Ever since the 1983 movie A CHRISTMAS STORY came out on video, it has been an annual part of my movie viewing tradition each Christmas season. Directed by Bob Clark, who also directed the 1974 film BLACK CHRISTMAS, it is one of those Christmas movies that just make you feel good. The story is about Ralphie, a nine-year-old, who only wants one thing for Christmas, a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. We have all been there as a child, wanting that one gift more than all others. Though department stores when I was growing up did not have display windows of toys like Higbee’s in the film, for me the excitement started when the Sears Wishbook came in showing every toy you could imagine.
In addition to watching A CHRISTMAS STORY at least once in its entirety on DVD each year during the Christmas season, we would always have the 24-hour marathon of the movie showing in the background on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Turner Broadcasting System started showing the marathons in 1997 and they have been going yearly ever since. Though I am sure not many people have watched the whole marathon, with it on in the background, you certainly see enough to at least see it in its entirety at least one or more times. What is wonderful about this film during the marathon is that you can come in at any given time and you can get drawn right back in, knowing exactly what is going on.
Though I said that not many people have done the complete marathon, watching all twelve showings, I know of one person who actually did and that is Joanna Wilson, author of the book “The Triple Dog Dare: Watching & Surviving the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story.” Wilson has authored other Christmas books, including “Tis the Season TV” (2010), “The Christmas TV Companion” (2009) and “Merry Musical Christmas Volume 1” (2012). Unfortunately “Tis the Season TV” is out of print but a new, updated version of this mammoth book is due out in 2021.
Not only did Wilson watch all 24 hours of the marathon, each chapter features what it was like watching it each time. This fast-read of a book is fascinating in what happens with each viewing. From preparing for the marathon, to actually watching it and then surviving the ordeal, each chapter is a treasure-trove of insights, some of which you may have already come up with yourself or some that will have you anxious to watch the film yet again.
Not only is this book a fun idea, it is also a lot of fun to read and I really love Joanna Wilson’s writing style. As she connects to the film, I found myself connecting even more as well. Though A CHRISTMAS STORY has always been one of my favorite Christmas movies, I know that this year’s viewing will be somewhat with fresh eyes after reading the book.
If you are looking for a fun read this Christmas season, I cannot recommend this book enough. I truly enjoyed reading it, especially by the light of my Christmas tree. I also have a feeling that reading this book is going to become a new tradition, just like watching A CHRISTMAS STORY is.
Don’t forget to read the other blogs in my BASEMENT BOOK SHELF series. To order your own copy of this book, just click on the image below.