A Christmas Story
Leg Lamp. Red Rider. Tongue froze to the pole. These ideas have become integral to the most holy of all holidays for generations of viewers thanks to director Bob Clark’s yuletide masterpiece, A Christmas Story. Lots of movies capture the Christmas spirit but very few capture the Christmas experience. Narrarated by and adapted from semi-autobiographical short stories by author Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story is a super concentrated depiction of a post-World War II Baby Boomer Christmas when America was at it’s richest and consumerism wasn’t something to be ashamed of.
At the time of its 1983 release the feature was a modest success but didn’t break any records. It wasn’t until 1997 when TNT aired the first "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" marathon that the film really began to loom large in the yuletide psyche. Hundreds of partial marathon viewings and pop culture parodies later it can be easy to overlook the fact that this is a clever comedy full of great moments and even greater performances.
Darren McGavin plays the leg lamp loving and nameless father or “Old Man” and found prior success on television chasing monsters of the week around Chicago and laying down the blueprint for Fox Mulder as Kolchak : The Night Stalker. Scott Schwartz, who froze his tongue to the pole playing the character Flick, did indeed work in the adult film industry for brief time around the turn of the century. And don’t forget that one of director Bob Clark’s first big successes was 1974’s Black Christmas, the holiday horror movie that is considered to be one of the foundational movies of the slasher sub-genre.