Melinda Dillon Genuinely Shrieked When Seeing The Duck in ‘A Christmas Story’s Final Scene

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In 1983’s A Christmas Story, Melinda Dillon played the mom to Ralphie and his little brother. The classic with a ’40s setting tells the story of nine-year-old Ralphie, narrated by the adult version of the character while recalling a Christmas he had spent in Indiana. Little Ralphie badly wanted a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas, and everyone he asks about it gives him the classic response, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

The curious boy eventually gets his wish and, in fact, almost “shoots his eye out.” The movie ends with a scene where Ralphie’s mother shrieks at seeing a duck getting its head chopped off at the Chinese restaurant they have Christmas dinner at. The fun fact about this scene was that Dillion gave her true reaction at the sight of the duck — she was terrified in real life.

Roast Duck For Christmas Dinner

Melinda Dillon
A CHRISTMAS STORY, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, 1983, (c)MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

In the closing scene, a dog ate the Parkers’ Christmas turkey, which led them to the Chinese restaurant. It’s a jolly mood as the restaurant staff sing carols before presenting the dinner — roast duck. However, Dillon was not expecting to see a roast duck with its head still on it. She shrieks so loud and starts to laugh hysterically. Her script was different from the rest of the cast, and deliberately so, making her acting very natural at that moment.

RELATED: The Trailer For ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ Is Here & Ralphie Is All Grown Up

The duck incident with Dillon was not the only unscripted moment in A Christmas Story. Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie, reacted genuinely to the “leg lamp” when it was revealed. Billingsley had not seen the it before that scene, and when he did, he responded with awe, running his hands through the leg. His dad, played by Darren McGavin, also says the unscripted popular line, “He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny,” when Ralphie comes down the stairs in the bunny suit his aunt gave him.

A CHRISTMAS STORY, Peter Billingsley, 1983. © MGM / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Melinda Dillon Did Not Star In The Sequel

The sequel to the ’80s classic, A Christmas Story Christmas, premiered in November on HBO Max by Warner Bros. Pictures. However, Dillon did not reprise her role due to her retirement in 2007. As a replacement, Julie Hagerty from Airplane! stepped in as Mrs. Parker. We also did not see Darren McGavin, who played Mr. Parker (aka “The Old Man”) as he passed away in 2007.

Melinda Dillon
A CHRISTMAS STORY, from left: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Peter Billingsley, 1983. ©MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

In this sequel, Ralphie hopes to give his children a lovely Christmas. “The sequel follows an adult Ralphie in the 1970s, who returns to the house on Cleveland Street to deliver his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had growing up,” the synopsis read.

Need some Christmas/Holiday nostalgia? You can catch the A Christmas Story marathon on TNT and TBS on Christmas Day.

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