We triple-dog-dare you to take this “A Christmas Story” quiz.


It’s almost that time of year again. No, we’re not talking about Christmas. We mean that magical day when you can grab a nice cup of eggnog, settle down in front of a roaring fire and watch “A Christmas Story” over and over and over again on TBS or TNT for as long as humanly possible.

That’s right, unless you’ve been hiding under the kitchen cabinet like Randy, you know that TBS and TNT both show the 1983 classic holiday film “A Christmas Story” on a loop for 24 hours, starting Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET and lasting until 8 p.m. ET on Christmas Day.

We were super curious how this glorious marathon came about, so we met around a frozen flagpole with Michael Quigley, EVP – Commercial Operations, Content Strategy and Monetization, TBS/TNT, and Joel McLean, director – Multi-Platform Programming, Content Strategy and Planning, TBS/TNT, got some answers and found out some interesting facts along the way.

Also, if you really think you’re a fan of “A Christmas Story,” then take our exclusive quiz at the bottom of the page. But we’re warning you: this quiz is tougher than Miss Shields grading theme papers.

Thank you so much for speaking with us about what is arguably the most important motion picture in the history of cinema. First, for those who don’t know, tell us what you do to pay the bills.
Joel McLean (JM): I’ve been at Turner for ten years and am currently director of Multi-Platform Programming, Content Strategy and Planning, TBS/TNT. That job is essentially optimizing our schedules on both linear and non-linear platforms to drive ratings and revenue, as well as audience growth.

Michael Quigley (MQ): I’ve been at Turner for twelve years. I oversee content acquisitions, programming and scheduling, our content monetization efforts and network research function for TBS and TNT.

Okay, so let’s talk about a little film called “A Christmas Story.” How did the idea first come about to turn it into a marathon? And was it difficult securing the rights to the film?
JM: I have to give full credit for the history of this to our movie expert Nancy Carroll. Back in the early days, movie marathons were a huge part of our strategy. We did things like “24 hours of Clint Eastwood,” “Christmas with The Duke” and “13 days of 007.” “A Christmas Story” had aired on the Turner networks since the late 80s and was doing really well. We decided in 1997 to do the first 24-hour marathon on TNT. That moved over to TBS in 2004 with the "Very Funny" branding campaign. And then in 2014, we started simulcasting the marathon on both TBS and TNT.

As far as the rights, we've been fortunate in the sense that the title has always been in house. Ted Turner bought the MGM library in the 80s to start Turner Classic Movies and TNT. This movie was part of that acquisition and has stayed in house since then. It's currently managed by Warner Bros. and we renew the rights on an ongoing basis.

MQ: Having just talked with the Warner Brothers folks here recently, I think what they have grown to appreciate is this is a title that, because of the way in which we've used and branded it, has achieved a level of icon status around the holidays that quite frankly it didn't have before. We have made it an iconic movie where it wasn’t before it came to us.

JM: I saw a Marist Poll recently where about 26 percent of the population named “A Christmas Story” as their favorite Christmas movie.

“There are many scenes that really hearken back and provide you with so much nostalgia and memories.”

What is it about the film that makes it so popular and worthy of a marathon?
MQ: It’s the kind of movie where you can jump in at any point and not feel as if you're lost. There are many scenes that really hearken back and provide you with so much nostalgia and memories. It's also easily accessible for the entire family. I watch it with my kid, and my parents watched the movie with me when I was a kid. It provides multiple generations in the family a great way to be able to celebrate the holidays.

JM: To Michael's point about ease of entry, this year we’re making that even easier by staggering the start times of the telecast across TBS and TNT, so that the movie actually starts every hour of the 24 hours.

“A rumor started circulating that we were not going to show the film due to the bullying scene.”

What has the feedback been like since you started showing the film 24 hours straight?
JM: This year, there was a huge social media pushback when a rumor started circulating that we were not going to show the film due to the bullying scene. It was such a big deal that Snopes got involved to debunk the rumor. PR reached out to us, and we quickly jumped in on the conversation to assure folks that the tradition will carry on as planned.

Are you both big fans of “A Christmas Story?” Is it part of your annual holiday rituals, or not your cup of cocoa?
JM: I leave it on a loop during the holiday. And even before my tenure here, it was a big family tradition at my house.

MQ: It’s the movie that is on and playing as I’m getting those last Christmas gifts together. And perhaps even playing my role of “Dad Santa.” There's something special about being up late trying to put together a kid's bike or assemble some toy and having that movie playing in the background.

Have you ever thought of giving another film the “A Christmas Story” treatment by showing it over and over again?
JM: We actually have, and one of our dream cases would be 24 hours of “Dumb and Dumber” on April Fool's Day.

MQ: When we sit down to plan Upfront every year, we make a wish list. And that has consistently been on the list.

 

The Exclusive “A Christmas Story” Quiz:

  • What is the name of the department store where Ralphie goes to see Santa?

  • In the department store, that annoying kid in the goggles really likes what movie?

  • "Fra-gee-lay." That must be _____.

  • What brand of soap does Ralphie hate to have his mouth washed out with?

  • Who gets his tongue stuck to a flagpole?

  • In Ralphie’s dream sequence, what does he call his trusty firearm?

  • What is the secret message revealed to Ralphie on his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin?

  • How long has Randy not eaten voluntarily?

  • What is the last name of Ralphie’s neighbors?

  • When mom breaks dad’s Major Award, what “crusher” of a line does he stammer out?