I recently found out there was a whole museum and a whole house (THE house, by the way) in Cleveland dedicated to “A Christmas Story,” one of my best-loved Christmas movies.
For the record, I don’t do Christmastime without watching it at least a couple times, and then having the TV on all the while it’s having its 24-hour run on TBS on Christmas Eve. “Elf” is right up there on my list, too, but maybe that is for another column.
And this Christmas the movie, and the voice of writer/narrator Jean Shepherd on in the background, as “Santa” put gifts under the tree and filled stockings kind of made the not-so-Christmasy feeling of too-warm weather fade some. It was the backdrop of our Christmas breakfast, unwrapping, and nap time, too.
The film is an adaptation of some of Shepherd’s stories as told on his radio show. It was released in 1983, but I don’t think it really hit its classic status until TBS began to run its annual marathon more than a decade later.
I happened upon the information about the existence of the actual brick-and-mortar homage to the film while combing the AP for stories several weeks ago. That story told how the owner of the house where Ralphie and his family dwelt in the film had acquired one of the Red Ryder BB guns made for the film. He paid $10,000 for it, the story said. “Sheesh,” is what I said, then quickly forgot about that and in a hurry went to the website included in the story, because I just didn’t know such a tribute existed.
A photo of the front of the house graces the home page of the website and there gleaming in the front window is the leg lamp, which any fan who knows the film knows well.
The house even bears the same paint colors as in the film, and according to this achristmasstoryhouse.com, the inside is just like the film, too.
I wonder if the kitchen is all put-together or a mess like after the Bumpass’ dogs tore through the house and took the Christmas turkey?
Is the “Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifle” still wrapped in its box over by the desk before Ralphie opens it (but after he has to put on aunt Clara’s pink bunny suit)?
I wonder if the “major award” is in its wooden box in the entry way, marked with the thick black letters FRAGILE (fraj-ee-lay)?
Is the bar of soap Ralphie’s mom used to wash the “Oh fudge” out of his mouth on the sink in the bathroom?
Oh what fun this is to think about.
Before the home was purchased by the current owner, who turned it into the tribute-paying thing it is now, it just looked like any old house.
It’s just a lot of fun, that movie, and knowing now that there is a place to visit, THE place, there might need to be some plans to head up that way and check it out.
I don’t know that my husband would be thrilled at the idea, but the kids might at least be interested. They even like to watch the movie as it plays over and over again on Christmas Eve every year.
I know Christmas has passed and we are all back to the daily grind, but now that the cold wind is whipping about, and now that there is snow on the ground – all Christmastime feeling things – maybe the film needs another watching.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.
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