2012 National Film Registry
Humorist Jean Shepherd narrates this memoir of growing up in Hammond, Ind., during the 1940s when his greatest ambition was to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The film is based in part on Shepherd’s 1966 compilation of short stories titled “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” which originated on his radio and television programs. Writer-director Bob Clark had long dreamed of making a movie based on Shepherd’s work and his reverence for the material shows through as detail after nostalgic detail rings true with period flavor. Peter Billingsley — with his cherubic cheeks, oversized glasses and giddy grin — portrays Shepherd as a boy. Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon are his harried-yet-lovable parents.