I have a tradition in my house. Every year on Christmas Eve, we watch “A Christmas Story” all together as a family. Sure, my kids groan that it’s “campy”, and even my husband says it’s pretty cheesy, but after the first few minutes everyone gets lost in the magic, every single year. That’s the great thing about “A Christmas Story”, it manages to perfectly capture that moment in time when you’re a little kid hoping for the best Christmas morning ever.
Even though I’ve seen it a hundred times, there’s a lot of things I never knew about the film. Here’s a few facts that made me appreciate it even more.
1. Ralphie says "Red Ryder BB Gun" a total of 28 times throughout the film. Hey, the kid knew what he wanted, and he wanted you to know too.
2. To help with authenticity, residents of Cleveland (where the movie was filmed) volunteered their own vintage cars.
3. Speaking of Cleveland, if you enter the address of the actual house that was used for the film (3159 W 11th Street, Cleveland, OH) into Google’s street view, you can see the famous leg lamp in the front window.
4. One of the kids in the background of the classroom scene is wearing a Dukes of Hazzard digital watch. Maybe the residents of Cleveland didn’t have antique children’s watches to lend.
5. In order to make it seem like Flick's tongue was really stuck on the pole during the "Triple Dog Dare" scene, a suction tube was hidden inside.
6. Scut Farkas, the infamous bully, gets his last name from the Norwegian word for "wolf". When he is first introduced, the “Wolf” music from Sergei Prokofiev’s "Peter and the Wolf" can be heard in the background.
7. The furry, Davy Crockett-esque hat that Scut wears didn’t actually become popular until the 1950s (about a decade after the movie’s time period), when the Davy Crockett miniseries first aired.
8. Jack Nicholson wanted to play the role of the father, but that would have shot the film’s budget sky-high.
9. The math book on Miss Shield’s desk is from the 1980s. Maybe it’s for an advanced class.
10. Peter Billingsley (Ralphie), has revealed that every word in his fight scene and angry rant was actually fully scripted.
11. Chattering wind-up teeth like the ones seen in the film weren't invented until 1949, which is after when the film was supposedly set.
12. Similarly, Bing Crosby's album, “Merry Christmas,” is playing in the background when the family is opening presents. It wasn’t released until 1945.
13. “Christmas” is spelled incorrectly on Ralphie's assignment, which is titled “What I Want For Chistmas”.
14. The film (particularly its narrative style) was a major inspiration for the hit TV show, “The Wonder Years”.
15. Wil Wheaton tried out for the role of Ralphie.
16. The somewhat slow-witted neighbor, Swede, was played by the film’s director, Bob Clark.
17. Jean Shepherd, the chief screenwriter (and narrator) makes a cameo in the mall scene, telling Ralphie and Randy that the line to meet Santa goes much, much futher back than they think.
18. Director Bob Clark (left) and writer Jean Shepherd (right) took nearly 10 years to fully conceptualize the film.
Well, all these facts have put me in the mood for yet another viewing of my all-time favorite holiday classic.