Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS MOVIE TRIVIA … A CHRISTMAS STORY

 

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1.    Jean Shepherd's book "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", which the film is partly based on, is a collection of short stories that Jean Shepherd wrote for "Playboy" magazine during the 1960s, including the stories about the tongue sticking to the flagpole, and eating Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The subplot of the mangy dogs constantly harassing The Old Man was taken from another of Mr. Shepherd's short story collections, "Wanda Hickey's Night Of Golden Memories and Other Disasters." In that book, the character of Ralph is about 17 years old.

2.    The film's setting is a town in Indiana, but was actually filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. The street the "Parker's" live in is called "Cleveland Street". The people of Cleveland were incredibly cooperative during filming, donating antique vehicles from every corner of the city. These vintage vehicles helped to enhance the authenticity of the production design. Ralph's school exteriors were filmed at Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

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3.    Parts of the movie, including the Christmas tree shopping scene, were filmed in Toronto, Ontario. One of Toronto's trademark red trolleys can be seen driving by the shot of the outside of the tree lot.

4.    Inspired the creation of "The Wonder Years" (1988).

5.    The film was released just before Thanksgiving and became a surprise hit. By the time Christmas rolled around, the movie had already been pulled from most theaters because it had been "played out". After complaints were lodged at the theater owners and the studio, the film played on select screens until after the first of the year 1984.

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6.    According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, "The Old Man". However, Clark didn't learn of this until later and the studio didn't want to pay Nicholson's fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGavin was still the better choice and was born to play the role.

7.    When the character of Scut Farkas first appears, the "Wolf" music from Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" plays in the background. The name "Farkas" is derived from the Hungarian word for "wolf".

8.    The Parker's Oldsmobile is a 1937 Model 6, four-door sedan with Indiana license plate 56 498.

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9.    Mrs. Parker's memory is correct. The Lone Ranger's nephew, Dan Reid, rode a horse named "Victor". He was the son of the Lone Ranger's horse, Silver.

10.    Ralphie says that he wanted the "Red Ryder BB Gun" 28 times.

11.    For the scene in which Flick's tongue sticks to the flagpole, a hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that his tongue had frozen to the metal.

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12.    An elaborate fantasy sequence - in which Ralphie joins Flash Gordon to fight Ming the Merciless - was filmed but dropped from the final cut.

13.    In 2005, the original home used for the exterior shots of the family home was put up for auction on eBay and avid fan of the movie Brian Jones managed to purchase the home directly from the seller for $150,000.00 USD. Jones then spent the following year restoring the home to the way it looked on screen. The exterior of the home was completely restored and the interior was renovated to match the interior of the home shown in the movie. (Parts of the interior was actually filmed in a Toronto studio) On November 25th, 2006, the famous home finally opened its doors as a tourist attraction. Jones spent close to $500,000.00 USD in preparation for this grand opening. In addition, Jones also purchased the house next door and converted it to a gift shop and museum dedicated to the film and the house.

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14.    A behind-the-scenes documentary named 'Road Trip for Ralphie' follows two mega-fans on a two-year quest to locate and visit every location used in the movie. Along the way, they uncover Miss Shields' chalk board from a dumpster, discover all the movie costumes hidden in a Toronto warehouse, track down the antique fire truck seen in the movie and visit the forgotten location of the actual Chop Suey Palace.

15.    The real house used during filming can be found at 3159 W 11th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Pictures and a "Street View" of the house can be seen on Google Maps.

 

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