A Christmas Story Fan Convention

Believe it or not, A Christmas Story was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater. Which is probably one of the reasons I feel more of an attachment to the film than most. I would be afraid to add all the hours of passive viewings over the years. When I was younger, 24 Hours of A Christmas Story would remain on my television set, from the first airing, to it’s last – playing in the background for the entire Christmas holiday.

But as much as I love the film, I’ve yet to feel the need to travel to Cleveland to visit the original home which was used in the film’s production. Which is kind of strange because I love visiting real life movie locations (just one of the many reasons its fun to live in San Francisco). It might be because the house is in Ohio, and unless I ever visit my good friends at Film School Rejects, I don’t ever expect to set foot in the state (no offense to Ohio, its just out of the way). A few years ago, a fan of the film bought the original house from the movie and restored it to it’s original screen-used conditions. The house has been turned into a tourist attraction and museum that is open all year long.

But the big news is that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the film’s release, and to mark that milestone, A Christmas Story fan convention has been announced. Yes, you read that correctly. Conventions aren’t just reserved for Star Trek fans and comic book geeks anymore. The convention will take place from November 28 to the 29th in Cleveland. I’ll let the press release explain the rest…

The convention will bring “A Christmas Story” fans (known as Ralphies) to Cleveland where many exterior scenes of the movie were filmed. Cleveland is the location of A Christmas Story House, the home featured in the film that was restored to its original movie appearance and opened to visitors two years ago. The convention will take place at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel with other activities occurring at A Christmas Story House. Highlights of this year’s convention include:

  • Appearances by eight of the original cast members, including Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Dwayne McLean (Black Bart), Patty Johnson (Head Elf) and Drew Hocevar (Male Elf)
  • The premiere of two documentaries: “ClarkWORLD” about the life and works of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark and “Shooting Your Eye Out: The Untold ‘Christmas Story'” about the making of the movie and the phenomenon it has become
  • Rides in the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene with proceeds benefiting the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department of Niagara Falls, Ontario, which owns and maintains the fire truck
  • The unveiling of newly acquired costumes from the film
  • The first public display of two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) won by “A Christmas Story” for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay on loan from Clark’s estate
  • A special preview of the upcoming “A Christmas Story – The Musical”

For more information on “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention,” including a schedule of events, hotel packages and convention tickets, visit http://www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.

Cool Stuff: Movie Toys at Toy Fair 2008


A ton of cool movie-related action figures were revealed at the 2008 Toy Fair in New York City this weekend. Check out some photos of the cooler toys after the jump thanks to Figures.com, ActionFigureInsider, and BloodyDisgusting.

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What You Don’t Know About A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

Every year A Christmas Story endlessly plays in the background in most family Christmas parties thanks to TBS. I know I’ve personally seen the film over 60 times, and its also the first film I remember seeing theatrically. But seeing and knowing are two different things. For example, did you know that Jack Nicholson was very interested in playing Ralphie’s dad, but was never hired due to budgetary concerns? That’s just one of the 11 things you might not know about A Christmas Story. Here are some other highlights:

  • Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times, that’s approximately once every three minutes and 20 seconds.
  • A Christmas Story supposedly inspired the creation of The Wonder Years. In fact, in one of the last few episodes, Peter Billingsley appeared as one of Kevin Arnold’s roommates.

And here are a few more interesting tidbits that Mental Floss left out:

  • Director Bob Clark made a cameo as a dim-witted neighbor, who marvels at the Leg Lamp from outside.
  • Author and narrator Jean Shepherd  makes a cameo as the irate man in line who directs Ralphie to the back of the line.
  • An elaborate fantasy sequence which featured Flash Gordon teaming with Ralphie to fight Ming the Merciless was reportedly filmed but dropped from the final cut.

And finally…

A sequel to A Christmas Story actually exists. Filmed in 1994 under the title It Runs in the Family. Based on other stories from Jean Shepherd’s novels, the story takes place in Summer.

Ralphie is searching for the perfect top to use to beat the school bully with, the Old Man is in battle with their hillbilly neighbors, the Bumpus, while eagerly awaiting the discovery of the perfect fishing spot, and the Mother is attempting to collect all of the pieces of a glass china set at a local movie theater.

Shepherd returned as narrator, and Tedde Moore returned to play Miss Shields, but the rest of the cast was entirely new. Charles Grodin played the old man Mr. Parker, while Mary Steenburgen played the mother.  Macaulay’s younger brother Kieran Culkin played Ralphie. The film was a mess, and faired poorly at the box office ($70,936). The film was also released under the title of “My Summer Story” on home video in an attempt to capitalize on the success of A Christmas Story.