Monday, December 28, 2020

Another "A Christmas Story" Story

A couple days ago I watched A Christmas Story again for the 5,379th time. OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but only by a little.

Normally I watch it at my sister's house during the big TBS 24 Hour Marathon. As a result I never actually see the whole film in its entirety. I see five minutes here, another ten there. This actually works out fairly well, due to the film's episodic structure.

This year was different, as I limited exposure to my family (thanks, Covid-19!). As a result, I watched the movie at home on blu ray, and got to see it all the way through, from beginning to end. Honestly it felt odd seeing all the scenes in order, without interruption!

During this particular viewing I noticed a couple of oddities in the film's end credits. If you look closely, you'll see Ming The Merciless and Flash Gordon are listed in the cast! Wait, what?

If you're scratching your head trying to remember where those characters appeared in the film, stop. Apparently director Bob Clark shot a lengthy fantasy sequence in which Ralphie daydreams about traveling to the planet Mongo, where he uses his Official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle With A Compass In The Stock And This Thing That Tells Time to rescue Flash from the clutches of the evil Ming.

Unfortunately the scene was cut for time, to get the film down to ninety minutes. Even more unfortunately, this sequence was apparently destroyed. This publicity still is all that remains of Ralphie's outer space adventure.

There were a couple other deleted scenes, both involving more of Ralphie's fantasies. In the first, he daydreams that his teacher Miss Shields visits his home. There she makes an impassioned plea to Ralphie's Mother, saying how much he deserves a BB gun for Christmas so he can protect the family from bears that've been seen in the area!

Another deleted scene depicts Ralphie using his gun to save Santa and his reindeer from Black Bart and his gang (who appeared in an earlier fantasy that was left in the film). 

Again, these scenes were apparently discarded and no longer exist. I get why they were excised, as they only served to slow down the film and reiterate things we already knew. I don't think I'd want them placed back into the movie, but it'd be nice to see them just out of curiosity.

One last oddity about the end credits. For some reason, Melinda Dillon as "Mother" gets top billing in the film, even though Darren McGavin was arguably the bigger and more well-known star. Unfortunately the Universe giveth and it taketh away. Even though Melinda's listed first, they misspelled her last name as "Dillion." D'oh!

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