Entries in A Christmas Story (3)


Zach Ward: Bully from "A Christmas Story" Movie Sues, Says He Was Bullied in Real Life

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The actor who played the famous yellow-eyed nemesis to Ralphie in the movie, A Christmas Story, says in a lawsuit he's the one who was bullied in real life by the National Entertainment Collectibles Association.

Zach Ward, who played "Scut Farkus" in the 1983 holiday classic, settled a suit Friday against NECA after claiming the association used his image without permission in a board game based on the film.

Ward says he made just $5,000 for his performance in the movie and sued because he did not want to be pushed around himself.

"They expected me to roll over, suck my thumb and go home and complain and whine about it, but really do nothing and I just couldn't do that and it just wasn't right," Ward said.

The actor says that he did agree to allow NECA to make a 7-inch action figure to be made in the likeness of Farkus, but claims to have never given permission or been paid for the use of his image in a board game.

The movie itself gained popularity and fame on cable television, long after its run in theaters ended. By 1997 it had grown into an American holiday classic on cable television, when the TNT network began airing a 24-hour marathon of the movie on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Millions of Americans watch the film every year to this day, and a Broadway play recently launched in New York City based on the movie. Now, the actor who played perhaps the most famous bully of all time, is taking a cue from Ralphie in the movie and fighting back against NECA.

"It's not the way you're supposed to treat people and in my gut it just felt unfair and it was the perfect example of being bullied," Ward said.

Unlike other actors in the movie, Ward was a member of a Canadian actor's union and his contract did not provide future merchandising rights.

His lawsuit quotes a series of emails from the movie studio such as one that warned the board game maker: "You can not ship this product without approval from the actor who plays (Scut Farkus)."

But in the suit, Ward claimed NECA continued to manufacture and sell thousands of the board games.

"I had never been told about this," Ward said. "I had never been informed about it. I had never seen it before and I was shocked, absolutely shocked."

After settling the lawsuit on Friday, Kent Raygor, the attorney for NECA told ABC News: "During the course of the litigation, NECA admitted that it owed Ward some back royalties based on other Scut Farkus uses in an action figure, and had always offered to pay those to Ward."

However, Raygor alleges NECA always had properly obtained rights to the board game and says Ward has grown up to become a "professional plaintiff."

In regards to the current suit, he issued a statement scathing rebuke to ABC News about the real-life actor who played the bully.

"This has been a long, exceedingly silly case by a plaintiff who had a bit role as a 13-year-old in the well-known 1983 film," Raygor said. "Ward sued NECA over a barely visible 3/8" x 3/8" blurred image of part of the 'Scut Farkus' character's face on the back of a 2006 A Christmas Story board game. In that image, the Scut Farkus character is hardly recognizable. Any argument that a consumer would have bought that game just because of that tiny image on the back of the box was just wishful thinking."

Still, Raygor says NECA and Ward reached a confidential settlement of which he was barred from disclosing the financial terms. Raygor said the lawsuit was dropped following the settlement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


POW: A Mix of Old and New for “A Christmas Story” on Broadway

Carol Rosegg(NEW YORK) -- When the movie A Christmas Story came out in 1983, few went to see it in theaters but tens of millions have been watching it ever since.

Set in the 1940s in a fictional town in Indiana, the story about a boy named Ralphie and his one wish for Christmas — a Red Ryder carbine action BB gun — has a cult following.

Thirty years later, the tale is more popular than ever — and now featured on Broadway with Johnny Rabe playing the role of Ralphie.

Rabe grew up watching the original movie and said he never considered the possibility that he’d reprise the role one day.

“No,” he said. “Never thought I would be playing him, especially on Broadway. … It’s such a great honor to be playing such an iconic role.

“The thing about Ralphie is that everyone remembers when they were 9, 10, my age, and when you want something for Christmas, you do everything to get it. And that is why everyone relates to him [Ralphie],” Rabe said. “They love him.”

Like the movie, the musical takes the audience into Ralphie’s fantasies, including one in which he saves his family from bandits with that gun.

Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in the original film, is the show’s producer and an accomplished director.

He said A Christmas Story still held true for fans because it was one of Hollywood’s first real portrayals of a family.

“It wasn’t that idealized kind of 1950s version that we were given on TV, that a lot of us didn’t feel like that was our family,” Billingsley said. “I think that for so many families in the holidays, it’s the simplest things that can drive you most crazy - trying to get a tree, trying to navigate school, trying to get your son dressed to get out in the cold, wanting of that one gift that means the world to you. And so, it’s the commitment to that that I think makes the movie so relatable to so many people.”

He said the team behind the Broadway show had taken “delicate” care to not betray the fans lined up outside the theater. All of the movie’s iconic scenes, including the flagpole licking incident and the neighbor’s dogs, have been included.

“The movie has a lot of significance obviously in my life,” Billingsley said. “Most people have said, ‘That’s my dad. That’s my mom. That’s me.’”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Americans' Favorite Holiday Films 

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(POUGHKEEPSIE, NY) -- During the holidays, many Americans will settle in to watch their favorite Christmas movie. But which movies do Americans prefer?

According to a new Marist Poll, 24 percent of Americans prefer It’s a Wonderful Life but A Christmas Story came in a close second with 23 percent.

Also making the list of holiday favorites were Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, and White Christmas.

Age, however, plays a role in what Christmas classic Americans enjoy the most. Those 18 to 29 years of age and those 30 to 44 prefer A Christmas Story, while the older age group, 60 and older, divided their votes between It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio