A Christmas Story Christmas premiered on HBO Max on Thursday, November 17th. This film continues the story begun in the beloved Christmas film “A Christmas Story,” released in 1983.
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) returns, but now at a more mature age. As opposed to when he was a young boy, Ralphie is now a parent who has moved on from his obsession with owning a Red Ryder BB gun.
Ralphie experiences the highs and lows of the Christmas season as he strives to throw the best Christmas ever for his children.
Members of the original cast, including Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, Zach Ward, and Ian Petrella, have returned for the sequel alongside Billingsley.
Billingsley said it was “great” to work with his former co-stars again, over three decades later, during an appearance on the TODAY show.
He remarked, “I think it’s easy to do something like this when you have the pieces around you and you’re looking at each other’s faces.” In other words, “The roles are played by the same people.”
Then: Before he played Ralphie Parker, who fought bullies with his fists to earn a BB gun, Billingsley appeared in more than a hundred television commercials as a child actor. One of these roles was that of Messy Marvin,
the mascot for Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. One of the most well-known performances by a child actor is Billingsley’s as the oblivious Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.
The sight of him, glasses and all, being pushed down a long slide by the boot of a stern department store Santa Claus is seared into his brain forever.
Now: Billingsley has worked consistently in front of and behind the camera throughout his life. After meeting Vince Vaughn in the 1990 TV movie “CBS Schoolbreak Special: The Fourth Man” and becoming friends, Billingsley went on to produce multiple films starring Vaughn and Favreau (including “Dinner for Five,”
“Iron Man,” and “Four Christmases”). His friends and he starred in a comedy called “Couples Retreat” in 2009, and he directed it. To his credit, he directed “A Christmas Story: The Musical” in 2010, marking his return to his “A Christmas Story” roots.
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Previously, Schwartz had appeared in the Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason comedy “The Toy” before he was “triple dog dared” into licking a frozen flagpole as one of Ralphie’s friends.
Now, in 1987, Schwartz and his father opened a store selling sports and film memorabilia with the catchy name Baseball Cards – Movie Collectibles Etc.
Schwartz returned to the collectibles industry in 2006 with a line of celebrity-based trading cards, following a questionable foray into adult films in the 1990s. He occasionally makes cameos in DV movies.
Fans cheered for Ralphie, but Zach Ward’s portrayal of Ralphie’s bully, Scut Farkus, made the audience like him, too.
Ward has acted in several films since “A Christmas Story,” including “Freddy vs. Jason” in 2003, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” in 2004, and “Transformers” in 2007.
Ward also appeared in “American Horror Story,” another show by creator Ryan Murphy that focuses on the horror subgenre.
For those interested in investing in professional sports teams, Ward was also instrumental in the 2017 launch of the Global Sports Financial Exchange.
The cast and crew of the sequel were like brothers to Ward, he told TV Insider.
It was great that we could spend hours talking about anything and everything. That’s the part I should have filmed!” he exclaimed.
In “A Christmas Story,” McGavin portrayed Ralphie’s father, a tough but lovable guy who has an unquenchable love for his son’s leg lamp.
After playing Old Man Parker in the holiday movie, McGavin went on to star in films like 1986’s “Raw Deal,” 1990’s “Captain America,” 1995’s “Billy Madison” (in which he co-starred with Adam Sandler), 1998’s “The X-Files,” and more.
McGavin was nominated for an Emmy for his guest spot on “Murphy Brown” in 1990.
He was 83 when he passed away in 2006. In an interview with People, Billingsley referred to the film as a “love letter” to his on-screen father.
It’s a tribute to the Old Man and to Darren, the author, he explained. This guy Darren was the best. On set of the first film, he served as a father figure and mentor to me; he was an incredibly talented actor in his own right.
Melinda Dillon’s performance as Mrs. Potter in “A Christmas Story” is as memorable as the rest of her acting career.
She was always trying to protect her sons, Ralphie and Randy, from harm; for example, she dressed Randy in a full Christmas outfit so he wouldn’t be cold outside, and she dissuaded Ralphie from asking for a BB gun for Christmas on the grounds that he would probably end up shooting out his eye.
Dillon was already a seasoned actor with two Oscar nods under his belt when “A Christmas Story” was released.
Nonetheless, Dillon continued to work in the film industry after “A Christmas Story,” appearing in films such as “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Captain America,” “The Prince of Tides,” and “Magnolia” in the years between 1987 and 1999.
In 2005, she appeared in a guest role on “Law & Order: SVU,” and by 2007, she had made her final screen appearances.
Tedde Moore’s portrayal of Ralphie’s teacher Miss Shields in “A Christmas Story” was memorable. In the 1994 film “My Summer Story,
” also known as “It Runs in the Family,” Moore returned to the role she had played in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story.”
Moore also appeared in “RoboCop: Prime Directives” (2001), “Mistletoe Over Manhattan” (2011, ), and “Magical Christmas Ornaments” (Hallmark, 2017).
On set, however, when director Bob Clark was first introduced to the actors cast as Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) and Scut Farkus (Zack Ward), he quickly decided to swap the two roles.
Clark then said, “All right, you get his lines and he gets yours.” That was the quick and easy way to elevate the toadie to the rank of a bully.
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