Back in the 1960s, humorist, writer, raconteur and TV and radio personality Jean Shepherd (1921-1999) was the undisputed king of late night radio on the East Coast. His live broadcasts from the Limelight Café in Greenwich Village late on Saturday nights on WOR-AM became appointment listening for millions of fans. (This was a decade before Garrison Keillor and Saturday Night Live made their way onto the airwaves. This was when people still listened to AM radio.)
Shepherd told stories. Many of them were suggested by incidents in his own life growing up in Hammond, Indiana. Although his radio shows were unscripted, he eventually began to put his stories into print, adopting a fictional surrogate for himself, Ralphie Parker. They were collected in books, including In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash; Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, and Other Disasters; The Ferrari in the Bedroom; and A Fistful of Fig Newtons.
In 1983, the movie A Christmas Story was released, based on his first volume. Shepherd wrote the screenplay with Leigh Brown and director Bob Clark, who was best known for the Porky’s trilogy. The film has become something of a classic in its genre.
Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting the stage adaptation of A Christmas Story as its holiday attraction. The Parker family gets its Christmas tree. Ralphie’s dad, The Old Man, wins a very special prize in a contest. Ralphie is pursued by a girl in his class. Ralphie is pursued by the class bully. And, most famously, Ralphie sets off on a campaign to acquire his most-desired Christmas present, a Red Ryder BB air rifle, only to be warned repeatedly, “You’ll put your eye out, kid.”
Ages: 12 to Adult.