Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Story

A perennial favorite in our home is A Christmas Story, the 1983 film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of Jean Shepherd, including material from his books In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories.

The movie takes place in the late 1940's in the fictional northern Indiana town of Hohman (based on real-life Hammond, IN). 9-year-old Ralph "Ralphie" Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants only one thing for Christmas:
"an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle (BB Gun) with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time."
Between run-ins with his younger brother Randy (Ian Petrella) and having to handle school bully Scut Farkus (Zack Ward), Ralphie doesn't know how he'll ever survive long enough to get the BB gun for Christmas. The plot revolves around Ralphie's overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to his owning the precious Red Ryder BB gun: the fear that he will shoot his eye out.

In 1997 TNT began airing a 24-hour marathon dubbed "24 Hours of A Christmas Story," consisting of the film shown twelve consecutive times beginning at 7 or 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and ending Christmas Day. Although our family has owned the DVD for many years, we always have the TV tuned to TNT on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, making A Christmas Story the background of all our holiday activities.


**Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker - the film's protagonist, a nine year old imaginative dreamer
**Darren McGavin as The Old Man (Mr. Parker) - Ralphie's dad is at the center of the Major Award vignette, and is depicted using colorful nonsensical invective. His first name is never revealed.
**Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker - Ralphie's mom is the primary dispenser of the oft-repeated phrase, "You'll shoot your eye out." Her first name is never revealed either.
**Ian Petrella as Randy Parker - Ralphie's younger brother, who will not eat his meatloaf
**Scott Schwartz as Flick - Ralphie's friend, who learns about tongues and cold metal the hard way

No comments: