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A Christmas Story Revisited

Brian Jones bought the Cleveland house featured in the classic film A Christmas Story and restored it so it looked just like it did in the movie.

ChristmasStoryHouse.jpg
CLEVELAND - Ralphie Parker and Brian Jones know what it's like to want something.


For Ralphie, the object of desire was an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. (Go ahead, say it, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid.") For Jones, the gotta-have-it item was Ralphie's house -- the one in "A Christmas Story," the quirky film that's found a niche alongside holiday classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street."

Jones has restored the three-story, wood-frame house to its appearance in the movie and will open it for tours beginning Saturday. His hope is that it will become a tourist stop alongside the city's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other destinations.

He's unsure whether he'll make enough money to cover his $500,000 investment, but as sure as a kid's tongue will stick to a frozen flag pole, he's committed to the project.

"I just want people to come and enjoy it as I have," said Jones, a 30-year-old former Navy lieutenant...

...He put in new windows and replaced the 111-year-old house's gray aluminum siding with mustard yellow painted wood and green trim that perfectly matches Ralphie's house.

Although only a couple interior shots were filmed there, Jones has recreated the '40s feel of Ralphie's home with a brown-and-white tile kitchen floor, a wide cast-iron sink in the kitchen, a claw-foot bathtub and, of course, a leg lamp in the window.

He also bought the house across the street -- Ralphie runs past it in the film's opening scene -- to serve as a museum and gift shop. Several original items from the film are on display, including the infamous snowsuit ("I can't put my arms down!") worn by Ralphie's brother, Randy.

The house is located in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, just a few minutes from downtown where the exterior department store shots were filmed at the former Higbee's.

The cooperation of the department store is what brought the filmmakers to Cleveland for the film based on author Jean Shepherd's stories of his upbringing in Hammond, Ind.

The house is well known in the neighborhood and neighbors like Marlene Childers have watched the house change owners and go through ups and downs over the years. She's excited about Jones' tribute -- even if it means more cars and traffic.

"I love that story," she said.

Jones knows the feeling. And he says stepping onto Ralphie's old street makes him feel like he's in the movie.

Standing in front of the house holding a replica Red Ryder rifle, he discusses his future plans -- which could include a nearby bed and breakfast -- when, seemingly on a director's cue, a motorist passes, stops his car, rolls down the window and shouts, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

I saw A Christmas Story in 1983 on Christmas Eve at a neighborhood cinema. The theater was so packed that my parents, my brother and I couldn't get four seats together and had to sit separately.

Lorie adds: Last year I wrote about my favorite scene from A Christmas Story, along with a mini link roundup, including where to buy a leg lamp. It remains one of my all time favorite movies and one that I never miss at Christmas time. I love the fact that a fellow lover of the movie now owns the house.


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Comments (15)

I have never watched that m... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I have never watched that movie, but I am told it's a classic.

Be sure to drink your Ovalt... (Below threshold)

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

F-R-A-G-I-L-E !!!... (Below threshold)
audrey:

F-R-A-G-I-L-E !!!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUdge......... (Below threshold)
Candy:

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUdge...... but I didn't say Fudge.

It's a tradition in our fam... (Below threshold)
al w:

It's a tradition in our family to find the station that plays the movie for 24 hours straight just before Christmas and leave the TV on for the entire stretch. I guess I've seen the movie several dozen times.

It's very sad, but "The Old... (Below threshold)
john:

It's very sad, but "The Old Man", Ralphie's dad just died this year.

A RED RYDER AIRRIFLE sure b... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

A RED RYDER AIRRIFLE sure beats getting those BUNNY PJs AND SLIPPERS even though it must bother the idiots from that stupid CODE PINK crazy

SONS A BITCHES....BUMPASSES... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

SONS A BITCHES....BUMPASSES!!!

I remember the first time I... (Below threshold)

I remember the first time I watched this movie. I had to ask my mother what the bad word was. She told me it rhymed with "duck" but I couldn't figure it out. Ahh, the days of innocence...

I haven't seen this movie s... (Below threshold)
Cletus:

I haven't seen this movie since it first came out in theaters (I was overseas a LOT)... I'm really looking forward to seeing it again for the first time since I was a kid; the impression it made on me then was strong enough that I get all the references to scenes even though I haven't seen it in over 20 years. Seems like that's good enough to consider it a classic (at least as far as I'm concerned)!

Best Christmas movie ever.<... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Best Christmas movie ever.

If you love the movie, I hi... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

If you love the movie, I highly recommend the book it was based on, "In God we Trust, All Others Pay Cash" The movie is very true to about 1/2 of the book and the other parts that did not fit into the screenplay are just as funny.

Brian the Adequate...... (Below threshold)

Brian the Adequate...
My parents are both accountants, and they still have a framed saying on their respective offices' wall...
"In God we trust...
... All others we Audit"

"You'll shoot your eye out,... (Below threshold)

"You'll shoot your eye out, kid."

"It was...soap poisoning..."

Brian the Adequate,<p... (Below threshold)
Wickedpinto:

Brian the Adequate,

The book was based on some of his radio bits, he would talk about his home town (my home town) and it eventually became a regular thing on his radio show, just talking about all of the characters from his childhood.

His brother randy grew up, and was a rotten prick.




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