The movie was based on John Hughes' short story "Christmas '59", the second Vacation story to be published in National Lampoon's Magazine (the first was "Vacation '58", which was the basis for Vacation (1983)). The Christmas story was printed in December 1980. The label on the home movie reel that Clark found in the attic was labelled "Xmas '59", a further allusion. However, when later watching the home movie, keen-eyed observers will see that it was from Xmas 1955.
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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.
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Final film of Mae Questel, whose film career began in 1930, as the voice of Betty Boop.
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Near the end of the film, Rusty says, "I told you we should have gone to Hawaii!" In the first Vacation (1983), when asked where in the world he would like to go the most, Rusty said Hawaii.
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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.
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A minor earthquake occurred when they were filming the scene where Uncle Louis and Aunt Bethany arrive at the Griswold house.
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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 (1987) and They Live (1988)
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Beverly D'Angelo improvised grabbing Chevy Chase's crotch when the SWAT team holds up the house. She later said she did it on only one take, on the off chance it could make the film's final cut, which is what happened.
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After Clark Griswold unsuccessfully attempts to demonstrate his handiwork with the house Christmas lights to his family, he asks Rusty to help him check all the light bulbs again. Rusty looks at his bare wrist, pretending to have a watch, and excuses himself. Looking at a bare wrist and pretending to have a watch is one of Chevy Chase's trademark gags.
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Chevy Chase appeared in some scenes wearing a navy blue Chicago Bears ball cap. He wore the same Chicago Bears cap throughout the first two Vacation movies.
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According to Randy Quaid, many of cousin Eddie's characteristics (most notably the clicking of the tongue) were based off a guy that Quaid knew from when he grew up in Texas years ago, who had similar traits.
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According to an article on the making of Home Alone (1990) in Chicago Magazine, Chris Columbus states that he was the original director of this movie. Although he filmed some second unit establishing shots (which he claims are still in the finished film), he left after two meetings with Chevy Chase, and 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." He was sent the script to Home Alone (1990) in its place.
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Despite acting as the husband and wife duo of Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis, Mae Questel was nineteen years older than her co-star William Hickey. She was 81 years old, and he was 62 at the time of filming.
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When Clark and Cousin Eddie are talking in the living room, they are drinking egg nog out of Walley World mugs. Walley World was the destination of the Griswold's in Vacation (1983).
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Only two Christmas-themed movies came out in 1989: Prancer (1989) and this film. Johnny Galecki (Rusty) was in both of them.
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The only Vacation movie to not feature the Lindsey Buckingham song "Holiday Road" throughout the entire film.
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When Cousin Eddie barged into the house with Clark's boss, Ellen jokingly tells (the police officer) this is the family's first kidnapping, which is actually wrong. In Vacation (1983), Clark held the security guard at Walley World hostage, and forced him to take the family on the rides. Ellen was also kidnapped at gunpoint in European Vacation.
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The term "Griswold House" soon became a part of the American and Australian vernacular to describe a house that is overly decorated in a gaudy fashion to observe Christmas.
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As the Griswolds family members are arriving at the front door, It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is showing on the television. That film was directed by Frank Capra. Capra's grandson, Frank Capra III, was assistant director on this film.
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When Clark and Ellen discuss their concerns over Eddie and Catherine not having any Christmas presents for their kids, Ellen says that Eddie has "been out of work for close to seven years." In Vacation (1983), Eddie mentions having been laid off from an asbestos factory, which would have been nearly seven years before this movie takes place.
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The filmmakers had Ellen Latzen measured and fitted for a wig, as they felt that Latzen's short pixie haircut was inappropriate for her character of Ruby Sue.
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When shopping with Clark, Eddie asks Clark if it was his company that "killed all those people in India". He is referencing the Bhopal disaster, also known as the Union Carbide disaster, in which leaks from a Union Carbide pesticide plant escaped into the air. Thousands of people died, and many more were sickened.
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The house front from Bewitched (1964) and The New Gidget (1986) appeared in the home movie that Clark was watching in the attic.
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It was rumored that Clark's rant about his boss Mr. Shirley was ad libbed. This is somewhat true. However what the audience doesn't see is that each cast member of the film facing Chevy had a sign hanging around their necks that had one word written in them. These were some of the adjectives Clark used to describe his boss.
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Despite being a "Christmas movie", Christmas Day is never actually seen. The film ends on Christmas Eve.
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Brian Doyle-Murray appeared in two of the Vacation movies. In this one, he played Frank Shirley, Clark's boss. In the first one, he played the Kamp Komfort clerk, where the Griswolds stopped to stay on their way to Walley World.
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The only "Vacation" film in which the family doesn't travel anywhere (except in the opening scene where the Griswolds are going out into the woods to find a Christmas tree).
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This movie has four Saturday Night Live (1975) alumni: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brian Doyle-Murray, Randy Quaid, and Chevy Chase.
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The house in which the Griswolds' neighbors, Todd and Margo, live is the same house where the Murtaugh family lived in all four Lethal Weapon movies (1987-98). The houses on this street are on the Warner Brothers backlot. In each Griswold "Vacation" movie, Rusty and Audrey are played by a different actor and actress, while in all four "Lethal Weapon" movies, the three Murtaugh kids were played by the same actor and actresses. Speaking of Danny Glover movies, two "Christmas Vacation" stars have immediate family who appeared in movies with Danny Glover. Juliette Lewis' father Geoffrey Lewis appeared in the Mel Gibson movie Maverick (1994), during the Danny Glover cameo. Randy Quaid's brother Dennis Quaid starred with Glover in Switchback (1997).
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Just before Clark got locked up in the attic, he pulled out an old present from a hidden slot, and it contained a card that read "Happy Mother's Day 1983, Love Clark". Vacation (1983) was released that year.
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The Warner Brothers backlot used for the neighborhood, in which the Griswolds live, is the same as the one used on The Middle (2009), which featured Brian Doyle-Murray (Mr. Shirley) in a recurring role as Mr. Ehlert, and Doris Roberts (Frances) in a recurring role as Ms. Rinsky.
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Diane Ladd (born 1935), who played Clark Griswold's mother, Nora, is eight years older than Chevy Chase (born 1943). In fact, Chase is halfway between Ladd and Beverly D'Angelo (born 1951).
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Cousin Eddie explains to Clark that his older kids couldn't make it because his daughter was "at the Clinic getting cured off the Wild Turkey" and his son was preparing for his career as a carnival worker. This is a reference to Cousin Vicky and Cousin Dale from Vacation (1983). Cousin Vicky returned in Vegas Vacation (1997), as well as Ruby Sue from this film (though played by a different actress).
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Clark tells Audrey at the start of the film he already has a Santa tie at home. He can be seen wearing it during the Christmas Eve dinner scenes at the end of the film.
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All the presents that were on the credenza when Clark went in to give his to Mr. Shirley are identically shaped, and likely the same gift. It is a desk organizer. When this movie came out, pen sets came in an L-shaped arrangement. The writing instruments were on the flat part, and the raised section held Post-It notes. Paper clips and other holders were also a possibility.
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In 2012, Old Navy released commercials based on this movie with Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and Juliette Lewis, with original Vacation (1983) Rusty and Audrey actor and actress Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron, and National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)'s Rusty actor Jason Lively appearing in one of them.
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John Hughes was asked if he wanted to write a new Vacation film. He said he would only do it if he had a good story to use, as by this point, the series was a Chevy Chase vehicle, and there was little need for him to write a story. He found one called "Christmas '59", from his time working at National Lampoon Magazine that he thought was good, so he agreed to write the script.
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Lindsey Buckingham was offered the opportunity to write the theme for the movie, but declined because he didn't want to be known as only a soundtrack musician.
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Lewis and Bethany were based on George Burns and Gracie Allen, it was hoped George Burns would play Lewis.
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After cutting down the "replacement tree" with the chainsaw, Clark starts down the stairs and finds the newel post loose. He then lops it off with the chainsaw and announces the he has" fixed the newel post". Similarly, George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) was constantly irritated by a loose newel post at the bottom of the stairs.
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Mae Questel's final performance as Betty Boop was actually just the previous year, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That film was a parody of Chinatown, in which Diane Ladd appeared.
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Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis play brother and sister in this film. In The Conners (2018), they play lovers.
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When Clark is in his office daydreaming with the scale model of the swimming pool and his co-worker Bill (Sam McMurry) steps in and asks if Clark is ok, there is a container of "Air Grade Marine Epoxy" in the plastic case on the left side of the screen. This is the identical product that fellow Saturday Night Live alum Dan Aykroyd uses as "Elwood Blues" to glue the gas pedal on the Good Ol' Boys' motor home before they sneak away from the show at the Palace Hotel Ballroom. "This is glue... Strong stuff!". The lettering on Clark's container is light red however, and Elwood Blues' spray can has dark blue or black lettering on it.
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In the opening scene, when the Griswolds are travelling to get the tree, the highway they are on is Colorado State Highway 9, just outside Silverthorne, in Summit County.
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The brand of beer Eddie is drinking as he empties his septic tank is Meister Brau. As of 2016, the Meister Brau name and recipe has been bought out and discontinued.
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When the grandparents arrive at the Griswolds' house, Frances says to Ellen, "Doesn't Nora look old?" Diane Ladd was only fifty-three years old when she played Nora Griswold in this film. The film was released in theaters only two days after Diane Ladd's fifty-fourth birthday.
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Former National Lampoon group member Nicholas Guest, who plays Todd, is brother to actor and former Lampoon and SNL actor Christopher Guest.
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This is one of three films released in 1989 to feature an animated title sequence. The others being Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and Troop Beverly Hills (1989).
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This movie has four Oscar nominees: Juliette Lewis, Diane Ladd, Randy Quaid, and William Hickey. Four Golden Globe nominees: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki. One time Golden Globe winner (who also has six SAG awards and nine Emmy awards): Julia Louis-Dreyfus and five time Emmy winner: Doris Roberts.
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Chris Columbus was originally set to direct, but dropped out due to not getting along with Chevy Chase. He worked with John Hughes on the first two Home Alone films and Only the Lonely (1991).
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A Walmart storefront appeared in the film, with an empty parking lot. At the time of the film's release, Walmart did not have their stores operating twenty-four hours a day, and many still don't. This began when the chain was remodelled a few years later, and the company converted their stores to Supercenters (similar to its Sam's Wholesale Club stores without the annual membership fees). In real-life, the slang for Walmart is "Wally World" (appropriating the name of the Walley World theme park from the first film, when referring to a box retailer) in another twist of irony the manager of one of the Wal-Mart stores is named Griswald.
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In Christmas Vacation and the first vacation movie, their name is spelled with an "o" (Griswold) and the European Vacation movie is spelled with an "a" (Griswald)
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Cousin Eddie's son Rocky appears wearing a Las Vegas shirt. Coincidentally, footage from this film appeared in Rocky V (1990). Furthermore, the next film in the series was Vegas Vacation (1997).
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Rocky (Cody Burger) speaks only once at the end of the movie, briefly, when he and Ruby Sue are mistaking the light at the sewage treatment plant for Santa Claus.
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Clark emulated horror icons Jason Voorhees (hockey mask) and Leatherface (chainsaw and overhead chainsaw pose) simultaneously when he comes outside to trim the huge tree.
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A Christmas themed film that never makes it to Christmas Day. The film's conclusion is on Christmas Eve.
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When Clark was going to look out the vent in the attic as the family was getting in the car, a plaque with Yellowstone Park was seen just above the attic vent. The Griswold's visited Yellowstone on their way out to Walley World in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).
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The orchestra that performed the music score was conducted by Shirley Walker. One day during the recording sessions actor Chevy Chase was visiting the recording of the score. Some few years later when Chase was acting and producing Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), its director, John Carpenter, initially wanted composer Jack Nitzsche to score it but Chase was against it. He did remember his visit to the recording sessions of this movie and since he was impressed by the orchestra conductor Ms. Walker he suggested to hire her. Which they did and Carpenter later hired Ms. Walker to score Escape from L.A. (1996)
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At the 23:40 mark of the movie there is a closeup of the living room television which is showing a Christmas-themed parade. The footage is from America's Thanksgiving Day Parade which has been held in Downtown Detroit annually since 1924. Detroit is the hometown of Christmas Vacation's writer and producer John Hughes.
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John Randolph played father-in-law to Beverly D'Angelo. He also appeared in Serpico (1973) with Al Pacino. In real life, Pacino is the father of D'Angelo's children.
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According to the director of this film the reason why composer Angelo Badalamenti was hired was that he wanted someone who had never done a comedy and no one could imagine doing a film like this. Composer Badalamenti is most known for scoring the films and television series of director David Lynch.
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In the scene when Clark got locked in the attic and the rest of the family left to go shopping, Ellen's father mentioned that the family has another car. However, that second car is never seen at any point in the film. In the first film, the Griswold family did have a second car, a Volvo station wagon, that was seen when the family was first leaving for Walley World.
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In several outdoor scenes at the Griswold house, a 1963 powder blue Lincoln Continental convertible can be seen parked out front. This was the last of the curved glass slab sides, and is sought after by collectors. The 1964 Continental convertible had straight glass windows to provide more interior space.
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One supporting actor and two supporting actresses starred in very successful television series: Johnny Galecki (Rusty) played David Healy on Roseanne (1988) and Leonard Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory (2007). Doris Roberts (Francis) played Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond (1996). Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Margo) played Elaine Benes on Seinfeld (1989), as well as Selina Meyer on Veep (2012).
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Randy Quaid and Nicholas Guest previously starred together with their brothers Dennis and Christopher, respectively, in The Long Riders (1980), along with fellow acting brothers Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, and David Carradine, and Stacy Keach and James Keach. James Keach was also in Vacation (1983) as the motorcycle officer that pulled them over.
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When Clark is trapped in the attic, he watches home movies on an old projector. He is wearing a hat just like Gloria Swanson's in Sunset Boulevard.
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Irrelevantly, Beverly D'Angelo appeared with Geoffrey Lewis in Every Which Way but Loose (1978), which starred Clint Eastwood. E.G. Marshall, who played father to Beverly D'Angelo in this movie, appeared in the Eastwood movie Absolute Power (1997). D'Angelo starred with Geoffrey Lewis' daughter, Juliette, in this film.
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At no point in the film is Rusty ever seen interacting with either one of his grandfathers.
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At the end of the film, Chevy Chase and the cast were singing the National Anthem. Chevy also sang the song with a group of Legionnaires in Fletch (1985) while trying to avoid the police.
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When Clark leaves a gift for his boss Mr. Shirley, he tells Clark to leave it on the table with the others. If you look at the gifts on the table and also at Clark's gift, you will notice that all of the wrapped gift boxes are the same shape. Each gift is wrapped with a different color of wrapping paper, but all of the boxes are shaped the same.
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Mr. Shirley was often referred to as "Mrs. Shirley" by Clark, and it is not clear if the cop at the end also referred to him as "Mrs. Shirley", or was speaking to his wife.
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The messenger who delivers Clark's Christmas "bonus" is wearing a jacket that reads "Speed Ball Messenger Service". "Speedball" is a street term for a drug cocktail of heroin and cocaine, the same mixture that killed John Belushi.
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Irrelevantly, when Clark showed his co-worker Bill (Sam McMurry) the brochure about the swimming pool he wanted to put in his backyard, he was seen drinking coffee out of a Tasmanian Devil coffee mug. Miriam Flynn (Cousin Catherine) played the voice of Taz's mother in Taz-Mania (1991). Additionally, Taz's father in that cartoon, was a parody of Bing Crosby, whose song "Mele Kalikimaka" appeared in this film, and who Griswold mentioned, along with White Christmas (1954). Furthermore, John Astin, who played game show host Kent Winkdale in National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), was the voice of Bull Gator on that cartoon. Someone really stretched to get this connexion.
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The three bells on Clark's Santa hat suggest a medieval jester. These jesters had often been thought to be somewhat unhinged, if not acceptable levels of mentally challenged.
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This and Look Who's Talking (1989) are two movies released in 1989 that used footage from It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
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When Eddie and Clark are in the grocery store, the only thing Eddie puts in the cart is different brands of dog food.
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Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki play brother and sister but then last year in 2018-2019 on the Conners they played a couple . This is also one of Johnny Galecki's first movies
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Brian Doyle-Murray and Natalija Nogulich, who play husband and wife in this film, are the only natives of Chicago, Illinois (where the movie is set, even though it was filmed in California, Colorado, and Chicago, Illinois) among the film's cast. All other cast members were born outside Illinois. They both guest starred in season three of 2 Broke Girls (2011).
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When Clark and Cousin Eddie talked about Eddie's children, Eddie called the Tilt-a-Whirl ride the "Tilty-Whirl," a mistake quite in line with his rather simple-minded personality. A common slang name for the Tilt-a-Whirl is the "Whirl and Hurl".
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Irrelevantly, several actors and actresses from this movie have also appeared in movies with Jack Nicholson. Randy Quaid appeared in The Last Detail (1973) and The Missouri Breaks (1976). Diane Ladd appeared in The Rebel Rousers (1970) and Chinatown (1974). John Randolph and William Hickey appeared in Prizzi's Honor (1985). Beverly D'Angelo appeared in Man Trouble (1992). Natalija Nogulich was Jo Hoffa to Nicholson's Jimmy Hoffa in Hoffa (1992). Juliette Lewis appeared in The Evening Star (1996). Brian Doyle-Murray appeared in As Good as It Gets (1997).
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Clark says it will be the merriest Christmas "since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye," a reference to the film White Christmas. That film also featured Rosemary Clooney, while this film features Diane Ladd. Ladd is the mother of actress Laura Dern, and Clooney was the mother of actor Miguel Ferrer. Dern and Ferrer appeared together on Twin Peaks.
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The woman Clark fantasizes about in the pool is the same woman who worked at the lingerie counter earlier in the film.
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In addition to Randy Quaid and Natalija Nogulich having the same date of birth, there are several other irrelevant birthday coincidences among the cast. Nogulich was born on the first of October, while her on-screen husband, Brian Doyle-Murray, was born on the last day of October. E.G. Marshall and John Randolph, who play Ellen's father and Clark's father, respectively, were both born in the month of June. Doris Roberts and Diane Ladd, who play Ellen's mother and Clark's mother, respectively, were both born in the month of November. Mae Questel and William Hickey, who play Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis, were both born in the month of September. Marshall and Miriam Flynn were both born on June 18.
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This movie features 2 future star trek actors. Natalija Nogulich (Mrs. Shirley) went on to guest star as Fleet Admiral Necheav in various episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation. Jeremy Roberts (the cop that tells everyone to freeze durring the police raid scene) went on to play Mr. Valtane (Captain Sulu's science officer on the Excelsior) in 1991s Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country.
1 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? |
They let Aunt Bethany say Grace during Christmas Eve dinner because it was her "80th Christmas". It was actually Mae Questel's 81st Christmas the year the movie released.
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The scene where the cat bit the Christmas lights cord and got electrocuted was nearly cut from the movie. Prior to the first test screening, the studio executives wanted the scene taken out, fearing that it might offend some viewers, but producer Matty Simmons begged them to leave the scene in, and they eventually gave in to his request. After the first test screening, the test audience scored the cat electrocution scene as their number one favorite scene throughout the entire movie.
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Clark uses thirty words to describe Mr. Shirley.
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When the police storm into the Griswolds' house, the song "Here Comes Santa Claus", sung by Gene Autry is used for the background music. Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie) is the third cousin of Gene Autry.
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When Clark's boss was kidnapped and brought into the house, Ellen said, "This is our family's first kidnapping", similar to her line in Vacation (1983), "This is our first gun."
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Clark is about to ask the kids about the first Christmas tree displayed in the White House but is interrupted by the truck. The White House Christmas Tree, also known as the Blue Room Christmas Tree, is the official indoor Christmas tree at the residence of the President of the United States, the White House. The first indoor Christmas tree was installed in the White House sometime in the 19th century (there are varying claims as to the exact year). The exact type is not known.
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Unlike the other "Vacation" films, this is the only one where the Griswolds do not travel. In fact, the only time they travel is the opening when they get a Christmas tree.
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