Speed Read: 10 Outtakes from A Christmas Story
1. The holiday movie earned $19 million when it was released in November 1983, but that pales in comparison to its later success. TBS’s annual 24-hour marathon on December 24 and 25 draws nearly 50 million viewers.
2. The screenplay was based on Hoosier Jean Shepherd’s book of semiautobiographical short stories, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. Filmed in Cleveland and Canada, the movie is set in the fictional Indiana town of Hohman, which is also the name of a street in Hammond, where Shepherd grew up.
3. Ralphie isn’t the only person connected to the movie who wore a bunny suit. Playboy published many of Shepherd’s stories.
4. It’s no coincidence that Porky’s and A Christmas Story share a director. Bob Clark had wanted to adapt Shepherd’s writings for years, and when Warner Bros. asked Clark to make a sequel to his blockbuster sex comedy, he said he would—if the studio would bankroll A Christmas Story first.
5. Jack Nicholson was a top choice to play “The Old Man Parker,” the official name of the family patriarch. The Academy Award–winner was reportedly interested in the role, but his salary might’ve doubled the film’s $4 million budget. Instead, we got the delightfully grumpy Darren McGavin.
6. Want to wake up on Christmas morning in Ralphie’s room? Bid on an overnight stay at A Christmas Story House in Cleveland. Owner and superfan Brian Jones bought the home on eBay for $150,000, restored it to match the movie (most of the indoor scenes were filmed on a Canadian soundstage), and offers a sleepover in a charity auction. The attraction is also open year-round.
7. The silly name of the Chinese restaurant—Bo’ Ling Chop Suey Palace, where “Bo Ling” comes from a “Bowling” sign with a burned-out “w”—has real-life roots. When the first assistant director was a kid, he and his brother got hungry while their mom was driving them around one day. “So she saw a bowling alley where the ‘w’ was out in the sign, and she honestly thought it was a Chinese restaurant,” Jones says.
8. In a deleted fantasy sequence, Red Ryder–toting Ralphie rescues sci-fi hero Flash Gordon and defeats Ming the Merciless. Flash and Ming are still listed in the credits.
9. A Christmas Story spawned three sequels: a 1988 TV movie, Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss; My Summer Story (1994), also called It Runs in the Family; and A Christmas Story 2 (2012), which went straight to DVD. All sound like they’ll make you want to shoot your eye out.
10. Thankfully, those sequels aren’t A Christmas Story’s only offshoot. Word is that the movie inspired another nostalgic, adult-narrated look at childhood: The Wonder Years.
TBS’s annual 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story starts at 8 p.m. on December 24.