Let This Be a Lesson to You Creatives:
Schlock Sometimes Funds Better Stuff
Some good business friends of mine decided as an organization to celebrate the holidays with an unusual trek: a trip to the Near West Side for a tour of the house on W. 11th where the much-beloved movie A Christmas Story was filmed. So the other day, I checked out the website for the house, which was purchased for $150,000 on Ebay and subsequently rehabbed. And I was happy to learn something quite unexpected: this touching little tale about how the director harbored a dream to make this movie for years before finally figuring out how to get it done. Let this be a lesson to you creatives about how more prosaic work can sometimes bankroll one's dream projects:
The movie A Christmas Story might never have been made had it not been for another, decidedly less reputable comedic creature - Porky's. That's right. One of the most beloved holiday movies largely owes its existence to an infamous, unabashedly crude teen comedy.In the late 1960s, A Christmas Story director Bob Clark was driving to a date's house when he happened upon a broadcast of radio personality and writer Jean Shepherd's recollections of growing up in Indiana in the late '30s and early '40s. Clark wound up driving around the block for almost an hour, glued to the radio until the program was over."My date was not happy," Clark said, but he knew right away he wanted to make a movie out of the stories, many of which first appeared in Playboy magazine and were collected in Shepherd’s 1966 book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. Clark's adaptation, however, didn't happen overnight. At the time, he was a journeyman director who specialized in low-budget B movies. For years Clark tried to find a studio to finance the film. But none were interested. Nevertheless, Clark held on to his ambition to bring Shepherd's stories to the screen, and, in 1981, he directed Porky's. Which became a hit at the box office. Suddenly he had some clout the bargain with. In the wake of that hit the studio want a sequel to Porky’s. Clark agreed to make a sequel if the studio agreed to let him do A Christmas Story first.