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Christmas Story, A - Decoder Pin
In the scene where Ralphie is listening to the Radio for his secret message, the voice says "set your pins to B-2" this indicates that A=1, B=2, C=3, etc. The voice then says a serious of numbers beginning with either 11 or 12. When he decodes the message, the first letter is a "B" yet the first number is NOT a "2".
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Rated 3.6/10 (240 ratings) Your opinion?
Special Requirements: Common Knowledge
Contributed By: Brodie on 02-18-2002 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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Comments:
dreamymoo writes:
I thought this too, but after looking more closely, it appears that the numbers and letters do not match up as A-1, B-2 etc.
23 of 31 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
jolly green writes:
Hi all I thought that I would add my two cents worth I would like to first off direct you all to a great website that allows you to see actual Orphan Annie decoders and talks of the ficticious message in A Christmas Story http://www.radioarchives.org/annie/ also it has a download page that allows you to print off the 1936 badge and make your own http://www.radioarchives.org/annie/downloads.html I have bought my decoder badges (it was not a ring as it is sometimes called) off of Ebay and currently have 1936 1937 1938 and the front half of a 1940 each year had a different alphabetic order instead of ABCDE... the 1936 for example is AGTPBHMCSQDFZLNEVJYIWUROKX Next when the announcer say B 12 that is the key to set the badge for that days setting then the message of numbers from 1 to 26 followed so you would need the decoder badge for that year or at least know the alphabetic order I am making a slide rule of the Orphan Annie decoders and also for the Captain Midnight who Olvatine started to sponsor in 1941 if anyone wants a copy I will be happy to email it to you when I complete it GOD Bless you and your families Kenneth Lewis November 23, 2007
8 of 8 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Qwigs writes:
The original assumption that the decoder ring is in numerical order seems unlikely. If that was true then you wouldn't even need a decoder pin. As soon as the announcer gave you the key number you could easily figure out the rest. It would make more sense if the letters and numbers were all random around the ring so that someone hearing the key number still couldn't figure it out. Perhaps someone who has actually seen a real decoder ring from that time period could enlighten us? There are brief closeups of the decoder ring in the scene but I dont recall if you can clearly see the letters and numbers. The person who responded about the two letter "E"s not being the same number is correct however. That should be a slipup all by itself regardless of the numerical arrangement on the ring.
4 of 4 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
busler1 writes:
Yes, when Pierre Andre is giving the code, the second number he says is 12. But the last number is 23. Well, the message was "bE sure to drink your ovaltinE". The 2nd and last letters are both E, so they should have both been the same number.
3 of 5 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
DryHumper writes:
I have never seen a decoder ring but maybe this is a possibility. What if the ring is set up by numbers rather than letters. Meaning, instead of the alphabet being on there once, each letter with a corresponding number, what if a set of numbers is on there, each with a corresponding letter. Then you could have the numbers go up to, say 52, and each letter would actually have two numbers. That way you could have the same letter back to back without having the same number back to back, therefore making it harder to crack the code. Did I just confuse everyone?
1 of 2 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
PsychicTandemWarElephant writes:
After watching the clip in question, and pausing every frame that shows the notebook and the decoder ring, it's clear that some of Pierre's lines were cut from the scene. Writing down the numbers you hear, he only gives 15 numbers, but "BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE" is 25 letters. When you see Ralphie's notebook, he has a 5x5 grid of numbers, 25 numbers for 25 letters. No, the decoder ring is not permanently fixed on those numbers, that's why Pierre says to "set your ring to B-2" (BUT he should have said B-12), and you can see Ralphie changing the dial on his decoder ring to match up with Pierre's instructions. Another slip-up was when Ralphie was decoding the message, when the camera is close up to the notebook one number is an 8, but when the camera is farther back again, the number is an 18. After reviewing the clip, I was able to gather most of the code for that night's message. All except two letters/numbers. Alphabetically : A B C D E 9 12 10 16 11 F G H I J ?? 13 14 18 ?? K L M N O 21 19 20 23 24 P Q R S T 26 1 25 2 4 U V W X Y Z 3 5 22 8 6 7 Numerically : 1 2 3 4 5 Q S U T V 6 7 8 9 10 Y Z X A C 11 12 13 14 15 E B G H ?? 16 17 18 19 20 D ?? I L M 21 22 23 24 25 26 K W N O R P And this is the code as seen in the notebook : 12 11 2 3 25 B E S U R 11 4 24 16 25 E T O D R 18 23 21 6 24 I N K Y O 3 25 24 5 9 U R O V A 19 4 18 23 11 L T I N E If you follow Pierre's instructions you end up with: Set your pins to B-2; 12 11 2 8 25 14 11 18 16 23 12 23 21 3 25 So yes, there was a major slip-up between what Pierre says and what is written in Ralphie's notebook. Either Pierre was given a bad script, his lines were cut and edited, or someone realized the code wasn't correct only after Pierre's scene was shot, and that might explain the 8 changing to an 18 between frames. This also dispels the A is 1 and B is 2 theory. There was a new decoder ring every year, and each year the letters were rearranged, so last year's decoder ring became useless. Ralphie received the 1940 edition. The one that's seen on sale and in the "A Christmas Story House Museum" are NOT the same one shown in the movie, and the museum's code on the notebook is also completely different from the movie. We can all agree there is a slip-up in the scene, but it's impossible to know if it was Pierre's fault, the editor's, or the writer's.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
fiwen writes:
yeah, the guy says set it to like "b 12" or something {my memory fails me as to what though}, meaning b - 12, c-13, etc.
2 of 7 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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