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“A Christmas Story”: Thank you, Bob Clark

BobclarkIt’s that wonderful time of year, time for repeated viewings of the holiday pic that never, ever gets old, 1983’s “A Christmas Story.”

TBS is obliging with its annual 24-hour marathon of the pic, starting Monday, Christmas Eve, at 8 p.m. ET. My family’s “Christmas Story” DVD is well-worn  — no matter how many times we’ve seen it, we crack up at the scene where Darren McGavin unpacks his “fra-gi-le” major award. We can pretty much recite this movie from start to “you’ll shoot your eye out” finish.

But this year the fun of the pic that perfectly balances the sweet ‘n’ sour ‘n’ silly of the season comes with a tinge of sadness for the memory of “Christmas Story” helmer Bob Clark, who died tragically in April along with his 22-year-old son Ariel following a head-on collision with a drunk driver along Pacific Coast Highway. The driver pleaded no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in August. “Senseless” doesn’t even begin to describe this crime.

Clark, who was 67, delivered his share of other movies during his lengthy career — most notably the raunchy “Porkys” comedies of the early 1980s — but nothing that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as “Christmas Story.”

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