*originally published in December 2012
The pop culture blogging community just wouldn’t be the same if the top 10 lists were any less hooter than they- hotter than they are.
Yes, it’s that time again.
Thanksgiving has come and gone (at last) and we are now free to shamelessly celebrate the greatest time of year once again. Among the many yearly rituals we embark on leading up to December 25th, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become an annual tradition for millions of holiday revelers.
Some can recite the movie from start to finish, others have just been trying to memorize Clark’s climactic rant for 23 years now. Whether you’re a Griswold mega-fan or just mildly amused by them (who are you and what’s wrong with you?), here are ten facts about the movie that you may not know:
10. The director of Christmas Vacation, Jeremiah Chechik, who captured the essence of “the American Christmas” so perfectly, is from Canada.
9. A minor earthquake occurred at the time when they were filming the scene where Uncle Louis and Aunt Bethany arrive at the Griswold house. If you watch closely, you can see the camera shake slightly as she walks through the front door.
8. Barry Mann, co-writer of the film’s infectious title song, also co-wrote “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”, which was the most played song of the 20th century. He also wrote An American Tale’s “Somewhere Out There”, as well as two of The Monkees’ songs.
7. The production budget for Christmas Vacation was $27 million, which was unusually high for an 80s era non-effects laden film. In comparison: Caddyshack was made for $6 million, and the special effects-rich Ghostbusters was made for $30 million.
6. Christmas Vacation is the only ‘Vacation’ movie to spawn it’s own sequel. The only Griswold to appear in Christmas Vacation 2 was Audrey, played by Dana Barron (the Audrey from Vacation).
5. Matty Simmons, the writer of Christmas Vacation 2, was once the CEO of Diner’s Club, the first credit card company. He was also the person pictured on the cover of the issue of People magazine Clark is reading in bed in Christmas Vacation. (Although this site and others say it’s director Jeremiah Chechik on the People cover)
4. Christmas Vacation was outgrossed in its opening weekend by only one movie, Back to the Future Part II.
3. The Griswolds’ neighbors’ house also appeared in the Lethal Weapon movies. It was the house the Murtaughs lived in.
2. The test audience for Christmas Vacation scored the cat electrocution scene as their #1 favorite scene throughout the entire movie.
1. As it currently sits on a Warner Bros. back lot, this is the Griswold house today:
Check out our National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation podcast for a discussion of the best scenes, lines and moments from the film. We identify the movie’s place in history, and speak about it as a holiday tradition.
This podcast is in no way a summary or breakdown of the film, but more of a celebration of its legacy!