30 Years of ‘A Christmas Story’

The front of the house where A Christmas Story...

The front of the house where A Christmas Story was filmed, in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland’s west side. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week the movie A Christmas Story celebrates 30 years since its premiere in November 1983.  The movie was directed by the late Bob Clark, and starred Peter Billingsley (Raphie), Jean Shepherd (voice overs as an adult Raphie), Darren McGavin (the father), Melinda Dillon (the mother), Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), R.D. Robb (Schwartz), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), and Tedde Moore (Miss Shields.)

The movie is based on Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.  The movie was c0-produced and co-written by Bob Clark with help from René Dupont and Gary Goth (Co-Producers), and Jean Shepherd and Leigh Brown (Co-Writers.)

The movie, set as a flashback, has Raphie as an adult (the voice overs by Jean Shepherd) telling the story of one Christmas when all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB gun.  Or to be more precise, a “Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and “this thing which tells time”.”  Of course, all the adults think that he will simply shoot his eye out.  But, in the end he does get his Red Ryder BB gun and of course hurts his eye when it backs fires.

An example of one of the type of Toronto streetcars that show up in the movie 'A Christmas Story.'

An example of one of the type of Toronto streetcars that show up in the movie ‘A Christmas Story.’

The movie does have a large Canadian content.  Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Toronto, while Victoria School in St. Catharines served for the exterior shots of the school Raphie and his friends attend.   In several shots, you can see some of Toronto’s streetcars either in the foreground or the background.  The interior shots were recorded in Cleveland Ohio.  The house in Cleveland that was used for the family house is now a museum.

The movie was not a success when it first premiered in 1983, but has since become a cornerstone of the Christmas season.  TBS now runs a 24 hour marathon showing of A Christmas Story starting on Christmas Eve.

Here a couple short clips of the movie:

So, let’s celebrate 30 years of A Christmas Story and thanks to everyone who was involved with the movie.  This movie is now iconic and no Christmas season is the same without seeing it once (or multiple times.)

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