Black Friday shoppers descended on malls everywhere yesterday, but in Dormont, a different venue was getting all the attention.
The Hollywood Theater hosted Ian Petrella, who played “Randy Parker” in the classic Christmas film “A Christmas Story.”
Petrella said he enjoys touring smaller towns, and has had the best audience responses in the midwest and eastern parts of the country because those towns seem similar to the movie setting. It’s always fun to meet the people who helped make the film such a success, he said.
“It’s interesting because we went, we made (the movie), and kind of nothing came of it after that,” Petrella said. “It’s kind of like summer camp, the way I remember it. It’s a bizarre thing to go through sometimes.”
Hollywood Theater will show the movie tonight, Saturday, at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Petrella will present each showing by sharing behind-the-scenes stories as the movie plays. Tickets are $10 in advance for $15 at the door.
Petrella said that since most people have seen the film so many times, he wanted to make the movie-watching experience more interactive for the audience by sharing behind-the-scenes info.
“When I watch it, I don’t see it as a film,” Petrella said. “I remember what happened that day while we worked on it.”
Petrella made his first trip to Pittsburgh to present the movie in Dormont this weekend. While he’s here, he has a few other things on his agenda.
He’ll be a special guest at Brookline’s Light Up Night this evening, and will help kick off the Christmas celebration at UPMC Children’s Hospital on Sunday.
Tim Bendig, owner of In Person Production, which helped bring Petrella to Dormont, said his goal is to bring as many actors to the Hollywood as possible. He said his company also looks for ways to help bring those characters into the community so more people can meet them.
“When you show the movie, it’s just a movie,” Bendig said. “But when you have the characters there, it’s a lot of fun.”
It's good for the venue, too. Bendig said he also likes being able to bring larger, unique events to small boroughs and business districts, where people don't have to go far from home to enjoy a fun, affordable and family-friendly evening.
Dormont Mayor Tom Lloyd presented Petrella with an honorary Key to Dormont before Friday’s show and invited him to visit again, which Petrella said he’d like to do.
“The movie really got rebirth, basically in 2003 on the 20th anniversary,” Petrella said. “It’s nice to meet the people who helped rebirth it, but also to see the movie live on.”