“A Christmas Story” House and Museum

Hello, movie fans!

Hollywood does not hold all of our favorite film shooting locations. Far from it. Shooting on location is many times the preferred method, be it due to budget or authenticity or feng shui. This means that you can visit many of your favorite film locales in various parts of the country (and the world).

Cleveland, for example, is the choice city for several directors and producers. One of the most notorious can be seen at the “A CHRISTMAS STORY” HOUSE AND MUSEUM- 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, OH.

homepagehouse
Original photo link: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

Due to a badly timed school bus leaving, it took me a couple minutes to find a parking spot. I got out of my car to see the tour heading across the street to the house. I ran to the gift shop to grab my ticket, hurried across the street, and banged on the door of the house. The tour guide, Rainna, was nice enough to let me in. I apologized profusely for being late and explained about the obnoxious school bus. She caught me up and continued the tour.

The “tour” is not a tour like a regular museum, where the guide takes you exhibit by exhibit. Rainna gave a history of the house, little known facts, and then released us to explore the inside of the house on our own. Also unlike most museums, they encourage you to touch most of the displays (except the obviously sectioned off areas), sit on the furniture, take pictures posing in your favorite moments from the movie, and to ask more questions as you choose. Rainna even brought out a slew of “pink nightmare” bunny footed pajamas of various sizes so you can put one on and take a picture.

I was the only person in my tour group that did this. However, that picture is lost to us forever since the Sudden Cell Phone Death incident (explain in excruciating detail in my editorial; this is also the reason why all photos are from somewhere else. I was there, I promise!). To be honest, you are saved the sight of my awful cheesy grin, so perhaps it’s not a total loss.

1024x1024-1.jpg Original photo link: http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Cleveland-home-is-a-faithful-tribute-to-A-861229.php#photo-463114
Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz006_1449005521426_27690112_ver1.0_900_675 Original photo link: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/a-christmas-story-house-offers-up-two-night-stay-over-christmas-to-the-highest-bidder

If you look closely in the dark part of the lower left hand side of the above picture, you can see the tangle of extension cords.

1024x1024.jpgOriginal photo link: http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Cleveland-home-is-a-faithful-tribute-to-A-861229.php#photo-463112

It turns out, since the movie, the house had been redone inside and out. When the house was sold on Ebay in 2004, the house hardly resembled the one in the film. The living room had even been used for automotive repair (…?!). The lucky Ebay winner restored it to its film glory and thus a museum was born.

Back of House new
Original photo link: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/photo-gallery/ralphies-house/
Shed33
Original photo link: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/photo-gallery/ralphies-house/

Every year, there is an auction with the winner receiving a 2 day and 2 night Christmas celebration stay in the house. However, last year’s winning bid was $8k+, and the year before around $10k. Soooo how much do you love the film?

Mail Box.jpg
Original photo link: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/photo-gallery/ralphies-house/

The new owner found the original mailbox in the shed (basement? Somewhere NOT on the mailbox post!) and remounted it. If you send any mail to 3159 W. 11t St., it will indeed go to this rusty box and they do still get mail through it on a regular basis.

Across the street from the house is the movie paraphernalia museum. Inside are several original props and stills from the film, including one of the Red Ryder BB guns from the film.

DSC4067-1024x683
Original photo link: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/red-ryder-bb-gun-movie-prop/

This gun, with all its gadgets and whatnot, never actually existed; it was created for the film. This is one of the six made.

This museum section also includes incredibly insulting reviews of the movie upon its initial release. From box office bomb to the only movie TBS will air all day on Christmas. Crazy.

While we waited for the others to finish looking around the museum, Rainna said that Christmas time is definitely the most popular time of year for people to tour the house. Understandably so, it is more atmospheric then. However, you will get a more personalized tour if you wait until any other time of year. Depending on what is important to you, ambiance or more expertise, should be a factor when you plan your visit. Between the tour and looking around the gift shop, I would count on allotting at least an hour of your day here.

Ian Petrella, the actor portraying Randy in the film, is the one cast member that does return to the house once every great while. Apparently, one time he even brought one of the guys from “Impractical Jokers” with him (sorry, I forgot which one).

The museum is a nonprofit organization with a heart. Every year, they organize a 5k and 10k run starting in Public Square and ending at the house. Participants get lots of prizes for participating, including free tickets for a tour. Film themed costuming is encouraged. Proceeds from the race go towards the annual A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project, in which the museum thanks the neighborhood for putting up with them by helping one of the neighboring houses with a needed restoration project (a new roof, paint job, etc.).

The museum asks that you remember that this is not a Hollywood backlot; it is a living and breathing neighborhood. Don’t go trotting through neighbor’s yards or taking pictures of the neighbors. And for pity’s sake, do not VANDALIZE or URINATE on anything on, in, or around the house and neighborhood.

(Yes, apparently there are asinine creatures out there that do this. This is why people are no longer allowed to approach “The Goonies” house in Astoria, OR. People kept pissing in the poor woman’s yard. Why, people, why?!? You’re not a dog claiming territory! Stop it, you derelicts! You’re ruining it for the rest of us! Okay, that’s the end of my soapbox…)

Even if you are simply a casual viewer of the movie, this is a fun stop in Cleveland. Help support a organization that is supporting its neighbors as much as itself by taking an hour to two to live in a cult classic.

Until next time, dahlings…

 

 

Any copyright violation through this site’s use of photographs is purely unintentional and will be corrected if notified of impropriety.

 

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