Yes, you’ve probably seen A Christmas Story 500 times by now — it’s kind of hard not to when TNT puts it on a 24 hour loop every year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things about Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred shot range model air rifle BB gun that you may not know.
Prepare to have your mind blown — or at least somewhat stimulated — as we roll back the curtain and reveal how A Christmas Story has connections to retro soda ads, Scarface, and the adult film industry.
1. The house from the film is located at 3159 W 11th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. The home was bought on eBay in 2005 for $150,000 by superfan of the movie, Brian Jones. Jones spent $350,000 more to restore both the exterior and interior of the house to the way it originally looked in the movie. In 2006, the house was opened to the public as a museum and gift shop.
2. Ralphie’s ramblings were scripted word for word. Ralphie’s angry curses while unleashing his revenge beating on Scott Farkas, may sound improvised, but were actually written word for word in the script.
3. The film is set in 1940s Indiana, but filming took place in Ohio. Film scouts were sent out to more than 20 cities to find one that resembled a small Indiana town in the 1940s. Rather than actually shoot in small town Indiana, producers went one state over and picked Cleveland, Ohio. As you might imagine, the movie is still a pretty big deal in Cleveland.
4. Jack Nicholson was almost Ralphie’s dad. Jack Nicholson was interested in playing the role of Ralphie’s grumpy father after reading the script, but the studio didn’t want to pony up the cash. Director Bob Clark wasn’t initially notified of Nicholson’s interest because the studio didn’t want to pay Nicholson’s hefty fee, which would have doubled the film’s budget.
5. Ralphie mentions that he wants a Red Ryder BB gun 28 times in the movie.
The kid makes it crystal clear that firearms are the only thing on his wishlist.
6. A Christmas Story was the second holiday movie directed by Bob Clark. Bob’s previous work in the holiday genre was a bit on the darker side with 1974’s holiday horror classic, Black Christmas.
7. Flick’s tongue wasn’t actually frozen to that flagpole. A hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that Flick’s tongue was stuck to the icy pole.
8. The famous lamp scene took months to shoot. The film was shot in both Canada and Ohio, with different parts of the lamp scene actually shot in both locations. The part with the Old Man running out to the street to get a look at the lamp was shot in the exterior Ohio location, while the un-boxing was shot in Toronto.
9. The department store kid with the goggles wasn’t an actor, just a weird kid. On the DVD commentary, Peter Billingsly notes that Bob Clark saw the kid and thought he’d be a good addition to the scene. “He was weird and we used him just as he was.”
10. There would have been no Christmas Story without Porky’s. The success of Porky’s allowed director, Bob Clark, to make A Christmas Story. The studio didn’t have much interest in the film and therefore gave Clark the freedom to do the film exactly as he wanted.