Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 14, 2013

A classic reunion ahead of 'A Christmas Story'

Niagara Gazette — AMHERST — Thirty years after “A Christmas Story” was filmed, the actors still love laughing about their experience on the freezing film set — and they’ll be bringing those humorous memories to a packed Riviera Theatre today.

“We made friendships that lasted years,” Scott Schwartz, who played Flick in the 1983 cult classic, said at a press conference Friday held at an Amherst hotel. “We get to laugh when we get together, it’s fun.”

Ian Petrella, who played Randy, Ralphie’s little brother, made his first trip to North Tonawanda last year for a screening event at the Riv. This year, he brought along Schwartz — whose character got his tongue stick to the flagpole in the film — and four other of his co-stars — Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), the red-headed bully; Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), the little bully; Tedde Moore (Ms. Shields), the teacher; and Patty Johnson-Lafontaine, who played the female Higbee’s Elf.

Both screenings were organized by fan Joe Lavey, the president of the Sweeney Hose #7 volunteer fire company in North Tonawanda.

“Last year, everything was based on a Facebook post. I offered to come down to show it for free, and everything went great,” Petrella said. “Joe asked me if I wanted to come down again, and I said ‘why not?’ “

Lavey envisioned last year’s screening as a one-time event to serve as a fundraiser for the fire company, but now, he hopes to make it an annual, affordable treat for local families. After 11 months of work, meeting the actors from his favorite film was quite the reward.

“This is like a dream come true for me,” he said. “It’s great to see this coming together, and the biggest thing is bringing them to NT.”

The cast members said they enjoy talking to fans like Lavey, who has two leg lamps and two Red Ryder BB guns in his home, made famous by the movie.

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