OK, I'm reading In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. You know, the book that A Christmas Story is based on, as well as the straight-to-video sequel which I linked to months ago. Shepherd's style is purple prose at its best, so over the top that you just have to laugh at it. Few other writers make the tribulations of daily life sound so heroic, which is why I guess he still has a following ten years after his death.
Anyhow, another portion of the book was made into a film for American Playhouse some time back. It was titled The Great American Fourth of July (and Other Disasters) and it came out in 1982, a year before A Christmas Story. It starred a young Matt Dillon as a teenage Ralphie and a cast of spot-on other players (with a less doofus-y actor to play Ralph's dad).
Anyhow, some gallant soul made the video available on youtube, but--alas--the sound is about ten seconds out of synch. If anyone knows where I can get a vhs or dvd copy...PLEASE! I BEG YOU!!!