Festive Facts About Favorite Holiday Movies

In the spirit of Christmas--and December kicking off this weekend--Mental Floss has compiled a list if 35 facts you might not know about your favorite holiday movies. Here are 10 of them:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life was a box office bomb. In fact, it put director Frank Capra $525,000 in the hole, which left him scrambling to finance his production company’s next picture State of the Union.
 
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas was supposed to have a laugh track. When executive producer Lee Mendelson told Charles Schulz he wanted the Peanutsspecial to include a laugh track, Schulz left the room for several minutes before coming in and continuing as if nothing had happened. Mendelson got the hint.
  • Stanley Kubrick is partly to thank for Christmas Vacation. The film’s director Jeremiah Chechik got his start making dark, moody commercials that caught Kubrick’s attention. Kubrick described the ads as his favorite American filmmaking in an interview, and the scripts started coming in. 
  • Natalie Wood still believed in Santa when she filmed Miracle on 34th Street.Wood was eight years old while filming Miracle on 34th Street and later recalled that she “vaguely believed in Santa Claus.”
 
  • Ralphie’s dad is never given a name in A Christmas Story. Contrary to online rumors, Ralphie’s dad is not named Hal--and is only referred to as “The Old Man.”
  • “Frosty the Snowman” was a hit song before it was a TV special. “Frosty the Snowman” was written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson in 1950, specifically as a means of capitalizing on the success of Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
  • Gremlins was intended to be much, much darker. An earlier version of the script included the Gremlins eating Billy’s dog then decapitating his mom and throwing her head down the stairs. 
  • Jim Carrey was initially eyed to star in Elf. When David Berenbaum's spec script first emerged in 1993, a pre-Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Carrey was attached to front the Christmas film. 
 
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet movie made without Jim Henson. Henson passed away on May 16, 1990, at the age of 53. The Muppet Christmas Carol debuted on December 11, 1992 with Steve Whitmire taking over Kermit the Frog for Henson.
  • Robert Zemeckis gave his childhood home a shoutout in The Polar Express.When the conductor says “11344 Edbrooke” near the beginning of the film, he’s referring to director Zemeckis’ actual childhood address in Chicago.

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