Dr. Robbins Barstow began his amateur filmmaking career directing himself and his brothers in a Tarzan movie in the 1930's. By 1956, little Robbins was all grown up and living in Connecticut, where he pursued more stable work in the field of cetacean science. He and his young family passed the time entering Scotch Tape contests and hamming it up for dad's camera.
Well guess what, they won, and in no time, a representative of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company was being filmed delivering a check and some tickets for a free trip to Disneyland.
With prop signs and matching costumes--Davy Crockett fringe jackets for everyone!--the Barstow Family Vacation seems to have been conceived from the start, not as a road trip, but as a road trip movie. And an undying love letter to the makers of Scotch Cellophane Tape and the Family Memory-making genius of Walt Disney. After years of reciting the dad-hokey voiceover, Barstow went back and recorded it in 1995.
It's nice to feel a part of a long, rich tradition of dads who goose their family trips to California for maximum entertainment effect. Now if only I can do half as well as the good Doctor in rounding up sponsors...