Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Introducing The Kids to "A Christmas Story"
Hope this is the start of a new tradition for the Franklin Avenue family. The L.A. Conservancy screened the now-classic perennial "A Christmas Story" at the Orpheum this month, and we brought along the Blogger Kid and Blogger Toddler to see the movie for the very first time.
After a quick bite at the Two Boots pizzeria next door, we got in line late -- and as the crowd snaked around the corner, off Broadway, I began to wonder whether we'd get a seat. No worries. The Orpheum, currently the most grand of Broadway's surviving movie palaces (until the Los Angeles Theatre, the most beautiful of them all, is finally rehabbed), seats more than 2,000 people -- so there was plenty of room once we made it inside.
I always love visiting the Orpheum, be it for a movie screening (usually via the LA Conservancy; we saw "Chinatown" there earlier this year) or a concert. The Orpheum is also home to the Mighty Wurlitzer, the last of the great theater organs remaining on Broadway; for this screening, Bob Salisbury got the festive mood going with a selection of Christmas tunes (some of which the crowd sang along to). That was followed by a Looney Tunes short, "Gift Wrapped" (Warner Bros. 1952, starring Tweety Bird and Sylvester) -- and it dawned on me that the Blogger kids have quite possibly never seen a Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoon. They've seen the characters, but never the actual works that spawned them. We'll have to continue to rectify that.
As for "A Christmas Story," cable TV (notably, TBS, which airs it on a 24-hour loop for Christmas every year) helped turn it into a holiday staple. And for good reason. It remains a funny, heartwarming tale with just a touch of edge -- and its timeless stories hold up 30 years later (which makes the movie's 1940s setting nearly 70 years old!). Now that he's nearly 8, it seemed like a good time to introduce the Blogger Kid to the movie's joys. He's now old enough to get the humor and relate to the storyline. Granted, it's no "Ninjago" or "Jessie," but he could easily sympathize with Ralphie as the character pined for a certain Christmas present (although the BK couldn't understand the obsession with a BB gun; these days, kids pine away for XBox points); dealt with parents who weren't thrilled with that pick; struggled to stay on his teacher's good side; lived with a pesky younger brother; navigated the school's bullies; and so much more. The Blogger Toddler, on the other hand, eventually fell asleep in the dark theater.
After the movie, we stopped by downtown's The Last Bookstore and raided their upstairs $1 shelves for a bunch of new books. I don't think there's a better place than downtown to get into the holiday mood; next up, we'll be hitting the Pershing Square ice skating rink, another Franklin Avenue holiday tradition.