Spoiler alert — all that snow isn’t real.
Chevy Chase says of all the questions he gets about the now-classic holiday comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” surprisingly the white powdery surroundings top the list.
“The answer, of course, is no. I hate to say it, but the very first thing we shot was the tree, that was snow and we did get Randy (Quaid) and me on a hill that was in Colorado and I did have to go down this damn trail they built for me. It was scary, but it was fun,” he recalls.
“But that was the first couple of days. The rest of the time we just made it look like snow around the house and stuff.”
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What was real about the movie?
The legendary actor’s reactions in the infamous Christmas lights scene, where Chase’s character Clark Griswold gets so frustrated he resorts to hitting the decorations around him.
The problem is he whacked one character — “that wasn’t in the script, but I was so angry I did it” — so hard it broke his finger.
“Oh boy did that hurt,” he said. “I thought it might melt or something, but no, it was a good, hard plastic.”
“I just went on with the scene,” he said.
“These things happen. You have to be strong.”
Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (Ellen Griswold) are hosting an online salute to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Saturday, Nov. 28. Tickets, $25, are available through New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The pair will share behind-the-scenes stories and memories, as well as take part in a live audience question-and-answer session.
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Chase says he’s looking forward to the trip down memory lane even though it will be held virtually this year, enjoying in-person events every holiday season.
“When I’m on stage there with the audience, it’s usually about 3,000 people or whatever, and I’m loving it because it’s very rare that a guy that makes movies or TV shows ever gets to see his audience,” he said.
He says he even enjoys the “wise guys” who shout remarks from the seats.
“I can take anything and I can give it back better,” he said.
Chase says he never expected the 1989 film to attain the holiday tradition status that it has.
“One always hopes,” he said. “I never come away from something like, ‘we’ve got a hit,’ but I always give it my best shot and I can think of moments that are in the movie that people are going to think