The classic Vacation movie series began as a 1979 short story about the Griswold family's disastrous trip to Disneyland that John Hughes published in National Lampoon magazine. At the time, Hughes was a copywriter at ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide in Chicago.
The Hollywood Reporter has republished this terrific piece, titled "Vacation '58:"
Mom pleaded with Dad to stop at a motel when we got to Springfield, Illinois. Several times he crossed completely over the median lines and drove in the opposite lane. Once, while going through a little town, Dad drove up on the sidewalk and ran over a bike and some toys. Mom accused him of being asleep at the wheel, but he said he was just unfamiliar with Illinois traffic signs.
He took off his shoes, rolled down the window, turned the radio way up, and made us all sing the Michigan State fight song. But after a few minutes we were all sound asleep, our new station wagon racing down U.S. 55 like a bedroom on wheels. I don’t know how far we traveled like that. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic at that hour so we didn’t hit anything. We finally woke up when Missy asked Dad to get her a drink of water and Dad said, “Go ask Mommy, Daddy’s sleeping.” I heard that and so did Mom, and she screamed and Dad slammed on the brakes, and the luggage tumbled forward onto the back seat and Dad’s golf clubs scattered all over the highway.
Vacation '58 (THR)