It’s 25 years since the Griswold family brought us some Christmas cheer via their usual string of slapstick disasters. With National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation reaching a grand old milestone, here are 10 facts you (probably) didn’t know about this Christmas comedy classic.
1. The Griswolds have ‘Lethal’ neighbours
The home of the yuppy neighbours, irked by the power shortage caused by Clark’s Christmas lights, also happens to be the same home of Roger Murtagh (Danny Glover) and family in the Lethal Weapon films. The houses are part of the Warner Bros studio backlot, but a crossover moment between Glover and Chevy Chase would have been pretty special.
2. There’s a Wonderful connection to another festive classic
As the family are putting up their Christmas tree, all-time classic It’s A Wonderful Life is playing on the TV in the background. The two films are linked as Frank Capra III (grandson of Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life director) is the assistant director of Christmas Vacation.
3. There was never a UK cinema release
Yep, folks. Thatcher’s Britain for you. Despite growing into a popular Christmas flick through TV screenings, Christmas Vacation never had a full cinema release on this side of the Atlantic.
4. The cat scene was nearly cut
One of the film’s most iconic moments, which sees Clark turn the family cat into a smouldering patch of carpet, nearly didn’t make the final cut, as studio executives thought it was too gruesome. But after the producer insisted that it remained, it became one of Christmas Vacation’s stand-out funny moments.
5. Kurt Russell’s truck features
The battered Dodge pick-up truck that compels Clark to this obscene gesture, was previously used by Kurt Russell’s carpenter character in 1987’s Overboard. We doubt Chevy would be so daring to make a similar gesture to Kurt.
6. You can buy your own Christmas Vacation collectibles
You know it’s a bona fide Christmas cracker when a film has its own memorabilia page. The fan website has a whole selection of Christmas Vacation goodies, including the famous moose mugs and an advent calendar.
7. There was a sequel
Randy Quaid reprised his role as ‘Cousin Eddie’ for Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. The film currently holds a score of 2.7 on IMDB, which suggests it was definitely more ‘log’ than ‘cracker’.
8. The film had a whopping budget
The film was a huge-budget comedy at the time, costing the studio around $27 million. To put that into some kind of context, the Ghostbusters movie cost $30 million. This may go some way to explaining why Clark didn’t receive the Christmas bonus he was after.
9. Rusty went on to make a Big Bang
John Galecki played Rusty Griswold in Christmas Vacation before going on to strike worldwide fame, firstly in Roseanne and then as Leonard in The Big Bang Theory – all meaning he could avoid a cameo in Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.
10. It was one of only two Christmas movies released in 1989
It was a tough year for Christmas movies, with only this and Prancer being released to mark the festive season. However, 1989 did also see the release of Uncle Buck in August – which has grown into a holiday TV classic in the last 25 years.
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