As ‘A Christmas Story’ sequel nears, spotlight shining on Plymouth’s role in popular holiday film
The popular 1983 movie “A Christmas Story” didn’t put Plymouth’s Daisy Air Rifle factory on the map, but it certainly ramped up interest in the business that relocated (and is still pumping out products) to Rogers, Arkansas, in 1958.
With a sequel to “A Christmas Story” set to begin streaming on HBO Max on Nov. 18, attention is regenerating in the longtime Plymouth air-gun manufacturer, considering the film’s star — Ralphie Parker (played by Peter Billingsley in the original and sequel) — yearned to receive a Daisy Air Rifle-built Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
The site of the original factory is now populated by condominiums. An original wall from the Daisy factory remained standing on Union Street, just east of Main, until it was torn down in 2013 to make room for the 21 townhouse condominiums.
A permanent Daisy exhibit in the Plymouth Historical Museum includes a section of hardwood flooring from the factory that is peppered by indentations, reportedly the result of BB’s from rounds of gun testing, as well as several vintage Daisy-related antiques.
“You’ll shoot your eye out”
Rumor has it that the nearby Plymouth Crossing building, located a few hundred yards north of the museum on Main Street, has BB holes in its brick exterior and in interior wooden beams from similar tests, but those would have come from the Markham Air Rifle Company or King Manufacturing Company, which was acquired by Daisy in 1931, museum staff members said.
Plymouth historians are embracing the release of the movie’s sequel. The museum is opening a “Red Ryder Christmas Story” exhibit Nov. 16, with a sold-out wine and appetizer reception set for Nov. 15.
Plymouth’s Penn Theatre will be showing “A Christmas Story” Thursday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $5.
The sequel to “A Christmas Story” — “A Christmas Story Christmas” — follows Ralphie’s return home for the holidays after his father’s death.
The film is set in the 1970s and features a reunion with several characters (and the actors who portrayed them) from the original movie, with Billingsley returning as Ralphie, Ian Petrella as younger brother Randy, and Zack Ward returning as the bully Scut Farkus.