Behind the Camera: “A Christmas Story” Official 40th Anniversary (11/10/2023 – 11/12/2023)

For the first time ever since making “A Christmas Story”…RALPHIE COMES HOME!

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) was proud to host the BIGGEST cast reunion ever of “A Christmas Story” at Behind the Camera: “A Christmas Story” Official 40th Anniversary November 10th – 12th, 2023 at Cleveland Public Auditorium.

Attendees heard behind-the-scenes stories from the production during the Behind the Camera panel on Friday night in the Public Music Hall, moderated by TODAY’s Al Roker, and visited Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) and the rest of the cast at the Cast Expo in the Public Auditorium all weekend for autographs, photo opportunities, and more!

Photos By Gabe Wasylko


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(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Weather and Feature Anchor, TODAY and Co-Host, 3rd Hour of TODAY
Al Roker is the weather and feature anchor of NBC News’ TODAY, co-host of the 3rd Hour of TODAY and a best-selling author. He joined in January 1996.

Roker came to WNBC-TV as a weekend weathercaster in December 1983 from WKYC-TV, the NBC television station in Cleveland. Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college by landing a job as a weekend weatherman at WTVH-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1974. After graduation he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. (1976-1978) and Cleveland (1978-1983).

Roker has been named Best Weatherman twice by New York Magazine. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. Roker has won three Daytime Emmy Awards as part of TODAY’s recognition as the best morning newscast (2007, 2009, 2010).

Among many highlights of his career as an interviewer, Roker conducted an exclusive interview with Peanuts creator Charles Shultz shortly before his death from colon cancer. Additional interview highlights include Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, James Earl Jones and B. Smith.

Since 1985, Roker has co-hosted the annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. He also co-hosts the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade. For ten years, from 2001 to 2010, and in 2017, Roker’s “Lend a Hand Today” initiative took him across the country and raised millions to help small charities work towards improving conditions in their communities.

In 1994, Roker founded Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects.  ARE produces programming for a diverse clientele including NBC News, Lifetime Television, A&E, The History Channel, E!, Discovery Networks, PBS, TV ONE, Oxygen, The Cartoon Network and NBC Television Stations Group.

Raised in Queens, New York, Roker received his B.A. in Communications from the State University at Oswego in 1976, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the school in 1998. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts. Roker has two daughters and one son.


Peter Billingsley starred as Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story”. Peter has had a non-stop 45-year-long career. Not only has he acted in over 30 films including “Elf” and “Spiderman: Far From Home”, but Peter has also produced incredible projects including “Iron Man”, “The Break Up”, “Undeniable”, “F Is For Family”, he also directed “Couples Retreat” and most recently produced and starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.


Zack Ward co-starred as Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story”. Zack has worked consistently over the past 40 years appearing in such films and TV Shows as “Titus”, “Boogies Diner”, “Freddy vs. Jason”, “Transformers” and many other projects. Zack has produced, directed, and written films as well. He also co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”. He just opened his own movie/TV production filming studio near Los Angeles.



Scott Schwartz co-starred as “Flick” in “A Christmas Story”. Scott has also starred with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason in “The Toy” as well as starring in the film “Kidco”. Scott has worked for over 46 years doing Broadway, films, TV shows such as “21 Jump Street” and more. Scott has done several independent films over the past few years and of course, co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.





R.D. Robb co-starred as “Schwartz” in “A Christmas Story Christmas”. R.D. has acted in films such as “The Brady Bunch Movie”, TV shows such as “The Goldbergs” and has produced such shows as “Sirens” on USA. R.D. recently co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.






Yano Anaya co-starred as Grover Dill in “A Christmas Story”. Yano also appeared as the young Eddie Van Halen in the world-famous music video “Hot For Teacher”. Yano has become a well-respected body shaper, personal trainer, and businessman. Yano recently appeared in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.




Ian Petrella was the youngest cast member when he co-starred as “Randy Parker” in “A Christmas Story”. Ian has appeared in TV shows such as “Who’s The Boss”, “Highway to Heaven”, and “Beverly Hills 90210”. Ian has become a puppeteer, web content designer, and producer of animated shorts. Ian recently co-starred in the 2022 film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.





Patty Johnson co-starred as “Head Elf” in “A Christmas Story”. A native Clevelander, Patty told the producers she had professional elf experience. Patty still resides near Cleveland and is a drama teacher and aerobics instructor.





Drew Hocevar co-starred as “The Male Elf” in “A Christmas Story”. A native Clevelander, after the film, Drew found his love as a teacher for the past 40 years in Ohio.




Dwayne McLean co-starred as “Black Bart” in “A Christmas Story”. Dwayne has acted in over 50 TV shows and movie productions, but his passion was as a stuntman, for over 45 years! He performed stunts for films including “Saw 3D”, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”, “Rollerball” and over 200 other projects.


Monica Harvey appeared in “A Christmas Story” as one of the classroom kids. She was right behind “poor Flick” when he got his tongue stuck to the pole. Monica’s mom volunteered her to act in the film for a sum total of $1 dollar Canadian. Monica has raised a family where she still lives outside of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. Monica and Jill are pals to this day.


Jill Young appeared in “A Christmas Story” as one of the funny classroom kids wearing the “false” teeth. Jill’s mom also volunteered her to act in the film, also only getting paid $1 dollar Canadian to do the film. Jill has made a life with her family and has remained near St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada where the 1983 film was made. Jill and Monica have remained friends.