Ralphie From A Christmas Story Recalls Wild Behind-the-Scenes Screw-up

“About 15 minutes in, the world starts tilting,” the star began. “I start sweating. My stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up.”

The actor who played Ralphie in the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story” dished on some fun behind-the-scenes memories just in time for the holidays.

Peter Billingsley, who was 12 when he filmed the movie, made an appearance on the “That Scene with Dan Patrick” podcast recently and recalled an incident involving the props man and a tin of chewing tobacco that caused the actor, and the film, to “take five.”

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“Well, they totally screwed up,” Billingsley, now 49, began. “The scene says he’s dressed as a sheriff. So you put the costume on. And a line in the script says he’s chewing tobacco. So, sure enough, the prop man, who’s responsible for that — anything the actor touches is the prop man’s department — he comes up to me and he’s got this pouch and it says ‘Red Man’ on it, and he flips it open — I swear to God, I don’t know the difference — I said, ‘What do I do with this?’ He says, ‘Here, jam it down in here.’ He says, ‘Don’t swallow, just spit.'”

“So, I do it, we get ready to go, and about 15 minutes in, the world starts tilting,” he continued. “I start sweating. My stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up.”

According to Billingsley, the director, Bob Clark, then said, “Cut! Cut. What the hell is going on?”

After the props man explained he had given the child actor real tobacco, Clark reportedly yelled, “What are you doing? He’s 12 years old!”

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Billingsley said the production then shut down and he went to lay on a couch for “about 40 minutes” to get the tobacco out of his system.

“And then they did what they should have done, someone had a good idea,” he continued. “They took a bunch of raisins, squished them together, and then stuck that in my mouth, so I had brown spit.”

“It was a very different time, obviously. He just gave me straight up, whole cut leaf Red Man.”

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The actor, who now directs and produces, also revealed he was allowed to keep the Red Ryder BB gun and the pink bunny costume from the set.

And he’s still surprised today by the popularity of “A Christmas Story.”

“To have something that stuck then, and then every decade continues to, there’s obviously a deeper core that it’s hitting.”


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