Thursday, December 3, 2009
I can't believe I have 200 of you great blogger friends in just a month! I am so excited to connect with all of you and have decided to have my first give away! I will be posting more information tomorrow ;-).
Today, in the tradition of looking at classic Christmas films, we are going to get a look at "A Christmas Story." You know, the famous, "You'll shoot your eye out" movie? The film was made in 1983 and has turned into an American classic. My cousin actually did some work for "Ralphie" on his house. He left acting. Never returned. Too bad. Here are some fun facts on the film and some pics. Enjoy!
--To find an American city resembling an Indiana town of the 1940s, director Bob Clark sent his location scouts to twenty cities before selecting Cleveland, Ohio, as the site for filming.
--The people of Cleveland were incredibly cooperative during filming, donating antique vehicles from every corner of the city. These vintage vehicles helped to enhance the authenticity of the production design.
--Ralph's school exteriors were filmed at Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
--Cameo: [Jean Shepherd] writer/narrator, is the irate man waiting in the Santa line at the department store. The woman standing behind Shepherd is his wife, Leigh Brown.
--Singer/Songwriter Pepper McGowan was an extra during the mall scene.
--Jean Shepherd's book "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", which the film is partly based on, is a collection of short stories that Jean Shepherd wrote for "Playboy" magazine during the 1960s, including the stories about the tongue sticking to the flagpole, and eating Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The subplot of the mangy dogs constantly harassing The Old Man was taken from another of Mr. Shepherd's short story collections, "Wanda Hickey's Night Of Golden Memories and Other Disasters." In that book, the character of Ralph is about 17 years old.
--The movie was set in Hammond Indiana. References were made throughout the film to support this claim. Examples: Harding school (on 165th St.) where Flick stuck his tongue to the flagpole, Goldblatt's department store, the mention of Griffith (a city that borders Hammond), Cleveland Street, Hohman Ave, and other streets that are located in Hammond. Although the movie was not filmed in Hammond the houses and look of the film is very authentic. Jean Shepherd (Writer) grew up in Hammond.
--Parts of the movie, including the Christmas tree shopping scene, were filmed in Toronto, Ontario. One of Toronto's trademark red trolleys can be seen driving by the shot of the outside of the tree lot.
--The St. Catharine's Museum owns some props used in the film, including two pairs of Ralphie's glasses including the pair that was smashed, and two scripts.
--According to the Daisy Air Rifle manufacturers on the Special Edition DVD documentary on the history of the Red Ryder BB Gun, the gun did exist except for one error in the story: The gun did not have a compass and sundial as mentioned in the movie. According to the historians, writer Jean Shepard confused the Red Ryder gun with another rifle that did have those features. But because the story and screen play were scripted to have the compass and sundial, guns had to be specially made for the movie.
--Inspired the creation of "The Wonder Years" (1988).
--The film was released just before Thanksgiving and became a surprise hit. By the time Christmas rolled around, the movie had already been pulled from most theaters because it had been "played out". After complaints were lodged at the theater owners and the studio, the film played on select screens until after the first of the year 1984.
--According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, "The Old Man". However, Clark didn't learn of this until later and the studio didn't want to pay Nicholson's fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGavin was still the better choice and was born to play the role.
--When the character of Scut Farkas first appears, the "Wolf" music from Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" plays in the background. The name "Farkas" is derived from the Hungarian word for "wolf".
--Ralphie says that he wanted the "Red Ryder BB Gun" 28 times.
--Bob Clark's success with the teen-sex comedy Porky's (1982) allowed him the ability to make a movie he wanted to make. Without Porky's there would have been no Christmas Story.
--For the scene in which Flick's tongue sticks to the flagpole, a hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that his tongue had frozen to the metal.