Anyone that spent any time as a child in the eighties will certainly know which film I’m referencing in the title of this blog. It’s what everyone told nine-year-old Ralphie Parker whenever he mentioned what he wanted for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun. I’m of course talking about Bob Clark‘s classic 1983 Christmas comedy “A Christmas Story.”
The film was based on Jean Sheperd‘s semi-autobiographical childhood anecdotes about growing up in Indiana. Three of the stories were originally published in Playboy magazine between 1964 and 1966 and was later published in his books “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” and “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories.” Shepard would also read other segments of the story on his WOR Radio talk show in New York City and to live audiences while touring the college circuit in the late 60’s. The film’s director, Bob Clark first heard Shepard’s work on the radio in 1968.
“A Christmas Story” would become director Bob Clark’s best know film, but ironically Clark got his start in the horror genre and is otherwise probably known for his contributions to the B-movie cannon. Fans of campy classics may remember his other holiday film “Black Christmas” (1974), a seminal holiday-themed slasher flick (which was mentioned earlier this week on the blog) and the 80’s teen sex-comedy romp “Porky’s” (1982).
While “A Christmas Story” was not a success on its theatrical release it would slowly acquire a cult audience through repeated TV airings and home video. I remember watching it repeatedly throughout the mid-80s on VHS until I could recite every line verbatim.
Now, of course, you can watch any of the countless “Christmas Story” marathons that are happening all month on cable, but wouldn’t it be more fun to get out and see the thing live? We’re ticketing stage adaptations and screenings throughout the country this weekend, so why not get off the couch and re-visit this holiday classic?
TONIGHT! Thursday, December 15 – Saturday, December 24 I A Christmas Story Nevada City, California LeGacy Productions presents “A Christmas Story,” Philip Grecian’s stage adaptation of Jean Shepard’s hilarious works (turned into the 1983 holiday movie favorite) at the historic Nevada Theatre in downtown Nevada City. Ralphie Parker yearns for a Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle, only to be told “you’ll shoot your eye out!” A host of other zany characters invite you to celebrate the holidays in Hohman, Indiana, during a simpler time in American history. Great fun for the whole family!
TONIGHT! Thursday, December 15 I A Christmas Story presented by the Phoenix Film Foundation Phoenix, Arizona Join the Phoenix Film Foundation for a screening of the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story”. Don’t miss your chance to see it on the big screen. There will be a raffle for some great prizes (who wouldn’t love a leg lamp?) and giveaways for the kids. All proceeds benefit the education programs of the 501c3 non-profit Phoenix Film Foundation.
Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 I A Christmas Story Hartland, Wisconsin Philip Grecian’s play is based on humorist Jean Sheperd’s memoirs of growing up in small-town Indiana in the 1940’s. We follow 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder bb gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa himself, at Goldblatt’s Department Store. Their consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the family’s temperamental exploding furnace; Scut Farkas, the school bully; the boy’s experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; the Leg Lamp; Ralphie’s fantasy scenarios, and more. Join us at the Playhouse for a holiday classic!
Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 I A Christmas Story Ferndale, California Remember the leg lamp? The pink bunny pajamas? The Holy Grail of Christmas presents: “a genuine Red Ryder 220-Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle” and the little boy with his tongue frozen to the flagpole? The whole family will enjoy this affectionate, wacky and heart-warming portrayal of the typical Christmas joys and troubles in small-town Depression-era Indiana.
Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 I A Christmas Story: Live Onstage! Tuscaloosa, Alabama A smoking furnace, a bully named Farkus, a pack of thieving-baying hounds, a dingblang-fuzzle-whizzin-mouthed old man, a prized leg lamp that’s more leg than lamp and a bunny suit: Is this the stuff of Christmas? It is for Ralphie, and all he really wants is a legendary official Red Ryder 200-Shot Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right into the stock. Brighten the holidays with this hilarious and criti- cally acclaimed stage adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s wry and witty tale of a special Christmas past and journey back to a time when we all had less and it felt like more.