By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
"A Christmas Story" (1983), 7 p.m., TNT; repeats at 8:40, 10:20, midnight and beyond, until 8 p.m. Tuesday. On one level, this movie offers warm holiday nostalgia. Jean Shepherd wrote and narrated a memoir of growing up in the 1940s. Still, there are dark detours. Shepherd gives us a world in which everything from Santa Claus to a cold, metal pole is scary. Bob Clark, otherwise known mainly for the tacky "Porky's," directed beautifully. Peter Billingsley is the ideal star in a film that's worth seeing once during this 25-hour stretch.
"Ellen," 7:30 p.m., CBS. Amid the Christmas avalanche some people want something with no hint of the holidays. This episode a rerun that few people saw on a Friday is a good choice. A raccoon is ripping up the front yard, so Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) calls in a pest-control episode.
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), 7 p.m., NBC. For the second time this season, NBC airs this black-and-white classic with James Stewart as a smalltown banker wondering if his life has amounted to anything.
"Ernest Saves Christmas" (1988), 7 p.m., ABC. This one is definitely NOT a Christmas classic. Still, it's the best of the Ernest films yes, that's faint praise and offers a quick, slick tale of our dim-witted hero helping Santa.
"Arthur's Perfect Christmas," 8 p.m., PBS. The cartoon graduates to prime time tonight. The Elwood City kids are obsessed with Christmas.
"Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), 3 p.m., AMC. Here is the original black-and-white version of this Christmas classic with Edmund Gwenn and young Natalie Wood. It's followed by a "Backstory" look at the making of the movie at 4:45; the whole thing reruns at 5:15 and airs repeatedly until 2 p.m. Tuesday.
"Everybody Loves Raymond," 8 p.m., CBS. Ray and Debra give each other Christmas presents that seem to have ulterior motives.
"The Running Man" (1987), 7 p.m., Sci Fi Channel. Now for something non-Christmas. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in a Stephen King tale as a man caught in a game show where his life is at stake.
"Come Together," 9 p.m., ABC. Meredith Vieira hosts a collection of reunions.