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Peter Billingsley reveals a prop guy gave him real chewing tobacco in A Christmas Story

One of the many go-to holiday movies for many families is the beloved 1983 classic A Christmas Story, with Peter Billingsley shedding new light on an iconic scene.

The film followed Billingsley’s character Ralphie, who desperately wanted a Red Ryder BB gun, to the point where he even dreamed about being a sheriff and using the toy gun to save his family.

The 49-year-old actor-turned-film-producer was a guest on the That Scene With Dan Patrick podcast, where he revealed he was given actual chewing tobacco by a ‘prop guy.’

Iconic scene: One of the many go-to holiday movies for many families is the beloved 1983 classic A Christmas Story, with Peter Billingsley shedding new light on an iconic scene.

Grown-up Peter: The 49-year-old actor-turned-film-producer was a guest on the That Scene With Dan Patrick podcast, where he revealed he was given actual chewing tobacco by a 'prop guy'

Grown-up Peter: The 49-year-old actor-turned-film-producer was a guest on the That Scene With Dan Patrick podcast, where he revealed he was given actual chewing tobacco by a ‘prop guy’

The actor was just 12 years old when he was on the set of the now-Christmas classic, when he was given the real chewing tobacco, though he didn’t know what it was.

‘Well, they totally screwed up, Dan. The scene says he’s dressed as a sheriff. So you put the costume on. And a line in the script says he’s chewing tobacco,’ he began.

‘So, sure enough, the prop man, who’s responsible for that — anything the actor touches is the prop man’s department — he comes up to me and he’s got this pouch and it says Red Man on it, and he flips it open — I swear to God, I don’t know the difference — I said, “What do I do with this?” He says, “Here, jam it down in here.” He says, “Don’t swallow, just spit,”‘ Billingsley said.

Classic: The actor was just 12 years old when he was on the set of the now-Christmas classic, when he was given the real chewing tobacco, though he didn't know what it was

Classic: The actor was just 12 years old when he was on the set of the now-Christmas classic, when he was given the real chewing tobacco, though he didn’t know what it was

‘About 15 minutes later, the world starts tilting, I start sweating, my stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up,’ he added.

After director Bob Clark called cut and asked ‘what the hell’s going on,’ the prop man admitted to giving him Red Man, to which the director responded, ‘What are you doing? He’s 12 years old!’

He added that filming was shut down, ‘for about 40 minutes’ as he went to lay down on the couch until he could, ‘get this s**t out of my system.’ 

Shut down: He added that filming was shut down, 'for about 40 minutes' as he went to lay down on the couch until he could, 'get this s**t out of my system'

Shut down: He added that filming was shut down, ‘for about 40 minutes’ as he went to lay down on the couch until he could, ‘get this s**t out of my system’

When he was ready to shoot again, they found a way around giving him real chewing tobacco, they gave him raisins.  

‘Someone had the good idea, they took a bunch of raisins, squished them together and then stuck that in my mouth, and I had brown spit,’ Billingsley explained.

“Can you imagine? It was a very different time then. He just gave me straight-up, whole-cut leaf Red Man,’ the actor added.

Raisins: When he was ready to shoot again, they found a way around giving him real chewing tobacco, they gave him raisins.

Raisins: When he was ready to shoot again, they found a way around giving him real chewing tobacco, they gave him raisins.

A Christmas Story ended up earning over $19 million at the box office from a $4 million budget, and has become a perennial holiday classic over the years.

Billingsley continued acting into the 80s and 90s in films like Russkies, but he ultimately transitioned into a filmmaker and producer.

He directed films such as Couples Retreat and Term Life, while producing movies like Iron Man, Zathura and most recently The Opening Act. 

Box office: A Christmas Story ended up earning over $19 million at the box office from a $4 million budget, and has become a perennial holiday classic over the years

Box office: A Christmas Story ended up earning over $19 million at the box office from a $4 million budget, and has become a perennial holiday classic over the years

Director-producer: He directed films such as Couples Retreat and Term Life, while producing movies like Iron Man, Zathura and most recently The Opening Act

Director-producer: He directed films such as Couples Retreat and Term Life, while producing movies like Iron Man, Zathura and most recently The Opening Act


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