10 Things You Might Not Know About NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION

Geek Dave empties the shitter!


1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation originated from a short story by writer John Hughes called "Christmas '59," which was published in the December 1980 issue of National Lampoon magazine. Hughes revealed...
"The studio came to me and begged for another [National Lampoon movie], and I only agreed because I had a good story to base it on, but those movies have become little more than Chevy Chase vehicles."
"Christmas '59" was the second Vacation story to be published in National Lampoon's Magazine (the first was "Vacation '58", which was the basis for 1983's National Lampoon's Vacation).

In the finished film, the label on the home movie reel that Clark finds in the attic says "Xmas '59". However, when later watching the home movie, keen-eyed observers will see that it was from Xmas 1955.


2. Chris Columbus was the original director of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and later stated he filmed some second unit establishing shots (which he claims are still in the finished film). However, he left the production after two meetings with Chevy Chase. Columbus told Writer and Producer John Hughes,
"There's no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can't do it with this guy."
Hughes understood his resignation. Columbus was replaced by first time director Jeremiah Chechik, and knowing Columbus needed the work Hughes handed him the script to Home Alone. I wonder whatever happened with that?

3. Although it is widely regarded as the best sequel of the Vacation series (and is the only sequel to have its own direct sequel: a 2003 made-for-TV release entitled National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure), Christmas Vacation is the last theatrical Vacation film to carry the National Lampoon label and the last to feature a screenwriting credit from Hughes.


4. A pre-The Big Bang Theory, pre-Rosanne even, Johnny Galecki became the third actor to play Rusty Griswold (Anthony Michael Hall played the part in the original Vacation, Jason Lively then taking over for 1985's European Vacation). Coincidentally, only two Christmas-themed movies were theatrically released in 1989 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Prancer. Johnny Galecki was in both of them.

5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation turned out to be the final film of Mae Questel, who portrayed Aunt Bethany. Her film career began almost 60 years earlier in 1930, when she provided the voice of Betty Boop.


6. Every thought you recognised the Griswold's home? Well theirs and all the houses on the street they lived are on the Warner Brothers backlot, which has been used on many films and TV shows, including nine years of ABC sitcom The Middle. Also, the Griswolds' neighbors, Todd and Margo, live in the same house where the Murtaugh family lived in all four Lethal Weapon movies (1987-98).

And in another piece of recycling, the old Dodge pickup, that tailgated Clark and the family, in the opening scenes of the movie, was previously used as Kurt Russell's work truck in Overboard and could also be seen in 1988's They Live.

7. After failing to get the Christmas lights to work one last time, Clark Griswold takes his frustration out on the plastic decorations in the front yard. Chevy Chase actually broke his pinky finger while punching Santa Claus. He resorts to kicking and clubbing the decorations after that. The film kept rolling, and the take was used.


8. When Clark is in bed, trying to read People Magazine with sticky fingers from the tree sap, the person shown on the cover of the magazine is Director Jeremiah S. Chechik.

9. Christmas Vacation originally had paid for a trained squirrel for the scene where it wreaks havoc on the house. Unfortunately, it died the day before the scene was shot! So a far less expensive untrained squirrel was used in the final film.


10. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was released on December 1st 1989. It debuted at #2 at the U.S. box-office while grossing $11,750,203 during the opening weekend, behind Back to the Future Part II.

The movie eventually topped the box-office charts in its third week of release and remained #1 the following weekend. It went on to gross a total of $71,319,546 in the United States while showing in movie theaters. 2015's Vacation, a soft-reboot of the series, made $104.9 million but adjusting for Christmas Vacation is still the highest-grossing film in the National Lampoon's series.

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