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The Baltimore Sun

Fans travel to Cleveland for 25th anniversary of Christmas film favorite

Fans of the holiday classic A Christmas Story are celebrating the film's 25th anniversary with a convention and trips to the Cleveland 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.

"It's a Christmas movie that you can watch and relate to," said avid fan Mark Tompkins, who traveled to the meetup with his wife, Becky, and their children, Madison, 9 and Brandon 5. "Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, really wanted a special gift one holiday."

WKRP-TV in Cincinnati

WKRP is back on the air in Cincinnati - but this time it's for real. A low-power TV station has changed its call letters to WKRP, the same as the fictional radio station in the 1970s hit series WKRP in Cincinnati.

The station changed its call letters to promote its new digital TV signal. It formerly went by WBQC-TV.

General Manager Elliott Block says the new call letters give the station recognition because so many people remember the television sit-com.

Wedding bells

Actress Roselyn Sanchez of CBS' Without a Trace and actor Eric Winter were married this weekend at a historic fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in front of 250 guests.

Sanchez and Winter arrived Saturday at the San Cristobal fort in a white Mercedes-Benz. Guests included actress Eva Longoria Parker, actor Amaury Nolasco and Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo-Vila and his family.

The couple planned to honeymoon in the Mayan Rivera.

The 35-year-old Sanchez also produced the 2007 movie Yellow.

The 32-year-old Winter has appeared in the soap Days of Our Lives.


Actor-director Woody Allen, 73.

Drummer John Densmore of The Doors, 64.

Actress-singer Bette Midler, 63.

Actor Jeremy Northam, 47.

Comedian Sarah Silverman, 38.

Guitarist Brad Delson of Linkin Park, 31.

In a brief yesterday about a television station promoting its new digital signal, the Associated Press erroneously reported that station WBQC changed its call letters to WKRP. The station refers to itself as WKRP, reminiscent of the 1970s hit television show WKRP in Cincinnati, and changed its trademark to WKRP Cincinnati but did not change its call letters, said Elliott Block, general manager.The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.
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