18 November 2013 1:00 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

There's a menswear store on a quaint cobblestone street in my suburban New Jersey town whose Christmas window display each year includes a lamp shaped like a woman's leg in a fishnet stocking. That no one thinks this is tacky or even unusual is a tribute to how remarkably pervasive "A Christmas Story" has become over the past three decades.

At the time of its release 30 years ago this week (November 18, 1983), the movie was a cult favorite at best. Since then, however, it's become the indispensable Christmas movie for a couple of generations of viewers, as essential a holiday staple as "It's a Wonderful Life." Tens of millions are expected to watch at least some part of the film when it airs 12 times in a row during the annual TBS "24 Hours of 'A Christmas Story'" marathon on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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- Gary Susman

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