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Scrooged (1988) Poster

(1988)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (15)  | Director Trademark (3)  | Spoilers (1)
Bill Murray and Director Richard Donner reportedly did not enjoy working together, creating a lot of tension on-set. When asked by film critic Roger Ebert if he had any disagreements with Donner, Murray replied: "Only a few. Every single minute of the day. That could have been a really, really great movie. The script was so good. There's maybe one take in the final cut movie that is mine. We made it so fast, it was like doing a movie live. He kept telling me to do things louder, louder, louder. I think he was deaf."
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When the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) grabbed Bill Murray's lip, she tore it so badly that filming was halted for several days.
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Jack McGee ad-libbed his line "You can hardly see them nipples."
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This was Bill Murray's first starring role since Ghost Busters (1984). He had been living in Paris, and had seriously considered giving up acting altogether.
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All of Bill Murray's acting brothers, John Murray, Joel Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray, appeared in this movie. John's the only one that played his on-screen brother.
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Bill Murray falling on his way out of the restaurant is said to have been unscripted and a genuine accident. Apparently, it was due to the stairs still being wet, after splashing the waiter with water, that caused him to lose his footing.
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When Frank throws water on the waiter he sees burning, he says, "I'm sorry. You know I thought you were Richard Pryor." This is a reference to an event in Pryor's life when, while freebasing cocaine, accidentally set himself on fire and ran down a busy street in Los Angeles.
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Carol Kane would get upset at having to "rough up" Bill Murray in their scenes together.
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The leader of the street musicians insulted by Bill Murray is Paul Shaffer. The others are Miles Davis, David Sanborn, and Larry Carlton.
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When the Ghost of Christmas Present first appears in the movie, she says to Frank Cross, "I'm a little muddled." This is a direct quote from Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when she first meets Dorothy in Munchkinland.
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Sam Kinison was originally slated to play the part of The Ghost of Christmas Past. The part eventually went to David Johansen due to his friendship with Bill Murray.
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One of the special appearances in this movie, was that of legendary actor, John Houseman. Sadly, he died on October 31, 1988, less than one month before this movie was released in theaters on November 23.
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On the "Frisbee" show (when Frank is in the dog suit), there is a tree on the set with a heart engraving and "Dick Loves Lauren", referring to Director Richard Donner and his wife, Producer Lauren Shuler Donner.
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When the homeless shelter residents mistake Frank for Richard Burton, it's an allusion to Bill Murray's skit on Saturday Night Live (1975) season two, episode twenty-two, "Shelley Duvall/Joan Armatrading", where he imitated Richard Burton's most famous dramatic scenes.
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The silent character Calvin Cooley is named for President Calvin Coolidge who was known as a man of few words.
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When Frank tells the ghost of Lew Hayward, "You're a legend in this business", Hayward replies, "Mankind should have been my business!" This is a paraphrase of a line spoken by Jacob Marley (the character Hayward is based on) in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".
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Richard Donner wasn't convinced that Robert Mitchum would agree to a small part, so he invited the actor to meet with Bill Murray. Donner recalled, "He came in and we never got a word in edgewise. He's so wonderful with stories, and we didn't want to talk. The minute you get around Bill, you're swooning. Everybody is."
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According to Bill Murray, a lot of footage ended up on the cutting room floor. "We shot a big, long sloppy movie, so there's a great deal of material that didn't even end up in the film", Murray told Starlog. "It just didn't work. You tend to forget what was wrong. It's hard. I just figured that anyone who's good could step into this part and have a lot of fun with it. It's sort of a wicked character. The idea of making a funny Scrooge was an inspired touch. That's what was appealing to me about it."
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Preston (Robert Mitchum) tells Frank (Bill Murray) that in America there are twenty-seven million cats, forty-eight million dogs, and then says quite seriously that IBC needs to start gearing programming towards them. As of 2015, there are several dog and cat specific channels on Roku that supply dedicated pet programming based on scientific studies of what interests them.
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At the end of the movie, when everybody is singing "Put a little love in your heart", Frank (Bill Murray) says (among many other things): "Feed me, Seymour!" This is a reference to Little Shop of Horrors (1986), in which Murray had a small part.
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There are many references to "Free Africa" throughout the movie, including a poster on the wall in Grace's house as well as a sticker in the production room. This was a subliminal political/humanitarian reference to Apartheid controversy which was taking place in South Africa at the time the movie was being shot.
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Bill Murray ad-libbed most of his lines. In a 1988 interview with Philadelphia Daily News, Richard Donner discussed Murray's penchant for improvisation and described the experience of directing Murray as follows: "It's like standing on 42nd Street and Broadway, and the lights are out, and you're the traffic cop."
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Paramount announced a special edition release titled the "Yule Love It! Edition" to be released on October 31, 2006. However, it was recalled for unknown reasons.
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Playing the Scroogettes were the Solid Gold Dancers, whose American television show had been cancelled by the time this movie debuted.
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During the restaurant scene, a close-up of Frank's wristwatch shows the date is November 23, even though it is supposed to be Christmas Eve. This date is significant, however, for being the film's theatrical release date in the U.S.
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The Ghost of Christmas Past's cab belongs to the Belle Cab Company. Belle is the name of Scrooge's first love in the Charles Dickens novel, from which the story is loosely taken.
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Four copies of Pablo Picasso's 1942 painting "Woman with an Artichoke" were made for a scene that was never shot. Three were given to crew members: Director Richard Donner, Production Designer J. Michael Riva, and original Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall. Mel Gibson somehow got the fourth.
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The sling mounted GE M134 minigun used by Lee Majors in the beginning of the movie was the same stage prop used by Jesse Ventura in Predator (1987).
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Before Bill Murray signed on, he requested that the script be re-worked. "We tore up the script so badly that we had parts all over the lawn", Murray told Starlog. "There was a lot I didn't like. To remake the story, we took the romantic element and built that up a little more. It existed in the script's original version, but we had to make more out of it. The family scenes were kind of off, so we worked on that."
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Following the breakup of the New York Dolls, bassist Arthur Kane had fallen on hard times, envious of the success of his fellow band mates. Kane was in his apartment watching the film, when he saw David Johansen's appearance on-screen as the Ghost of Christmas Past. This pushed him over the edge and resulted in him attempting suicide by jumping out his third story apartment window.
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The street to which the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Frank Cross is 41st Drive in Woodside, Queens, New York. It is mostly unchanged from 1955 when the scene is set, and from 1988 when the movie is set. As of 2016, the house they enter, 5828 is still standing.
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Charles Dickens' 1843 novella "A Christmas Carol" is only referred to under the title of "Scrooge" in this movie, but in the closing credits, it is named under its main and original title of "A Christmas Carol".
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Mary Ellen Trainor has appeared in many of Richard Donner's films, including this one. She was also in The Goonies and all four Lethal Weapon films.
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Some characters have trouble remembering the name of the boat on Gilligan's Island (1964), a show on which Director Richard Donner worked.
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The movie was the first of two consecutive ghost comedies that Bill Murray made over the course of two years. He starred in Ghostbusters II (1989) the year after this one. Wikipedia states, "the film was marketed with references to Ghostbusters (1984), which had been a great success four years earlier." In the U.S., the tagline was, "Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it's three against one".
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ACTOR TRADEMARK (Bill Murray): (bark like a dog): Murray says that another character will "bark like a dog". He also said this in Caddyshack (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and Groundhog Day (1993).
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Richard Donner): A worker in the control room at the end of the movie.
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The thirteenth highest grossing film of 1988 at the American box-office, with a total of just over sixty million dollars.
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Frank trying to get the audience in the movie theatre to participate was entire ad-libbed by Bill Murray.
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The studio cameras shown in the IBC studio during the broadcast special within the movie are RCA TK-44's, tube cameras that would have been at least fifteen-years-old at the time the movie was made.
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It wasn't until 2011 that Danny Elfman's score was released. The album, which was limited to just three thousand copies, contained a total of thirty-four tracks, not all of which were included in the film. The final track is a bonus track that was created for Trading Places (1983).
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Richard Donner initially had reservations about turning A Christmas Carol into a comedy. "It's a thin line. But you have two of the most irreverent writers in the world. You have the most irreverent humorist since W.C. Fields. And you say, 'Let's go!' There's a thin line you walk, but the line is broken-hopefully-in the end of the picture when you see a man evolve out of a situation."
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Bill Murray's biggest challenge was carrying the film on his own. In his previous films, he'd been part of an ensemble.
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The film takes place Dec 23-24, 1988, plus past and future.

Present:
  • 1988 (37m 25s)
  • December 23, 1988 (13m 05s Preston says "lunch tomorrow", then lunch is at 32m 0s)
  • December 24, 1988 (at 25m 0s magazine shows date Dec 23, but Claire says "Christmas eve" at 57m 56s, so magazine is yesterday's)


Ghost of Christmas Past (36m 05s):
  • December 24, 1955 (37m 50s, 38m 32s)
  • December 1968 (42m 22s)
  • December 24, 1969 (45m 30s, 45m 56s)
  • December 24, 1971 (48m 17s, 50m 8s)


Present (52m 25s):
  • December 24, 1988 (57m 56s Claire says "Christmas eve")


Ghost of Christmas Present (1h 0m)

Present (1h 10m 45s).

Ghost of Christmas Future (1h 17m 18s):
  • Calvin ~5-10 years in the future (1h 18m)
  • Claire some years in the future (1h 19m)
  • Funeral seemingly at least decades in the future (1h 20m)


Present (1h 22m)
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The neologism "Scrooged" here means "To have the Ebeneezer Scrooge experience happen to you". It's also in "The Wind in the Willows", where it means "a burrowing motion".
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Bill Murray had been approached about this movie two years earlier. At that point, he wasn't ready to jump back into the moviemaking fold just yet. "But when I wanted to work, the scripts were just not good", Murray told Starlog Magazine in a 1989 interview.
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During the Ghost of Christmas Present section, the ghost (Carol Kane) takes Frank to visit the house of his brother, where there is a trivia game in progress. One of questions is "In the Addams Family, what instrument did Lurch play?" Carol Kane went on to play Grandmama Addams in Addams Family Values (1993)
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Jack McGee played a carpenter in this film and in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), both of which were directed by Richard Donner. Other Lethal Weapon cast members in this movie include Damon Hines (Nick Murtaugh) and Delores Hall (Delores, the armored car driver from Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)).
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Movie critic Roger Ebert said this was the worst film adaptation of A Christmas Carol he had ever seen.
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In the television show within the movie, one of A Christmas Carol's selling points is that it will feature the Solid Gold Dancers as The Scroogettes. The movie would mark the small-screen dance group's final aired performance, as Solid Gold (1980) had been cancelled the previous July.
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The Girl Bill Murray kissed under the mistletoe was a Solid Gold Dancer named Eileen Fairbanks.
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Richard Donner directed this movie between Lethal Weapon (1987) and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989).
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Michael Chapman replaced Conrad L. Hall as Director of Photography. Hall was the film's original Cinematographer, who was allegedly fired after about five days into filming.
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The movie was cast with two veteran actors, Robert Mitchum and John Houseman, in small roles.
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First of two ghost movies, in which Alfre Woodard appeared. The other being Heart and Souls (1993).
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In one of Frank's promotions at the start of the film, the narrator lists "International terrorism" among modern evils besetting the world, accompanied by visuals of a plane exploding. During the film's release, hijackers blew up a Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
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One of the final films of Anne Ramsey, and the final film of Unit Production Manager and Executive Producer Roger M. Rothstein and Art Department Set Construction Coordinator Robert Scaife.
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The names of the Christmas television shows from the IBC Network of which clips were shown were "Scrooge", "Father Loves Beaver", "The Night the Reindeer Died", and "Bob Goulet's Old Fashioned Cajun Christmas". The network's promotional slogan for these television shows was "Yule Love It!"
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Grace and her family appear to live in Long Island City, New York. This is evident in a scene when Grace and Calvin are coming off the subway. If you look, you can see the sign for their stop is 45th St- Courthouse Sq, which is a stop in Long Island City on the E train line.
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The Ghost of Christmas Past uses a car (in this case a cab) to take Cross back to 1955; the same year, to which Marty goes back, in the DeLorean, in Back to the Future (1985).
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The following received a "Special Appearance" credit: Lee Majors, Mary Lou Retton, Jamie Farr, Robert Goulet, John Houseman, Buddy Hackett, Pat McCormick, and Brian Doyle-Murray.
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Frank's (Bill Murray's) full name is Francis Xavier Cross, as seen on his crematorium coffin, as well as being said aloud by Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait).
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The film is dedicated to Robert Scaife, Anne Ramsey, and Roger M. Rothstein.
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The golf ball in Frank's mouth is an homage to Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack (1980).
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The movie, a spoof version and modernized adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, was released one hundred forty-five years after Dickens' source novella had been published.
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The movie was filmed from December 1987 to April 1988.
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There were six Christmas Ghosts in the movie. They were the following: the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane), the Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Hammond, uncredited), and Herman. The Christmas Ghosts on the television Show "Scrooge" were the Ghost of Christmas Past (Pat McCormick) and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Chaz Conner).
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Trailer narrated by Percy Rodrigues.
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First of two consecutive "ghost" movies in two consecutive years for Bill Murray. He starred in Ghostbusters II (1989). Murray had starred in Ghostbusters (1984).
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Maria Riva (Mrs. Rhinelander) is the mother of Production Designer J. Michael Riva.
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Writers Mitch Glazer and Michael O'Donoghue worked on Saturday Night Live (1975).
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Richard Donner's previous film, Lethal Weapon (1987), was also set at Christmastime.
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The movie's title is a play-on-words of the last name of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella "A Christmas Carol", which inspired this modern adaptation parody. "Scrooge" has also been the title of some of the films adapted from that work. (You don't say!)
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During the movie there are several references to other films, but the most obvious is to Back to the Future (1985) when Frank & the Ghost of Christmas Past use a car, albeit a checker cab, to travel back through time to 1955.
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There are several gags involving cats and/or dogs. Bill Murray was the voice of iconic feline Garfield for two theatrical movies.
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Cameo 

Miles Davis: As a street musician.
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Kathy Kinney: As the IBC nurse on the movie set, taking care of the censor after she is knocked out by a street light by one of the building crew.
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Brian Doyle-Murray: As Earl Cross, Frank's (Bill Murray's) father.
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Jamie Farr: As himself playing Jacob Marley.
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Paul Shaffer: As a street musician.
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Michael O'Donoghue: One of the film's writers as a priest.
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Mary Lou Retton: As herself playing Tiny Tim.
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Lee Majors: As himself, in the television show "The Night the Reindeer Died".
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John Forsythe: As Lew Hayward, the ghost of Frank' s former boss.
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David Sanborn: As a street musician.
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Mitch Glazer: One of the film's writers as a guest.
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Larry Carlton: As a street musician.
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John Houseman: As himself, hosting the television show "Scrooge".
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Steve Kahan: Director Richard Donner's cousin plays a worker in the control room at the end of the film.
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Buddy Hackett: As himself playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the television show "Scrooge".
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Director Trademark 

Richard Donner: [Scrooge (1951)] As in Lethal Weapon (1987), the 1951 Alistair Sim version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is playing on a television in the background of one scene.
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Richard Donner: [poster] Keith Haring's "Free South Africa" poster is seen in a few background shots as it is in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989).
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Richard Donner: [Christmas] One of several Richard Donner movies set, in part or in whole, at Christmastime.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

When Frank crashes onto the stage after seeing frozen Herman, director Brice calls him joker, in reference to Bill Murray's tryout for the villain in the then-unreleased Batman (1989). Herman died with a smile on his face, as do some of the Joker's victims.
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