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Plots / Story Lines - General Topics
The Roots of Shep's Tales

Red Ryder BB Gun

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid"

"An official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time" Ralphie wants a BB Gun for Christmas, but his mother, the teacher, and even Santa give him a hard time. "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" This tale is the main storyline in the movie "A Christmas Story"
Story Evolution: Shep used all the mediums available to his to test and develop a story. He would tell it on his weekday show, and perhaps a limelight show in front of an audience. Then he would put it into a written form as a short story and ultimately many would end up in some form as part of a movie. The most famous of these stories is the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas story. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- December 26, 1964 - WOR Show Shep tells of being a kid and wanting a Daisy Model 200 for Christmas. The Red Ryder model was for sissies. His mother kept telling him - "You'll shoot someone's eye out" Shep and Randy get up on Christmas morning while their parents slept. He takes the Daisy outside while Randy plays with his gifts under the tree. The first shot ricochets, knocks his glasses off, pulverizing the lens. Shep goes back inside, puts his glasses on the floor and Randy accidentally steps on them. "Randy! You broke my glasses!" ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid - Short story in Playboy and used in the book "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" In this version his teacher's name is Miss Bodkin. Shep is now telling the story of Randy. He leaves 'hints' all around the house - "Open Road For Boys" magazines with the page opened to the Red Ryder ad. "You'll shoot someone's eye out" has evolved to "You'll shoot your eye out" The school 'theme' about what I want for Christmas is intrduced and he receives a 'B' They open their gifts on Christmas Eve after midnight. Ralph gets up early before his parents and Ralphie. The first shot knocks his glasses of into a snow bank and pulverizes the lens. He conjures up the story of how an icicle falls, hits the barrel of the rifle and makes the gunstock bounce up hitting him in the cheek, knocking off and breaking his glasses. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "A Christmas Story" - The movie The hints are now left in the form of a "Boy's Life" magazine, opened to the Red Ryder ad, stuffed into his mothers favorite magazine. Ralphie's teacher is now Miss Shield's and he receives a 'C+' on the theme. Everyone gets up on Christmas morning and sit around the tree opening gifts. Once the mysterious package in the corner behind the table is opened and identified as the Red Ryder, Ralphie goes outside to try it out. The first shot ricochets hitting him in the cheek, knocking his glasses off to the ground. While trying to find them, he steps on and breaks them. He then conjures up the story about the icicle falling and hitting him. There were other less significant changes made to the story such as the grumpy man standing in line and telling Randy - "Hey Kid, the line starts back there". This was probably added to give Shep and Leigh a presence in the movie. Also, the goofy kid standing in line was probably added to annoy an already impatient Ralphie. This is a typical example of how Shep would tell a story once and then through the years, he would continually improve upon it never seeming to be satisfied and calling it 'finished'.
Associated Documents
Where Shep Made Reference To This Subject

1979 proposed Comic Strip about Jean Shepherd

Courtesy: John Roman

1940 Montgomery Ward Winter Catalog

"The Daisy"

Red Ryder Ad