I want to preface this post by noting that A Christmas Story is not my favorite Christmas movie; it’s not even in my top five. However, when you live only two hours from the Christmas Story house (the one used in the film which is located in Cleveland, Ohio) and you live with someone who absolutely adores A Christmas Story, well, a trip was planned. It was definitely spurred by the fact that in the fall Groupon had offered a 2 for 1 deal on tickets which I naturally purchased as I am a Groupon fanatic.
The house is located in a more urban, residential section of Cleveland and according to the brochure that was given when you bought your tickets, 3159 W. 11th Street was chosen as Ralphie’s house for the following three reasons:
-The house sits at a T-intersection, which is often used in movies as it allows for greater scope and mobility for the cameras.
-The double wide lot next door at the “Bumpus House” gave the crew space for their trucks and equipment, along with room to see Ralphie’s house clearly.
-The steel mills are clearly visible in the distance and serve as a reminder that A Christmas Story is an urban, industrial tale.
A supreme lover of the film, Brian Jones, purchased the house in 2005 for $150,000 (it was advertised on ebay) and spent nearly a quarter million more to restore the house to look like it did in the film. Although it’s a tourist business in the sense that tickets are $10 for adults, it’s evident that Jones wanted to make one of his favorite movies accessible to all and not just through a television screen.
However, we were slightly disappointed to learn that while the filmmakers rented out the house for the production, very little filming was actually done inside of the house. The house is extremely small on the inside, with just an entryway, kitchen and living room for the first floor (the actual house did not have a dining room, unlike in the film) and the second floor had two bedrooms and one bathroom.
The nice thing about visiting the house is that you are actually allowed to touch some of the furnishings, including “stroking” the infamous leg lamp and also posing with the BB gun that Ralphie so wanted for Christmas. While the queue to take these kinds of photo opportunities became somewhat long, it was simply fun being inside of a setting that is ingrained in the heads of millions of people. Upstairs, people could also pose with a worker who was dressed in the comical pink bunny rabbit outfit; I passed.
As part of your ticket, you can also visit the small museum located directly across the street from the house. It features rotating costume displays and Little Orphan Annie memorabilia, as well as countless behind the scene photos from cast members and extras. One of my favorite things was seeing a film posterof the movie in Spanish.
While admission is somewhat on the pricey side for a relatively small tourist activity, if you’re A Christmas Story lover it’s a pilgrimage I’m sure you’d enjoy and an amount you really won’t mind paying. It was a really fun activity to do on Christmas Eve and so if you’re ever in the Cleveland vicinity, I’d certainly recommend stopping by. How many homes used in the movies can you actually tour, let alone that are furnished with original articles?