Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 8, 2012

Screening a Christmas classic

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A North Tonawanda resident, Joe Lavey, is set to have a dream of weekend, with the chance to spend time with an actor from his favorite film — “A Christmas Story.” 

Lavey, the president of the Sweeney Fire Hose Co., has loved the classic motion picture since childhood and helped organize a showing of the film to be held Sunday at the Riveria Theatre.

His fixation is easily seen in the firefighter’s home, decked out with two leg lamps from the film, one of which is signed by all the actors. 

““My wife would say I’m obsessed with the movie,” Lavey joked. “I relate to it. I wanted a BB gun growing up, and my mom gave me the same exact line in the movie...except I never got the BB gun.”

And this past summer, the stars aligned for Lavey. Ian Petrella, who plays Ralphie Parker’s younger brother Randy in the film, posted an advertisement on Facebook in June in hopes he could show the movie nationwide at local theaters. Lavey immediately thought of the Riv and quickly responded.

A week later, the actor’s agent, Tim Bendig, called to tell Lavey the theater would make for a perfect spot for an event.

“Joe was one of the guys that was serious and really put this together,” Petrella said. “It’s a completely fan driven thing, it’s a lot of fun.”

As part of the country’s movie tour, Petrella is traveling to a number of cities in December for movie showings and fan meet-and greets. But Tonawanda’s event will have something the others won’t — the original fire truck from the movie, used in the scene where Ralphie’s friend Flick gets his tongue stuck to a flag pole.

The vehicle is now owned by a Niagara Falls, Ontario company, who will be bringing the 1930s fire truck to the Riv Sunday and will be offering rides starting at 12:30 p.m.

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