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Two men in sweaters perform a scene in front of a group of people dressed in Christmas Carol outfits. They are outside of a Raising Cane’s restaurant.
Raising Cane’s pulled off a holiday gimmick with Chevy Chase.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Raising Cane’s and Chevy Chase Attempt a Suburban Christmas Miracle

The chicken finger chain enlisted the “Christmas Vacation” star for a holiday gimmick in Morton Grove

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.

A large crowd of people in Christmas outfits stand in a parking lot. Some hold large signs of Graves’ and Chases’ faces.
It’s hard to say who was the bigger star in Morton Grove, actor Chevy Chase or Raising Cane’s founder Todd Graves.
Two men in sweaters sit next to each other, one holds an electrical cord in each hand. A crowd of people in Christmas outfits stand behind them.
Todd Graves has seen this movie before and closely monitors Chevy Chase’s electrical activities.
A large crowd of people in Christmas outfits smile and pose in a parking lot.
Two men in a woodie station wagon with a Christmas tree strapped to the top.
No cats were harmed at Raising Cane’s Christmas Vacation.
The back end of a green woodie station in a large parking lot. The words “honky lips” are spray painted on the side in black paint.
Raising Cane’s amped up the excitement with fun cinematic details.
Chevy Chase and Todd Graves sit inside a station wagon and talk.
“This is a full-blown four-alarm holiday emergency over here.”
Todd Graves and Chevy Chase sit together in a booth with baskets of chicken fingers and fries.
Could this be the start of a Christmas tradition at Raising Cane’s?
The bumper of a green woodie station wagon which is dotted with bumper stickers.
Anyone planning a trip to Walley World?
Chevy Chase and Todd Graves sit inside a modern  car with a Christmas tree on top.
That’s no Wagon Queen Family Truckster.
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