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Why Aunt Bethany From National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Sounds So Familiar

As we nestle into our peppermint-scented homes this holiday season, a loop of themed specials will undoubtedly be running in the background. Christmas is always a warm and special time of year that brings families together to enjoy their yearly favorites. Whether it's the classics like "It's A Wonderful Life," more modern laughs like Will Ferrell's "Elf," or contemporary favorites like 2018's "The Grinch," we gather around the television to enjoy the festivities.

The wide array of available programming means there's a little something for everyone to keep up the holiday cheer. One yuletide hit that's sure to get more than a few laughs is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" starring Chevy Chase as the slightly unhinged Clark Griswold. This nostalgic tale hilariously displays the chaos that can quickly ensue when more than one wacky family member visits under the same roof. 

One of these chaotic events includes a wild squirrel trapped in the family's Christmas tree that soon terrorizes the resting household. This disrupts the rare, quiet moment at the Griswold home — with hysterical results. It even features Mae Questel as the oblivious Aunt Bethany in a scene-stealing role. Though you may not recognize her face from her past work, her voice might sound familiar to fans of classic animation.

You may have heard Mae Questel on your favorite animated classics

Aunt Bethany contributes to an abundance of the many humorous moments throughout "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." She arrives after mistakenly wrapping her cat as a gift to exchange, which also explains the green jello dish tainted with cat litter that she brings. Aunt Bethany even delivers one of the most memorable scenes of the film when she recites The Pledge of Allegiance instead of saying grace over the family's holiday dinner.

Throughout this silly speech, you may recognize her voice and recall where you've heard Mae Questel before. In the long-running "Popeye the Sailor" series, Questel voiced Popeye's love and frequent damsel in distress Olive Oyl. From 1960-1962, the esteemed actress brought Olive Oyl to life for an astonishing 192 episodes before voicing another animated icon on the big screen.

Additionally, the 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was a revolutionary production that blended animated characters with live-action actors in a major way. The film brings a plethora of cartoon favorites to life including the titular Roger Rabbit, his bombshell love interest Jessica Rabbit, and even Betty Boop. The iconic animations have been around for years, and Betty Boop has been an established character since 1930 when she first appeared in the short film "Dizzying Dishes" (via IMDB). In "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the film pays homage to classic cartoons and has Questel voice Betty Boop. This is a wonderful way to include her voice, especially since Popeye was originally featured in the film but was eventually cut out (from Laser Time Podcast).