A Christmas Story: The Film That Became An Unexpected Tradition
By | December 22, 2021
The week before Thanksgiving in 1983, MGM released the latest film by Bob Clark, director of Porky’s. It earned $2 million during its first weekend and didn’t remain in theaters for long, as they pulled it before Christmas. That film, A Christmas Story, would go on to be seen by millions, essentially fulfilling Roger Ebert’s statement that, “My guess is either nobody will go to see it, or millions of people will go to see it because it will catch on.” The second part of his prophetic statement came true after it was released on VHS and on HBO, and its popularity started to grow. Then, as MGM started to collapse because of its heavy debt, it sold its film library to Ted Turner, who had the idea of running it every year at Christmas, and with the “24 Hours of A Christmas Story,” it racked up an impressive number of views. In 2008 alone, the film had 54.4 million viewers.
It Was Loosely Based On Jean Shepherd's Childhood
The film was based on In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd; along with Bob Clark and Leigh Brown he wrote the film adaptation. Shepherd got his start in radio and during his four-decade career, he told semi-autobiographical stories. Convinced to write his stories down, he published them in 1966. These stories would form the basis of the film. In 1968, Clark was introduced to Shepherd’s work when he heard “Flick’s Tongue” on the radio. This combination of stories captures the essence of Christmas and growing up perfectly, and it also captures a time period as well. Both Clark and Shepherd wanted the exact year to be unclear as the film was more about an era than a specific year.