Toronto and Cleveland, OH stand in for 1940s Northern Indiana.
Vancouver, Canada fills in for Northern Indiana in the sequel.
The Danza: Averted, since Scott Schwartz plays Flick rather than Schwartz.
Dawson Casting: Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) was 12-years-old playing a 9-year-old. As Schwartz and Flick, R.D. Robb (11) and Scott Schwartz (14) also count.
Could also be the case for Darren McGavin as the Old Man. While his character was intended to be in his early 40s or thereabouts, McGavin was 61 when the movie came out.
The female elf was written as a teenager. Patty Johnson, who was in her 30s, wasn't aware of that when she went to audition and responded angrily when she found out. Bob Clark realized that type of outburst was a perfect fit for the character and hired her anyway.
The Leg Lamp became a real product in 2003 when a fan of the film started manufacturing real lamps for sale. This then led to....
...the fan using the money he made from his business to buy the house in Cleveland that was used for exterior shots of Ralphie's house. He later dropped another quarter-million dollars to gut the house and remodel it to look like the sets that were used for interior scenes. The house across the street has been turned into a museum and Leg Lamp giftshop. At one point Ian Petrella (Randy) even lived in the house and led tours through it.
The specific BB Gun Ralphie wanted didn't exist; Jean Shephard had conflated several different models in his mind when he was writing the story. It exists now, though....
For curious tropers in the Kansas City area, this is averted with the Chop Suey Palace. Though assistant director Ken Goch's mother once mistook a bowling alley with the "w" out as a Chinese restaurant, inspiring the exterior of the Chinese restaurant at the end of the movie, Bo Ling's Chinese Restaurant, a long-standing Kansas City establishment, has no relation, and was opened shortly before the film's release.
Miss Shields visiting Ralphie's parents at home to tell them how wonderful he is.
Ralphie saving Flash Gordon from Ming the Merciless on the planet Mongo. The music for this scene is on the soundtrack, and Gordon and Ming are credited, indicating the scene was cut very late in production. It is also notable in that it is the only scene that has a surviving production still, clearly depicting Ralphie with Flash Gordon.
Apparently no one told Melinda Dillon that the waiters in the Chinese restaurant were going to bring in a cooked duck - and then suddenly chop off its head with a meat cleaver!
The Santa Claus scene was filmed over the course of several nights and the child extras kept messing up takes. Patty Johnson and Drew Hocevar, who played the elves, were both Cleveland locals who were moonlighting after their day jobs as schoolteachers. Johnson was so sleep-deprived she was dozing off between takes. As a result, the irritated frustration of Santa and the elves in that scene is very genuine.
Marathon Running: Every year, TBS runs the movie for twenty-four hours solid, beginning at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The marathon originated on TNT in 1997, and remained on the network until 2004, when it moved to TBS (though one year, the marathon was bizarrely aired by USA Network, a non-Turner network). The film returned to TNT in 2014, running an hour ahead of another marathon on TBS (the TNT marathon started at 7:00 PM, and the TBS marathon at 8:00, with the TNT marathon henceforth ending an hour earlier than the TBS marathon).
The Red Stapler: You can now buy a leg lamp. The Red Ryder BB gun is an aversion, however; while now available, they were produced throughout the 30-odd-year gap between the end of the Red Ryder Franchise and this film's appearance.
Not the particular model described in the film, however.note The Buck Jones air rifle has the compass and sundial in the stock, but none of the features of the Red Ryder. A special model was made for the movie to match Jean Shepherd's description in the story. While it may be Artistic License, it is the configuration Shepherd claims to remember.
Saved from Development Hell: Bob Clark first conceived of a film based on Jean Shepherd's stories in 1967, and intended it to be his feature film debut, but he couldn't get any studios interested in it. The runaway success of Porky's allowed him to finally secure the financing.
Sequel Gap: The original came out in 1983. It took 'em 28 years to do a continuation.
Throw It In!: The gospel choir in the opening sequence were originally just brought in as extras, but they spontaneously started singing "Go Tell It on the Mountain". The quick-thinking crew rolled the cameras and it made the final cut.
Vindicated by Cable: Only moderately successful at the box office when originally released, the film achieved Cult Classic status in the late '80s thanks to TV and home video.
What Could Have Been...: Jack Nicholson was apparently a fan of the short-stories, and really wanted to play Ralphie's Old Man (he was even willing to take a paycut if necessary!note For perspective, this is the same guy whose salary consumed the bulk of the budget for Batman.) However, Jean Shepherd feared that the presence of such a high-profile actor in a supporting role would distract people from the main story.
In hindsight, it's hard to see anyone other than Darren McGavin in that role.
It would also be hard to see Nicholson swearing at the furnace being dubbed over by gibberish.
According to Bob Clark, Peter Billingsley was his first choice for Ralphie, but initially passed him up for being "too obvious of a choice." Some 8,000 audition tapes later, he realized he wasn't going to find anyone better and chose Peter after all.