Archive for 2005

A Christmas Story House Fundraiser and Cast Reunion

November 25th, 2005 by Ralphie

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Actors From A Christmas Story Reunite in Cleveland

October 20th, 2005 by Ralphie

October 20, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Actors From 1983 Classic A Christmas Story Reunite in Cleveland to Raise Funds for Restoration of House Showcased in the Film

 

 

            For the first time in 22 years actors from the holiday cult classic, A Christmas Story, will reunite to help raise funds for restoring the Cleveland house where much of the movie was filmed. In addition to appearances by cast members who played the kid characters, Randy, Flick, and Scut Farkus (plus their teacher, Miss Shield) — the Higbee department store Christmas window featured in the movie will be recreated.

            The nostalgic reunion will take place over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25, 26 and 27) in a series of events that also includes tours of the house, a downtown parade and tree lighting ceremony and several stage performances of A Christmas Story at the Cleveland Play House. Additionally, a return of the film to the big screen at Cleveland’s Tower City Cinemas, plus a display of movie memorabilia at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, are also scheduled.

            The house that served as the movie’s centerpiece was purchased recently on ebay by Brian Jones of San Diego, a devout fan and former Navy lieutenant who went into business making and selling exact replicas of the leg lamp that graced the home’s front window in the movie.  

Jones has sold nearly 4,000 of the sleek lighted limbs through his company RedRiderLegLamps.com, using the profits to begin restoring the house to its original appearance with the goal of converting it into a non-profit museum dedicated solely to the movie.

His efforts have extended to creating a web site for the house, (www.achristmasstoryhouse.com), while bringing together some of the movie’s pivotal characters for the upcoming events in Cleveland, which are detailed on the web site. Accommodation packages at the Renaissance Hotel, located next to the Higbee building, are also available through the web site. ***

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“‘A Christmas Story’ house getting renovated”, October 14, 2005, wkyc.com NBC, Cleveland

October 15th, 2005 by Ralphie

Link to Original Story by Dan Stadler

CLEVELAND — If you rebuild it — they will come. That’s the hope of a California man, who is turning the house in Cleveland where the classic, A Christmas Story was filmed into a museum.
And no one had to triple dog dare him either.

But there’s a lot of work ahead before any one walks down memory lane.

Contractor Mike Foster’s job is to figure out the movie blueprint and rebuild the Christmas Story house on West 11th Street, the way we know it.

“The biggest challenge is getting that floor plan and getting this exactly right,? Foster says. ?Nail it on the head.”

He could use a little code-cracking help and a lot of direction from Brian Jones.

Jones owns the home and makes his living selling reproduction leg lamps ? just like the ones featured in the movie.

Jones went frame by frame through the movie, capturing images and making prints for the contractor to follow.

Movie extra, Jim Moralevitz still lives in the same neighborhood where the movie was filmed 22 years ago.

Moralevitz says people from all over the U.S. already come to see the house.

He only sees one problem with the future museum.

I just want to know where everybody is going to park?” he asks.

Jones is working on that. The short-term plan is to open the house to the public for tours this Thanksgiving to coincide with a fundraiser for renovations.

The renovations could take six months.

This Thanksgiving, three child actors and Ralphy?s teacher from the movie are scheduled to come to Cleveland to raise money for the home’s restoration.

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“Fan buys piece of film classic”, May 8, 2005, San Diego Union Tribune

May 11th, 2005 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

‘Christmas Story’ house featured in 1983 movie sold to San Diego man

STAFF WRITER  

May 8, 2005

DENIS POROY / Associated Press

Brian Jones of San Diego bought this Cleveland house sight unseen because the movie “A Christmas Story” was filmed there.

‘If it’s not made out of stucco, I don’t know much about it,” said San Diegan Brian Jones. But after buying the wood-frame house in Cleveland – sight unseen – that was the setting for the movie “A Christmas Story,” Jones is getting a crash course in how much of the world beyond California is housed.Jones is one of the many fans of the 1983 movie starring Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon and Peter Billingsley. Set in the ’40s, it’s about a little boy, Ralphie Parker (Billingsley), who wants an official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle for Christmas. The film’s humorously wry look at family life is a Christmas staple, running 24 hours a day on some cable channels.

Jones heard about the house, which was used mostly for exterior shots and a few interior shots, when his wife, Beverly, an ensign on the Bonhomme Richard, sent him an e-mail about its sale on eBay. Beverly was on the U.S. amphibious assault ship heading to the Middle East when her captain told her about the listing.

“She thought it was something cute, but after I bought the house for $150,000, she said, ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,’ ” Jones said.

Beverly knew her husband would be interested because the movie was a family favorite when he was growing up in Newbury Park. So much so that his parents sent him a gag Christmas gift of a “leg lamp,” a replica of the lamp Ralphie’s father proudly displayed in the front window of his family’s house in “A Christmas Story.”

The lamp proved such a hit with Jones that for the last 2½ years, he has been making and selling lamps made of a life-sized woman’s plastic leg covered in fishnet and wearing a high heel shoe with a fringed lampshade on top. It is sold on the Internet (www.redriderleglamps.com) and, locally, from Tap Lighting in Hillcrest.

Jones, 29, a former Navy man with a degree in aerospace engineering, sold the lamps part-time while he was in the Navy, but has since made it his full-time business. He’s sold over 3,000 at $139.99.

“My wife thought that selling the lamps was going to be a hobby,” Jones said. “After I got out of the Navy, she kept asking, ‘When are you going to get a job … you know, a J-O-B?’ But she’s warming to the lamp idea – and the house – now.”

Jones plans to turn his four-bedroom Cleveland house, built in 1895, into a free museum with “A Christmas Story” memorabilia for sale in the living room. It is still undecided who will be the “curator.”

“The former owner would get a couple of hundred people every year stopping by to look at the house, and someone actually stole a piece of fence, which wasn’t even in the movie, as a souvenir,” Jones said.

But first, Jones has to do a reverse remodel of the house to make it look more like the house in the movie. “Unfortunately, it’s in good condition because previous owners updated it and took out a lot of the stuff that made it recognizable as the movie house,” Jones said. Gray siding has to come off and the house repainted yellow with green trim; all the windows have to come out; and the duplex, which was a rental, has to be changed back into a single-family home.

Jones flew to Cleveland last week to meet with contractors, a Cleveland-area historical society, painters and a demolition company that will remove the siding. Several Cleveland companies are donating time and materials for the renovation. “I’m still going to have to pay a big chunk of change, though,” Jones said.

“A lot of people said I paid too much for the house, but in San Diego I couldn’t even make a down payment on a house for that amount,” Jones said.

Counting last week’s visit, Jones has only seen the house twice since buying it. The first time was Dec. 27, 2004. Stoked on a 24-hour marathon showing of “A Christmas Story,” Jones said, “It was so cool to be there. I ran around the back yard and I felt like I was in the movie. I felt like a kid all over again.”

The house can be seen at www.achristmasstoryhouse.com.

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“House From ‘A Christmas Story’ Bought by Fan”, April 5, 2005, Associated Press

April 5th, 2005 by Ralphie

Link to Article 

 

 

 

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“A Christmas Story” House Sold, April 4, 2005, CBS News

April 4th, 2005 by Ralphie

Link to original Article

(AP) The home where the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story” was filmed has been purchased on eBay by a California man for $150,000.

Brian Jones could not resist when his wife told him eBay was offering the Cleveland home where the film family lived in the 1940s and the main character, a boy named Ralphie, daydreamed of shooting bad guys with a BB gun he hoped to get for Christmas.

The starting bid for the four-bedroom house was $99,999.

Jones, 29, of San Diego, plans to restore the home’s exterior to the deep yellow with green-trimmed windows it had in the movie and revamp the interior to resemble its movie appearance.

He also wants to create a museum in the home and open a gift store selling items linked to the movie, including Ovaltine, Little Orphan Annie decoder rings and “leg lamps” like the one Ralphie’s father proudly displayed in the front window of his family’s house.

Two years ago, Jones started a Web site and began selling 45-inch-tall lamps of a woman’s leg in a fishnet stocking and high-heel shoe.

“A Christmas Story,” is based on the writing of Jean Shepherd, who died in 1999.

The movie was filmed in 1983. It is Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. property, and the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, in Clark, N.J., holds a license for marketing products from the film, including the lamps.

Warner Bros. had no comment on Jones’ museum proposal or any property rights involved, a studio spokesman said last week. NECA did not respond to a message last week.

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“A merry ‘Christmas Story’ ending”, March 30, 2005, The Plain Dealer

March 30th, 2005 by Ralphie

A merry ‘Christmas Story’ ending

Magic of ‘Christmas Story’ returns Cleveland’s early Christmas present
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Amanda Garrett

Plain Dealer Reporter

The captain of a U.S. amphibious assault ship heading to the Middle East noticed the oddball eBay listing halfway around the world.

Someone in Cleveland was auctioning the Tremont house that served as a backdrop for the nostalgic holiday classic “A Christmas Story.”

The captain told a surface warfare officer, who jokingly e- mailed her husband in California saying he should buy the house since he was such a fan of the movie. And almost faster than you can say “You’ll shoot your eye out,” he did.

Now Brian Jones – who had never before visited Cleveland – plans to turn the West 11th Street rental into “A Christmas Story” museum.

“It’s great to do something fun for a living,” Jones, 29, said this week during a telephone interview from his San Diego office.

For those few who haven’t yet stumbled across the annual 24-hour holiday marathon of “A Christmas Story” on cable TV, the movie focuses on Ralphie – a young, bespectacled boy growing up in the 1940s – and his earnest quest for an official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle.

Filmed mostly in Canada, the 1983 Christmas classic also features lots of snowy Cleveland.

Among other things, Ralphie visits a particularly malevolent Santa in the now-defunct downtown Higbee’s store; and his family lives in the 1895 Tremont house Jones bought in December for $150,000.

Why would a former West Coast Navy man with a degree in aerospace engineering sink so much money into such an offbeat project in the Midwest?

That’s a whole other story:

It all started, Jones said, when he and his parents watched “A Christmas Story” on TV one year. They joked about all the characters’ foibles and laughed at all the ridiculous childhood scenarios that were universal, no matter when or where you grew up.

“Everyone got caught saying ‘Oh, fudge’ at least once,” Jones said.

Time passed. And one day after Jones graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, he received a large wooden crate marked “FRAGILE.”

Jones said he didn’t make the connection to the movie at first. Then he opened it. A life-sized woman’s plastic leg covered in fishnet was inside. A fringe lampshade sat on top.

It looked just like the leg lamp Ralphie’s father so proudly displayed in the front window of his family’s house in “A Christmas Story” – much to his wife’s consternation.

Jones’ parents, it turned out, had gone to the garment district in Los Angeles, bought different pieces and assembled the lamp for him as a joke.

“Everyone loved the leg,” Jones said. “My mom said someone could make good money selling them.”

More time passed and when Jones left the Navy and began interviewing for corporate jobs, employers wanted him to relocate to the East Coast.

But he didn’t want to leave San Diego because his wife is stationed there. Then it dawned on him how to make a living. On April 9, 2003, he launched RedRiderLeglamps.com – a largely online venture that sells replica lamps from the movie for $139.99, plus $35 shipping and handling.

So far, he has sold about 3,000 of the curvaceous 45-inch-tall gams. A bulb under the shade lights up, but so, too, does the leg.

And that brings us back to the amphibious assault ship bound for the Middle East where Jones’ wife, Beverly, serves as a surface warfare officer.

“Beverly thought I was going to get a real job after the Navy and that the leg lamp thing would be a hobby,” Jones said. “I think she thought the same thing with this house.”

The starting eBay price for the four-bedroom house was $99,999. By the time Jones learned of the auction, people had pushed the bidding to about $115,000, he said.

Not to be outbid, Jones called the owner and offered him a sort of triple-dog dare, a la “A Christmas Story.” Take the house off the market and Jones would fork over $150,000.

The deal was made and Jones flew to Cleveland for the first time Dec. 27. He steered his rental car directly to the house.

It wasn’t the deep yellow color with the green-trimmed windows that he remembered from the movie. Someone had covered it with gray vinyl siding and in stalled new windows.

“Notafinga!” as Ralphie’s dad might say.

Before the museum can open, Jones said he must hire contractors to undo all of the remodeling.

Ultimately, Jones envisions the museum as a working house that mirrors the movie set. He said he has been talking with the actor who played Flick, the kid who accidentally froze his tongue to a flagpole (Scott Schwartz). Schwartz suggested a bed-and-breakfast.

Whatever happens, Jones said admission to the museum will probably be free. He hopes to make money by opening an on- site gift store selling things from the movie like Ovaltine, Little Orphan Annie decoder rings and what else?

Leg lamps.

Or as Ralphie would describe them: “The soft glow of electric sex.”

You can see the house at achristmasstoryhouse.com.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

agarrett@plaind.com, 216-999-4814

© 2005 The Plain Dealer© 2005 cleveland.com All Rights Reserved.

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