5 Fun Facts About National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
List by Aaron Haughton
No holiday season is complete without the master of all holiday disaster movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It's easily one of the most iconic films from the Vacation series, and definitely the best Christmas experience since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f*cking Kaye. Check out our list of fun facts below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
- John Hughes easter egg.
John Hughes, who wrote the first Vacation film and co-wrote European Vacation, was approached to write another film for franchise, but said he would only do so if he had a good story to use. He felt like he was somewhat unnecessary to craft a story, since the franchise had metastasized into a vehicle for Chevy Chase. However, when looking back on his old material from his time working at National Lampoon Magazine, he found an old short story titled "Christmas '59" that he thought would fit the bill and accepted the job. There is further allusion to this in the film when Clark finds the home movie reel while being trapped in the attic; you can see the label which reads: "Xmas '59".
- Clark's "f' bomb.
The line, "We're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f*cking Kaye!", was a nod to a scene from White Christmas (1954), and the quote was the second one in a 1980s PG-rated movie to feature the "f" word uncensored (Big was the first). The rant was a few f*cks short of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (another Hughes script), which was the sole reason that particular film received its R-rating.
- The Kubrick connection.
Christmas Vacation is the directorial debut of Jeremiah Chechik, who had never seen a Vacation film prior to taking the job. Chechik got the job largely because Stanley Kubrick took notice of his work in television commercials, which Kubrick later wrote about in a piece for the New York Times, going so far as to call Chechik's commercials his favorite American filmmaking. This acclaim prompted Chechik’s phone to ring off the hook with scripts and offers. "The script that really piqued my interest was Christmas Vacation,” he mentioned in an interview. "And the reason is I had never done any comedy, ever." Chechik even makes a small cameo in the film as the man on the cover of the People magazine Chase destroys with his sappy fingers.
- Holiday spirit was waning in '89.
Christmas Vacation was one of only 2 Christmas films to be released in 1989, and the film had an unheard of budget for a comedy of 27 million dollars (and that's 80s money!). While it was pretty much heralded as a holiday classic instantly (by everyone except for Roger Ebert, who gave it 2 stars and said there was no payoff), it didn't even get a theatrical run in the UK. Instead, it just went straight to video.
- Vacation and Lethal Weapon take place in the same universe.
The street the Griswold House resides on is located on the Warner Bros.’ backlot in Burbank California, which is the same backlot that was used for Lethal Weapon, another 80s film set during Christmas. The house the of yuppie neighbors (played by Julia Louise Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest — Christopher Guest’s brother, fun fact) was actually the same house as Danny Glover’s character from Lethal Weapon, and it appears in every Vacation film. So, an argument can be built that they reside within the same universe. Add that crossover to your Christmas wish list!
Well, that's our list! Let us know your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!