Christmas is rapidly approaching and that means it’s time to watch one of the greatest Christmas movies ever — A Christmas Story — for the umpteenth time (if you haven’t watched it yet, here’s exactly how to do so.) ‘Tis the season, and honestly what else do you have to do with 2020 still going the way that it’s been going? Before you park your butt on the couch and watch Ralphie’s (Peter Billingsley) quest for a Red Ryder BB gun, take a look at these little-known facts that you didn’t know about the movie. At the very least we hope you can surprise your family, friends, or co-workers at your next Zoom party with this trivia.
1. The movie was based on a short story
Though A Christmas Story is known first and foremost as a movie, the inspiration for the film came from a short story by author Jean Shepherd. The film’s director, Bob Clark, heard one of Shepherd’s stories on the radio and later conceived of the film. The story was featured in the collection of Shepherd’s shorts called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, and three more fictional stories — some of which were published in Playboy first — about Shepherd’s youth in Indiana were used in A Christmas Story.
2. Jack Nicholson was almost Ralphie’s dad
Jack Nicholson circled the role of The Old Man, but was eventually taken out of the running as the salary he commanded would have nearly doubled the show’s budget. Why? Because he’s Jack Nicholson! The role eventually went to Darren McGavin, who would also be featured in several of Clark’s other films. And frankly, the movie’s small-town charm would feel much different if superstar Jack had been in it.
3. Someone bought Ralphie’s house on eBay and turned it into a museum
A man named Brian Jones purchased the Cleveland house used for exterior shots of Ralphie’s house for $150,000 off of eBay in 2004. However, the interior shots were actually filmed in Canada, so Jones gutted the house and remodeled it to look just like the house in the film, complete with actual props. But it wasn’t just for some sick personal fetish; Jones turned the house into a museum, which is open to the public. So you can buy a ticket to Cleveland and stroke that leg lamp in person!
4. Ralphie’s friend did porn
Scott Schwartz, who played Ralphie’s pal Flick — the kid who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole — continued acting after the movie… in pornos. According to Schwartz, legendary trouble-making child-actor Corey Feldman dragged him to meet a trio of porn stars, including Ron Jeremy, and soon afterwards, a porn director asked him to star in one of his films in a non-sexual role. After a few more fully-clothed parts, Schwartz decided to go all in and had sex on camera for a while (cue “What did he get his tongue stuck on this time?” joke). He quit doing porn in 2000.
5. The film spawned sequels no one wants to talk about
The cult success of A Christmas Story birthed a pair of awful sequels. My Summer Story was released in 1994 and featured Shepherd narrating once again, with Kieren Culkin in the role of Ralphie. PBS also made a string of made-for-TV films about the Parker family, including the painfully named Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss in 1988, which followed the Parkers on vacation and starred Jerry O’Connell as Ralphie. A Christmas Story 2 — which featured no participation by the original crew — was released in 2012, but we’ll try to forget that it ever was.
A Christmas Story returns for its 24-hour marathon starting Saturday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. on TNT and TBS.