Peter Billingsley Ralphie A Christmas Story classic chewing tobacco

Peter Billingsley was just 12 years-old when he starred as the iconic Ralphie Parker in the classic 1983 holiday movie A Christmas Story, which is still beloved by millions of fans to this day.

Now at age 49, Billingsley shared quite the shocking story about something that happened  to him behind the scenes on the set of the film. 

Peter Billingsley Shares Shocking Story From ‘A Christmas Story’ Set 

Young Ralphie is plagued by bad luck in this Christmas classic. His plight is what makes ‘A Christmas Story’ both comical and endearing to Americans of all backgrounds.

When the actor who played Ralphie sat down with People Magazine, we learned that his dumb luck extended offscreen too!

“Well, they totally screwed up, Dan,” Billingsley recalled. “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.”

“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,'” he added. 

“So, I do it, we get ready to go, and about 15 minutes in, the world starts tilting,” the actor said. “I start sweating. My stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up.”

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Prop Man Admits He Gave Ralphie Chewing Tobacco For ‘A Christmas Story’ Scene

Billingsley remembers Bob Clark, the director of the movie, screaming, “Cut, cut! What the hell is going on?”

“And the prop man says, ‘Oh, I gave him Red Man, you know.’” said Billingsley. “Bob says, ‘What are you doing? He’s 12 years old!’”

“So we shut it down, I go and lay on the couch in the living room of the set for about 40 minutes until I can get this s— out of my system,” he added.

“Then they did what they should have done. 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. Can you imagine? It was a very different time then. He just gave me straight-up, whole-cut-leaf Red Man.”

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Peter Billingsley Is Surprised The Movie Is Still So Popular

This is one of the only not-so-good memories that Peter Billingley has of playing Ralphie in this Christmas classic.

Decades later, he’s shocked that A Christmas Story is still so popular with fans young and old.

“To have something that stuck then, and then every decade continues to, there’s obviously a deeper core that it’s hitting,” he said.

While this tobacco story is quite the surprise, it certainly only adds to the charm of A Christmas Story

For anyone who hasn’t seen this Christmas classic or just wants a good laugh, the trailer is below.

This year you can watch A Christmas Story with Hulu Live TV, TBS or TNT On Demand, or rent it from AppleTV+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, or Vudu.

TBS and TNT will also air their traditional 24-hour marathon on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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