The Red Ryder BB gun. The glowing leg-lamp. The secret message to drink your Ovaltine. The tongue stuck to the pole. “But I didn’t say fudge.” The rabbit pajamas. We remember A Christmas Story now in the same way that Ralphie himself remembers his own Christmas story: as a collection of isolated episodic memories rather than one smooth narrative, embedded permanently in our collective unconscious. Leave it to TV, then, to strip-mine every last remaining shaft of nostalgia in its pursuit of ratings supremacy.

Today, a press release brings the news of a casting update for Fox’s live-broadcast musical rendition of A Christmas Story set to open its one-night-only engagement on December 17. None other than snivel-voiced Matthew Broderick will lend his distinctive vocals to the production, narrating the show as the adult Ralphie looking back on his boyhood years. Jean Shepherd handled the role in the original 1983 film, but unlike Shepherd, Broderick will get some face-time as he tells his story instead of remaining unseen. Broderick joins a cast that already includes Maya Rudolph as young Ralphie’s mother, creating the deeply amusing if racially mixed-up notion that Rudolph could have given birth to Matthew Broderick. But what worked for the Brandy-led Cinderella can work again now, no?

While most of America knows the film by heart, the musical’s a relatively unknown quantity to those living beyond Broadway. That’s what will ultimately make or break this broadcast gambit, whether viewers are willing to accept a rewriting of a cherished childhood classic in an entirely new medium.

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