Can You Name These “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” Characters?



By: Ian Fortey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Hughes Entertainment

About This Quiz

Just in time for the holiday season back in 1989, Chevy Chase brought the Griswold family back for the third film in their Vacation franchise with "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." They headed on a road trip to Wally World back in 1983 and then won themselves a trip to  Europe in 1985, so it seemed appropriate to celebrate Christmas a few years later by having everyone come to them instead of the family packing up and heading elsewhere. The result has become a Christmas staple and a hugely successful part of the franchise. 

Whether you can't get enough of the awkward and cringe-inducing Cousin Eddie, or Clarke's misplaced family cheer and inconsiderate nature tinged with spots of genuine desire to make sure his family has a good time, there are a lot of memorable characters in the movie. From the slightly confused Aunt Bethany to the absolutely surly Grandpa Art, do you think you can remember them all? If you're a true fan of everything Griswold or just a hardcore Christmas movie aficionado, then put on that Santa hat, plug in several thousand Christmas lights and take the quiz to see how many of these characters you can recognize from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

Which character brings their cat to Christmas?

Aunt Bethany brought her cat to Christmas, and, unfortunately, it didn't have the best time over the holiday season. Bethany was played by actress Mae Questrel, who provided the voice for Betty Boop back in the 1930s.


Which character has a quick freakout at the prospect of the grandparents sleeping in their room?

The scene in which the grandparents arrive is a hectic montage of everyone talking. Audrey, played by Juliette Lewis, tells her mom she doesn' want them sleeping in her room. Lewis and her movie brother Johnny Galecki reunited, this time as a couple, on the show "The Conners."


Who has the nickname "Sparky?"

In the entire "Vacation" film series, Clark's nickname is "Sparky." Generally, his wife is the only one who uses it. There's never been a particular reason given for why she calls him that, though.


This character wears a pretty awful toupee. Who is it?

Uncle Lewis's terrible toupee is one of the best sight gags in the movie. Lewis was played by veteran actor William Hickey, who many people know more for his voice than his face. Hickey was Dr. Finklestein in "The Nightmare Before Christmas."


Whose stereo gets destroyed by a flying icicle?

Clark's neighbor Todd has to endure living next to Clark, and he definitely suffers for it. When Clark falls off the roof, he hits the eaves and breaks them, which shoots a massive icicle through Todd's window into the stereo. Played by Nicholas Guest, he's well-known for his voice acting roles in video games and anime like "Cowboy Bebop."


Who drank the tree water?

Cousin Eddie is kind enough to bring a massive rottweiler named Snot to the Christmas party. The dog does its fair share of destruction in the house tarting by drinking the water from under the tree and later by chasing a squirrel around.


When we meet this character we're told they used to have crossed-eyes. Who is it?

Grandma Frances is surprised to see Ruby See doesn't have crossed eyes anymore. Eddie goes on to explain that the girl fell down a well, which crossed her eyes in the first place, then got kicked by a mule, which uncrossed them.


Who is the first non-Griswold to speak in the movie?

The first character who says anything in the movie is the Griswold's neighbor Margo Chester, played by "Seinfeld" and "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She insults the Griswold's Christmas tree when she comes home with her husband.


After Clark finally gets the lights to work, who tells him they're not twinkling?

Grandpa Art, ever the positive influence, points out that while the lights are on, they're not twinkling. Art was played by E.G. Marshall, who had dozens of huge roles over the years, including as the President in "Superman II."


Do you know which character has a plate in their head?

Cousin Eddie is afraid to use Clark's lubricant on his sled because he has a plastic plate in his head and doesn't want to risk a head injury. Randy Quaid played the character of Cousin Eddie in four different movies.


Who takes a ladder to the face when trying to hide things in the attic?

Clark wakes up early to try to hide some gifts in the attic and pulls the ladder down only to have it hit him square in the face. He ends up being stuck up there when Grandma Frances puts the ladder back up.


Who does Clark say is celebrating their 80th Christmas?

Aunt Bethany is celebrating her 80th Christmas, so Clark asks that she give the blessing before the big dinner. She offers up the Pledge of Allegiance instead, but it still gets everyone involved.


Cousin Eddie decides to kidnap someone as Clark's Christmas present. Who is it?

In an effort to be helpful, Cousin Eddie kidnaps Clark's boss Frank Shirley and brings him to the house. Shirley was played by Brian Doyle-Murray, who's the real-life brother of actor Bill Murray.


Who accidentally destroys the Chrismas tree?

When Uncle Lewis lights up a cigar, the entire tree poofs out of existence when the flame from the match hits it, no doubt thanks in some small part to Snot drinking the water to dry the tree out. Lewis ends up lit on fire as well, but he doesn't notice.


Which character inadvertently fries Aunt Bethany's cat when they plug in the tree lights?

When the lights go out on the tree, Clark is the one who plugs them back in, unaware that Bethany's cat unplugged them by chewing on the cord. The scene was going to be cut out of fear people would complain, but test audiences said it was the funniest scene in the movie.


Which character is the first to hear the squirrel in the tree?

Aunt Bethany may not be super on the ball, but she does hear the squirrel before anyone else does. The production team had hired a trained squirrel for the scene, and it actually died the day before it was needed, so they just used a random, untrained squirrel instead. He did a convincing job.


Do you remember which character mistakes Clark for Santa Claus at one point?

Clark is at the window fantasizing about Mary again when Ruby Sue catches him and thinks he's Santa for a moment. Ruby Sue was played by actor Ellen Latzen, who got her start in the massively popular "Fatal Attraction."


Who gets Clark out of the attic?

After Clark gets stranded in the attic, it's his wife Ellen who sets him free later on. Beverly D'Angelo played Ellen in every one of the Griswold "Vacation" movies, including the reboot.


There was an incident with the turkey at dinner. Who cooked the bird?

Clark thanks Catherine for making a great-looking turkey before he carves into it, and it sort of crumbles like a mummified monster. Miriam Flynn played the role of Catherine and, like many members of the movie's cast, is probably better known for her voice acting in movies like "The Land Before Time."


Which character refers to Clark as "Clark W. Grisman" in a very quiet mumble?

There's a very brief moment when a character comes to the door to deliver Clark's long-awaited Christmas bonus. The delivery guy tries to read Clark's name and comes out with "Grisman" instead of "Griswold."


Which character describes Eddie as a "huge, beastly, bulging man" while on the phone with the police?

Helen Shirley, the wife of Clark's boss, calls the police after Eddie kidnaps her husband. Natalia Nogulich plays the part, and she's likely best known for her numerous appearances on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine" as Admiral Alynna Nechayev.


According to Cousin Eddie, who had lip fungus?

Eddie and Catherine's son Rocky Johnson isn't much of a talker, and, as Eddie points out, you may want to avoid hs mouth anyway thanks to some lip fungus. Rocky was played by Cody Burger, who only appeared in four films as a child actor before going to school and leaving it all behind.


Who very briefly tries to talk Clark out of his chainsaw rampage?

After Clark finds out he's not getting a bonus, he very much loses his cool. He grabs a chainsaw to cut down a tree from the yard, and Rusty takes a moment to try to talk his dad out of it. It doesn't last very long.


Do you remember which character fainted when confronted by the squirrel?

Clark's mother Nora faints when the squirrel leaps out of the tree. Later, when Clark says he plans to trap it in a coat and crush it with a hammer, Grandma Frances also faints. It's quite a traumatic event.


Clark gets flirty with a department store clerk. What was her name?

It wouldn't be a "Vacation" movie if Clark wasn't acting lecherous, apparently. In this one, Clark gets flustered talking to a woman named Mary at a department store and claims he's divorced. Mary is played by actress Nicolette Scorsese, who hasn't had a role since the year 2000.


One character gets attacked by both the squirrel and the dog at the same time. Who is it?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Margo comes over to the Griswold house to give Clark a piece of her mind. Unfortunately, the squirrel, pursued by the dog, is right at the door, and both of them jump her at the very same time.


Which character first notices the lights in the sky that are mistaken for Santa Claus?

There are some lights in the sky after the SWAT raid that Ruby Sue thinks is Santa Claus. Clark corrects her and says it's the Christmas Star. Uncle Lewis corrects Clark and says it's gas from the sewage treatment plant.


One character is visibly not singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" along with everyone else. Who is it?

After the lawn Santa explodes, Aunt Bethany leads everyone in "The Star-Spangled Banner." Everyone except Eddie's son Rocky Johnson. The character never opens his mouth to speak once in the entire film.


Do you know which character is played by an actor from "The Big Bang Theory?"

Russ "Rusty" Griswold is the son of Clark and Ellen, and he was played by Johnny Galecki. This was before Galecki got his big role on "Roseanne" and then his much bigger role on "The Big Bang Theory."


Do you remember who tells Clark he's looking at a nice, fat Christmas bonus when they're at work?

Clark's coworker Bill is played by character actor Sam McMurray. In the first scene that takes place at Clark's office, they talk about Christmas bonuses. McMurray was actually the first-ever guest star to appear on "The Simpsons."


Someone threatens Clark's boss with a rubber hose. Who is it?

After the police arrive, Clark's boss, Mr. Shirley, explains he suspended the Christmas bonuses, and the police officer on scene tells him it's pretty low and then begins a threat (that he never really finishes) about what he'd do with a rubber hose. The character was played by Alexander Folk, who's been cast as a cop in dozens of movies and TV shows.


Who is the first character to speak, rather than sing, in the movie?

At the beginning of the movie, Clark is driving and singing Christmas carols with Ellen while the kids remain silent. Ellen pauses a moment to refer to the song as beautiful, making her the first character actually to have a speaking line in the film.


Before Clark recites "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," he asks if someone else wants to do it. Who does he ask?

Clark asks his dad Clark Sr. if he plans on reading the Christmas poem, but his dad declines, telling him that he should do it. He almost gets through the poem, too, until Eddie shows up with Clark's kidnapped boss.


Who is Clark's mom?

Grandma Nora is played by Diane Ladd, who has been a massive presence in Hollywood with well over 100 credits to her name. She's had several Academy Award nominations in her career and is also the mother of Laura Dern.


When the family comes to visit, who is the first person to kiss Rusty and comment on how big he's growing?

Grandma Frances Smith, Ellen's mom, is played by Doris Roberts, who is most well-known as Ray's mother on "Everyone Loves Raymond." As the family piles into the house, she forces a kiss on each of Rusty's cheeks.


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