25th Anniversary of “A Christmas Story” (1983) - - “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
I can still remembering the feeling I had watching “A Christmas Story” on the big screen in 1983. It was love at first sight. I fell in love again, all over again, when last week I saw the famous “major award lamp” in a Christmas display in a neighbor’s house. Fans out there will know exactly what I mean.
Director Bob Clark’s Midwest tale of nine year-old Ralphie Parker’s Christmas experience in the 1940’s in which his only wish is an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle. The movie is heartwarming. It has developed quite a fan base. The house in which the movie was set – Cleveland, Ohio- was purchased by a fan, restored, and open for public tours, complete with a mini-museum and gift shop. This year there was an auction for the opportunity to sleep over in the house, to the highest bidder, on Christmas Day! Each year there is a convention held in honor of the movie, too. Well, I could go on but will keep this story brief. Here are a few facts about the film from IMDB:
-To find an American city resembling an Indiana town of the 1940s, director Bob Clark sent his location scouts to twenty cities before selecting Cleveland, Ohio, as the site for filming.
-Parts of the movie, including the Christmas tree shopping scene, were filmed in Toronto, Ontario. One of Toronto’s trademark red trolleys can be seen driving by the shot of the outside of the tree lot.
-Inspired the creation of “The Wonder Years” (1988).
-According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, “The Old Man”. However, Clark didn’t learn of this until later and the studio didn’t want to pay Nicholson’s fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGavin was still the better choice and was born to play the role.
-The “major award” was based on a real lamp: an illuminated Nehi logo.
-The Radio Orphan Annie decoder pin that Ralphie receives is the 1940 “Speedomatic” model, indicating that the movie takes place in December, 1940. Different decoder badges were made each year from 1935-1940. By 1941, the decoders were made of paper.
-The Parker’s Oldsmobile is a 1937 Model 6, four-door sedan with Indiana license plate 56 498.
-Ralphie says that he wanted the “Red Ryder BB Gun” 28 times.