It’s that time of year again, all of your favorite holiday classics are on television and your DVR is working overdrive. It’s great to watch those holiday classics with friends and family, and even better when you recognize your neighborhood or even neighbors! Below is a list of 5 movies or actors with ties to Oak Park for you to enjoy this season.
#5 Betty White
Not many people know this, because it was before many of us were born, but Betty White, the famed comedian, hales from Oak Park. Betty was born in January of 1922 but moved with her family to Los Angeles during the Great Depression. Almost 93 years later, Betty stars in Hot in Cleveland which is wrapping up it’s final season. Look out for the December 17th Christmas episode.
#4 Home Alone
While most of this movie was filmed in the northern suburb of Wilmette, the scene where Kevin McAllister, played by Macaulay Culkin, meets his mysterious creepy neighbor and confesses his not so great behavior, is filmed in Grace Episcopal Church on Lake St. between Forest Ave and Kenilworth Ave. Home Alone can be seen on TBS Sunday, November 30th at 1:45pm. If you’d like to see the carol sing along at the church like Kevin attends, that is on Christmas Eve at 4:45pm and 10:30pm.
#3 Johnny Galecki
Many people know Johnny as David on the classic comedy Rosanne, from the late 80’s and most of the 90’s. Or you might be a fan of the adult Mr. Galecki in the #1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory on CBS. But Galecki, who grew up in Oak Park, tied himself to the holidays forever by starring as Rusty Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. You can find Jonny when he was 14 on ABC Family Sunday, November 30th at 10pm.
#2 Dan Castellaneta
If you saw Dan walking around Winberies in Oak Park, you might not recognize him. However, if you heard the voice of Homer Simpson, you’d be listening to Dan Castellaneta, who was born and raised in Oak Park. He attended OPRF and is now in his 26th season with the show that made it’s network premier with a Christmas episode. This year you can see Homer…and hear Dan, December 14th at 7pm on Fox in “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas”.
#1 Cecily Strong
If you haven’t watched Saturday Night Live recently then you are missing one of Oak Park’s finest at work. Cecily Strong is in her 3rd season with the weekend staple and has pushed her way into popular performer with several characters. Cecily is another former OPRFer and made her way to California to study the Arts. She came back to Chicago to perform with Second City and the IO before getting the call for SNL. Every year the show puts on some of the best classic holiday improv you’ll see anywhere and this year should be no different. The holiday episode premiers Saturday, December 20th at 10:30pm.