‘Christmas Vacation’ celebrates 30 years of hap, hap, happiest holiday memories

‘Christmas Vacation’ hits the ‘Holiday Road’ for a 30th year

Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo star in the classic film, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” celebrating its 30th anniversary Wednesday and Thursday on AMC.

With the holidays almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about decking the halls, purchasing the perfect gifts, and of course, planning for those relatives.

While maybe not everyone’s family is picture perfect, some mental preparation could be necessary. AMC has the perfect prescription by offering a double dose of holiday humor with “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” airing Wednesday, Dec. 11 and Thursday, Dec. 12.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the seasonal comedy, which first made its debut in theaters on Dec. 1, 1989. To mark the momentous occasion, we’re taking a look back at some fun facts that you may not know about the classic flick, all of which have led the Griswolds to be a part of everyone’s extended family.

In the iconic tantrum scene when the exterior lights wouldn’t illuminate, Clark (Chevy Chase) actually broke his pinky finger while punching the plastic Santa and reindeer display in the front yard. In response to the pain, he resorted to kicking them instead. Talk about, “Where’s the Tylenol?”

During the police raid at the end of the film, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) told the officer that it was their family’s first kidnapping. She apparently forgot that Clark took a security guard (John Candy) hostage at Walley World years earlier during the original “Vacation” (1983).

Chevy Chase stars in the classic film, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” celebrating its 30th anniversary Wednesday and Thursday on AMC.

Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”) must have been extra nice in 1989, as the movie-production Santas gifted him two roles in the same season. Not only did he star here as loyal and supportive son Rusty, but he also appeared in the only other major holiday film that year as Billy Quinn in “Prancer.”

Squirrel! A trained woodland creature was poised to take its place in the spotlight, but it died prior to the scene being shot. Instead, a wild version was used in its place. That’s just plain nuts!

While Clark is in bed with his sap-covered “sticky” fingers trying to read People Magazine, the person featured on the cover is none other than the film’s director, Jeremiah S. Chechik. This also marked Chechik’s first-ever feature film.

Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) reappeared in his own 2003 NBC made-for-TV movie, “Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.” Miriam Flynn reprised her role as Catherine, which found the family shipwrecked on a Pacific Island. Unfortunately, the ratings among viewers totally sank.

Let’s not forget about Aunt Bethany, played by Mae Questel. Though her cat-wrapped lines were few, they sure continue to bring plenty of laughs. This was Questel’s last film ever made. Her other notable work includes providing the voices of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. “Play ball!”

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