Monday, June 22, 2009

It's a Major Award - But where did it come from?

Ralphie Parker's dad won this "Major Award" in the movie "A Christmas Story." I know it's June, and Christmas is a long way off, but it will be here before long. And the next time time you watch the movie, you'll kow a little more about the situation. So, read on.

I've watched that film over 50 times, and I thought I knew it well. But in doing some research, I ran across something related to that story that I was totally unaware of. I’d like to share it with you loyal readers so we’ll all know it and be wiser because of it. It involves the “Major Award” won by the Old Man. By the way, you can get your own Major Award if you'd like. They are available on the Internet. Just Google "leg lamp."

It all started when the Chero-Cola company added Nehi Cola to its line of sodas in 1924 in order to offer more variety of soda flavors.

An instant success, Nehi quickly began outselling Chero-Cola entirely. Because of that popularity, the company changed its name to Nehi Corporation in 1928.

In the early 20th century, the advertising logo of Nehi was a picture of a seated woman's legs, in which the skirt was high enough to show the stockings up to the knee, suggesting the phrase "knee-high." I'm not sure where the chick on the right driving the boat came from but I bet she isn't wearing stockings. (Click that link for a history of womens hosiery.)

Now, here comes the connection. Most people don't realize it, but Nehi was the sponsor of the contest that the Old Man (Ralphie Parker’s father) wins, by knowing the name of The Lone Ranger’s nephew’s horse.

The answer, Victor, is actually supplied by the wife. While this is not made clear in the film, it is explained in Jean Shepherd’s book, “In God We Trust — All Others Pay Cash,” on which the film is based. And there you have it. And I dare you to keep it a secret. I triple dog dare ya!

I also was not aware that Nehi was available in 16 flavors (plus something called Dr. Nehi). Does anyone know what Radar O’Reilly’s favorite flavor was? Leave a comment if you know.


Caron said...

I am betting that it was Grape Nehi!

CJStewart said...


Michael said...

Grape is correct. You both are absolutely right. Good job!