now according to the Griswold outfits the scene should take place just after the family leaves the mechanics and just before the
Grand Canyon. Just after Russ looks in Edna’s purse, Clark comments that the hotel better cash a check or they will run out of gas. Presumably that’s when the car runs out of gas (Approximately 59 minutes and 41 seconds in the film.) Curiously the photo does not show Edna who I assume is laying dead in the back seat unbeknownst to the Griswold’s who do not find out about her demise until after the Grand Canyon.
Our next scene was actually scripted a bit differently than how it ultimately was filmed and the scene comes as the Griswold’s arrive in South Ft,
at the camp ground. If you’ll recall as Clark and Ellen check in to Kamp Komfort camp ground and the clerk who is played by Brian Doyle Murray charges 37 dollars for three tents. As he explains the 37 dollars includes “scenery and wild life fun.” Well the scene originally involved the Wild Life Fun. While Clark and Ellen are trying to enjoy their romantic evening sharing a sleeping bag they are rudely interrupted by Dinky (Aunt Edna’s Dog.) Originally it was not Dinky but Brian Doyle Murray dressed in an Animal costume who sneaks into unsuspecting campers tents to create “Wild Life fun.” According to the DVD commentary the scene took too long to shoot and was ultimately changed to Dinky attacking love birds, Clark and Ellen. It’s a shame we never get to witness Brian Doyle Murray dressed in an Animal Costume! Colorado
In the original film the song "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters was played over each scene of Christie Brinkley’s driving scenes and June Pointer's "Little Boy Sweet" is played during the truck stop scene for Christie’s dance. Presumably the song was later cut due to the price of the song? What ever the reason all recent VHS and DVD’s have replaced all scenes featuring the song "I'm So Excited” with "Little Boy Sweet." Despite the song being left off the DVD’s the song still appears in the credits of the film.
This brings us to the famous “lost ending!” Originally the film ends with the Griswold’s arriving at Walley World only to find that it is closed. Originally
Clark does go to the sporting goods store but does not return to Walley World, instead he goes after Roy Walley! Clark buys the Bee Bee gun and a map to the stars homes and storms the where Mister Walley is having a meeting in the back yard! As this photo shows Walley Mansion Clark holds the men hostage forcing them at gun point to entertain the family. Mister Walley and his business associates are forced to sing and dance until the police arrive on the scene to arrest Clark! As Clark is being hauled off by the police Christie Brinkley shows up only to reveal that she is the daughter of Roy Walley! Fortunately for Clark she convinces her famous father to drop all charges! Finally the Griswold’s board a plane home complete with their complementary Marty Moose Hats only to find that they are on the wrong plane! Clark then “goes nuts” hijacking the plane! This original ending featured the song "Summer Hearts" by Nicolette Larson which despite being cut remains on the soundtrack.
The ending was filmed and previewed to test audiences. Much to the surprise of the film makers the audience loved the movie but hated the ending! According to Harold Ramis the audience had invested all this time to see Walley World and it’s never seen. Warner Brothers gave the film makers 4 days to reshoot another ending. Screenwriter John Hughes was brought in to rewrite another ending. The cast was brought back to reshoot and it can be noticed that Anthony Michael Hall is several inches taller and Dana Barron gained 10 pounds after hitting growth spurts after filming the original ending! John Candy was cast as the parks security guard and cast and crew was sent to Santa Anita Park and Six Flags Magic Mountain for filming. The rest is history!
Chevy Chase admitting that he has a cut of the film including the original ending Warner Brothers has yet to include these deleted scenes in any of their many special and Anniversary editions of the film.
Like most R rated films of the day many scenes were filmed with alternate lines specifically to be used in the television version of the film. These include:
Clarkask the African American Pimp for directions he responds with "Who do I look like, Christopher Columbo?" instead of his R-rated response.
Eddie's daughter credits her science teacher, not her father, with saying she's the best at french kissing.
When they lose the small suitcase while driving, in the movie version,
Clarksays the only thing that can't be replaced that was lost is Ellen's diaphragm, which is changed to birth control pills for the edited version.
Through my years of research I have never been able to find a complete shooting script for the film. We know that John Hughes often wrote many drafts of his scripts. The original John Hughes short story that Vacation was based on does include a variation of the original ending resulting with
Clark shooting Walt Disney!
The Blu Ray version of Vacation is set to be released August 10th. There is no word of special features for the disc yet but as we know, Warner Brothers is not known for producing very good DVD extras (see the recently released Caddyshack 30th anniversary edition!). Keep checking back for more info on the release of the film and the supposed sequel!
For a real treat check out John Hughes original short story from the National Lampoon magazine: Vacation ’58.
Thanks to Braden for the pictures!