For most of us, “Fra-geee-leh”, Red Ryder, and a frozen tongue conjure up all of the best parts of the classic film, A Christmas Story. Filmed in 1983 and based on the autobiographical short stories in Jean Shepherd’s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, this little tale of Christmas as told from a grown man’s perspective of Christmas as a child, has become one of the season’s favorite and most viewed movies.
And yet, it was not a Hollywood success when it was first released! MGM released the film in only 900 theaters across the country and, assuming that it would not succeed, pulled the film right after Christmas. Little did they know! So why has this become such a classic and beloved film?
The film is real. It presents a real family in a real home in a real environment. It is neither a Hollywood glamorization of the holidays, nor is it musical nor is it an adaptation of a classic.
It depicts a “regular” middle class family in small-town America (although much of the film was shot in Canada). Ralphie’s desire for his ideal gift, the Red Ryder BB gun, is received by his mother with normal dismay.
And who can forget the leg lamp? The leg lamp is ludicrous and has become an icon for the tacky gift that each and every one of us has received at least once in our lives. Darren McGavin’s mispronunciation of “Fragile” was uttered with complete veracity.
The movie’s portrayal of children and their antics brings out the child in each of us. And its underlying message of family, hope and love is needed, wanted and overwhelming. There is something about the humor and warmth of this film that can touch each of us in some way.
So, as you watch this famous tongue adhere to a pole, please remember that if it happens to you a little warm water will detach it and know that all of us here at TUNG Brush and Gel send you and your families our very best wishes for a wonderful, merry and, above all, HAPPY Christmas!