Tonawanda News

Local News

December 9, 2012

"A Christmas Story" actor to hold event at the Riv


Tonawanda News — “The proceeds from the rides will all go back to the fire company for the maintenance of the truck,” Lavey said. “Whenever something fixes on the truck, they have to get it manufactured, so it can get really costly.”

Petrella came to town Friday, and Lavey clearly appreciated the chance to spend some time with him at media and social events prior to the showing.

“I really think we found the movie’s biggest fan,” Bending said.

Petrella, who now lives in California, fondly remembers the time spent filming the Christmas classic.

“Being an 8 year old and being able to make a movie was awesome,” Petrella said. “It was better than being at summer camp.”

Petrella is best known from the movie’s scene in which he is dressed up in a snowsuit and said he still keeps in touch with the rest of the cast. After the filming of the movie in 1983, he continued to act, mostly for television shows, like “Who’s the Boss,” and commercials.

Now Petrella does post-production and animation work — from editing to effects and graphic design.

But he still meets people who are amazed at Petrella’s famed past.

“Usually, they are surprised,” Petrella said. “They aren’t sure, they want to see some I.D...but they are almost always welcoming. It’s like an I am an old friend they haven’t seen in a while.”

Apart from meeting Petrella, Lavey is most excited about seeing the movie on the big screen for the first time.

“I’ve seen it on VHS, blu ray, DVD, but never up on a movie screen,” he said.

Petrella and Bending are hoping to make such events a community tradition, just like the 24-hour marathon that runs on Christmas. And with all proceeds going to charity groups and not Petrella himself, the events are a great way to give back to communities, he said.

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