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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

On Saturday we headed to 3159 W 11th St., just five minutes from downtown Cleveland in the Tremont neighborhood. We were on a quest, of sorts, to pay our respects to Ralphie and family. Uh huh...none other than THE house next door to the Bumpus family, home to the Old Man and his family, yes,
the "A Christmas Story" house.

My guess is that you know this abode well...

Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!

The heavenly aroma still hung heavy in the house, but it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches, no turkey salad, no turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king, or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, all gone!

               Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial?

Wow Ralphie! You surely got tall!

It's a major award!

Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.

An official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle,
a blue-steel beauty with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.

 Across the street from Ralphie and family is a house/museum which holds many of the original costumes and artifacts from the film.


A few facts:

1. Jack Nicholson was originally offered the role of the father in the movie, which eventually went to Darren McGavin.

2. The story’s author, Jean Shepherd, has a cameo in the film as an irritable department store customer who tells Ralphie to head to the back of the line.

3. Even though the house, 3159 West 11th St., appears in the film, almost all the interiors were shot elsewhere on a soundstage. But, that said, many inside shots WERE filmed here. Several on screen moments in the living room, kitchen and Ralphie's bedroom were filmed in the house.

4. Shepherd’s Christmas stories originally appeared in Playboy magazines in 1965 and 1967.

5. Two years before directing a “A Christmas Story”, Bob Clark had a hit with “Porky’s.” (On a sad note, Clark and his son Ariel were killed in a car accident in California in 2007.) He agreed to do "Porky's 2" IF he was allowed to film "A Christmas Story" first!

6. Brian Jones bought the “A Christmas Story” house for $150,000 in 2004 and spent $250,000 to fix it up. After filming, it fell into great disrepair.
The owner's family listed the house for $99,000 (Well over what other houses were going for in the area) due to it's film history. Mr. Jones was so excited about seeing this house for sale on Ebay, and being from California where home costs soar, thought it was terribly UNDERpriced. He worried about being outbid so offered $150,000! When he and his wife first saw the sorry state it was in, well, you can imagine what they thought!

7. In 1983, the movie made a respectable $19 million at the box office.

8. The annual “A Christmas Story” marathon on TBS attracts 40 million viewers.

9. The school where Flick gets his tongue stuck to the flagpole was filmed in Ontario, Canada. That school has since been torn down but the museum has many movie artifacts including Mrs. Shield's chalkboard!

10. More than 150,000 people have been through the house in Tremont. They have come from all 50 states and more than a dozen other countries.

11. Director Clark has a cameo as clueless neighbor Swede.

12. West 11th Street has been honorarily named Cleveland Street because of the movie.

13. All the elves in the movie were Cleveland locals.

14. The filmmakers determined that the exact model of Red Ryder BB gun — Ralphie’s dream gift– never existed. A model was created for the movie.

15. The “A Christmas Story” sequel, “My Summer Story” (released as “It Runs in the Family”) was shot at the house on West 11th Street in 1994. It features an almost entirely different cast, including Charles Grodin as the Old Man, Mary Steenburgen as Ralphie’s mother and Kieran Culkin as Ralphie.

16. A Christmas Story House and Museum and gift shop employ 12 people seasonally.

17. Two marriage proposals were made in the house, and one couple was married there in 2007 wearing 1941 period clothing.

18. An eBay auction each year awards the winning bidder the opportunity to spend a night in the house on Christmas Eve.

19. A 1938 Oldsmobile touring sedan that was in the parade scene in the movie sits in the garage behind the gift shop.

20. Is that really snow on the ground in the movie? No. It’s firefighting foam. Actors and crew slipped and slid around on the stuff during filming.

21. After the scene in which Ralphie drops his f-bombs, his mom washes out his mouth with soap. Lifebuoy soap to be exact. And yes, they sell the soap imported from England in the gift shop.

22. After the movie was shot, the house became a rental, and many different people lived there until it was bought and restored by Brian Jones.

23. According to locals, before the shooting of the movie, the house’s basement was home to many an illegal cockfight.

24. Author Shepherd is the movie’s narrator.

25. Jim Moralevitz, who played the role of the deliveryman who brings the leg lamp crate to the house, was a local extra who still lives on the street.

We had a lot of fun visiting this place and talking with all the other visitors and employees. If you find yourself in Cleveland, stop on in and say hello!

For more information:

Tomorrow? Our dinner at Cleveland's Geraci's Restaurant...thank you Guy Fieri!



Shelia said...

Hi Susie! How special to see this house and all of the memorabilia! I love this movie and watch it every year!! Wow you know a lot about it.
Hope you're doing well and enjoying seeing you on Facebook.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

salmagundi said...

Hi! I've always heard about the movie, but have never seen it. I know, don't shoot me. After reading your fun post, guess I should make an effort to see it. I'm just not much of a movie fan (can't sit still that long). Hope you and yours have a joyous Easter. Sally

Blondie's Journal said...


Please don't hate me but...well, uh, I never saw the movie! But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy your post and all of the pictures and facts. Now I MUST see it. In fact, maybe I will order it from Amazon. Who knows, maybe I will drop in for a visit when I come to visit the museum!

Hope you are having a wonderful week! :-)


SmilingSally said...

I must admit that I've never seen this film; I guess I'd better rent it!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

So much fun was this. So much I did not Know. Happy Easter!!!!

Kat said...

What fun!, George would have loved to go. Great movie. We watch it every Christmas.


FHL said...

Oh my, my husband would be so jealous of this outing!!!!

I hope you are all doing well Susie! I can't thank you enough for holding our family in your prayers. I am so hoping April 21st will finally set us on the final path of bringing our boy home. It's been a long road....thanks for your sweet encouragements along the way!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter!!!
Love M~

Denise Marie said...

Super-rific post. We love us some Christmas Story at Beagle Run Cottage.

Bonnie said...

You are not going to believe this but I have never seen this movie. Now I am going to have to go rent it and watch it. I'm almost glad to see I'm not the only one who hasn't seen it.

Jeanie said...

For all the times I've been to Cleveland, I've never been to THE HOUSE -- and it's one of my two favorite holiday movies -- we watch it every year! OK -- next time~!

PEA said...

The bunny suit...where's the deranged Easter bunny costume that Ralphie was forced to try on???? lol Oh how I would love to visit the house and museum, how absolutely fascinating!! I've watched that movie so many times, I pretty much know it by heart:-) It really must have been awesome seeing it all in person. xoxo

Lisa said...

So much fun!!!! Love the idea of doing a 40ish wedding there. I love all the trivia you posted, great job!!