TBS continues holiday tradition with 15th annual '24 Hours of A Christmas Story'by jmaloni
One of television's most popular holiday traditions will be back this year as TBS presents the 15th annual edition of "24 Hours of A Christmas Story," beginning Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).
Based on the short stories of famed humorist Jean Shepherd, "A Christmas Story" follows the mischievous adventures of a young boy who longs for a special Christmas gift - a Red Ryder BB gun. Peter Billingsley stars as young Ralphie, who is determined to convince the world that he is responsible enough to handle such a gift, despite his mother's insistence that he could shoot his eye out. Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin are pitch-perfect as Ralphie's parents, and Ian Petrella provides some of the movie's funniest moments as Ralphie's little brother, Randy.
In honor of the 15th anniversary of TBS's 24 Hours of "24 Hours of A Christmas Story," here are some fascinating facts about the movie and the annual marathon:
- "A Christmas Story" was shot on location in Cleveland, although some scenes were shot in Canada. The residents of Cleveland were apparently so entranced with the movie that many local auto club members donated the use of their antique cars to help portray the movie's 1940s setting. As a tribute to the city, the producers decided to name the street the movie family lived on Cleveland Street.
- "A Christmas Story" opened in theaters just before Thanksgiving in 1983, but by the time Christmas rolled around, many theater owners had stopped showing it, feeling it had "played out." Complaints were lodged, and the movie returned to select theaters and continued playing well into January 1984.
- "A Christmas Story" was selected in an E! Entertainment poll as the No. 1 holiday movie of all time.
- Memorabilia connected the movie is hugely popular and widely available, including replicas of the famed "major award" leg lamp, which can be found through various sellers online.
- Billingsley, who continues to act in movies, has also become a successful executive producer, with such credits as the blockbuster "Iron Man" and the holiday film "Four Christmases." TBS recently ordered a sitcom pilot titled "Sullivan and Son" from Billingsley and his producing partner, Vince Vaughn.
- TBS first aired "A Christmas Story" in Dec. 1, 1992. Since then, TBS and its sister networks TNT and Turner Classic Movies have aired the movie nearly 275 times.
- The "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" marathon first aired in 1997 on TNT. It moved to TBS in 2004.
- "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" is one of the most popular holiday programming events on cable. Last year, the marathon averaged 3 million viewers, up 2 percent compared to the prior year, with a total accumulated audience of more than 50 million viewers over the 24 hours.