He was loud, short-lived and loved to swear, but Ralph Parker’s father (referred to as “The Old Man”) was in a way the centerpiece of the original film. Outwardly he seemed to hate all the headaches that came with Christmas, but when the magical day finally came he always delivered. If Christmas could warm the old man’s heart, it should win everyone over.
Like the role he played, great character actor Darren McGavin is irreplaceable. Sadly, he passed away in 2006, and rather than attempting to recast him, they wisely decided that the character’s death would be the spark that set the plot of “A Christmas Story Christmas” in motion. Is it even possible to have a merry Christmas without The Old Man?
Despite all the stress he’s already under, the now-adult Ralph Parker is doing his best. Almost everything goes wrong, but in the end his family has a perfect Christmas all to themselves. A big part of that, of course, is that The Old Man buys everyone the perfect Christmas present before he dies (just like he did in the original). It’s a reminder that even if this film isn’t the same as the original, the heart of that first film is still there and its memory will last forever.