Ralphie’s father, only ever referred to as The Old Man (Darren McGavin) is a typical representation of a Midwestern father figure in the early 20th century. He’s stern but not cruel, caring but not affectionate, and distant but not absent. He’s a man’s man, and he spends most of the film just trying to read his newspaper and enjoy a little bit of turkey while his sons get into trouble around him. If you look close enough, though, there are little hints of eccentricity in The Old Man’s life. He insists on being timed when he changes a tire, for example, and went through the trouble of burying his “major award” in the backyard and supposedly playing “Taps” in tribute to it as he did. He even takes some time in the department store to skip along with the Wizard of Oz characters. Ralphie doesn’t think much about it, but there’s more to his Old Man than newspapers and furnace battles. He has a rich inner life that we only see glimpses of.