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South Texas Living

Peter Billingsley of ‘A Christmas Story’ on TBS

Peter Billingsley of ‘A Christmas Story’ on TBS

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Celebrity Q&A
December 26, 2012
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Q: Do your younger relatives react unusually to you at this time of year, knowing that you were Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”?

A: Yeah, but they get sucked into it, too. They just enjoy the film. They have a good time just hopping into it and getting involved.

Q: What’s your own favorite part of the movie?

A: Probably when the father opens up (the box containing) the leg lamp ... and even before that, when he says, “ ‘Fra-gi-le?’ It must be Italian!” I love that character who wanted something so badly, and it finally came and now, he wants to make it European and all those things that he’s dreaming it is.

The movie captures so many different essences of a family, and I think we all had that dad who dreamed of something more, and a very loving mom who was devoted to her family but fought a little bit -- but not too much. It’s not a “vanilla” family; they have difficulties, but it’s a very real family, and I think that’s why it’s so relatable even if we didn’t grow up in the 1940s or in the Midwest.

Q: What do you remember most about working with Darren McGavin as Ralphie’s father?

A: I was truly blown away by his knowledge of every single department. There would be something the camera guys were trying to figure out, and he would make a suggestion ... and sure enough, it would be correct. I’d never worked with somebody like that. And he was a great guy.

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