Monday, December 19, 2011


On average, when a TV show does its Christmas-themed episode, they usually do a variation on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" or Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life". Okay, sometimes there's a spoof of the Dr. Seuss character of the Grinch, and 'Dream On' even pulled off the birth in a manger story.

The 'Warehouse 13' Christmas episode this year fell into the "Wonderful Life" category where a character sees what the world would have been like had he never been born. This time, Warehouse agent Pete Lattimer came into contact with a artifact that once belonged to Philip Van Doren Stern. (Stern's story "The Greatest Gift" was the basis for the plotline of "It's A Wonderful Life".)
What was great about the revised timeline for the Warehouse was the shout-out to the rich inventory previously seen in the series - like the bloodstone from the pilot or DeMille's riding crop. Plus there were mentions of other characters like Hugo, Dr. Vanessa Calder, H.G. Wells, Claudia's brother and Artie's father. Best of all, Pete's new timeline brought James MacPherson back from the dead, played by guest star Roger Rees.

At the Warehouse, all of the Christmas-themed artifacts were kept in their own aisle. I would imagine the snow globe from the Christmas episode of 'Haven' will eventually end up there (especially since most of the other Syfy shows, like 'Eureka' and 'Alphas' have made connections to 'Warehouse 13'.) The snow globe would join other artifacts like that brush and a skein of red yarn (properties unknown).

But the best Christmas artifact in that particular section of the Warehouse was the leg lamp from the movie "A Christmas Story". Unfortunately, we never learned its special properties - unlike Stern's brush, there was no problem with Pete making contact with it.
In the TV Universe, the movie "A Christmas Story" is a movie as well - characters from 'One Tree Hill' compared their situation to the movie once, and lots of characters have quoted the classic line: "You'll shoot your eye out, Kid."

But did you know "A Christmas Story", at least within the TV Universe, was based on a "true" story? Back in 1976, we saw the "real" life of Ralphie Parker as a teenager in the PBS production "The Phantom Of The Open Hearth". The basic plotline had Ralphie maneuvering the minefield of prom dates in the late 1940's.
"A Christmas Story" was based on Ralphie's life as a child earlier in that decade. (I figured it to be 1940 or '41, due to the presence of characters from the 1939 movie "The Wizard Of Oz" in the town's Christmas parade.)
The incident with the leg lamp (a major award!), which occurred later in Ralphie's teen years, was appropriated for inclusion in the movie.

The leg lamp we see at the Warehouse is not the "real" lamp from Ralphie Parker's home - that was of a different design. This lamp is one of the standby props used for the movie. (The main lamp was eventually broken in the movie.)
I'm wondering what special property is held by this movie prop now that it's become an artifact.

My guess?

It only activates on Christmas Eve, when it can make you relive the same two hours of your life over and over again for 24 hours - just like TBS reruns "A Christmas Story" for a full day.

(And be sure to drink your Ovaltine......)


Hugh said...

Aren't the Wizard of Oz characters in the parade supposed to represent one of the times the film was rereleased to recoup costs? I always thought it was from the later 40s because of a couple of things, with that the main reason.

Toby O'B said...

Well, I got this from Wikipedia (you know, the most trusted source on everything):

"'Little Orphan Annie' was adapted to a 15-minute radio show that debuted on WGN Chicago at 5:45 pm EST on April 6, 1931, and eventually aired from coast to coast on NBC's Blue Network. The show was one of the first comic strips adapted to radio, attracted about 6 million fans, and left the air in 1942."

Plus there's a deleted scene from the movie in which Ralphie day-dreams about rescuing Flash Gordon with his BB gun. The last of those Buster Crabbe serials was in 1940. So I'm thinking 1941 was a good compromise on the timeline.

Brian Leonard said...

I read this whole post and all I got at the end was...a crummy ad???