Movie Flashback: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation turns 20

Xmas Vacation poster

Well, it’s December 1st. Hard to believe. Since this is the first day of December, I thought I’d put up a Christmas-y themed article. Today, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation turns 20 years old.

Can you believe it?  It was released to theaters on December 1, 1989.

Christmas Vacation, along with the first Vacation movie, are the best of the whole Vacation series.  And, along with Van Wilder, the best of the movies titled National Lampoon.   Christmas Vacation is a classic Christmas movie.  Right up there with It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and A Christmas Story.  And, actually, the son of director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) was an assistant director on this movie.  My wife and I try to watch it every year during the holidays.  It’s not hard as TNT or TBS will show it multiple times a day every week in December until Chistmas.

Here’s some cool trivia about this movie.

The movie was based on John Hughes’ short story, Christmas ’59, which was published in National Lampoon magazine in December 1980 (issue cover below).  The short story title is referenced in the movie when Clark is stuck in the attic and finds an old movie reel labeled Xmas ’59.

The original Vacation movie was also based on a John Hughes National Lampoon short story, Vacation ’58.  It can be found in the Sep 1979 issue of National Lampoon (cover below).  You can read the original Vacation ’58 story online  here.

The ending of Christmas Vacation in which Clark holds his boss hostage was originally supposed to be the ending to the first Vacation where Clark would hold Roy Wally hostage.

This was the only Vacation movie not to feature Lindsay Buckingham’s song Holiday Road.

Christmas Vacation received a direct-to-DVD sequel in 2003 called National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2.  The TV sequel featured the return of Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie and his family as they are stranded on a tropical island during Christmas.  The movie would also return Dana Barron as the original Audrey Griswold from Vacation.

Christmas Vacation 2

This movie was the last of the theatrical Vacation movies to be billed as National Lampoons Presents.    Vegas Vacation did not mention National Lampoon.  The 2003 direct-to-DVD sequel Christmas Vacation 2 would restore the National Lampoon Presents to the title.

So, December has begun.  Time to start watching all of our holiday themed DVDs.  Hopefully, Christmas Vacation will be included.  I know it will for me.

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3 Responses to “Movie Flashback: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation turns 20”

  1. I’ve heard of National Lampoon of course but would you believe that I’ve never seen any of the movies?

  2. So… is the sequel any good?

    Fond memories of this movie, it was one my parents would always watch around Christmastime, especially my now-departed mother. I should really hunt down a DVD and restore the tradition…

  3. this movies are really funny.. I remember we watched it with my friends during vacation.. and it was really fun.. funny movies and horror movies.. are the best options we watched on vacation.

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