A Christmas Story House
|A Christmas Story House|
|Established||2006 (House built in 1895)|
|Location||3159 W 11th St.
Cleveland, Ohio 44109
|Website||A Christmas Story House|
A Christmas Story House is a museum in Cleveland, Ohio's Tremont neighborhood. The 19th-century Victorian, which was used in the exterior scenes of Ralphie Parker's house in the 1983 film A Christmas Story, was purchased by a private developer in 2004 and has been restored and renovated to appear as it did both inside and outside in the film. The museum is open to the public year round.
Fiction to film
The screenplay for A Christmas Story is based on material from author Jean Shepherd's collection of short stories, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. The house, as it is portrayed in the film, is located in Hohman, Indiana, the fictional town modeled after Shepherd's native Hammond, Indiana. For the film adaptation of these stories, director Bob Clark reportedly sent scouts to twenty cities before selecting Cleveland for exterior filming. Cleveland was chosen because of Higbee's Department Store. Scouts had been unsuccessful in finding a department store that was willing to be part of the film. Higbee's vice president Bruce Campbell agreed to take on the project on the condition he be allowed to edit the script for cursing. Appropriately, the fictional boyhood home of Ralphie Parker is on Cleveland Street, the name of the actual street where Shepherd grew up. In addition to the house exteriors, Cleveland was the location used for the scenes involving Higbee's department store, despite the fact that there were no Higbee's stores in Shepherd's hometown.
However, Cleveland was only one of several locations used. The school scenes were shot at the Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. The Christmas tree purchasing scene was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, as was the sound stage filming of interior shots of the Parker home.
The exterior shots of the house and neighborhood where Ralphie lived were filmed in the Tremont section of Cleveland's West Side. The "...only I didn't say fudge" scene was filmed at the foot of Cherry Street in Toronto; several lake freighters are visible in the background spending the winter at Toronto's port, which lends authenticity to the time of year when the film was produced.
Restoration and reconfiguration
In December 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur and fan of the film since childhood, bought the house on eBay for $150,000. Jones used revenue from his business, The Red Rider Leg Lamp Company, which manufactures replicas of the "major award" Ralphie's father won in the film, for the down payment. The previous owners had reconfigured installing modern windows, and covered the original wood siding with blue vinyl. Watching the movie frame by frame, Jones drew detailed plans of the interiors, which had been filmed on a Toronto sound stage, and spent $240,000 to gut the structure, reconfigure it to a single-family dwelling, transform it into a near-replica of the movie set, and restore the exterior to its appearance in the film.
A Christmas Story House Museum
Jones purchased the house across the street and converted it into A Christmas Story House Museum, which contains some of the props from the movie, including Randy's snow suit, the Higbee's window toys, and hundreds of behind the scenes photos. The house to the left of the museum features a gift shop with movie memorabilia.
The house and museum opened to the public on November 25, 2006, with original cast members attending the grand opening, and the site drew 4,300 visitors during its opening weekend.
- Ralphie’s House - A Christmas Story House - Ralphie’s House Restored to its A Christmas Story Splendor
- "Famous Hammond Personalities: Jean Shepherd". HammondIndiana.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
- "Higbees". Retrieved 2006-11-26.
- "A Christmas Story". Movie Rewind. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
- "Brian Jones, Owner, A Christmas Story House & Museum". October 17, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- "Handle With Care". Cleveland Magazine (Great Lakes Publishing) 36: 128–196. November 2006.
- Christopher Maag (December 6, 2006). "Recreating ‘A Christmas Story’ for Tourists in Cleveland". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- A Christmas Story at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- Red Rider Leg Lamps
- A Christmas Story House Photo Gallery