A Christmas Story
I think that A Christmas Story is the greatest Christmas movie ever made. Each year, I watch it, over and over, on TNN or TNT or TBS, or whatever T-channel does that marathon, and I never, ever, get tired of it. Every year, when I watch it, I am reminded of the time, when I was about 10 or so, that I auditioned for it. The auditions were held on a cold, rainy day in late spring, down in some casting office in Venice, I think. I saw the same kids that I always saw on auditions: Sean Astin, Keith Coogan, this kid named “Scooter” who had a weird mom, and Peter Billingsley, who was very well known at the time, because he was “Messy Marvin” in those Hershey’s commercials. I sort of knew Peter, because we’d been on so many auditions together, but I was always a little star struck when I saw him. (One time, I saw Gary Coleman on an audition…now, this was HUGE for all of us kids who were there, because we’re talking 1982 or 83…and he was Arnold freakin’ Jackson, man…wow). [tangent] Whenever I see Sean Astin, I sob at him that he got to be in Goonies, and I didn’t, and he always says, “Hey, man, you got Stand By Me. I’d trade all my movies for that.” I haven’t seen him since he did Lord of the Rings…but something is telling me that he wouldn’t be so keen to trade that. [end of tangent]
So I remember that audition, for Christmas Story. The scenes we had to read were the one where Ralphie is telling Santa what he wants, and panics, telling Santa that a football is okay, the one where Ralphie is decoding the Little Orphan Annie message, and the one where he thinks he shot his eye out.
I don’t remember much more than that, except that my dad took me on the audition, and helped me learn my lines. I can still see my dad, in all his permed, mustached, corduroy-pantsed, 1983 glory, helping me understand how badly Ralphie wanted that BB gun. It’s a really happy memory, because my dad and I didn’t do too many things together when I was a kid, and I always loved it when he’d take me on an audition. [tangent] Once, I had an audition for Frosted Flakes, and, this I will never forget, my dad took me to the call, over on Sunset near Gower, and there were tons of kids, running around (yes, Scooter and his weird mom, who wore a wig and low-cut evening gowns to auditions in the afternoons, were there). My dad was helping me learn my copy, which had something to do with me and Tony The Tiger sitting on an airplane together. My dad told me that when I was done with my reading, that I should “tag” my audition, by saying something funny or memorable…he suggested that I point to my orange (well, more like raw umber) Le Tigre shirt, and ask Tony, “How’d you get off my shirt!?” I thought that was the funniest thing I had ever heard, and I raced through the reading, just so I could give up the funny. I don’t recall if they laughed or not, but I sure did. It was just cool to be there with my dad.[end of tangent]
So, if you haven’t seen this movie, you really must. At the very least, rent it, and enjoy the performance of Scottie “I left the industry to do porn” Schwartz as Flick. (I can tease Scott, because I sort of know him, too.)
A Christmas Carol
Boy, if you live anywhere near New York, you simply must go see Patrick’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” when he brings it there. I think he starts on the 24th, for 8 performances, all for charity.
Anne and I took the kids to see it on Sunday, because Patrick gave us tickets. We got to sit in the fifth row! It’s the closest I’ve ever been to the stage all the times I’ve seen it, and it was really amazing to watch the sublteties in his characterizations. I saw stuff that I’ve never seen before.
You know, I was at the very first performance of this, way back in 1988 or 89, at the Wadsworth theatre near UCLA. I went with most of the cast, on a freezing cold, rainy December afternoon, and sat in a theatre, more empty than full, where the heater did not work, and just marveled at what Patrick could do. He was still mostly on book back then, but he was still amazing. It’s been so exciting for me to watch the evolution of this work, because I feel like I was there at the very beginning…well, I guess I was there at the very beginning…but you get the idea.
I got to take Anne and the kids backstage to meet him, which was really kind of odd…there were all these people, excited to meet him, waiting in a long line…it just struck me as so odd that I was waiting in a line to see one of my friends…but I didn’t mind, in the least. When we did get into the Green Room, Patrick was talking to everyone, and, I swear, each person he talked to was made to feel like they were the only ones there, including me and my family. It was really, really cool.
A Christmas Auction
Boy, the eBay auction has drawn much more attention than I thought it would. As of the last check, 2735 people had viewed it, and the bidding was up to $132.50! I’ve gotten lots of requests, in email, for more auctions, so I’ll put up a picture from Stand By Me later today. Thank you to everyone who is interested…watching the bidding is really exciting for me, in a totally dorky way.
A Christmas Miracle
Finally, loren got MT and GM working last night, so I’m awaiting help from the GM gurus to get my old entries recovered. I’m really excited to bring all the old entries back. There are stories in there that I really like, and stuff that I’m really proud of, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll get it back. I tell you, it’s been so damn frustrating, the past week or so, trying to get this stuff working, and not being able to figure it out…I finally broke down and asked for help. Yep, you read that correctly, Mr. “I have to do it myself, give me the scalpel so I can remove this lesion from my face” asked for help.
Thank you, Loren. I mean it.