The Sequels – My Summer Story & Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss
My Summer Story (1994) is the little known sequel to A Christmas Story. My Summer Story originally titled It Runs in the Family is another collaboration of director Bob Clark and author Jean Shepherd. While the film once again features narration by author Jean Shepherd, the cast is entirely different. The only returning cast member is Ralphie’s teacher Miss Shield (Tedde Moore).
The story takes place soon after the events of A Christmas Story, still revolving around the lives of the Parker family. But summer has arrived, and with school out for vacation, fourth-grader Ralphie (Kieran Culkin) is ready to experience another life-changing season. Throughout the summer, Ralphie prepares himself rigorously to do battle with the class bully, Scut Farkus in a game of tops. Meanwhile, the Old Man (Charles Grodin) declares war on the family’s hillbilly neighbors, The Bumpus’ and introduces Ralphie to fishing, Mom (Mary Steenburgen) falls victim to a theatre manager’s con, and little brother Randy (Christian Culkin) continues his annoying ways.
As with most sequels this one is a far cry from the original brilliance of A Christmas Story. The film has received little praise or notoriety. Jean Shepherd himself admitted – “That one was a real turkey.”
A third, made for television movie about the Parker family is called Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss. (1988) Chronicles the Parker’s summer vacation, Ralphie getting a job, and the disappearance of the family dog.
Many years later the direct to DVD A Christmas Story 2 (2012) billed as the Official Sequel made it’s debut. The plot picks up with Ralphie as a teenager. He no longer yearns for a Red Ryder BB gun, but now desperately wants a new toy for Christmas – a 1938 Hupmobile Skyline Convertible. A Christmas Story 2 replays many of the same “gags” and plot lines as the original but without the same warmth or charm. A Christmas Story 2 was the last movie produced by Warner Direct, the direct to DVD arm of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Trivia Fun Fact: A Christmas Story was the original inspiration for the format of the hit television show The Wonder Years. Daniel Stern, who plays the dad in A Christmas Story 2 was the voice of the adult Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years.