The most iconic characters from the movie A Christmas Story is, of course Ralphie’s “official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.” The line alone is uttered nearly 30 times in the film. Needless to say, this well-loved BB gun is always the most sought-after prop for fans of the movie.
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From November to the end of 2015, the prop been missing from the A Christmas Story House and Museum’s collection. The exhibit was one of the limited production Christmas Dream rifles, which was made in 1983 as a tribute to the gun featured in the film.
While Daisy did produce 6 guns for use in the film, prior to then the Red Ryder model that had sundial and compass never existed. Author Gene Shepherd had created this imaginary rifle, and could have confused it to that of the Buck Jones rifle that Daisy made, and which also did feature a sundial as well as a compass. But let’s face it; Red Ryder just rolls off the tongue with a bit more ease as Buck Jones!
Following the film’s production, the 6 Red Ryder prop rifles were divided among the various crew members. One was taken into film archives and the other went to Ralphie himself, Peter Billingsley, never to be seen ever again. Then, someone contacted us, offering a possible lead!
The fan contacted us with a direct link to a listing from a collectibles company, The Prop Master. They’d acquired one of these extremely rare guns and were planning to purchase it for $10,000. Through a bit of research, we learned that the particular firearm had been held by a man known as Gary Meck. Meck, who was the producer asset manager of the movie, was looking to sell off his portion of A Christmas Story memorabilia!