Eddie Murphy's new holiday comedy, Candy Cane Lane, is more than just a whimsical tale of magic glass people and mischievous elves. Prime Video subscribers may not believe it, but some true events partially inspired the premise of this yuletide tale. In an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, the heartwarming inspiration behind the film is revealed, and it has its roots in a real-life Christmas-decorating phenomenon that began over 70 years ago.
Candy Cane Lane Was Inspired By A Neighborhood Tradition
The film, which may very well be the most Christmas-y movie ever, follows Chris Carver, played by Eddie Murphy, who's on a quest to dominate his neighborhood's Christmas decoration contest. Interestingly, the narrative is grounded in the genuine festive fervor of El Segundo, California's Candy Cane Lane. Kelly Younger, the film's writer, reveals that his parents, having moved to the community many years ago, live at the top of the street leading to the lane. The screenwriter recently set down with People to reminisce about his father, a truck driver-turned-woodworker, and he shared:
My whole childhood was him building things in the garage. So when they moved to El Segundo, he got right in on the action and overdecorated the house within an inch of its life and caused quite a stir and created quite the reputation. So it really is based on a real family in a real neighborhood that really does this.
As you see, the scribe's father, much like the Nutty Professor alum's character, threw himself into the Christmas decoration craze, causing a bit of commotion in their neighborhood. And there were likely many before him who did the same.
This Tradition Goes Back A Long Ways
Kelly Younger also explained in the featurette that the real-life tradition began in the late 1940s. His parents' house, like others on the lane, gained local fame, getting featured in the newspaper. The writer drew inspiration from the friendly rivalry among neighbors competing for the most dazzling display, providing the initial spark for the film's narrative. The film’s director, Reginald Hudlin, added:
It wasn't just buying store-bought stuff — it was really expressing himself, and that joy in his heart was spreading through the whole neighborhood.
The helmer of Boomerang (one of Eddie Murphy's best movies) certainly made a point to emphasize that in the movie. Chris, in particular, seeks to be unique when coming up with a holiday display for his own abode. And when you consider the hoopla that comes with the contest, you can understand why.
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The Real Candy Cane Lane's Opening Night Includes Santa Clause and Some Christmas Magic
The opening night of the real Candy Cane Lane is a spectacle that draws crowds dressed in holiday finery. Santa Claus himself, known as the "El Segundo Santa," makes a grand entrance on top of a fire truck and uses a sprinkle of Christmas magic to light up the street. Kelly Younger provided additional details:
He'll walk in front of the fire truck and then Santa walks along the lane and he points to houses. And when he points, it magically lights the house up.
Tom Lindsay, the man behind the El Segundo Santa for more than 30 years, even makes a cameo as Santa in the Holiday flick. He shared a laugh about the mishaps that are all part and partial to the gig. When asked by the screenwriter, “Has there ever been a mishap where a house didn't turn on when you pointed at it," Lindsay laughed and said, "Almost every year!"
This Holiday Heritage Is Special For Another Reason
In a nod to his own Southern California upbringing, Kelly Younger emphasized the importance of setting the film in a non-traditional location not often featured in the best Christmas movies. He explained:
Not every Christmas movie needs to be set in a place where it snows. I mean, I grew up in Southern California. We only had sand. We would take our boogie boards and ride down the dunes around Christmas, pretending that we were on sleighs. So by setting it in a unique place that's very original and unexpected, I think that's what's going to really set this one apart.
Marking Eddie Murphy's debut film under the 2021 deal with Amazon Studios, Candy Cane Lane made its way to Prime Video on December 1st. Following the highly anticipated sequel, Coming 2 America, this film is just the beginning of more Murphy magic coming to the streaming giant.
If you're not in the holiday spirit and eagerly awaiting some vintage Murphy fare, a fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie is on the way. What is worth noting, among the details we know about BHC: Axel Foley is that a Netflix subscription will be the ticket to enjoy the upcoming movie release.
In the meantime, immerse yourself in the enchantment of Christmas and pay homage to a genuine community that has been spreading joy for over seven decades by streaming Candy Cane Lane.