Thirty years since its film debut, the dysfunctional family comedy “A Christmas Story” is still considered by many a must-see during the holiday season. Following its release on November 18, 1983, the popular flick has since been recreated into the sequel “A Christmas Story 2" and even a Broadway play, which debuted in November 2012. While the spinoffs have received moderate acclaim, neither holds a candle to the original Bob Clark film starring Peter Billingsley as the blue-eyed, BB gun-loving Ralphie, Darren McGavin as his dad, Melinda Dillon as his mom, and a young Ian Petralla as brother Randy.
For those unfamiliar with the film, which is replayed on a continuous 24-hour loop every Christmas Eve on TBS starting at 8 p.m./7 p.m. central, the story follows a young boy in the 1940s, around Christmastime, as he tries to convince his parents, teachers and even his local department store Santa Claus, to allow him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
In honor of the 30-year anniversary of the film’s release, here are five trivia facts about the popular holiday flick:
While most films are shot on indoor sets, “A Christmas Story” filmmakers used an actual home as the location for the movie. The house, located at 3159 W. 11th Street in Cleveland, is currently listed as “A Christmas Story House” on Google Maps. The home across the street from the filming location has since become a museum in honor of the film. Open seven days a week, the museum gives "A Christmas Story" fanatics a chance to view original props, costumes, toys and behind-the-scenes photos from the film.
“A Christmas Story” didn’t walk away from the Genie Awards in 1984 with a Best Motion Picture win, but it did receive two other notable awards. Director Bob Clark was awarded by the organization, which recognizes American films for their cinematic achievements, for Best Achievement in Direction. Clark, along with the film's two other screenwriters, Leigh Brown and Jean Shepherd, also won for Best Screenplay.
INFAMOUS TONGUE SCENE
The infamous scene where Ralphie’s school friend Flick (Scott Schwartz) is “triple dog dared” to stick his tongue to a frozen pole only to have tragedy ensue, was achieved using a unique filming technique. The effect, which has caused TV viewers to cringe for the past three decades, was reportedly filmed safely by hiding a suction tube to create the illusion that the actor’s tongue was frozen to the metal pole.
The scene's shooting location is also a landmark for “A Christmas Story” fans to visit. The exterior shots of Ralphie’s school were reportedly shot at Victoria School in St. Catherine’s in Ontario, Canada, according to IMDB.
RED RYDER BB GUN
Little Ralphie makes it his life's mission to get an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas despite the lack of cooperation from his teacher, mother and Santa Claus, who all tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” While Ralphie (spoiler alert) is finally awarded the gun by his father as a surprise Christmas present, an avid fan claims the phrase “Red Ryder BB gun” was uttered 28 times throughout the film.
According to a report from the film’s museum, filmmakers were required to cut multiple scenes after being pressured by MGM. Allegedly, the studio wanted to keep the film at 90 minutes (current run time: 94 minutes) so that they would be able to show the film every two hours in theaters. Some of the deleted scenes scripts, which are currently available to view online, includes several possible opening sequences and a fight scene in which Ralphie rescues Santa Claus from Black Bart and his men.
Will you be watching "A Christmas Story" this holiday season?