Every year, about this time, people ask where I am in the movie "A Christmas Story." I'm about 5 minutes in on your DVD player, after the choir sings, the camera pans above the window. You'll see the top of an Army garrison cap (that's my ex, bless his heart) and then the shot will be from the inside of window. Look for the WAC uniform, that's a (much younger) me!
Answers to the most common questions:
I got to be an extra because we decided to dress up and go down to Cleveland on a whim. I ran into one of the local sound guys (Chuck Fleming) that I knew from a show I did (Stompin' At The State) and he took us over to one the ADs and they said, "Sure!" I think because we were in uniform because they weren't taking any more extras.
They sent us to hair and makeup and they shaved off my ex's moustache, which I found highly amusing! One of the Hair-and-Makeup guys was my mom hairdresser, Raun, from Kirtland, Ohio!
I had two pairs of tights on (thinking ahead, just in case) but it took about 24 hours for my feet to actually get warm and fully circulating after we filmed.
We came around 5pm at dusk and left as dawn was breaking.
We were in that window for 8 hours.
There were about 400 extras in those downtown scenes total. We were in several other scenes. Everywhere you looked, it all looked old. Clothing, cars. It was very surreal and extremely cool. As if you'd gone back in a time machine.
The Window People, as we called ourselves, amounted to about 30 of us,
It was bitterly cold (18-22 degrees) but no snow (they made it and imported it from the local ski resorts).
They filmed these scenes on January 22-23, 1983.
They fed us a very good box lunch. I was actually stunned they fed us!
The 4 starring kids were all very nice, but they got Trailer Time in the warmth every hour. The rest of us got a slight break and coffee, extra kids included, but we had to pretty much stay there.
The other extras were funny as heck, God how we laughed and teased each other. Standing in the cold, huddled together, is a VERY bonding experience.
We got paid minimum wage, I still have the pay stub and they took out taxes; we had to fill out a W-2.
The movie (which premiered in Nov. 1983) was almost a flop, it didn't do well AT all in theaters. When we went to see it, (in early Dec.) there were 5 people total in the theater. Of course, we shouting, "Oh my GOD, there we are!"
Total time for all the shots we were in on Cleveland's Public Square: 12 hours.
It's not even close to being one of my favorite holiday films. I almost never watch it!!
Best line of the night:
AD in megaphone to 400 extras: "Ooooooooh-kaaay folks, that was great. Go back to your original starting spots and THIS time, DON'T. LOOK. AT. THE. CAMERA!!"
I'd do it again in a NY minute!