How A Christmas Story's Tongue-on-the-Flagpole Scene Was Filmed

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

If the classic 1983 holiday movie A Christmas Story taught us anything, it’s to be wary of BB guns, mall elves, and flagpoles. More specifically: sticking your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

Of course, that’s the situation little Flick (played by Scott Schwartz) found himself in when he was challenged to a triple dog dare. Fortunately, though, the child actor didn’t actually have to subject his tongue to ice-cold metal, CinemaBlend has reported. Instead, a suction apparatus was attached to the pole to create the illusion of Schwartz’s tongue being stuck, without the risk of ripping off chunks of flesh for real.

"They made a piece of plastic that they slid over [the flagpole]," Schwartz explained in a previous interview. "It had a little hole in it with a suction tube that went into the snow—you couldn’t see it, it was a little motor, like a small vacuum cleaner, [and] the hole-opening [in the plastic] was about the size of your pinky nail. So when you put your tongue there or finger or whatever, it just stuck.”

He could easily remove his tongue by pulling back, and the whole scene was painless (with the exception of the frigid temperatures the young actors had to endure).

Every once in a while, some kid who just watched the movie on TV will attempt this tongue-freezing feat and end up getting “thtuck,” just as Flick did. Schwartz is often asked by reporters to comment on these copycat cases.

“I get calls every year from [reporters], ‘Hey, we got a kid that stuck his tongue to a pole. Can you give us a comment?,’” Schwartz told Yahoo! in 2015. "I go, 'Yeah, he’s a schmuck.'"

According to Schwartz, A Christmas Story didn’t use any special effects or anything “that would create buzz or massive attention for the film,” so its subsequent success as "an American iconic film" was somewhat of a surprise for those involved.

[h/t CinemaBlend]

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Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus
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Mark Hamill Learned About The Empire Strikes Back's Big Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else

Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Few cinematic secrets were better kept—or more shocking when they came out—than that of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa's true parentage in the Star Wars saga. According to ComicBook.com, the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke and Leia's father was such a well-kept secret that it wasn't actually put into the script at all. Evidently, only three people on set knew about the moment in advance: Mark Hamill, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner. (Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was also aware.)

Hamill took to Twitter to explain the pivotal part of the franchise, during which a fake line was used so the actual reveal could be dubbed in afterwards, allowing the trio to keep the secret from the cast and crew for more than a year.

"The cast & crew first learned of it when they saw the finished film," Hamill said to his fans on Twitter. "When we shot it, Vader's line was 'You don't know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father.' Only Irvin Kershner, George Lucas & I knew what would be dubbed in later. Agony keeping that secret for over a year!"

Props to them for not letting the spoiler slip early. Even with the pressure of keeping such a big plot twist under wraps, Lucas says financial concerns were what plagued him most.

“Well, to be very honest, the most challenging aspect was paying for [The Empire Strikes Back],” Lucas recently told StarWars.com. “In order to be able to take control of the movie, I had to pay for it myself. And in order to do that, I did something my father told me never to do, which was to borrow money. But there wasn’t much I could do because I only had maybe half of the money to make the movie, so I had to borrow the other half, which put a lot of pressure on me.”

If you feel like reminiscing about a galaxy far, far away, check out this year's May the Fourth celebration compilation here. And if you want to see the twist for yourself (whether it's for the first or the hundredth time), all nine movies in the Skywalker Saga are now streaming on Disney+.

[h/t ComicBook.com]

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