December television programming is filled with classic holiday flicks that are as varied as we are. From the inspiring message of human worth in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” to the modern version of “A Christmas Carol,” to kids favorites “Frosty the Snowman” and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” to the oddball science fiction movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” there is no loss of opportunity to watch holiday features to help get us in the spirit.
One of the most popular holiday films is one that has been shown annually as a marathon on TNT and TBS since 1997. That movie is “A Christmas Story,” and it is a fun and humorous tale of a Midwest family in 1940. Presented in a series of vignettes, narrated by the adult Ralphie Parker recalling the Christmas when he was nine and wanted one and one thing only: a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle made by Daisy. His wish is roundly rejected by his mother, his teacher Miss Shields, and even a Santa Claus at a department store, all giving him the same warning: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
On Christmas Day, Ralphie is very disappointed after opening all his presents and not getting his prized Red Ryder. However, his father tells him to keep looking and in the corner is an unopened gift, which turns out to be the Daisy Red Ryder.
Many a boy during the 40s and for decades later had the Daisy Red Ryder on their Christmas list. These simple wooden spring-powered air guns could shoot BB-size round shots which were invented by William F. Markham who worked at a company that manufactured windmills. The sales and popularity of the Red Ryder grew so much that the company began producing them exclusively, and changed the company name officially to Daisy Manufacturing Company.
Eventually, Markham sold his interest in the product and moved to California where he spent the rest of his years. He passed away at the age of 79 and was interred at Dahlia Terrace in the Great Mausoleum in Glendale as a Distinguished Resident of Forest Lawn.