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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has quickly become the must-watch holiday movie for just about every family, at least every family I know. The third entry into the successful comedy franchise is easily the most beloved, and most quotable film in the franchise. It also has some interesting tidbits surrounding its production.
The Earthquake – In the scene where Aunt Bethany and Uncle Louis arrive at the house and hand off their wrapped-up cat, a minor earthquake occurred. The camera shakes slightly as they walk in the door, indicating the quake.
The Neighbor’s House – As Warner Bros. and many studios use their own lot of homes, sometimes houses in movies look oddly similar to other houses in other movies. Such is the case with the Griswold’s neighbor’s house, which was used as Roger Murtaugh’s home in the Lethal Weapon franchise.
Frank Capra’s Grandson – Frank Capra III was an assistant director on Christmas Vacation. His grandfather, the famous director, also directed the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life, which appears on the TV in several scenes.
Mr. Shirley’s Presents – This little hidden comedy gem may have been missed by many. When Clark drops off his Christmas present to his tyrannical boss, Mr. Shirley (Brian-Doyle Murray, Bill’s brother), his present is the exact shape and size of all of the presents on the desk.
The Dodge Pickup – The old turquoise Dodge pickup that harasses Clark and his family in the opening scenes was the same truck used by Kurt Russell in the 1980 comedy, Overboard.
Big Budget – The budget for Christmas Vacation was a surprisingly bloated $27 million. In comparison, the special-effects heavy Ghostbusters cost $30 million.
Sleeping Grandpas – In the scene where the grandpas are asleep watching the parade on TV, both actors had really fallen asleep.
Aunt Bethany – Mae Questel, who played the absent-minded Aunt, voiced both Betty Boop and Olive Oyl in the classic cartoons. This was her final film role.
Rusty and Audrey – The ever-changing siblings of the Griswold family was a running joke in the films. This was the first film where Rusty and Audrey actually switched ages, with Audrey being the older sibling.
Cat Electrocution – The cat electrocution scene was almost cut from the film for fear that it would turn off some viewers. However, after test screenings pointed out that scene as their favorite, the filmmakers left the scene in tact.
30 Adjectives – In the famous rant against Mr. Shirley at the end of the film, Clark used 30 adjectives to describe his boss. Here is the amazing scene…