Behind the Scenes of Cleveland’s Very Own “A Christmas Story”

Cleveland Video Production & Marketing Agency, Yalo, shares fascinating facts and titillating trivia about a local film project turned national Christmas classic and holiday treasure.

Here at Yalo, we love to celebrate local projects and events that have turned into national success stories for Cleveland – the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA Championship, yes!  

“A Christmas Story” was a low-budget film created by writer Jean Shepherd that was about a family’s dysfunctional and hilarious mishaps during the holiday season, set in the vintage late 1930s. The funny lines and the relatability to families across America have made it the ultimate holiday classic that keeps fans craving the movie year after year. 

Here are 10 fun facts and trivia about “A Christmas Story” that you probably didn’t know. 

  1. “A Christmas Story” is based on Jean Shepherd’s novel, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” It was originally created as a radio show that turned into a series of short stories published in Playboy magazine. 
  1. Cleveland, Ohio was chosen as the main location to shoot the film after visiting twenty cities. The decision was based on Higbee’s store allowing then crew to film inside the store. Parts of the film were also filmed in Toronto, Canada. 
  1. The film now plays for 24 hours straight starting on Christmas Eve and runs through Christmas Day, which started as a promotional stunt by TNT cable network. It is now a tradition. 
  1. The actor Jack Nicholson was interested in playing the role of Mr. Parker, AKA “the old man,” but the film’s low budget couldn’t afford him. Darren McGavin ended up landing the iconic role. 
  1. One of the funniest scenes – where Ralphie goes to see Santa at the mall – featured characters played by local extras – including Santa, the elves, the wicked witch from “The Wizard of Oz,” and the weird boy standing by Ralphie in line. Writer Shepherd also appeared in the scene – playing a grumpy store customer! 
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  1. The famous (and excruciating) scene where Flick sticks his tongue to the ice-cold flagpole featured a hidden suction tube to create the illusion that his tongue was frozen to the metal. 
  1. There was not enough real snow to film the wintry scenes so potato flakes, firefighters’ foam and nearby ski resorts’ snow were used as supplements. 
  1. In the Chinese restaurant scene, Ralphie’s mother – played by actress Melinda Dillon – was purposely given the wrong script to capture her real reaction of the cooked duck still having its head! 
  1. Three actual leg lamps were made for the movie and all were broken during the filming. 
  1.  The “A Christmas Story” house is now a functioning museum for anyone to visit, located in Cleveland’s now-popular Tremont neighborhood. This house was bought by fan Brian Jones, who purchased the house, sight unseen, on EBay for $150,000 in 2004.  
Yalo’s Cleveland video production team wasn’t around back then to assist with A Christmas Story but we like to think we would have enjoyed the experience.

As a Cleveland video production agency – among our many capabilities – Yalo thrives on locations that generate and resonate exciting, meaningful “vibes.” Cleveland, one of our two hometowns and headquarters, had the one-and-only “A Christmas Story” filmed in its beautiful post-industrial splendor. We take this accomplishment and run with it, seeing possibilities for all of our clients to find inspiration and meaning which helps to define new stories that celebrate brands with soul and style.  

Contact us to learn more about what Yalo can do for you as video production marketing professionals! We operate out of Cleveland and Atlanta but we get around and we love to travel!