Monday, December 12, 2011

Stories from "A Christmas Story": Radio Flyer

I've been doing Christmas-related posts here at Shangrila Towers for years now, and for this holiday season, I'd like to try something different. From now till Noël, I'll put up special posts about stuff from one of my favorite Christmas movies, "A Christmas Story."

When you watch a movie as often as I've watched "A Christmas Story," you start to notice little details. Case in point: the Radio Flyer red wagons in the window of Higbee's at the beginning of the film. The wagons are just one part of a very busy display of "mechanized electronic joy," and aren't at all important to the story (Ralphie's fixated on the Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle, of course).

Regardless, the Radio Flyer red wagon hearkens back to a simpler time, back when parents ferried kids along sidewalks, garden paths, and backwoods trails. I most associate it with Calvin and Hobbes, who used the wagon to careen down hills during philosophical discussions. They even traveled to Mars with it:


The Radio Flyer wagon was also the inspiration behind "Radio Flyer," a box office bomb that pitted two young brothers against an abusive stepfather:



Like a lot of toys, Radio Flyer's classic steel wagons are now made in China; I don't have any experience with the new models, since our Radio Flyer is more than a decade old and still going strong. Of course, it's a bit disappointing that such an iconic piece of Americana got outsourced, but it beats not being able to buy Radio Flyer wagons at all.

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