(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Trivial Pursuits: A Christmas Story Edition

A modern holiday classic, A Christmas Story is a perennial favorite this time of year. But did you know that ...

By the numbers: Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times during the film's 94-minute running time; that’s approximately once every three minutes and 20 seconds.
Cameos: All three of the film's screenwriters have bit parts in the film. Director Bob Clark plays "Swede", the neighbor who admires the leg lamp. Author and narrator Jean Shepherd is the grouchy guy waiting in line for Santa; Leigh Brown (Shepherd's wife) is standing with him.
Racy beginnings: Three of Shepherd's semi-autobiographical short stories on which A Christmas Story is based were first published in Playboy magazine between 1964 and 1966.
A Christmas legacy: A Christmas Story supposedly inspired the creation of the Emmy Award winning comedy series The Wonder Years. Peter Billingsley even guest starred on the show.
Deleted scene: Ralphie teams up with Flash Gordon against Ming the Merciless in another fantasy sequence. Why isn't this on the DVD?
A different Story: Jack Nicholson wanted to play Ralphie’s dad, but was nixed due because his salary would have doubled the budget. The considerably cheaper Darren McGavin was cast instead as "The Old Man".

Now that's a special effect: A hidden suction tube was used to create the realistic illusion that Flick's tongue had stuck to the metal flagpole (and yes, that really could happen, as seen in an episode of Mythbusters).
And speaking of Flick: Yes, it is true that Scott Schwartz, the actor who played him and also co-starred in the Richard Pryor comedy The Toy, became a porn star, mostly (thankfully?) in "non-sex" roles. He even won an AVN Award.
Musical homage: The music heard when local bully Scut Farkas first appears is the "Wolf" music from Sergei Prokofiev's classic composition Peter and the Wolf. The name "Farkas" is derived from the Hungarian word for "wolf".
The sequel you never heard of: My Summer Story (a.k.a. It Runs in the Family) was released in 1994 with Kieran Culkin, Charles Grodin and Mary Steenburgen playing Ralphie and his parents. Jean Shepherd returned as the narrator, as did Tedde Moore as Miss Shields, Ralphie's teacher.
Fanatic fans: The documentary Road Trip for Ralphie shows how two Canadians visit every location used in A Christmas Story. Scenes include the duo rescuing Miss Shields' blackboard from destruction and tracking down the real-life location of the Chop Suey Palace.
That's a fact: Mrs. Parker is correct when she says the Lone Ranger's nephew rode a horse named Victor.
Oops: And speaking of Mrs. Parker, Melinda Dillon is correctly identified in the opening credits, but her name is misspelled in the end credits as "Dillion".

1 comment:

  1. Have to say I never like that show. watch some of it and change channels. Wished i could help with the trivial questions.

    By the way Mame should be number one.


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