It’s been 35 years since Ralphie declared that all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB gun in the holiday classic A Christmas Story, and as every fan knows, the only thing he dreaded more than hearing, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” was running into his nemesis — the yellow-eyed, raccoon-hat wearing town bully, Scut Farkus.
Fortunately for actor Zack Ward, the days of grabbing people’s arms and forcing them to say uncle are far behind him. As the CEO of the Global Finance Sports Financial Exchange, the world’s first stock market of sports teams, he helps lead a platform that allows fans to invest in their favorite teams and earn money each time they win.
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How did the 49-year-old actor go from iconic bully to big-time CEO? It’s all about wanting to tell a story.
First question: Do you still have the raccoon hat?
No, because that would mean that my head had not grown in the last 35 years, which would make me a pinhead.
So maybe you don’t wear it, but do you have it?
No. You know what’s funny is that whole movie took place before anybody cared about movie nostalgia, as far as I was aware. So no, I never kept anything. Apparently the hat is in a museum in Cleveland.
Can you believe it’s been 35 years?
It’s so strange, because I’m only 27 years old. [Laughs] It’s really freakish how I live outside of time. Yeah, it’s constantly bizarre to be that guy.
I bet! What’s your most vivid memory of the shoot?
It was winter, and it was cold.
Were you actually a bully in those days?
Nope. I went to eight different schools before junior high. My name was Zack. I didn’t have a dad. I had a miniature poodle named Tinker Bell. I got my ass beat all the time, so I was on the other side of that process.
Are you still in touch with Yano Anaya, who played Farkus’ pint-sized toadie, Grover?
Do you guys ever hit the town together and mess with people?
He lives in Atlanta, so not on a daily basis, but when we do charity fundraisers, it’s cute to watch people’s eyes get big when they recognize us.
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You’ve made quite a journey from playing this iconic character to being a CEO. Tell us about the Global Finance Sports Financial Exchange?
It’s the West Coast division of AllSportsMarket, which is the world’s first and only stock market of sports teams.
How does that work?
Throughout the entire length, width and breadth of human history, the only way for sports and money to interact is gambling. So you have a favorite team and I have a team, and I put $100 down and you put $100 down, and you win and I lose all my money, or I win and you lose all your money. Now, if you buy shares in your team, and I buy shares in my team, your team wins and my shares may depreciate pennies, but I keep all my shares, I don’t lose all my shares. And there’s more than one game a year. So instead of being in it to lose it, you’re in it for the long term.
So the question is this: If you had a $1,000 in 1987, and you had the gift of hindsight, would you have rather gone to Vegas with your $1,000, or would you have rather have bought Apple stock?
So you’re telling me that you would rather buy stock in Apple in 1987 than go to Vegas and get get a free drink and see a pretty girl and maybe catch a show? Because if you put $1,000 into Apple in 1987 you’d have $287,000. If you spent $1,000 in Vegas, you’d have sweet fuck all. So the question is, do you like being a broke joke, or do you like putting money in your pocket? Because we both know the answer to these questions. The answer is always the same: Don’t be a fucking moron. Stop acting like a child. Put your money in your future and not in somebody else’s pocket. However, the only way for money and sports to interact for the last 10,000 years is gambling. Which is what morons do. Do you like to gamble? Enjoy. Have fun with it. That’s why there’s a Caesars Palace. There’s not a “your” palace, there’s not a “my” palace, because everything goes to Caesar.
If you would like to be part of something that is a brand-new concept that has been in the works for the last 17 years, is walking through the governmental process to make sure that everything is legalized, has been abiding by the rules and regulations, and is an alternative to throwing your money down somebody’s friggin’ toilet, then check out out allsportsmarket.com. It’s free. You can start up with $2,500 on the learning market — so it’s basically like play money because you’re not spending anything — and you can buy shares in your favorite teams. You can short, you can sell, you can buy, you can trade, and you can see how it works for free, you risk absolutely nothing. And then if you feel confident, you can put in up to $2,500 in real capital and trade with people from more than 90 countries around the world who are doing this and love it.
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How did you pivot from playing a bully to becoming CEO of this company?
About five or six years ago, one of my best friends and my producing partner — a guy named Ace Underhill — told me about this thing that he’d been working on for the last decade and a half. I got interested in helping him out when it came to promotion, advertising and writing angles. Then, through that process, they asked me to come on board as the West Coast division CEO.
Are there any skills that you take from acting, or the world of Hollywood in general, that translate to your CEO gig?
Absolutely, because the whole thing is communicating a story. If you give somebody the numbers on something, it’s very dry. Instead, you need to communicate a concept that resonates with people, especially when you’re trying to change the course of the Titanic that’s heading for an iceberg. You need people to understand that it’s visceral, that it affects them, and that they are involved. It’s like getting people out the fucking boat. They have to be led with passion, and there has to be a story attached that they look at and go, “Yeah, that’s me!” So that is Hollywood.
Finally, what’s your second favorite Christmas movie?
So you’re in the camp that considers Die Hard a Christmas movie? Because there’s a lot of debate about that.
How can there be debate about it? If you watch it during Christmas, it’s your Christmas movie.
I just saw this bullcrap that came out on Yahoo which was like, “Why A Christmas Story Is a Horrible Film for Christmas.” Obviously it’s just troll clickbait.