Actor Chevy Chase – known for movies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Three Amigos” and “Caddyshack” – paid a visit to Mullica Hill’s Harbaugh Village on Dec. 3 for the George’s House Lighting and Toy Drive.
The house is modeled after the Griswold family home from “Christmas Vacation,” with holiday lights annually copying those in the movie, along with an RV in the driveway. And as in the movie, Chase did the honor of plugging in the lights as “Hallelujah” played in the background. The lights worked.
“I love all of you,” Chase told the crowd at the house. “So great that you came out to this. It’s very, very nice of you. I hope, really, you have a great Christmas. It’s a wonderful place we’re at and it’s beautiful by the way it’s been decorated. Well done.”
After the lighting, Chase hosted a meet and greet in a nearby tent to interact with attendees.
The event was held to collect toys for George’s House, a charity that aims to make sure every kid gets a home and a toy for Christmas. It is named after George Harbaugh, the father of Harbaugh Village owner Steve Harbaugh, who passed away in 2017.
The charity was formed in his name the following year, when Steve began decorating his house in the Griswold family style and as a way to pay tribute to his father. That led to township events at Harbaugh Village.
According to the George’s House website, 2,000 plus toys were gifted at Christmas of 2022, 52,000-plus toys were collected from donations and more than $250,000 went to transitional housing.
“Clark Griswold at the end (of the movie) is out by himself and he’s in their front yard and he looks up and says, ‘I did it,'” Steve Harbaugh said in a YouTube video about the charity. “The first year without my dad, I looked around.
“I look at all the cars, I look at all the toys coming in and I did the same thing,” he added. “I looked up and said, ‘Dad, I did it.'”
That dedication eventually earned Harbaugh the nickname Clark Griswold of New Jersey from patrons, something Chase alluded to in a video ahead of the lighting event.
“Hello Griswolds of New Jersey,” Chase said. “Your house is a beaut, Steve. Great job with your toy drive.”