A Christmas Story

1983 was a strange year. Watch A Christmas Story and you will know what I mean. Our young family had recently returned to my home town of St. Catharines. Our second home there in three years was our seventh home since my first wife and I had been married. My older daughter, Anne-marie, went to Victoria School that year. It was where all the school scenes in the film were shot. Producers apparently could not find a suitable period school in the U.S. and Victoria school was about as close to the mark as could be found.

A Christmas Story - Stephen B. Henry

Parents were informed a movie was to be filmed there and students would be able to be extras in classroom, hall, and play ground scenes. Anne-marie was amazed to see how minutes of screen time often took days to get right. The infamous tongue stuck to the flag pole sequence was filmed in the actual school yard, but with a length of plastic pipe substituting for the ice-cold metal pole.

Oh, and if you work your video pause control carefully at just the right moment in the play ground scene just as the bell rings, you can catch the back of Anne-marie’s head, getting about a half second of film time. Can we say, “Movie Star!”

And just a side note, I think the white house seen across the street from the flag pole is where my boy-hood friend, Warren Stirtzinger, lived at the time of the filming. Though I lived less than a block away, I didn’t know it at the time. Warren is the hip fellow with the red guitar in this more recent (2012?) recording. Play it, Strings!

Adding sadness to this, Andy Palidwor (friend from high school) let me know of Warren’s passing on Dec. 4, 2016. He’ll bring a touch of jazz, I’m sure, to the band…

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