Peter Billingsley in the frozen pole scene of ‘Christmas Story’, where he meets the superhero fan and his secret ‘Elf’ veil

Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story (Photo: MGM/courtesy of the Everett Collection)

For the past 20 years, Peter Billingsley has served as a producer on such iconic films dwarf (2003), Hour farewell (2006), Iron Man (2008) and Retrieving pairs (2009), which he also directed.

However, he’ll always be best known for playing Ralphie Parker, the bespectacled Indiana teen who slays for a 200-round Red Ryder Carbine Action air rifle in the 1983 classic. Christmas story.

Of course, his connection to the film — which was a box office disappointment upon release but has become a staple thanks to years of airing marathons on TBS — is one of the first things people ask when meeting him.

“They feel the need to know that the Parker family is around they Billingsley tells Yahoo Entertainment. Either their father or their grandfather is the ‘old man’. [played by the late Darren McGavin] and their mother [is similar to the movie’s matriarch, played by Melinda Dillon] And how were they with the siblings [relatable].

“They have ownership over it in a good way. It kind of feels like it’s kind of their movie. It’s very personal to the people, which is a really interesting thing about the movie.”

Billingsley says he never tired of being attached to the role, as evidenced by the fact that he reprized Ralphie, who has now grown up with his family, in the HBO Max four-decade sequel. Christmas story ChristmasAnd the who also had a big role in development and programming.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Well, you always relate [with that role]You must be getting old. But it’s very real, people relate to it, and it’s very rich. Which is very real. So I had no problem staying attached to that. You know, my life has evolved, my career has moved on to other areas up until this point when it all came together [for the new film]. I’m pulling out all my tools now, from early acting, writing and producing and throwing it all into the soup.”

Christmas story Filled with memorable moments, none is more iconic than the sequence in which friend Ralph Fleck (Scott Schwartz) kisses a triple-dare dog who licks a frozen flagpole and sticks out his tongue.

“First, it’s real,” Billingsley says. We were warned it was real. We were told ‘don’t do it.’ I know some people have done it in a wheelchair when they’re skiing, and it’s like the worst thing you can do, because then you’re stuck in the air. At least be on the ground if you’re going to try it. “.

While most of A Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland, the flagstaff scene was shot in St. Catherine, Ontario.

“It was so cold outside. I mean, it’s a blizzard and it was real. There were no special effects in that movie. But the effect was there was a little fake pole on top of a real flag pole, a hole in it with a hose that sucked the air in. So when he stuck his tug on it and it was It’s like a little suction cup trick and that was it. And it kind of stuck. This was 1983, we had to [use] Low-tech special effects on set Christmas story. But did you know? They worked and probably better now. Now someone will say, “Oh, we’ll do it digitally.” It’s like, “No, just do it. … Logic works.”

(In a 2015 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Schwartz noted that he had no problem sticking his tongue off the pole. The biggest problem was the weather. “The worst part about it was just how cold we were,” Schwartz recounted. “We had two days Outside, the temperature was between 20 and 25 below zero with a wind chill.”)

The scene was immortalized in bronze and installed in Hammond, Indiana, his birthplace Christmas story Writer and narrator Jan Shepherd, 2013.

Billingsley is something of a Christmas movie junkie now. It also appeared this fall Christmas with the Campbells. And the Christmas story Not His Only Christmas Classic: Billingsley made an uncredited cameo in the contemporary favorite Christmas Game dwarf, plays one of Santa’s flagship toy store workers, Ming Ming. That mass of information blew up the collective minds of the Internet in 2008, and it went viral Twitter And Buzzfeed has been around for a long time dwarf The lovers never realized that the same actor played Ralph Parker and Ming Ming.

dwarf It was directed by Jon Favreau, who alongside Fellow slingshot Vince Vaughn has been a good friend of Billingsley’s for a long time.

John was doing dwarf and he [said], “Hey, are you going to do a little cameo on this thing?” And I was kidding [at first]. I was like, “You know, you can’t just have Christmas magic.” It’s like, “I want Christmas magic!” So I didn’t even get credit. I’m not in the credits on this thing. It was like, “Come do it for fun.” Then some people started finding out, myself included, that John turned up my voice in post-production. This is why I actually don’t look like myself. He raised the elven voices, so I’m well hidden in that.”

Christmas story Christmas Streaming now on HBO Max.

Watch the trailer:

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