'Christmas Story' fans celebrate film's 25th year - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

'Christmas Story' fans celebrate film's 25th year

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Posted: Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:23 pm | Updated: 11:08 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

CLEVELAND - Fans of the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" are celebrating the film's 25th anniversary with a convention and trips to the house where the movie was made.

The 1983 film, an adaptation of Jean Shepard's memoir of a boy in the 1940s, was set in Indiana but largely filmed in Ohio. The movie starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, a young boy determined to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

The film was a modest theatrical success, but critics loved it. It eventually joined "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street" as a Christmas cult classic.

"It's a film about being a kid and looking back," said Brian Jones, who owns the house where the movie was shot and the neighboring museum dedicated to the film.

About 4,000 fans are attending the convention at Cleveland's Renaissance Hotel, where they'll meet some of the film's actors, watch three documentaries made about the film and see the original 1938 fire truck from a famous scene in the movie involving a child's tongue stuck to a frozen pole.

"It is unbelievable that a movie has touched the lives of millions of families," said Phil Gillen, son of the late actor Jeff Gillen who played the movie's worn-out Santa Claus. He traveled from Miami with his family to attend the convention.

Avid fans Mark and Becky Tompkins also traveled to the meetup with their children, Madison, 9, and Brandon, 5.

"It's a Christmas movie that you can watch and relate to," Mark Tompkins said. "Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, really wanted a special gift one holiday."

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