Everyone Is Losing It Over This Behind-the-Scenes Secret About 'A Christmas Story'

Kelly O'Sullivan
·2 min read

From House Beautiful

It's been almost forty years since Peter Billingsley starred in A Christmas Story鈥攂ut there's one scene the actor will never forget filming.

During an interview on the That Scene With Dan Patrick podcast, Peter revealed a behind-the-scenes secret about the classic Christmas movie that will knock your socks off.

During one of the film's most iconic moments, Peter's character Ralphie daydreams about being a Western hero who saves his family from a group of robbers using his trusty BB gun. But, according to Peter, the production team "totally screwed up."

"The scene says he's dressed as a sheriff. So I put the costume on," he explains. "And a line in the script says he's chewing tobacco."

(You can see that Ralphie is "chewing tobacco" around the 40-second mark.)

"So, sure enough, the prop man, who's responsible for that鈥攁nything the actor touches is the prop man's department鈥攈e comes up to me and he's got this pouch and it says Red Man on it," Peter explained. "And he flips it open鈥擨 swear to God, I don't know the difference鈥擨 said, 'What do I do with this?' He says, 'Here, jam it down in here.' He says, 'Don't swallow, just spit.'"

So what does 12-year-old Peter do? He jams the stuff in his mouth, of course!

"I do it, we get ready to go, and about 15 minutes in, the world starts tilting," the actor recalled. "I start sweating. My stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up."

That's when director Bob Clark yelled, "Cut, cut! What the hell is going on?'"

When the prop man admitted to giving the child actor real tobacco, Bob was not happy.

"So we shut down, I go and lay on the couch in the living room of the set for about 40 minutes until I can get [it] out of my system," Peter said. Then, they did what should have been done all along.

"They took a bunch of raisins, squished them together and then stuck that in my mouth, and I had brown spit," Peter explained.

The former child star laughs about it now, acknowledging that "it was a very different time then."

And, hey鈥攊t sure makes for a great story!

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