Home » A Christmas Story » JEAN SHEPHERD A CHRISTMAS STORY Part 5 hangers on



 hammond brochure          hammond map sites

Hammond, Indiana’s brochure,

which includes a map and the comment below from yours truly:

“Jean Shepherd talked and wrote a lot about Hammond. He might sometimes disparage the place, but in his heart and mind the tribulations and joys of his childhood were inseparable from his hometown. Though he might attempt to disguise some connections, he kept letting them sneak in. Two examples. The town he wrote about called “Hohman” he named after the street of that name in Hammond. In the movie A Christmas Story Shepherd’s fictional character, Ralphie, wants a BB gun as he also did in the earlier published version originally titled “Duel in the Snow or Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid,” and we know that Jean Shepherd grew up on Hammond’s Cleveland Street. In some undeniable, enigmatic way, Jean Shepherd was the Cleveland Street Kid. He never got Hammond out of his creative world or out of his blood.”


Hammond, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio’s A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE

do lots of good, fun things regarding the movie.

 Hammond commemorated this 2013 permanent statue,

with Scott Schwartz, who played the original “Flick,” looking on:


(Speak up, Flick, whatsa matter, pole got yer tongue?)


A CHRISTMAS STORY behind-the-scenes book is good.

A CHRISTMAS STORY the musical is good.

leglamp dance ACS musical

(I have not seen the straight play based on the movie,

based on Shep’s stories published in books,

reprinted from the stories in Playboy,

based on Shepherd’s improvised stories told on the radio,

so I won’t comment on it.)

ACS stage

However, the playwright Philip Grecian says that Shep

insisted that  the narrator (Shepherd’s narrative part) be included.

The scene shows “Shep” narrating soap-in-mouth scene from

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg, Canada.


A CHRISTMAS STORY the movie is so good

it cannot be smothered to death by the glut of ever-proliferating

spin-off merchandise.

There are photos from the film on Christmas tree balls and T-shirts,

innumerable little 3-D depictions of scenes from the movie,

Talking action figures and bobble heads of the cast,

cookie cutters, etc.


Right before Christmas, when I opened up Tetris to give a rest to my Shep obsession,

here’s what I got on-screen:

ACS on Tetris


Nehi legs

Above, the original inspiration

upon which Shepherd undoubtedly

based his leg lamp.

NEHI =”Knee-high.” (Get it?)



YES! I love it!


A few lesser hangers


Leg lamp stocking Christmas Story

Christmas Story costumes

Above, a mug, and a stocking to be hung by the chimney with care,

and a couple o’ da udder thingmajigs.

A large, blow-up-to-put-on-your-lawn leg-thing

seems no longer available–boo hoo!

But see a photo of the 6-foot high hyperbolic inflatable

lawn ornament below. Maybe the ultimate

“slob art” interpretation of “the old man’s”

major slob art award.

ACS leg for lawn

Some of the spin-offs are cute and fine, many are not–

there are hundreds to choose from!

In our house we display a desk-size leg lamp all year around.

There are a number of Christmas cards using ACS material,

including the one I got a while back.



Somebody posted the following a couple of years ago, made with

those little yellow, marshmallow candies called “Peeps.”


peeps ACS lamp



Below, our star and benefactor, who must be chuckling

endlessly, up there at the North Pole.



in TV’s “A Bozo Christmas,” 12/14/1991.

It would be interesting to know

why Shep chose to do this.

(courtesy of Jim Clavin)


This is the last of this series on A CHRISTMAS STORY.

Look for special New Years Eve post on 12/31.




  1. One can’t help feeling the irony of this massive postmortem fame on behalf of Shep’s masterwork. The movie and its totems have taken a place in the pantheon of American Christmas lore and effluvia.

    His anger later in life had a lot to do with lack of mass appreciation of and rewards for his artistry, and bitterness than many humorists he considered far beneath his own talents achieved so much via TV. Imagine if he were alive, healthy and in his seventies right now. Is it possible he would feel fulfilled. Or was his narcissism so deeply imbedded that he would not be satisfied?

    We’ll never know.

    • Lecgrossi says:

      Great point. I often wonder the same thing. Would he be satisfied that this one piece has become so well known, eclipsing the rest of his work, and even him?

      • ebbergmann says:

        I think he would have said he was happy about ACS being his legacy when he was in a dispirited/grumpy mood. (I like ACS a lot, but not as his finest hour.)

  2. Michael says:

    The original title of the BB gun story was

    Here’s a link to an image of the title page from Playboy’s web site.

    (They require a paid subscription before they will display the pages any larger, but the title is clearly visible on the free preview.)

    It wasn’t until Shepherd’s stories were reprinted by Doubleday that all references to Hammond were deleted.

    Why would you misinform the good citizens of Hammond about this? Will you be compensating the city for the cost of reprinting the brochures?

    • ebbergmann says:

      It certainly does appear that the earlier published title (Playboy 12/’65) was as you indicate, and I must admit that I always give the story the title as it appears in Shep’s book, IN GOD WE TRUST ALL OTHERS PAY CASH (1966). I imagine that, as the Playboy issue is rather rare and unseen, and the book is so popular/available (and, it’s an official published book compare to the “lesser” form of a “mere” magazine) we have mostly been unaware of the magazine’s title for the story.

      However, here’s a rationalization:although the magazine (12/65 predates the book publication (1966), on 2/4, 1966 Shepherd announced that he had written a “novel.” (See my EYF! pp 321-323) It was obviously IN GOD WE TRUST. He also stated that he’d been working on it for “over 3 years,” meaning that some of the text would have been written as far back as 1963. So it could be that the title of the story in the book might have been determined even before the Playboy version.

      We don’t know–and probably will never know–why there were two titles and why it was changed and which predates which.

      Bottom line–I much appreciate your comment with its revelatory information! Excelsior.

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