Friday, December 20, 2013

Noel, No L, Noel, No L

John, a reader from Northern California, made me aware of today’s error a day after last Christmas. I wrote about it immediately and then purposefully set it aside for later use. It’s been in my reserve for almost a year. An auxiliary post, if you will.

In the holiday classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (a staple in my yearly rotation), Clark Griswold is committed to decorating his suburban home, so he’s going to do it right — and he’s going to do it big.

His Santa-sized plans call for him to adorn his two-story house (and attached garage) with 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights.

After a few ladder- and roof-related mishaps, the lights are in place, courtesy of an overworked stapler. After a few false starts, the lights shine — blindingly bright.

The house doesn’t have enough juice to support Clark’s retina-burning “exterior illumination,” so it draws power from the neighborhood, consuming kilowatt hours faster than the reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh and forcing the local power company to flip its auxiliary nuclear switch to the “on” position.

Problem is, no auxiliary power is being generated. Instead, an employee at the power company flips a misspelled switch. Someone has strung up too many letters. Auxiliary has one l, not two; that second one is providing no help. The lights are on*, but no one at the NLCV editorial department is home.

* Though they don’t twinkle. Thanks for noticing, Art.


  1. Ah yes! I almost forgot about this. Thanks for posting it. There is something really fun about seeing a typo in a movie, especially a classic like this one, since it keeps rearing its ugly (yet subtle) head unlike a newspaper article that essentially disappears after it’s published. Too bad they didn’t spell the second word, “nucular.”

    1. Thank you for sharing it, John! And good point about the enjoyment of spotting movie mistakes, which are unable to hide; they’re present any time we pop in the DVD or watch online. Film flubs, like Dec. 7, 1941, will live in infamy. Come back to my site on Monday to read about another one!

  2. Love this one and am shocked I never noticed it while watching the movie. I've only seen "Christmas Vacation" about 100 times. ;) My next post for "Los Angeles" magazine also features the term "exterior illumination." Great minds!