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Like a scene from ‘Christmas Vacation,’ dangling ‘Clark Griswold’ prompted a 911 call

Passerby freaks out over Austin ‘Christmas Vacation’ light display

A passerby in Austin, Texas freaked out when he saw the 'Christmas Vacation' light display, thinking a man really was hanging from the roof while trying to put up holiday lights.
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A passerby in Austin, Texas freaked out when he saw the 'Christmas Vacation' light display, thinking a man really was hanging from the roof while trying to put up holiday lights.

A Texas home decorated to look like a scene straight from a 1989 Christmas classic scared a man into calling 911 last week.

No, not the man dangling from the roof while tied up in Christmas lights. That’s “Clark Griswold” — a mannequin, or dummy.

The dummy portrays the lead character of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” right after he stapled lights to the roof and lost his traction. Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, then slid head first toward the snow-covered ground before he managed to grip the rain gutter.

That’s where this holiday display in Austin stopped — with the mannequin dressed like Clark Griswold hanging from the roof of a two-story home, a string of brightly-colored Christmas lights tied to its leg and a slanted ladder just out of reach.

Chris Heerlein and his wife, Hannah, had gone all out on those decorations in hopes of winning their neighborhood’s annual Christmas display contest, KVUE reported.

But Chris Heerlein’s “attention to detail” led to more than just some Christmas cheer. It also almost gave a man a heart attack, Hannah Newman Heerlein posted to Facebook.

Passerby Alfred Norwood, Jr. was heading through the neighborhood when he noticed a man hanging from the roof gutter, ABC News reported, and what he did next was caught on the Heerlein family’s security cameras. That video was obtained by McClatchy.

Norwood was captured running toward the home then trying to wrestle the ladder free from a string of lights to get it close to the dummy’s feet.

“Can you reach it?” Norwood was heard asking in the video. No response was given.

“Help!” Norwood yelled before he ran toward the street. He then called 911, according to ABC News.

“He was doing everything he could to get the ladder!” sister-in-law Leah Wheless said, according to KVUE. “He didn’t give up. Whatever he had to do, he was going to save old Clark Griswold.”

The security video then cuts to a police officer who came to the door to ask about the hanging mannequin. The woman who answered was the nanny, KVUE reported, and she said she would let the family know about the 911 call.

The Heerlein family has since put up a sign that asks people not to call 911 because the man is part of a display, “Good Morning America” reported, and they gave Norwood a gift card to thank him for trying to help.

This isn’t the first “Christmas Vacation” display to cause some alarm.

Last year, in Boulder, Colorado, someone called 911 after seeing another “Clark Griswold” hanging from the roof, KDVR reported.

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