‘Christmas Story’ Bully Was Also in Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’
You'll never watch Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" video the same way again: The child actor who played bully sidekick Grover Dill in A Christmas Story later starred on MTV as a child version of Michael Anthony.
A Christmas Story was released in November 1983, then went on to become a holiday staple with annual marathon re-airings on cable television. "Hot For Teacher" was released as the final single from 1984 about a year later, with a video set in grade school depicting Van Halen alongside a cast of lookalike children.
Yano Anaya was fresh off his success as "Scut Farkus' little toadie" when he got the call to audition. Van Halen was also "one of my favorite bands at the time," he told Classic Rock. "I swear to god I was so excited. In my mind, I was thinking: 'Holy crap, I look just like Michael Anthony – this is my job.'"
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Ironically, Anaya had looked just like a meme-able micro version of AC/DC's Brian Johnson in A Christmas Story, playing a role he later reprised in the 2022 sequel A Christmas Story Christmas. The original film's narrator, voiced by scriptwriter Jean Shepherd, memorably described Grover Dill as "Mean! Rotten! His lips curled over his green teeth."
Anaya was only on set for six days but that was long enough to create a lasting fanbase. "Everywhere I go, people smile at me like they've known me forever," he said during special November reunion, "and we've never met!"
Watch Ralphie Beat Up the Bully in ‘Christmas Story’
But First He Shotgunned a Beer With Alex Van Halen
Zack Ward, who played Farkus in A Christmas Story, said he and Anaya were purposely isolated from the others while filming. Director Bob Clark wanted the other child actors to have "an innate nervousness when these two kids — the two bullies — show up on set, like they're not quite sure what's gonna happen," Ward told Business Insider.
Anaya later had a small role in 1985's Better Off Dead before his acting career stalled. More recently, he's worked as a personal trainer. He also got into a public shouting match in late 2022 with the owner of the actual home featured in A Christmas Story, though the two later made up.
Along the way, Anaya says he never forgot his time with Van Halen on the set of "Hot For Teacher." He made a quick trip to meet the band in their trailer before shooting began at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, California. Soon, he was shotgunning a cold one with a hero from his youth.
"I'm like: 'I'm 13 years old, it's 10:20 in the morning, and I'm drinking a Schlitz beer with Alex Van Halen,'" Anaya told Classic Rock. "I drank that one beer, and I was so drunk." Afterward, Anaya said Eddie Van Halen shared a private version of "Runnin' with the Devil" upon request.
A scaled-down version of the Frankenstrat guitar played by "Young Eddie" in the "Hot for Teacher" video went up for sale earlier this year for almost $220,000. Meanwhile, the Christmas Story house in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood sold in October. The asking price was never announced.
Watch Van Halen's ‘Hot For Teacher’ Video
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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso
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