He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Not Just Another Christmas Story | The Wanderer Newspaper
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The reasons for this rejoicing are threefold: Ralphie is in bed on Christmas night with his gun by his side. The adult Ralphie narrates that this was the best present he had ever received or would ever receive. The basis of the screenplay is a series of monologues written and performed by Jean Shepherd on radio. Shepherd wrote the adaptation with Bob Clark and Leigh Brown.
Several subplots are incorporated into the body of the film, based on other separate short stories by Shepherd. Shepherd provides the film's narration from the perspective of an adult Ralphie, a narrative style later used in the dramedy television series The Wonder Years. Shepherd, Brown, and Clark have cameo appearances in the film: Shepherd plays the man who directs Ralphie and Randy to the back of the Santa line at the department store; Brown — Shepherd's wife in real life — plays the woman in the Santa line with Shepherd; Clark plays Swede, the neighbor the Old Man talks to outside during the Leg Lamp scene.
Some 8, actors auditioned for the role of Ralphie; "He walked in, and he had us from the beginning," Clark later recalled of Peter Billingsley who was already a successful actor in commercials  and from co-hosting the TV series Real People.
Clark initially wanted him for the role of Ralphie, but decided he was "too obvious" a choice and auditioned many other young actors before realizing that Billingsley was the right choice after all. Ian Petrella was cast immediately before filming began. Tedde Moore had previously appeared in Clark's film Murder by Decree and was the only onscreen character from A Christmas Story who was played by the same actor in the sequel, My Summer Story.
Jeff Gillen was an old friend of Clark's who had been in one of his earliest films. In , he said he was surprised at the impact his role had had over the years. Three of the semi- autobiographical short stories on which the film is based were originally published in Playboy magazine between and Additional source material for the film, according to Clark, came from unpublished anecdotes that Shepherd told live audiences "on the college circuit.
The film is set in Hohman, Indiana , a fictionalized version of Shepherd's hometown of Hammond , named for Hohman Avenue, which runs through downtown Hammond. Other local references include mention of a person "swallowing a yo-yo" in nearby Griffith ,  the Old Man being one of the fiercest "furnace fighters in northern Indiana" and that his obscenities were "hanging in space over Lake Michigan ," a mention of the Indianapolis , and the line to Santa Claus "stretching all the way to Terre Haute, Indiana. Director Bob Clark reportedly sent scouts to twenty cities before selecting Cleveland for exterior filming.
Cleveland was chosen because of Higbee's Department Store in downtown Cleveland. Since Higbee's was exclusive to northeast Ohio,  the department store referenced in Shepherd's book and the film is most likely Goldblatt's , located in downtown Hammond [with the Cam-Lan Chinese Restaurant three doors down on Sibley Ave]. Until they connected with Higbee's, location scouts had been unsuccessful in finding a department store that was willing to be part of the film. Higbee's vice president Bruce Campbell agreed to take part in the project on the condition he be allowed to edit the script for cursing.
Ultimately, Higbee's was the stage for three scenes in the film:. Higbee's became Dillard's in and closed for good in In addition to the scenes involving Higbee's, the exterior shots and select interior shots where Ralphie lived, including the opening of the leg lamp of the house and neighborhood, were filmed in the Tremont section of Cleveland's West Side. The house used as the Parker home in these scenes has been restored, reconfigured inside to match the soundstage interiors, and opened to the public as " A Christmas Story House ". Appropriately, the fictional boyhood home of Ralphie Parker is on Cleveland Street, the name of the actual street where Shepherd grew up.
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However, Cleveland was only one of several locations used. The school scenes were shot at the Victoria School in St. In , two Canadian fans released a documentary that visits every location. Their film, Road Trip for Ralphie , was shot over two years and includes footage of the filmmakers saving Miss Shields' blackboard from the garbage bin on the day the old Victoria School was gutted for renovation, discovering the antique fire truck that saved Flick, locating all the original costumes from the film, and tracking down the real-life location of the film's Chop Suey Palace in Toronto.
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The Red Ryder BB gun was available beginning in and remains available today, but never in the exact configuration mentioned in the film. The Daisy "Buck Jones" model did have a compass and a sundial in the stock, but these features were not included in the Red Ryder model.
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Director Bob Clark stated in the film's DVD commentary that both he and author Shepherd wished for the film to be seen as "amorphously late-'30s, early-'40s". Gavin, Miss Dillon and the actress who plays Ralphie's school teacher Tedde Moore are all very able, they are less funny than actors in a television situation comedy. Roger Ebert suggested the film had only modest success because holiday-themed films were not popular at the time but he praised the nostalgia of the movie, and the Santa scene, which is the "best visit to Santa I've ever seen". By Christmas the film was no longer playing at most venues, but remained in about a hundred theaters until January The film was produced and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The rights to the film were acquired by Turner Entertainment Co. Subsequently, Time Warner purchased Turner Entertainment, and currently holds rights to the film. Over the years, the film's critical reputation has grown considerably and it is considered by some to be one of the best films of The site's consensus reads: Gino adores his wife and three young sons but he still cannot resist the lure of a card game.
Just one week before Christmas in , Gino has once again lost his entire paycheck playing poker.
In an effort to salvage the Holiday for his boys and save his crumbling marriage, he borrows money from the most notorious loan shark in Brooklyn. What he's being forced to do to repay the mobster sets up the Yankee Stadium setting for a Christmas Day surprise ending to this compelling tale.
Now fifty-eight years old. These detailed flashbacks vividly recapture the powerful impact of family, the Catholic Church, and organized crime on the daily lives of the millions of people who lived in big-city Italian-American neighborhoods during the s. Ratings and Reviews 0 0 star ratings 0 reviews. Overall rating No ratings yet 0. How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot.
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