One of my family’s favorite holiday movies is A Christmas Story. It was based on a collection of author Jean Shepherd’s short stories in the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. When it premiered before Thanksgiving in 1983, it got mixed reviews and disappeared from theaters long before Christmas.
It didn’t really make much of a mark at first. Now, of course, it’s considered a Christmas classic, and you can catch it playing on television throughout the month of December.
I love how they recreated the look and feel of an Indiana home in the 1940s. My favorite room is probably the kitchen with the old appliances and products in it:
Dad makes an announcement. He just won a “Major Award!”
The box says fra-gee-lay, so “it must be from Italy!” Dad says. His Major Award is a lamp. A leg lamp.
Dad and the boys are excited. Mom isn’t so sure.
The leg lamp creates quite a stir in the neighborhood. A little trivia: the neighbor who comes up and asks what it is was Director Bob Clark in a cameo.
I love this old radio that Ralphie listens to his shows on. We had a very similar one in my house when I was growing up (no, I’m not THAT old–it was an antique when we got it!). A reader informs me that it’s a 1940 Canadian Westinghouse model 780-X. (Thanks, Jan!)
“Oops! I was just watering my plants, and the leg lamp broke!”
We see the bathroom when Ralphie gets his mouth washed out with soap:
The family goes to Higbee’s Department Store to see Santa. All Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle. But Santa is sort of terrifying, as are the elves, and Ralphie freezes up when the time comes to ask for it.
I love this shot of the department store, all decked out for Christmas:
Putting the star on top of the tree can be dangerous:
Ralphie and Randy opening gifts on Christmas morning:
Ralphie gets a pink bunny suit made specially for him by his Aunt Clara, who “has always operated under the assumption that I’m a girl.”
Just when he had given up hope, Ralphie gets the Red Ryder air rifle he was hoping for!
He goes outside and promptly “shoots his eye out,” sort of.
The ill-fated turkey, soon to be eaten by the “hillbilly neighbor’s” dogs. In the background you can see that the Parkers have decorated with a red paper chain in the dining room:
The house that was used for the exterior shots in the movie was bought in 2005 by a fan on eBay for $150,000. Brian Jones then spent a year and half a million dollars restoring the home to the way it looked on screen.
The interior was completely redesigned to match the interior of the home shown in the movie, which had been filmed in a Toronto studio. In 2006, the house museum opened as a tourist attraction. He even purchased the house next door and converted it to a gift shop and museum dedicated to the film. Here’s how it looks today:
Visit A Christmas Story House for more information or to buy your own leg lamp. You know you want one.