Friday, December 25, 2009

"A Christmas Story" explored

Every Christmas like clockwork, TBS runs 24 hours of "A Christmas Story," a 1983 picture based on the writing of Jean Shepard about the travails of an eight-year-old in search of his ultimate Christmas present, a Red Ryder range model air rifle. This "holy grail" of holiday presents becomes the quest that little Ralphie seeks in the weeks leading up to Christmas morning. Jean Shepard serves as both the writer and the narrator for this wonderful little movie that has an abundance of classic scenes. Some people may not know of the connections this film has with both New Orleans and Cleveland. Some of them will know that the film was shot in downtown Cleveland as well as at a house on the West Side of Cleveland that today serves as the official A Christmas Story Museum. Believe it or not, there is a a manufacturer of plastic leg lamps similar to the kind that figures in the movie. The president of that company decided that tying in the promotional value of that house with his product would be a great marketing tool. So, when I was still in Cleveland following the Hurricane Katrina related flooding, news stories followed the restoration and conversion of the house into a museum. Today it stands as a testament as to how a little known film could be transformed into a tourist site in a city that has very few of which to boast. Some people know that the late director of the film, Bob Clark, also wrote the film with Shepard. Clark was tragically killed two years ago by a drunk driver, but many don't know he was born right here in New Orleans, although he was raised in Fort Lauderdale. So there you have it. A Cleveland and New Orleans connection to "A Christmas Story." I didn't say this would be earthshaking, but after all, it is Christmas and that makes it all worthwhile, don't 'ya think? (Photo © 1983 MGM Studios)

1 comment:

whalechaser said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies and it is nice to know all the "behind the scenes" information on it. I am sure it will be on at least one more time before the big always makes me laugh!

I will be in Louisiana in March of 2011 and if you would like to meet-up for a coffee it might be fun. First I will be doing a Habitat for Humanity project in Lafayette March 14 through 19, 2011. Then I will spend a week in New Orleans on a Road Scholar program March 20 through 25. I think I have an evening or afternoon where I am "on my own", so let me know if you'd like to meet a fellow blogger and I'll send the details!