Every winter, actor Scott Schwartz hears stories of how children, in an attempt to emulate his character from the classic hit movie, “A Christmas Story,” stick their tongues to frozen poles. As Christmas approaches and the temperatures begin to drop, the actor wants to warn kids that not only are they putting themselves in danger, but he himself didn’t stick his tongue to an actual frozen pole.
Schwartz is arguably best-known for his character “Flick” from the 1983 film, “A Christmas Story.” On a “triple dog dare” by friends, Flick is urged to stick his tongue onto a frozen flagpole in the dead of winter, outside of an elementary school.
Flick obliged and ended up stranded in the freezing cold with his tongue stuck firmly onto the pole, as his friends, petrified as Flick flailed his arms and screamed for help, fled inside to the safety of a warm classroom.
“Do they try to be Iron Man or Superman? No, so tell them to stop acting out scenes from movies that may not be in their best interests,” Schwartz told CrimeOnline, warning children to not attempt what he did in the film.
The stern warning comes after an 11-year-old boy stuck his tongue on a flagpole last Tuesday, which ended up pulling some of the child’s taste buds off of his tongue, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Spencer Cline, of Sandwich, Illinois, admitted that he tried to emulate Flick from “A Christmas Story” and while his 12-year-old friend looked on, he poked his tongue into a metal pole. His tongue stuck to the pole immediately.
“I was trying to get it off, but I wasn’t pulling,” Spencer told the outlet. “I was being gentle and freaking out. Some of my taste buds came off onto the pole.”
Spencer’s friend called emergency medical services, but the boy eventually pulled his tongue away before help arrived. Spencer was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where he was treated and released.
Although Spencer’s tongue is expected to fully recover, the consequences could have been much worse. For instance, in 2009, a 9-year-old Indiana boy decided to emulate Flick, NWI reports.. When his tongue became stuck to a frozen pole, he yanked it off, causing profuse bleeding. Frostbite can also occur, which can lead to more sinister problems if not treated quickly.
“The metal is a much better conductor than your tongue (up to 400 times more powerful). The metal takes heat faster than your body can replenish it.” J. DiSalvo, director of the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, told Live Science. “The metal is a much better conductor than your tongue. The metal takes heat faster than your body can replenish it.”
Schwartz told CrimeOnline that his tongue never actually got stuck to a frozen pole. Instead, he placed his tongue on a plastic pad that covered a small hole created by the movie’s production team, which had a small vacuum inside that kept his tongue in place during the famous scene.
Although Schwartz said he had endure brutally cold weather while filming the scene in Hammond, Indiana, his tongue was never in trouble.
For kids who attempt the stunt, warm water will usually do the trick until help arrives, according to Colorado 911 dispatcher, Kent Sperry.
“Pour warm water on the area where the tongue meets the pole, and the tongue should come free.”
[Feature Photo: Scott Schwartz via YouTube screenshot]