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For once in today’s America, there comes a heartwarming story of the government actually leaving people alone. The city of La Mirada, CA has magnanimously decided to stop fining a private citizen for decorating his house in tribute to the Griswold home depicted in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
Jeff Norton has affixed his home in the over-the-top fashion of Clark Griswold (played by actor Chevy Chase) for the last four years, adding new additions and props each year. This year, however, he added a second-story façade to more faithfully represent the Griswold home of the movie, and the city was none too pleased with the variance.
“They believe it would be a safety issue, and I can openly tell you it’d be impossible for that to come off my roof,” Norton told Fox 11.
The second-story model has a makeshift floor and no drywall, essentially making it a temporary prop and not a permanent addition to the home.
(Video: Fox 11 Los Angeles/YouTube)
“It’s really light. It’s all studded together and I used metal connectors,” said Norton. “The second story was something I envisioned as a 30-day add-on. Obviously, I don’t need that on my roof.”
But that matters not to oleaginous government officials and, as is their wont, the city proceeded to fine Norton $100 each for the first and second week and $500 for the third and fourth weeks the display remained up.
But, members of the community banded together in protest of the punitive actions of La Mirada and raised money to help Norton pay the fines and keep his vision alive. And now, in what could only be described as a Christmas miracle, the city has backed off its demands and will allow Norton to keep the elaborate decorations up – including the second-floor mock-up – without penalty until the end of the year. At that time, the second story must come down.
Norton expressed gratitude to his neighbors and to all who come from miles around to view the awe-inspiring homestead, and he applauded the city for standing down and letting freedom ring, at least during Christmas.
“The first thing that you really have to think about is the people, the community was really on my side on this and I’m sure that was a big part of their decision,” said Norton.
Additions over the years have included animatronic life-sized mannequins of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and Clark’s boss, Mr. Shirley (Brian Doyle Murray), who screws Clark out of a Christmas bonus but finds redemption after Eddie kidnaps him on Christmas Eve.
But wait, there’s more.
Multiple versions of Clark Griswold can be seen on the property, as well as a full-sized Chicago police cruiser; the Griswold family station wagon, complete with the uprooted gargantuan Christmas tree; and this year, Cousin Eddie’s “tenement on wheels” was added to the set, the chemical toilet of which plays an integral part in the comedy classic.
And for those who haven’t seen the film (a lapse in judgment which is downright un-American), Norton loops the beloved movie on a large hi-def television front-and-center on his lawn.
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