Lights, Camera, Christmas! Inside Holiday Movie Classics

ABC NEWS - The inspiration for “Home Alone” came from John Hughes preparing for a vacation and thinking about all the things he didn’t want to forget – including his kid; and Jack Nicholson was almost chosen for the role of the father in “A Christmas Story.” These are only a few of the lesser known facts about holiday favorites that marked the Christmas season for years. To kick off the holiday season, “20/20” presents a Christmas special featuring actor Peter Billingsley, best known as the character Ralphie in the seasonal hit movie “A Christmas Story.”

This special takes viewers behind the scenes of holiday favorites, brings together the stars and dissects the most memorable moments from the films. The special will feature interviews with Tim Allen and Eric Lloyd from “The Santa Clause”; Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”; Mel Gibson from “Daddy’s Home 2”; and Brian Grazer, the producer of the live-action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” ABC News’ Chris Connelly will also discuss the impact that these beloved films had on modern pop culture. “Lights, Camera, Christmas! Inside Holiday Movie Classics” airs on a special edition of “20/20” Wednesday, Nov. 22 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.

The special will include insider details on classic holiday films including a casting decision, Jim Carrey’s torture-surviving technique training during “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”; and a visit to a Vancouver psychiatric hospital, the stand-in for Gimbal’s toy department in “Elf.” The hour will consider the question of whether favorites such as “Trading Places” and “Die Hard” qualify as Christmas movies; and talk to a spokesperson from Rotten Tomatoes to discuss what it takes to qualify as a Christmas classic.

The history of small-screen favorites such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” will be featured, as well as interviews with the voice-over artists behind these favorite animated characters, and the owner of the fully restored Santa and Rudolph puppets.