A Christmas Story/Headscratchers

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  • Why didn't the powers-that-be use hot water to get Flick's tongue off the flagpole?
    • Maybe they didn't know about that.
      • Maybe they *did* But he was out there for so long his tongue still suffered enough damage from his struggling/exposure that he needed medical attention anyway. We never see how they eventually get it off do we?
        • Actually, we do. "Holy cow! It's the fire department!" The firemen employ the tried-n-true "pull until it comes off" method that they teach in fireman school. Poor Flick.
    • This may be due to Unreliable Narrator. Ralphie was only about 10 at the time, after all.
    • Did the fire department seriously think they needed four men and a truck to pull Flick off of that pole?
  • What was with that weird kid that claimed he/she loved Santa but started screaming his/her head off once they were put on his lap?
    • Rule of Funny and Hypocritical Humor. Plus, the guy was pretty intimidating.
    • For some reason, Santas from the late Fifties and early Sixties were just terrifying. This troper's mother has a picture from December 1960 (when she would have been about seventeen months old) in which she's sitting on Santa's lap. "Santa" looks like the Child-Catcher and my mother looks like the only reason she isn't screaming bloody murder is because someone behind the camera is telling her to be quiet.
      • Worked in a 'take your picture with Santa' affair at the local Mall in 2008. Kids *still* scream bloody murder once they get to The Big Man even after waiting with expectation for a long period of time!
    • Truth in Television, even today. Plenty of kids are thrilled at the prospect of visiting the guy who is going to give them free toys. It isn't until they get up close that they realize he's a big guy with a scary beard who is never as jolly looking as in the Coca-Cola ads. I've seen kids at the mall completely transfixed until they actually get on the guys lap, wherepon they lose it.
      • Yep. Kids are fickle in general. They might ask for something to eat, only to refuse to eat it once it's set in front of him/her. Or they may want to watch a movie, only to be frightened of it a few minutes in. They're just like that.
      • As someone who works at a theme park, I can tell you for a fact that children can and will wait in line for an hour to see their favorite characters, and then cry and scream in absolute terror they're brought up to have a picture taken with them. Kids are just fickle like that, I suppose.
  • Why 24 hours? Why... why... why?! It's not that I can't change the channel, obviously - but the movie gets so stale after seeing it for so many years over and over. I swear every time I see an ad for it I make a note not to watch TBS. I can't possibly be the only one annoyed by the 24 hour thing?
    • I agree. It's HILARIOUS the first two times, but then it's like "..."
    • Perhaps it's so that people can watch it whenever they want. Every family has its own Christmas traditions and different times that they do them (for example, some people eat Christmas dinner in the early afternoon, while others do it in the evening), so there can't be one time that's convenient for everyone. With a 24 hour marathon, everybody can pick the right time that's convenient for them. Granted, this probably isn't the real reason for the marathon (since home video serves the same purpose), but it's a reasonable justification for it, in this troper's opinion.
    • It's also played on a 24-hour loop because it's not necessary to have more than one or two employees in the studio when all they have to do is make sure the movie keeps playing without a problem. Around Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, most of the staff would want to be at home celebrating, so running something that requires little maintenance (unlike worrying about switching in and out different programming) requires the fewest number of workers.
    • It probably has something to do with the narrative structure of the film. That is, the near lack of one. The movie only has one real plot thread that carries through the whole movie: Ralphie wants a BB gun. The majority of the movie is a series of vignettes with only a few directly related to the main plot. This means that generally you can still enjoy it even if you watch it completely out of sequence. This makes it a perfect movie to have going on in the background and to only sorta pay attention to throughout the evening.
  • When Ralphie is beating up the bully, Toadie yells "I'm gonna tell my dad!" and runs offscreen. I mean, you bully him for ages, and when he does something back, you tattletale? The bully got what was coming to him, but as far as the movie shows, Toadie never does.
    • Yeah, my brother pointed that out. I'm pretty sure his dad isn't going to understand that the kid who he's constantly picking on is getting revenge on his tormentor.
  • This story takes place circa the 1940s, but the hair on Ralphie's mother is CLEARLY a product of the 1980s. Does this bug anyone else?
    • Yes, it always bugged me. Also bugged me that they used circa 1980s Disney costumed characters. Ever see what Mickey looked like when Disneyland opened in 1955? And this took place approximately 15 years before that!
      • When the kids are turning in their themes, Miss Shields clearly says "Thank you, Heather." A very feasible name for a 9-year-old girl in 1983. World War Two, not so much.
  • This troper can't be the only one who's taken a ricochet from a lever-action Daisy Red Ryder air rifle as a kid and not even really had a bruise to show for it, let alone broken glasses and the need for a good cover story.
    • If I remember right, the BB hit him and just knocked his glasses off. Ralphie stepped on his glasses and broke them when he was stumbling around blind.
    • They just got blown off his face and then he stepped on them to crush them. He was standing stupidly close to a metal sheet he was shooting at, not even ten feet away. From that range, a direct ricochet back could probably do some damage... such as the nick on his face where it actually hit.
  • Speaking of the ricochet, how the fuck did that happen? He shoots straight ahead at the target and somehow the BB does a perfect 180 and comes right back at him.
    • It appeared that the backing he put his target on was made of metal. Metal doesn't absorb impact like wood does. A projectile can go through metal if it has enough velocity and shape, but a round BB is not going to penetrate a metal sheet. Its going to bounce off. It would have been a dangerous thing to do with even a low caliber firearm, especially as he was standing so close to it.
      • It ricocheting makes sense, but the BB wouldn't richochet in the exact direction it came from. It would glance off to the side
    • To be fair, it's never really stated that it was a ricochet. I've watched it dozens of times and I've always been under the impression that Ralphie, as a 9-year-old who's never handled any kind of firearm before was just knocked over by the kickback and only thought he got hit. Even if a BB gun doesn't have the kind of kickback, it might conceivably knock over an unprepared, first time, 9-year-old who was too into the moment to really notice what they were doing.
      • Most BB guns, especially low powered spring-air types like the Red Ryder model, have no perceptible recoil at all. They couldn't knock over a two-year-old.

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