Many people watch the classic 1983 film, A Christmas Story, as part of their holiday traditions. It turns out that Peter Billingsley, who plays the main character of “Ralphie,” also watches the film every year, Page Six is reporting.
“[‘A Christmas Story’] definitely appears when I’m visiting family and around the holidays,” said Billingsley. “It’s really unavoidable, but it’s definitely enjoyable to watch. There’s something that feels kind of familiar about it and makes it feel like Christmas when it’s on.”
Billingsley insists that he doesn’t just focus on his hit movie; he also watches movies like Elf to get into the Christmas mood.
Though A Christmas Story was released 35 years ago, the film has only grown to be more and more popular as time goes on. Many consider the movie to be a pop culture staple, and the ’80s movie was eventually made into a Broadway show, a Fox live special, and a direct-to-DVD sequel. The set for Ralphie’s home in Cleveland, Ohio, has been renovated into a museum, and the silly, novelty “leg lamp” featured in the movie is still available for purchase today. Billingsley said he had no idea that the project would turn into such a cultural phenomenon.
“I mean you don’t really know at the time what these projects are going to become or where they’re going to hit,” Billingsley said. “You always hope that they have an impact, that they resonate and they’re seen, but you just don’t know and this was an extreme example of not knowing where a film is going.”
And to think, it took an entire 12 years for writer Jean Shepherd and director Bob Clark to get the movie made.
Billingsley is no longer the innocent, cherubic, little blonde boy he once was. The 47-year-old is now a producer for various films and television shows, such as Iron Man, Four Christmases, Sullivan & Son, and GameChangers: Dreams of BlizzCon. His most recent project is the animated Netflix show F is for Family. While he’s built quite a resume since his childhood, he is still best recognized for his feel-good Christmas film from the ’80s.
“People come up to me and want to share their enthusiasm and their traditions in their household about how much they watch it or how much it means,” he said. “They connect very strongly with the characters, which is interesting because the movie takes place in like 1940. It just goes to show you, I guess, the kind of personalities are very timeless.”
A Christmas Story airs for 24 hours straight on December 24 and 25 on TBS every year.