'Christmas Vacation' holiday display causes panic in Texas

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Monday, December 3, 2018
'Christmas Vacation' holiday display causes panic in Texas
'Christmas Vacation' holiday display causes panic in Texas. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on December 2, 2018.

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Chevy Chase film "Christmas Vacation" is considered a holiday classic by some, and one man in Austin has taken that to a new extreme.

The Heerlein family recreated the scene from the movie where Clark Griswold hangs from the roof while trying to put up Christmas lights.

They bought a dummy online and put a Clark Griswold mask on it, then scoured Goodwill for clothes that look exactly like the ones Chase wears in the movie.

Chris Heerlein hung the dummy from his own roof and rigged a ladder underneath to look like it was tipping over.

Heerlein wanted to win a neighborhood holiday display contest. Instead, he caused panic only a day after putting his display up.

A passerby is seen on home surveillance video rushing in to try and help a dummy, believing it was a real person.

He called 911.

"He was doing everything he could to get the ladder! And be like 'Save Clark!'" Heerlein's sister-in-law Leah Wheless said to KVUE-TV. "He didn't give up. Whatever he had to do, he was going to save old Clark Griswold."

The family posted a sign at the bottom of the ladder that reads: "Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911."

They felt so bad about the passerby's reaction that they reached out to him to thank him for being so concerned.

"We'd love to be able to find him and reach out. We have a very special gift that we would like to give him and we'd like to tell him thank you," Wheless said.

It turns out the good Samaritan, named Alfred, is a retired veteran. Once he realized it wasn't real, he had a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

"I was trying to get him down any way I can. Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing!" Alfred said over the phone, laughing. "Then I thought, 'Oh my God I hope he's not dead, lemme call 911.'"

A similar incident happened at a Colorado home last year.