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A Christmas Story

New this week Factual error: In the opening street scene a Salvation Army band is playing Christmas carols. These arrangements were not written or published until the 1950's.

New this week Factual error: Characters from The Wizard of Oz appear in the parade and at the department store. But that movie, which premiered in 1939, initially bombed in theaters and didn't become widely known to the public until re-releases in the late 1940s and TV showings starting in the 1950s. It seems unlikely the characters would have been featured.

New this month Revealing mistake: When Dad gets the bowling ball, it's already drilled, and obviously not for him. Watch how he holds it and puts it down. The holes look very small.

Mike Keating

New this month Factual error: The Look magazine Ralphie inserts the Red Rider ad in has Shirley Temple and Santa on the cover. That magazine came out in Dec. 1937. Later during the Christmas parade and in Higbee's, you see characters from The Wizard of Oz, which came out in 1939.

New this month Revealing mistake: After Ralphie's dad loosens the first corner of the crate, it's very obvious the other corners were deliberately left unfastened to make it easier to remove the lid on camera.

New this month Continuity mistake: As the old man goes out to see the infamous leg lamp from the road, Randy is behind mom. A second later, the angle changes and Randy is suddenly in the adjacent window beside the lamp.

Movie Nut

Other mistake: Melinda Dillon's name is misspelled "Dillion" in the end credits.

Continuity mistake: When Raphie's mother is working on the turkey on Christmas morning, there is a jar of pickles on the table next to the turkey. In the next scene the mother is coming up from the basement carrying a jar of pickles and places them on the table in the same place.

Continuity mistake: On Christmas morning when they open presents, the sleeves on the mother's robe move back and forth between rolled up and rolled down.

Continuity mistake: When the "old man" first puts the lamp on the edge of the box there is no light fixture on which to place the shade. He then returns the lamp to the box and when he brings it out, there is a place to put the shade. Also as he hands it to the mother and then takes it back to put it on the table, there is no electrical cord visible. However, just before he sets it down on the table you can see a cord in his left hand.

Continuity mistake: In the playground scene when Flick first sticks his tongue to the flagpole, the street in the background has been snowplowed. The kids all go back in to the classroom without Flick. When the teacher asks "Where's Flick?", and looks out the window and sees him at the pole, the same street in the back ground has not been plowed.

Continuity mistake: When everyone is shown in a close up as they open up their Christmas presents, take a look at the father. While he is opening his gift, he has a yellow tie around his neck. When he says, "Didn't I get a tie this year?" the tie is not around his neck anymore.

Revealing mistake: When Ralphie is walking along after getting the C+ on his theme, he gets hit with a "snowball sandwich." if you look closely at his face and eyes, you can see that he has his eyes closed in expectation of getting hit.

Movie Nut

Continuity mistake: When Randy is getting dressed for school, his mittens keep appearing and disappearing from his hands.

Visible crew/equipment: As the buck teeth are being handed out at the beginning of the classroom scene, the camera pans to follow Miss Shields and you can very briefly see the shadow of the boom microphone on the wall at the top of the screen.

Continuity mistake: When Ralphie's father is sitting in the chair reading the funnies (before the dogs ruin the turkey), there is a small gold lampshade sitting on the table next to him. In the first shot, there is a Christmas bow on it. In the following shot, the bow has disappeared.

Continuity mistake: When the dogs steal the turkey and wreck the kitchen, there's a scene of the table broken and no pot holder is on the table. In the next scene, there is a pot holder sitting on the broken table.

Continuity mistake: During dinner Randy has been eating like a "piggie" and his face is covered with food, when the doorbell rings. As he gets up to answer the door he looks to left and his face is clean but then as they go to the door there are mashed potatoes on his face again.

Continuity mistake: When Ralphie and the boys first meet Scut Farkas and Grover Dill, Grover Dill's zipper jacket is up all the way and then, it's halfway down. It keeps changing from up to down.

Continuity mistake: When Santa pushes Ralphie down the slide with his foot, Santa is actually seated too far away from the slide for his foot to have reached Ralphie's face. In all the wide shots of the scene (especially the very last one as the family leaves the store), you can see that Santa's chair is placed too far away from the entrance of the slide for his foot to have reached the sizable distance to Ralphie's face. But in the tighter P.O.V. shots where Santa is talking to Ralphie just before he gives him the boot, you can see that Santa's chair has been moved over and placed directly in front of the slide so that he can easily reach Ralphie's face. Even better, just as the Elf places Ralphie in Santa's lap, there is a 360 degree panoramic shot that shows just how far away the slide is from Santa's foot.

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Quotes

Mom: Ralphie, what would you like for Christmas?
Adult Ralphie: Horrified, I heard myself blurt it out.
Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder carbine action two hundred shot range model air rifle.
Mom: No. You'll shoot your eye out.

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Trivia

The film is set in Indiana, but was actually filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. It was the only place the directors could find that looked like a midwestern town in the 1940's.

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