One of the most memorable parts of the 1983 film A Christmas Story is the Leg Lamp. The Leg Lamp, or as the old man calls it the “Major Award”, was a large tacky lamp that the father in the film won. Since its initial release, A Christmas Story has grown a cult following and is frequently found in heavy TV rotation during the holidays. And with the film’s popularity, the legend of the Christmas Story Leg Lamp has been passed on through the generations.
Here are some fun Leg Lamp trivia items that you probably didn’t already know.
A Christmas Story Is Based On A Short Story That Was First Published In Playboy Magazine
Before it was a movie, A Christmas Story was a series of short stories by writer and radio personality Jean Shepherd. The stories were a fictional account of his childhood in the 1940s. The short story about the Leg Lamp is titled “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award that Heralded the Birth of Pop Art” and was originally published in 1966. The story that inspired A Christmas Story, “Red Ryder Nails the Hammond Kid”, was published in the December 1965 issue of Playboy Magazine.
NERD NOTE: Jean Shepherd had his own radio show at WOR-AM in New York City for 22 years (1955-1977).
The Leg Lamp In Christmas Story Was Inspired By A Soda Advertisement
Jean Shepherd first got the idea for the leg lamp after seeing a Nehi Soda advertisement featuring a pair of legs. Nehi’s signature image in their ads during the 30s and 40s was a pair of female legs.
Shepherd gave cloaked credit to Nehi by writing that the Old Man’s crossword contest was sponsored by an “orange pop” beverage company whose name “was a play on words, involving the lady’s knee.”
A Plus-Sized Model Posed For The Leg Lamp
The Leg Lamp is big, after all, it was “a major award.” Martin Malivoire, one of the prop designers who helped fabricate the lamp for the movie, used a plus-sized woman’s leg to cast the mold.
Only One Leg Lamp Survived The Filming Of A Christmas Story
Collecting movie props is a very popular, and profitable hobby. Iconic props like the Wilson volleyball from Cast Away, the Maltese Falcon, and the Batmobile have fetched small fortunes at auction. But sadly no one will ever own an original Leg Lamp.
Production designer Reuben Freed designed three-leg lamps for the film using a mold fabricated by Martin Malivoire. Two Leg Lamps were broken during filming. One survived and sat in the window of Martin Malivoire’s special effects shop in Toronto for several years.
Unfortunately, this is one of the saddest Leg Lamp trivia items on this list. While cleaning up his shop, Malivoire threw the lamp into the garbage. His timing was terrible. Just a few years later, everyone started going crazy for Leg Lamps. It’s too bad, Malivoire would have owned the ultimate Christmas Story collectible.
The Lamp Shade Is Shaped Like A Bell
After Martin Malivoire created the glass leg, production designer Reuben Freed created the style and design of the Christmas Story movie leg lamp. The lampshade is a classic bell shape based on a lamp from Freed’s mother’s living room.
The ‘A Christmas Story Leg Lamp’ Is An Icon In Cleveland
Although Jean Shepard is a native of Indiana, A Christmas Story was primarily filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years following the film’s release, the city has embraced being connected with the film.
To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of A Christmas Story in 2013, Terminal Tower in Cleveland’s Public Square was transformed into a giant leg lamp. People traveled from around the world to come to the United States for the event. Keen fans of the film might recognize Terminal Tower as Higbee‘s department store, where Ralphie and his brother have their frightening encounter with Santa.
Leg Lamp Replicas Are Very Popular Holiday Decorations And Holiday Gifts
It took several decades, but now you too can own the coveted Leg Lamp. And you don’t even have to win a contest like the Old Man to get one.
This half-scale 26″ reproduction of the Leg Lamp from the 1983 movie A Christmas Story isn’t completely accurate, but it’s probably close enough for most fans of A Christmas Story. And honestly, its smaller scale will be more apt to blend in with the average living room or make a great desk lamp.
And if you want a full-size floor lamp or a large 40″ inch Leg Lamp for the front window in your living room, then you’re in luck. They make those too. And the best part, most of these replica lamps come with an authentic box that says FRAGILE (fra-gee-le).
In 2012, Enough Christmas Story Leg Lamps Were Sold On Amazon To Top Mt. Everest
According to an Amazon.com press release on 2012 holiday sales, the Leg Lamp was such a popular item that if they stacked them all on top of each other they would be higher than Mount Everest (29,029 ft).
“If you stacked every Christmas Story Leg Lamp purchased by Amazon customers this holiday season, the height would reach the top of Mt. Everest.”
The Director Of A Christmas Story Made A Cameo In The Film Delivering The Leg Lamp
Bob Clark, the director of A Christmas Story, did a cameo with the Leg Lamp. Clark played the role of Swede, the dim-witted neighbor, who marvels at the Leg Lamp from outside the house.
The Leg Lamp In Christmas Story Has Inspired An Entire Line Of Christmas Decorations And Merchandise
For people who don’t need a new lamp but still love the Leg Lamp, smaller versions exist. In recent years Leg Lamp nightlights ($15+ via Amazon) and Leg Lamp Christmas Tree lights ($30 via Amazon) have all hit the market.
The smallest official version of the Leg Lamp available for purchase as a light-up necklace. This mini Leg Lamp necklace ($5 via Amazon) is sure to collect tons of compliments at your next holiday party.
Yes, you can also eat the Christmas Story Leg Lamp. This Leg Lamp cookie cutter ($5+ via Amazon) creates holiday cookies in the shape of the iconic lamp. Make your holiday treats into a Major Award that’s edible and everyone can enjoy.
Leg Lamp Trivia
There you have it! You are now a master at all things Leg Lamp. We hope you enjoyed reading this article about the infamous Leg Lamp. Please share it with your friends online. And if you own a Leg Lamp at home, please tell us about it in the comments.
NERD NOTE: Besides the Leg Lamp and the bunny suit, the other iconic prop from A Christmas Story is the Daisy Red Rider BB gun. Unlike the lamp and the bunny suit, the BB gun was a real product. Daisy has been making air rifles since the 1880s, but they didn’t introduce the Red Ryder BB gun until 1940. At the time, the rifle sold for only $2.95 and was named after a popular comic book cowboy character named Red Ryder.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.