In honor of a local resident credited as the creator of the leg lamp — featured memorably in the holiday classic “A Christmas Story” — an Oklahoma town has installed a 50-foot statue of the iconic item.
The statue paying tribute to Noland James made its official debut during a leg lighting ceremony Nov. 5 in a park in downtown Chickasha, about 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
“Fra-gee-lay, that must be Italian!”
If you’ve seen “A Christmas Story”, then you know about the leg lamp. A giant sized version is now on display in Chickasha! #drone #dronepilot #dronelife #dronephotography #dronevideo #oklahoma #chickasha #leglamp #achristmasstory #statue pic.twitter.com/Xgz2bme2zZ
— FlightTimeOKC (@flighttimeokc) November 19, 2022
📸 Angie Wilkerson pic.twitter.com/zfBxG4K1im
— KAKE News (@KAKEnews) November 14, 2022
“Noland was so gifted — the guy was very humble. Only to his close personal friends would he mention that he built the original leg lamp,” James’ longtime friend, Joe Hutmacher, told the paper.
When James died two years ago, his obituary told the story of how he had thrown together the lamp with a lady mannequin, pumps and black hose and set it up in his office at the university.
A man came to the university seeking work and became mesmerized by the lamp, much in the same way Ralphie’s father was in “A Christmas Story.”
Day after day, the man visited James’ office to look at the lamp and ask questions about it.
“A few years later, this same man was on the production team that produced the leg lamp from a hosiery leg for a 1983 movie,” the obituary said.
James might have been unwilling to make a big deal out of his role in the leg lamp’s popularity, but his hometown had no such qualms.
“For us to be connected to it in an unusual way, we’re glad that so many people love that movie — and that the leg lamp is such a big deal to people,” said Jim Cowan, director of the Chickasha Economic Development Council, according to The Oklahoman.
James died July 18, 2020, at age 89, and a few months later the town set up an inflatable 40-foot commemoration of the leg lamp.
HOW COOL IS THIS?! 🎄😂 A 40-foot “leg lamp” from the iconic Christmas movie “A Christmas Story” is now on display in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Tell a friend who would LOVE to check it out! #leglamp #AChristmasStory #Christmas #KOCO5 pic.twitter.com/zwmluNjVy0
— koconews (@koconews) November 30, 2020
After winds caused the inflatable version to collapse, the town began work on a more solid monument, and it was installed at 101 W. Chickasha Ave.
James’ obituary reads, “Noland always felt his lamp was the prototype for the one in the movie ‘A Christmas Story.'”
That is disputed by the website of the Christmas Story House and Museum in Cleveland, which was used for interior and exterior shots of Ralphie’s house in the movie.
It says production designer Reuben Freed created it for the film in conjunction with “Christmas Story” author Jean Shepherd.
A Christmas Story’s production designer Reuben Freed designed the infamous leg lamp. It was based on the design of a sign for Nehi Cola.
— Leg Lamp Guy (@LegLampTrivia) December 4, 2009
Residents of Chickasha don’t seem too worried about that.
“This man, who was instrumental in starting our Festival of Light, claimed to have invented the leg lamp — so we’re gonna have fun with it,” Cowan said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.