Niagara Gazette

December 6, 2012

"A Christmas Story" actor coming to town

By Michael Regan
Night & Day

Night & Day — NORTH TONAWANDA: Randy Parker, who played Ralphie’s little brother, will be at the Riviera.

By Michael Regan 

An actor in from the iconic holiday film “A Christmas Story” will be coming to the Riviera Theatre this weekend for a special screening of the film.

Ian Petrella, who played Ralphie’s snowsuit-clad little brother, Randy Parker will be in North Tonawanda on Sunday.

Petrella will speak at 2 p.m. about filming the movie and the great things done behind the scenes. “A Christmas Story” will then be shown at 3 p.m.

After the movie, attendees will be able to meet Petrella, see the fire truck that rescued Flick from the flagpole — with rides available for a small donation. Two limited edition Red Ryder BB guns, donated by Ian Petrella, will also be raffled off, with proceeds benefiting the Sweeney Hose Company.

Since interest in the film has burgeoned in the last 10 years, Petrella’s agent, Tim Bendig said, so has public demand for some of its actors, some of whom will take part in a 30-year anniversary tour next year. 

But it was the long-time fascination with the movie of North Tonawanda firefighter Joe Lavey that is bringing Petrella’s to the city on Sunday. 

Lavey, who is president of the Sweeney Hose Fire Company, said he had been watching “A Christmas Story” religiously since it first came out and met Petrella once before. When he saw a Facebook posting in the spring that the actor was looking to show the movie in small local theaters, he thought immediately of the Riviera and shot out a quick e-mail. 

Lavey took it a step further, tracking down the fire truck used in the scene where Ralphie’s friend Flick gets his tongue stuck to a flag pole. It was easier than Lavey expected, with the vehicle now owned by another fire company in Ontario, Canada.

Now both Petrella and the 1930s fire truck will be on hand. 

While Petrella will will donate two Red Ryder BB guns that will be raffled off and give an insider’s presentation 2 p.m., the fire truck will be available earlier in the day for photo opportunities and rides around downtown North Tonawanda. 

Lavey said the proceeds will benefit his outfit and the Riviera Theatre. 

“I’ve never done anything like this,” he said. “We’re really trying to go back to the old days when I was a kid and my parents to me to the Riv for holiday shows cost $10.” 

Pre-sale tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. The fire truck rides will begin at 12:30 p.m. Sunday while Petrella’s presentation will start at 2 p.m. inside the Riviera Theatre. 

Petrella has spent the last three decades since the 1983 movie was first produced taking small parts in shows like “Who’s the Boss” and “90210,” and has been involved with post-production work and animation.