A Christmas Story has undoubtedly become one of America's most beloved Christmas classics. It's almost impossible not to watch even a small portion of it every year, as there is a 24 hour marathon on TBS, starting Christmas Eve and running through Christmas day.
The story tells of a child who wants nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder BB Gun and the lengths at which he'll go to convince someone, anyone, to get it for him. Even though you may have seen this classic numerous times, there may still be some things you didn't know.
1. Jack Nicholson was very interested in playing Ralphie's dad
But casting (and paying) Jack would have meant doubling the budget, so he was removed from consideration. Director Bob Clark — who didn't know Nicholson was interested at the time — says Darrin McGavin was the perfect choice. The producers, worried about Nicholson’s typically large salary requests, eventually approved McGavin.
2. Author Jean Shepherd’s concept for the “major award” leg lamp was based on a real lamp: an illuminated Nehi logo.
The style of the leg lamp for A Christmas Story was created by production designer Reuben Freed who had never before seen or heard of a leg lamp. Three leg lamps were made for the movie and all were broken on set during the filming.
3. An elaborate fantasy sequence – in which Ralphie joins Flash Gordon to fight Ming the Merciless – was filmed
However, the scene was dropped from the final cut. Despite this, a picture of this scene, and the costumes used in it, are on display at A Christmas Story House and Museum.
4. Next time you're in Cleveland, you can visit the original house from the movie.
It was sold on eBay in 2004 for $150,000. Collector Brian Jones bought the house and restored it to its movie glory and stocked it up with some of the original props from the film, including Randy's snowsuit. The people who own the house also run a gift shop, and they sell pretty much everything you could possibly want from the movie: the decoder pin ($7.99), Lifebuoy soap ($3.99), leg lamp variants and even pieces of the original house.
5. There are two little-talked-about sequels.
The first one was a 1988 made-for-TV movie, Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss. Jerry O'Connell played 14-year-old Ralphie, who is excited about his first job—a furniture mover. Of course, it ends up being awful, and it might make him miss the annual family vacation at Mr. Hopnoodle's lakeside cabins.
My Summer Story, AKA It Runs in the Family, debuted on the big screen in 1994. It is now summer in the Parker family and the usual number of events is happening in their separate lives. Ralphie is searching for the perfect top to use to beat the school bully, the Old Man is in battle with their hillbilly neighbors (the Bumpuses) while eagerly awaiting the discovery of the perfect fishing spot, and Mother is attempting to collect all of the pieces of a glass china set at a local movie theater.
There you have five things you probably didn't know about A Christmas Story. There are many more interesting tidbits of information about this movie, but for now I bid you adieu as I ask my wife for an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!