Looking Back Dec. 19

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Ralphie (Parker) wants nothing worse than to get an official "Red Ryder carbine-action, two-hundred-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time" for Christmas. "A Christmas Story" was released in November 1983. In recent years the movie has become an American favor all across the land.

Just how often have you seen this film and how well do you know the story?

Trivia Quiz

1. "A Christmas Story" was based on a collection of short stories by Jean Shepherd. What is the title of that book?

2. Ralphie hid an advertisement for the coveted Red Ryder in one of his mother's magazines. Which magazine was it?

3. What was Ralphie's teacher's name?

4. Ralphie, Randy and their mother were singing what song in the car before they got a flat tire?

5. According to Ralphie, the Bumpus family next door had at least how many smelly hound dogs??

6. What was Ralphie's mother cooking in a large pot that she claimed he enjoyed?

7. What was the name of Ralphie's aunt who sent him a pink bunny suit for Christmas? Apparently she thought Ralphie was a four-year-old girl.

8. What alternate name did Mr. Parker suggest for the Chicago Bears?

9. In how many years had Mrs. Parker not had a hot meal for herself?

10. To what letter and number did Ralphie set his Little Orphan Annie Decoder pin for his first secret message?

11. As Ralphie's teacher graded the Christmas theme papers, what song was written on the blackboard behind her?

12. How old was Mr. Parker when he got his first BB-gun?

13. What was the name of the restaurant where the Parker family ate Christmas dinner?

14. It was in the window of Higbee's store that Ralphie saw his heart's desire, the Red Ryder. What Disney character was also on display there?

15. What was the name of the child that let the teacher know where Flick was?

16. Who played the role of little brother Randy?

17. What street did the Parkers live on?

18. How many times did Ralphie say that he wanted the Red Ryder gun?

19. Much to Mr Parker's surprise, Mrs. Parker knew the name of the horse ridden by the Lone Ranger's nephew. Do you recall the horse's name?

20. Before Darren McGavin was chosen for the role of Mr. Parker, which actor showed interest in the script?


* To find an American city resembling an Indiana town of the 1940s, director Bob Clark sent his location scouts to 20 cities before selecting Cleveland, Ohio.

* Several scenes were not filmed in Cleveland including the school and the Christmas tree shopping scenes. They were filmed in Ontario.

* The "major award" leg lamp was designed after a real lamp: an illuminated Nehi logo.

* For the flagpole scene, a hidden suction cup was used to create the illusion that Flick's tongue was frozen to the metal.

* Jean Shepherd, writer and narrator, made a cameo appearance as the irate man waiting in the Santa line at the department store.

* The little Orphan Annie decoder pin that Ralph received was the 1940 "Speedomatic" model. Different decoder badges were made each year from 1935-1940. By 1941, the decoders were made of paper.

* According to Daisy Air Rifle manufacturers, a special gun had to be made for the movie. While the Red Ryder did exist, it did not have a compass and sundial as the one described in the movie.

* Brian Jones, an avid fan of "A Christmas Story", bought the original home used for the exterior shots by way of an auction on eBay. Jones paid $150,000 for the home in 2005 and spent another $500,000 in preparation for its opening as a tourist attraction in November 2006.

* The Parker's car was a 1937 Model 6, four-door sedan. Mr. Parker: "It'd freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!" Ralphie: "Some men are Baptists, others, Catholic. My father was an Oldsmobile man."


* The toy wagons in the window of Higbee's Department Store had the 1980s Radio Flyer trademark. They also have plastic hubcaps. Larger silver metal hubcaps were used well into the 1960s.

* In at least two scenes, there was no cabinet under the kitchen sink. Later, Randy hid in the cabinet under the sink.

* A kid in one classroom scene was wearing a Dukes of Hazzard watch.

* When Mr. Parker pulls the leg lamp out of the crate, it has no electrical cord but shortly after, he plugs it in.

* Some of the Christmas gifts were topped with self-adhesive bows which were not invented until 1951.


1. "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash"-released in 1966.

2. "Look" - a magazine published from 1937-1971

3. Miss Shields

4. "Jingle Bells"

5. 785

6. red cabbage

7. Aunt Clara

8. Chicago Chipmunks

9. 15 years

10. B2

11. "Silent Night"

12. eight years old

13. Chop Suey Palace

14. Doc, from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"

15. Esther Jane

16. Ian Petrella

17. Cleveland Street

18. 28 times

19. Victor

20. Jack Nicholson

For the truly serious trivia lover, one last question (but no answer until next week) ... What was the Indiana license plate number on the Parker family car?