They say Christmas only comes once a year, but one Capital Region city gets double for 2022. There are two separate Hallmark holiday movies featuring the Capital Region’s own Troy, NY this year. One premiered in November, but tomorrow will have the first showing of a lighthearted mystery over the creator of a worldwide Christmas tradition that started in Troy.

Earlier this year, Capital Region pizza staple DaFazio’s was closed for a few days while crews used the Troy eatery as a stand in for a 1950s NYC Italian deli. That movie, A Holiday Spectacular, debuted on November 27th for the Hallmark Channel’s ‘Countdown to Christmas’. Saturday will see the newest movie – and this one’s set in Troy.

It’s been almost two centuries since the poem we know as “Twas The Night Before Christmas” was first published in the Troy Sentinel. “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” as it was originally called, had no author credit on December 23, 1823. The currently credited author is Clement Clark Moore, an NYC biblical scholar who said he was the original writer years after “Twas the Night” was published.

1897 Engraving Of Clement Clark Moore
1897 Engraving Of Clement Clark Moore

In the last 25 years, controversy has broken out as some believe that it wasn’t Moore, but Henry Livingston, Jr. that wrote the Christmas Eve classic. Livingston was a poet and farmer that lived in the Hudson Valley.

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The movie is based on a play written by Troy residents Duncan Crary and Jack Casey. The duo sold the movie rights to Hallmark a few years ago. That play, “Livingston v. Moore: Who Really Wrote ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas?’” was performed in 2013 and 2014 at the Rensselaer County Courthouse with the audience acting as jury. The first year ended with a hung jury; the second year Livingston was named the rightful author.

The Hallmark movie, Twas The Night Before Christmas, takes place during the Victorian Stroll in Troy, as a playwright and two local lawyers hold a mock trial to decide who is the real author once and for all: Moore or Livingston. Also, there may be ghosts. Don’t expect many Capital Region landmarks, though. Twas The Night Before Christmas wasn’t filmed in Troy – it was filmed somewhere in Canada.

Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel

According to the Times Union, Crary and Casey are hosting a watch party tomorrow at 8 at Slidin Dirty in downtown Troy. The premiere is open to the public. They say the movie is a great chance to celebrate Troy and mark the city as the birthplace of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus – and why not? They’re both icons. They have great facial hair. They both dig red and white. Take a look at a sneak peek before the premiere:

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Gallery Credit: Corey Irwin

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