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Behind The Scenes Stories From 'Christmas Vacation'

Updated December 27, 2019 102.4k views14 items

There are few families in the world of cinema who have made as much of an amusing and perplexing contribution to pop culture as the Griswolds of the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. It would make sense that Christmas Vacation behind the scenes would be an equally unique story of ups and downs to continue on the legacy. From last-minute crew changes, to untimely animal demises, to accidental strokes of genius, there was never a dull moment during the production of the third Vacation film. Read on to find out just how Christmas Vacation turned out to be one of the most unlikely success stories in modern movie making, and a cult hit that would change Christmas for years to come.

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  • The Cat Electrocution Scene Almost Got Cut By The Studio

    In perhaps one of the most memorable gags and greatest examples of slapstick humor in Christmas Vacation, Aunt Bethany’s feline re-gift met a tragic end after chowing down on a few too many Christmas tree lights in the living room. While it proved to be a fan favorite moment for audiences, Warner Bros. was not too keen on keeping the scene in the final cut.

    “The studio was really against electrifying the cat. They really didn’t want to do it,” director Jeremiah Chechik admitted to Rolling Stone before confessing that he ran interference with writer John Hughes in order to keep the scene in the film.

  • Clark’s Final Rant Required A Slew Of Cue Cards Worn By His Cast Mates

    Chevy Chase had proven himself as a master improviser many times over in his films prior to Christmas Vacation, but when it came to the rage-fueled, expletive packed word vomit that was Clark Griswold’s reaction to his Jelly of the Month Club Christmas bonus, filmmakers knew that he would need a clearly set path to get it just right. According to Beverly D’Angelo in a 2015 interview, the lines of Clark’s rant were all written on cue cards worn around the necks of the castmates facing him so that he could rattle it off without having to worry about missing a single jab. D’Angelo also admitted that it was a bit amusing to watch his eyes dart back and forth in the scene because the cards weren’t arranged in any exact order.

  • The Character Of Eddie Was Inspired By A Real-Life Acquaintance Of Randy Quaid

    Much of what would become the key character traits of Cousin Eddie came from Randy Quaid himself. From his unusual choice of wardrobe to his repeated attempts to kiss Ellen on the lips, down to his deadpan “bingo” line in the rocket sled scene, Quaid was having a field day with making his character come alive. What many fans don’t know is that a lot of Eddie’s mannerisms were inspired by a real man in Texas that Quaid was acquainted with in his youth, inducing his habit of clicking his tongue.

  • Todd And Margot’s House Appeared In The 'Lethal Weapon' Franchise

    While many of the exterior scenes in Christmas Vacation were shot in Breckenridge, Colorado, the Warner Bros. lot in Southern California ended up standing in for suburban Chicago as the neighborhood of Clark Griswold and company. The lot section, known as “Blondie Street,” includes some famous houses.

    Clark’s childhood home was also featured on the T.V. show Bewitched, while snooty neighbors Todd and Margot hung their hats in the same house as the Murtaugh family in the Lethal Weapon franchise. Chevy Chase recalled that they even found a toilet prop from the latest Lethal Weapon film lying on the front lawn when they arrived for filming.