Dec 12, 2004 in Pop Culture
Since it began to air on cable television in the mid-eighties, A Christmas Story has become an annual Christmas viewing tradition; the It’s a Wonderful Life of our generation. The film’s uncloying, dysfunctionally humorous take on childhood has resonated with viewers of all ages. But many of us who grew up with the film are unaware of the life of it’s narrator, renegade radio talk show host Jean Shepherd.
Shephard was best known for his daily radio show on WOR New York throughout the sixties and seventies. Shepherd was like an anti-establishment Garrison Keilor, telling stories and anecdotes to late night listeners in his dulcet baritone voice. Flick Lives is a comprehensive tribute site dedicated to Shepherd and his work. The Shep Archives has streaming audio of over 1500 radio shows, albums, and other material.
The A Christmas Story tribute page has more information on the movie and it’s various merchandising spinoffs. Most of the storylines in A Christmas Story come from the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. Read about the origin and development of the Red Ryder BB Gun story, the Leg Lamp, and the Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Pin. (Am I the only one that’s freaked out by the fact that none of the Annie characters were drawn with pupils?)