National Lampoon-themed Christmas lights cause panic

A family's attempt to win their neighbourhood Christmas lights competition ended up causing panic when a passer-by thought a man was stuck on their roof.

According to Sky News, the Heerlein family in Austin, Texas, decided to recreate the decoration scene in National Lampoon's classic festive season film, Christmas Vacation, complete with a hanging Clark Griswold.

In the scene, Clark, played by Chevy Chase, slides down the roof of his house while adding the lights and ends up dangling from the gutter.

So, the Heerlein family hung a dangling Clark front and centre of the home’s decorations, but it took veteran Alfred Norwood Jr by surprise when he walked passed one day.

Believing someone was really in distress, he moved a ladder to try to help, called police and even tried to wave down passing cars.

Mr Norwood was caught on the family's CCTV camera offering help to the apparent victim.

"I was trying to get him down any way I can. Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing!” he told local TV.

"Then I thought, 'Oh my God I hope he's not dead, let’s call 911’."

According to police, Mr Norwood's call was not the first one they had received about the Heerlein house.

Chris Heerlein, the man behind the decorations, and his sister-in-law Leah Wheless, tracked Mr Norwood down after the incident and gave him a gift card for his troubles.

Story courtesy Sky News.

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