I have been meaning to read “Vacation 58” for a while but never got around to it. I’d heard it was funny, that it sparked John Hughes’ career, and was the basis of the Vacation movies.
The movies used a lot of the story, in some cases word for word, but it was still funny. It was told through the son’s point of view which changed things considerably. The movie was going to focus on Anthony Michael Hall until Chevy Chase got involved.
The story was darker: Clark ended up shooting Walt Disney and going to jail. I can understand why marketing toned that down.
One thing that stood out waa that John Hughes wrote “Kroger’s” instead of “Kroger,” nailing Midwestern linguistic tics.
Hughes did make a number of duds but this gave me more appreciation for his abilities.