BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Peter Billingsley sighted on September 17, 1986 at Jimmy's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
A Christmas Story Technically Has A Lot More Sequels Than You Think
Whether you watch it every year or shut the TV off as soon as the 24-hour marathon starts, Bob Clark’s “A Christmas Story,” based on the childhood remembrances of humorist Jean Shepherd, is undeniably a staple of the holiday season. However, it is far from the only film based on or inspired by the works of Shepherd.
Seven years before “A Christmas Story” came the PBS film “The Phantom of the Open Hearth,” which concerned the misadventures of a teenage Ralph in his attempts to ask his biggest high school crush to an upcoming dance. Like “Christmas Story,” it was based on Shepherd's 1966 novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”
American Fourth
In 1982, PBS and the Disney Channel produced a follow-up called “The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters,” starring Matt Dillon as Ralphie. The story once again concerns Ralphie's stalled romances as he pursues a new crush, while his dad seeks out fireworks for Independence Day and his mom seems to own a dearth of washrags.
Star-Crossed Romance
Following the iconic Christmas film came the 1985 PBS special "The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski," which saw the Parker family celebrating Thanksgiving, with little brother Randy preparing for a pageant. Pete Cowanko takes over the role of Ralphie, who is now interested in his Polish-American neighbor, which causes a bit of a culture clash.
Haven Of Bliss
In 1988, the Parker epic continued with the Disney/PBS co-production "Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss," about teen Ralphie's (Jerry O'Connell) first (miserable) job and an eventual National Lampoon-style road trip that goes poorly at every turn. As with every special up to this point, Shepherd provides narration, and here, he also plays a scary used furniture salesman.