When National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation came out in theaters in 1989, Chicago was about to elect a second Mayor Daley for the first time, Wrigley Field had just hosted its first night game, and Oprah Winfrey debuted her first restaurant, a collaboration with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Rich Melman called the Eccentric.
None of that history matters for Raising Cane’s, the Louisiana-based chicken fingers chain that pulled off a gimmick last week in suburban Chicago. Canes lured Vacation star Chevy Chase to Morton Grove to film a commercial alongside chain founder Todd Graves. Their mission? To recreate a classic movie scene where Chase, Clark Griswold, blinds his neighbors with a ridiculously bright Christmas light display
On Tuesday, November 29, the Cane’s at 6881 Dempster Street in Morton Grove featured more than 13,000 bulbs with a crowd of 500 dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters and other garb. The crew also borrowed a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire (the station wagon that became the Griswold’s Family Truckster) from the Volo Auto Museum so Graves and Chase could ride away in style.
The movie was set in suburban Chicago, but in reality, crews filmed in Los Angeles. Chase happily signed merch, though he was reluctant to chow down on chicken fingers; the man 79. While Raising Cane’s faces a legal challenge to open a store in Indiana, it appears the chain is finding support on the other side of the border, even with Chase who has struggled in recent years to find his own community. What a real nice surprise. Take a look at the scene in the photos below.