'A Christmas Story's Peter Billingsley Shares How He Got Sick On Set After Given Chewing Tobacco

When I was a wee tyke, I once watched my father make himself a drink that heavily featured tequila. When I asked if I could have some, dear old dad decided it was the perfect time to teach me a lesson abut alcohol, and let me take a big swig of the stuff. I'm sure you can imagine how that went!

While I swore to never drink again (I'll admit, I've relaxed my feelings on tequila since then), it certainly taught me a lesson that many kids learn in similar ways — even, apparently, on movie sets! Peter Billingsley from A Christmas Story just opened up about a similar lesson he learned about tobacco on the set of the film.

This time of year, one movie we always love to watch and watch again is *A Christmas Story.*

Watching little Ralphie, played by a 12-year-old Peter Billingsley, as he dreams and wishes for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas despite the warnings that he'll shoot his eye out NEVER gets old!

When I was younger, I was definitely on Ralphie's side, but now that I'm older — I'm team Dad all the way! He really WOULD shoot his eye out!

One memorable scene is when Ralphie daydreams about using his BB gun to defend his family from an infamous gang of criminals.

In this fantasy world, Ralphie envisions himself a tough-guy cowboy sheriff, chewing tobacco and all, as he fends off the imagined outlaws.

It turns out that that chewing tobacco had caused quite a commotion on set!

"Well, they totally screwed up," Peter Billingsley said in a recent interview about the scene.

"The scene says he’s dressed as a sheriff," Peter recalled. "So you put the costume on. And a line in the script says he’s chewing tobacco."

Sounds good so far!

"So, sure enough, the prop man, who’s responsible for that — anything the actor touches is the prop man's department," Peter explained.

"He comes up to me and he's got this pouch and it says Red Man on it, and he flips it open. I swear to God, I don’t know the difference. I said, 'What do I do with this?'" Peter recalled.

We'd hope that a 12 year old wouldn't know what to do with chewing tobacco!

"He says, 'Here, jam it down in here.' He says, 'Don’t swallow, just spit.'"

"So, I do it, we get ready to go, and about 15 minutes in, the world starts tilting. I start sweating. My stomach starts hurting, and I start throwing up," Peter went on.

That poor kid! That's not an experience I'd wish on even my most annoying grandchildren!

Well. Maybe.

Director Bob Clark called cut immediately and asked what had happened, you know, like he should!

"And the prop man says, 'Oh, I gave him Red Man, you know.' Bob says, 'What are you doing? He’s 12 years old!'"

It looks like this was one movie scene where gritty realism was definitely not called for! There's doing your own stunts, and then there's this.

"So we shut down, I go and lay on the couch in the living room of the set for about 40 minutes," Peter went on.

"Someone had the good idea, they took a bunch of raisins, squished them together and then stuck that in my mouth, and I had brown spit."

That wasn't so hard, was it? I'm pretty sure a lot of us used to do that as kids to pretend we were tough, chewin' cowboys. Or was that just me?

We're glad it all worked out, but that must've been one awful day!

On the bright side, we bet it really made Peter not want to take up chewing tobacco as a hobby any time soon, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise!

What do you think about Peter's story? Let us know how you feel in the comments below!