'A Christmas Story's' Ian Petrella Comes to Hollywood Theater

The actor who played 'Randy Parker' gives viewers a play-by-play of a Christmas classic.

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.”

AiXeLsyD13 November 28, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I think it's great that we have events like this here in Dormont. My wife & I had a great time on Friday night. Ian was very personable, and it was fun to hear his insight on the making of the film. The Hollywood is a wonderful venue, and I hope they work with In Person Productions again and frequently in the future to bring more events like this to the neighborhood! I did think it was a little odd that after presenting the key top the city, the mayor had the gall to not only say he had never watched the movie, but then left conspicuously with a rather large entourage before the showing. I found it to be a rather embarrassing representation of Dormont.
Erin Faulk November 28, 2011 at 04:55 PM
I talked with Tim Bendig of In Person Productions at the Friday night show, and it sounds like he has big plans for bringing more celebrities to the Hollywood. Nothing has been scheduled yet, but I believe he's in the process of doing so. It sounds like we're going to get used to seeing celebrities around Dormont!
AiXeLsyD13 November 28, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Very cool, I look forward to more!
Erin Faulk November 29, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Should have mentioned this before - I spoke with the mayor after he left. He said he'd been ill for several days, and was going home to rest, but that he was feeling better.
AiXeLsyD13 November 29, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Hmm, I hope they mayor's feeling better then. Perhaps he should have had a more discreet exit strategy, or sent another representative.


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