If, like many people, you believe that "A Christmas Story" is the best Christmas movie ever, then today brought bad news ...
It's well known that the story of Ralphie, his gun, Flick, the flagpole and other adventures was drawn from the stories of raconteur Jean Shepherd. But getting a share of the screenplay credit is Bob Clark, who also directed, and so deserves a lot of credit for the movie's style and tone.
Shepherd died in 1999. Clark has now followed, dead along with his 22-year-old son in a car crash. According to the Los Angeles Times report they were hit head-on by another car, whose driver was under the influence of alcohol.
Any such death is pointless, but there's an extra pang for people in Northeast Ohio, where "A Christmas Story" is not only a great movie but a landmark event built with local soil and brick.
Clark directed other movies, of course, including the semiautobiographical blockbuster "Porky's," one of the archetypes of raunchy teen comedy, and some pretty good movies for kids, like TV's "Fudge-A-Mania." But when you run through his list of credits it's clear that his crowning achievement is "A Christmas Story." And it will still be watched and loved long when our grandchildren's children are marking the holidays.