Vintage Ads: Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun

Ah, memories. As immortalized in A Christmas Story, the Red Ryder BB Gun was a rite of passage for young boys way back when to at least the 1970s. Daisy still makes ’em. You can, in fact, buy the gun about which Ralphie’s mom said “you’ll shoot your eye out,” for a reasonable (by today’s standards) $64.99. By today’s standards, the Red Ryder is mostly a nostalgia piece – air rifles have come a long, long way from the more innocent days of playing Cowboys and Indians. Today’s air rifles are used in competitive shooting sports, and can be a great way to set up a legal shootin’ range in your backyard or basement, without fear of noise or taking out something a couple of miles away.

But I gotta say, Ralphie’s mom was right in one respect – even a Red Ryder can put somebody’s eye out if some idiot aims it at someone’s eye. The Red Ryder is a gun – not a toy, despite the way they’ve been marketed since time began. That being said, it’s a sign of our times that getting a Daisy is no longer looked upon as the rite of passage it once was, but more as a sign of the cultural divide between states red and blue. And that’s sad for all of us.