They are amazing! Read them here!
1. Roger Ebert wasn’t a fan of Christmas Vacation: “The movie is curious in how close it comes to delivering on its material: Sequence after sequence seems to contain all the necessary material, to be well on the way toward a payoff, and then it somehow doesn’t work.”
2. The scene where the cat chews the Christmas lights wire and gets electrocuted was nearly cut from the movie. Prior to the first test screening, Warner Brothers executives wanted the scene taken out, fearing it might offend some viewers. But producer Matty Simmons championed the scene, and they eventually gave in. After the first test screening, the audience had scored the cat electrocution scene as their favorite in the film.
3. It’s the only Vacation movie not to feature Lindsey Buckingham’s song “Holiday Road” throughout the entire film.
4. Frank Capra III was assistant director on Christmas Vacation. His grandfather and namesake, Hollywood legend Frank Capra, directed It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), arguably the most-watched Christmas movie ever made.
5. Saavy Vacation fans will notice Clark and Cousin Eddie drinking egg nog out of Wally World mugs. Wally World, of course, being the impetus for the title excursion in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation.
6. Christmas Vacation is based on the late, great 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 the original National Lampoon’s Vacation. This explains the label on the home movie reel Clark finds in the attic: “X-Mas ’59.”
7. In both Vacation and European Vacation, Rusty is presumably older than Audrey. But in Christmas Vacation, Audrey (played by Juliette Lewis) is the older sibling.
8. Only two Christmas-themed movies came out in 1989: Prancer and Christmas Vacation. A 13-year-old Johnny Galecki (who plays Rusty) is in both of them.
9. During the shopping scene, Eddie asks Clark if it was his company that “killed all those people in India.” He’s referencing the Bhopal disaster, also known as the Union Carbide disaster, which saw leaks from a Union Carbide pesticide plant go airborne. Thousands of people died and many more were hospitalized.
10. The black Chicago Bears cap Clark wears appears in all four Vacation movies: National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989), and Vegas Vacation (1997). Like most every John Hughes character, Clark is from Chicago.
11. Galecki pays tribute to the man playing his dad when he looks at his bare wrist, pretending to have a watch on, and excuses himself after the Christmas lights don’t turn on. The fake watch gag was a Chevy Chase trademark.
12. The Griswolds live right next door to the Murtaughs! Both Christmas Vacation and Lethal Weapon were filmed on the same back lot at Warner Brothers Studios. Also, the house front shown in the home movie Clark watches in the attic is the same one used on the television shows Bewitched (1964) and The New Gidget (1986).
13. Cousin Eddie (Quaid) has a son named Rocky, a fact not unnoticed by Sylvester Stallone, who included footage from Christmas Vacation in his film, Rocky V. Plus, Rocky’s Las Vegas T-shirt predicts the series’ future: The next sequel would be Vegas Vacation.
14. Just before Clark gets locked in the attic, he pulls out an old present from a hidden slot: a card that reads “Happy Mother’s Day 1983, Love Clark.” The first movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation, was released the same year.
15. Gene Autry’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” scores the scene when the police storm the Griswolds’ house. Coincidentally, Randy Quaid is Autry’s third cousin.
16. Christmas Vacation is the final film of Mae Questel, whose film career began in 1930 as the voice of Betty Boop.
17. If it looks like Ruby Sue is wearing a wig, it’s because she is. The filmmakers decided young actress Ellen Hamilton Latzen’s pixie haircut was inappropriate for her character.
18. 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 Matty Simmons, this film’s producer.
19. All the presents on the credenza when Clark goes in to give his to Mr. Shirley are identically shaped and likely the same gift.
20. The old Dodge pickup that tailgates Clark and the family in the opening scenes of the movie is the same one driven by Kurt Russell in Overboard.
21. Despite being a “Christmas movie,” Christmas Day is never actually seen. The film ends on Christmas Eve.
22. In addition to featuring future stars Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis (who scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination three years later for her role in Cape Fear), star Beverly D’Angelo was most impressed with the older actors who came along for the Christmas Vacation ride. “I attribute that to Jeremiah Chechik and his direction in bringing in E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, and Diane Ladd,” she noted in a recent interview. “That was really a special cast.”