Archive for 2006

Step Into the Set of ‘A Christmas Story’, December 15, 2006, ABC News Nightline

December 15th, 2006 by Ralphie

Link to Article

How an Ordinary-Looking House in Cleveland Became a Tourist Attraction

On West 11th Street in Cleveland, the line of camera-toting tourists stretches around the corner. A man in an orange vest directs traffic. It is an unlikely sight in this neighborhood, which borders on a steel mill and has definitely seen better days.

Christmas Story
Brian Jones poses with his Red Ryder air rifle outside the renovated home which was used in the in the movie(Amy Sancetta/ AP Photo )

The tourists come from as far away as Texas and Arizona to make their own walk-on appearances in the house where the film “A Christmas Story” was set. The quirky holiday movie about a young boy’s obsession with a BB gun now rivals seasonal favorites like “The Grinch” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Now, thanks to a 30-year-old California man’s obsession with the film, the Cleveland house has become the city’s hottest new tourist destination.

“It’s like seeing a movie star, and it feels like you stepped onto the set and that you’re actually reliving the movie when you come to see the house,” said Brian Jones.

Jones bought the house — sight unseen — on eBay for $150,000.

“The first time I got here I felt like I was on the set. I’m running around like a little kid,” he said.

Jones brought “Nightline” inside the mustard-colored three-story home, and it felt strangely familiar.

The Old Man’s coat rack, the waist-high wooden radio where Ralphie and brother Randy listened to the Orphan Annie show. It’s all here.

The Leg Lamp

And there, shining in the window — is the leg lamp. The “major award” won by Ralphie’s Old Man and scorned by Ralphie’s mother — the glowing replica of a woman’s shapely leg, adorned in fishnet stockings and a high-heeled pump, and wearing a fringed lampshade as a skirt.

Few props in moviedom have had this kind of stature … this kind of glow, if you will.

“It all started with the leg lamp,” said Jones, a former Navy officer who dreamed of going to flight school but couldn’t pass the vision test. Like the bespectacled Ralphie character in the movie, Jones’ eyesight isn’t good. As a consolation, Jones’ parents built him a prop from his favorite movie — a leg lamp.

When it came time for Jones to leave the Navy, that gift took on new meaning. “It hit me one day like an epiphany. I should sell leg lamps.”

Jones’ wife thought he was crazy — until the unusual business started making a six-figure profit.

Open for Business

Now Jones has used the proceeds of leg lamp sales to help renovate the house — watching the film frame by frame, so that contractors could re-create the movie set inside the house. It wasn’t easy, since the interiors were shot on a Canadian soundstage.

For instance, the stairway on which Ralphie reluctantly models his pink bunny suit pajamas didn’t exist in the house.

“We actually had to re-create this part,” said Jones. “They look exactly like the stairs in the movie, right down to the spindles.”

Jones paid close attention to the authenticity of every detail. Each of the brown and white tiles on the kitchen floor had to be hand trimmed.

“We actually had to cut these down from 12 by 12,” the size that’s made now, “because in the 1940s the tiles they made were 9 by 9.”

Outside, the line of tourists grows.

Travis and Lisa Campbell drove 2½ hours with their 8-month-old daughter, Zoe.

“I was relieved. I wasn’t the only person out here,” said Travis Campbell.

Hardly. Since the “Parker House” opened for business three weeks ago, more than 10,000 movie buffs have lined up for the $5 tour.

They recite lines from the movie, and snap an endless number of photos — posing in the living room with the leg lamp.

“Fra-jee-lay, it must be Italian,” said one woman, quoting the Old Man’s famous line from the film.

‘We’ve Touched Something in the Heart of the People’

Jones also bought the house across the street and turned it into a museum and souvenir stand, where he sells his leg lamps for $199 apiece.

Fans can also buy Xeroxed copies of the script for $40 and original pieces of siding from the house for $60.

Photos from when the movie was shot adorn the wall.

A glass case displays the toy blimp Ralphie got for Christmas, along with his cartoonishly restrictive snowsuit in which he whined, “I can’t put my arms down.”

Bob Clark, who co-wrote and directed the film, is not surprised at the popularity of the movie or the house.

“We’ve touched something in the heart of the people, and I think it’s the craziness, the integrity, the realness of the movie.”

Outside the house, locals who played small roles in the film mingle with the crowd, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

“I had no idea we would be riding the wave all these years. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Patty LaFountaine, a local actress who played one of Santa’s sadistic elves. “Who would have ever thunk it?” exclaimed Jim Marelovitz, who lived down the street and played a bit part — literally — in the film.

“You could only see a side view as I come in the door,” he told a group of movie fans. Marelovitz pushed the hand truck that delivered the infamous leg lamp.

‘It’s ‘A Christmas Story’ …

This brings us back to Brian Jones and his unusual career.

“It will work out. It’s ‘A Christmas Story.’ How can it fail? Everyone loves ‘A Christmas Story,’” Jones figured.

He figured right. From the size of the crowds, Jones is obviously on to something.

His affection for the house and the movie helped to re-invigorate this neighborhood.

Cable did the same thing for the film. When “A Christmas Story” first opened in 1983, it was hardly a box-office hit.

The film premiered just before Thanksgiving and didn’t even last until Christmas in theaters. Critics thought it was too sarcastic. One reviewer called it “as authentic as wax fruit.” But that was before Turner Classic Movies and other cable channels started airing “Christmas Story” marathons — leaving a younger generation of fans stuck on this unusual film.

Twenty-three years after the movie’s lackluster release, Jones has reaped the rewards.

“Do you believe this?” he said, gesturing toward the crowd with a broad smile.

Take that, movie critics.

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Countdown with Keith Olbermann interview from inside A Christmas Story House

December 12th, 2006 by Ralphie

Leg Lamp and Keith Olberman

Keith Olberman with the Leg Lamp in his office

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Recreating ‘A Christmas Story’ for Tourists in Cleveland, NY Times

December 4th, 2006 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

CLEVELAND, Dec. 4 — If Denny Renz were a boy again, he said, he would love nothing more than to re-enact Ralphie Parker’s childhood.

David Maxwell for The New York Times

Mr. Jones has now opened the house to tours.

Amy Sancetta/Associated Press

Brian Jones, with a Red Ryder air rifle, started a business that sold the leg lamp made famous in “A Christmas Story.”

 

He would crawl under the kitchen sink the way Ralphie’s brother, Randy, did to hide from Mr. Parker, their father in the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.” He would swing from the tree in the backyard, he said, dodging imaginary BBs fired from Ralphie’s coveted “official Red Ryder 200-shot carbine action range model air rifle.”

“I’ve never seen this house before, but it’s like I grew up here,” said Mr. Renz, 62, who drove 103 miles from Fairview, Pa., to see the home here where exterior shots of “A Christmas Story” were filmed.

Though originally panned by critics as a dark depiction of the holidays, “A Christmas Story” has earned status as a movie classic, rivaling long-time seasonal favorites like “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Now fans from as far away as Los Angeles and Phoenix are flocking to a gritty Cleveland street overlooking a steel factory to visit the Parker family house restored to its movie glory.

A San Diego entrepreneur, Brian Jones, bought the house sight unseen on e-Bay for $150,000 in December 2004. He grew up watching “A Christmas Story” every year with his family. After Mr. Jones failed the vision test required to become a Navy pilot, his father tried cheering him up by building him a lamp with a woman’s leg as the base, similar to the one that enchanted Ralphie’s father in the movie.

Mr. Jones loved the gift so much that he started manufacturing copies of the lamps himself. Complete with fishnet stocking and a black high-heeled shoe, most lamps sell for $139 each; more than 7,500 have sold. Mr. Jones used the proceeds to cover the down payment on the house.

“When I first saw the house, there was snow on the ground, and I started running around the backyard,” said Mr. Jones, 30. “It felt like I was a little kid again.”

Unlike the Parkers’ single-family home in the movie, the Cleveland house was a duplex. (All the movie’s interior scenes were filmed on a sound stage in Toronto, Mr. Jones said.) Previous owners had installed modern windows, and covered the original wood siding with blue vinyl.

Watching the movie frame by frame, Mr. Jones drew plans of the Parker home. He spent $240,000 to gut the interior and transform the house into a near-exact copy of the movie set. (Darryl Haase, a tour guide, apologizes that the new stairwell is a few inches narrower than the one where Ralphie modeled his pink bunny pajamas.)

“Now I watch the movie and I catch myself looking at the background for anything we’re missing in the house,” Mr. Jones said.

To make the home feel more authentic, Mr. Jones hopes to install a stereo that recreates the sounds of Mr. Parker in the basement, swearing at the furnace. He briefly considered a Cleveland businessman’s offer to blow artificial smells of food, including Mrs. Parker’s cooked cabbage, through the house’s heat ducts.

Mr. Jones borrowed $129,000 to turn the house across the street into a museum and gift shop. Displays include the comically immobilizing snowsuit worn by little Randy, who famously cried, “I can’t put my arms down!”

Fans can buy a copy of the movie script for $40. Chunks of the house’s original wood siding cost $60.

About 4,300 people toured the house on opening weekend in November, Mr. Jones said. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under. He has no official attendance projections, but expects at least 50,000 visitors a year.

In a city starved for jobs and tourist dollars — the Census Bureau ranked Cleveland as America’s poorest big city in 2006 — the house has sparked a miniature tourism boom. For $159 the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel offers “Christmas Story” packages, which include overnight accommodations for two, tickets to the house and the movie playing continuously on the room television set.

Patty LaFountaine-Johnson, an actor from Cleveland, sews red-and-green felt hats like the one she wore as an elf in the movie. Autographed, they sell in the gift shop for $35 each. “A veritable steal, made personally by the elf from hell herself,” Ms. LaFountaine-Johnson said.

At C&Y Chinese Restaurant, the official restaurant of the “Christmas Story” house, waiters copy the movie’s Christmas turkey scene by taking a roasted duck to customer’s tables, where they chop its head off with a giant cleaver. The promotion has doubled the restaurant’s weekend sales to over 1,000 people a day, said Jimmy Fong, the manager.

“Before last month, I never heard of this movie,” Mr. Fong said. “Now I’ve seen it over 100 times. I like it very much.”

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A Christmas Story House on Today Show, December 4, 2006

December 4th, 2006 by Ralphie

 
‘Christmas Story’ home opens

 

'Christmas Story' home opens

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HOUSE FROM “A CHRISTMAS STORY” CELEBRATES ITS GRAND OPENING IN CLEVELAND

November 25th, 2006 by Ralphie

CONTACT:

                                                                                                            Emily Vincent

                                                                                                            Landau Public Relations

                                                                                                            216-912-2848

                                                                                                            evincent@landaupr.com

 

 

HOUSE FROM “A CHRISTMAS STORY” CELEBRATES ITS GRAND OPENING IN CLEVELAND

 

The home featured in 1983 holiday film officially opens its doors to guests

 

 

CLEVELAND – Nov. 25, 2006 – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Cleveland as fans from across the country today celebrated the grand opening of A Christmas Story House.

 

The home used in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” has been renovated to its original movie appearance and was unveiled by its owner, Brian Jones, along with several actors from the film, including Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Patty Johnson (Head Elf) and Drew Hocevar (Male Elf).

 

The grand opening ceremony culminated with the lighting of the leg lamp. The infamous leg lamp, displayed prominently in the front window, serves as a beacon drawing “A Christmas Story” fans to the house. The new pop culture destination and tourist attraction is expected to receive 3,000 to 4,000 visitors in its opening weekend.

 

Jones, 30, of San Diego, purchased the home – sight unseen – in an eBay auction without ever having been to Ohio. A former Navy intelligence officer, Jones is a huge fan of “A Christmas Story” and sells leg lamps (just like the one in the movie) for a living through his online site www.RedRiderLegLamps.com.

 

Jones purchased the 111-year-old house for $150,000 on Feb. 1, 2005, and spent an additional $240,000 for the restoration work that started in January 2006 with most of the money coming from sales of his leg lamp business. He also purchased the house across the street to serve as the museum for $129,000. The museum features original props from the film, including Randy’s “I-can’t-put-my-arms-down” snowsuit.

 

The 1983 holiday film starred the late Darren McGavin as The Old Man and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie who famously pleaded for a Red Ryder BB gun, although everyone assured him he would only shoot his eye out. The film became a holiday favorite years after its theatrical release and is celebrated annually on cable with a daylong marathon.

 

A Christmas Story House is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. It is open year-round.   For more information or directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

 

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Home for the Holidays “A Christmas Story” House opens its doors in Cleveland.

November 16th, 2006 by Ralphie

by Linda Feagler

Link to Original Article

One of Brian Jones’ most treasured holiday memories is watching “A Christmas Story” with his parents. Never mind that the movie’s Midwest winter setting was miles away from his Hawaiian home. Never mind that his coveted gift was a puppy, rather than the air rifle 9-year-old Ralphie Parker hoped to receive in the film. And never mind that it took place more than 30 years before Jones was born.

“‘A Christmas Story’ is endearing and funny at the same time, which is a hard combination to get,” Jones, 30, explains by phone from his home in San Diego. “Who hasn’t been picked on in the schoolyard and fought back? Who hasn’t gotten in trouble with their parents? It has a very human touch that connects with everybody.”

So last year, when the Cleveland house featured in the 1983 movie came up for sale on eBay, Jones just had to have it. His goal: create a setting that would replicate the Parker family home and build a museum/gift shop that fans of the movie would be sure to love. Bids for the house started at $99,999. Jones sealed the deal by offering $150,000.

On November 25, the house (complete with leg lamp in window) and museum will be introduced to the public as part of a three-day grand-opening celebration featuring autograph and meet-and-greet sessions interspersed with movie marathons. Stars scheduled to attend include Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkas), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Patty Johnson (head elf) and Drew Hocevar (male elf).

Based on stories written by humorist Jean Shepherd, the film’s release almost two decades ago met with little fanfare except in cities such as Cleveland, where much of it was shot. Prominent locations included Public Square, where the holiday parade was staged, and the downtown branch of the now-defunct Higbee’s department store, where the Parker boys visited Santa.

Although it has justifiably earned a place in the annals of holiday-film history and has long been a favorite of fan

s who have driven by it over the years, the 111-year-old dwelling, located in the city’s Tremont neighborhood, was more on a par with a scene from “The Money Pit” when Jones purchased it.

“The house was empty at the time the movie was made. After filming was over, it went through periods of being run-down-fixed-up, run-down-fixed-up, run-down-fixed-up. It was sad to see,” says museum curator Steve Siedlecki.

Under Siedlecki’s watchful eye, more than $200,000 of restoration work has transpired, including replacing exterior vinyl siding with the spiffy yellow and green paint job fans remember. Since the house was used for exterior shots (interiors were created on a Toronto sound stage), a wooden staircase resembling the one on which Ralphie made his grand entrance in his infamous bunny suit, looking “like a pink nightmare,” has replaced a downstairs bedroom. The back yard, where Black Bart lurked and Ralphie engaged in target practice, is newly landscaped.

“The contractor followed 12 pages of still frames from the movie to make it as realistic as possible,” Siedlecki says, as he examines donations for the house, which range from a half-dozen console radios with lighted dials similar to the one on which the Parker boys tuned in “Little Orphan Annie,” to vintage boxes of Lifebuoy soap.

Across the street, “A Christmas Story” House gift shop will be replete with everything the die-hard fan requires, from DVDs to ornaments to T-shirts and posters and the leg lamps that Jones manufactures. The museum adjoining the shop will spotlight such artifacts as Randy’s snowsuit and zeppelin, and movie reviews written following the film’s premiere.

Last year, more than 1,300 fans from around the country attended a sneak preview of the house, which also served as a fund-raiser. An additional 2,000 have asked to be placed on Jones’ mailing list for updates.

Petrella is one of them.

“I truly believe in this project,” says the 31-year-old actor-turned-puppeteer, who was 8 when he was awarded his part. “It’s an absolutely wonderful idea, and I’m very excited about it.

“We all want to achieve something in life – whether it’s a job, a relationship, an object, a car, good grades… anything. The movie addresses those desires on a level everyone at any age can relate to.”

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‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY! RENOVATION WORK ON

November 15th, 2006 by Ralphie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        CONTACT:

                                                                                                            Emily Vincent

                                                                                                            Landau Public Relations

                                                                                                            216-912-2848

                                                                                                            evincent@landaupr.com

 

 

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY! RENOVATION WORK ON

A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE IS COMPLETE

 

Grand opening celebration to take place Nov. 25 at 10 a.m.

 

CLEVELAND – Nov. 15, 2006 – Well, no one shot their eye out, and the renovations to the house used in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” are now complete. With the grand opening taking place Saturday, Nov. 25, at 10 a.m., the $240,000 renovation project came in on time and delivered a result that will take fans back to the adventures of Ralphie, Randy and all of their friends on Cleveland Street (which is actually West 11th Street in Cleveland).

 

While the idea to turn the home into a fun attraction for fans belongs to one man, he wants to be sure to thank all of those who helped to make this dream a reality.

 

“The renovation was a massive project, and the companies that made it happen were simply first-rate,” said Brian Jones, owner of A Christmas Story House. “Foster Contracting transformed the inside and outside of the home to match as close as possible to what you see in the movie. The crew may have watched the movie more times than me to notice all the details and get everything right. The folks at ICI Paints, who donated their paint, worked closely with us to ensure the perfect colors for every room and matched the exterior yellow paint with green trim with pieces of the original siding seen in the movie. And Draco Landscape, who also donated its services, has made the front and back yards look great to showcase the house.”

 

For their part, all of the businesses who worked on the house stressed how much they enjoyed the project.

 

“Obviously, this was a really fun and once-in-a-lifetime project to work on,” said Mike Foster, general contractor and owner of Foster Contracting in Cleveland. “We were thrilled to be a part of it, and we hope that visitors to A Christmas Story House will appreciate all of the hard work and attention to detail that went into restoring the home to what they remember from the film.”

 

Visitors to A Christmas Story House will feel that they have just stepped into the 1940s, taking a nostalgic trip through the Parker home. Though most of the interior shots seen in the movie were done in a studio in Canada, the house has been renovated to look like it did in the movie. The beacon that will draw “A Christmas Story” fans to the house is the infamous leg lamp displayed prominently in the front living room window (after all, it’s a major award of which The Old Man is very proud).

 

In addition to the house, guests can tour the accompanying museum dedicated to the film. It is located directly across the street from A Christmas Story House at 1103 Rowley Ave. and is where tickets to the house can be purchased and where all tours begin. The museum features more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos and items donated by actors from the movie.

 

The museum features items donated by actors in the movie. Ian Petrella, who portrayed younger brother Randy, has provided his “I-can’t-put-my-arms-down” snowsuit, toy zeppelin and rat from Miss Shields’ drawer. The museum also includes a gift shop where items such as leg lamps, T-shirts, painting, pictures, action figures, Ovaltine, Lifebuoy Soap, secret decoder pins and eventually pink bunny suits are available for purchase.

 

Once it opens on Nov. 25, the house’s hours will be Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. After Jan. 16, 2007, the house will be open Thursdays through Sunday. Admission to A Christmas Story House is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Group discounts are available. The price of admission includes a guided tour of the house and yard and admittance into the accompanying museum.

 

For more information on Foster Contracting, please visit the official Web site at www.fostercontracting.homestead.com, or call 216-631-2551.

 

A Christmas Story House is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. For more information or for directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

 

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END YOUR TRIP TO A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE JUST LIKE THE FILM

November 2nd, 2006 by Ralphie

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   CONTACT:

                                                                                                            Emily Vincent

                                                                                                            Landau Public Relations

                                                                                                            216-912-2848

                                                                                                            evincent@landaupr.com

 

END YOUR TRIP TO A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE JUST LIKE THE FILM

 

C&Y Chinese Restaurant partners with A Christmas Story House

for special discount offers and holiday-themed party rentals

 

CLEVELAND – Nov. 2, 2006 – To help celebrate the grand opening of A Christmas Story House, the home used in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” that has been renovated to its original movie appearance, C&Y Chinese Restaurant has been named the official restaurant of the house. The restaurant offers a special discount as well as a holiday party opportunity for fans of this holiday classic film. Visitors to A Christmas Story House who bring their ticket stub to C&Y Chinese Restaurant will receive 20 percent off their bill, while those who bring their C&Y Chinese Restaurant receipt to A Christmas Story House will receive half off the price of admission to the house and museum.

 

In addition to the discounts, C&Y Chinese Restaurant and A Christmas Story House have partnered with Lolly the Trolley for a special Holiday Party Package for groups of 30 or more. The party package includes transportation via Lolly the Trolley to the house and museum for the tour, and then it’s off to C&Y Chinese Restaurant to enjoy a meal, just like the Parker family following the tragic Bumpus’ hounds incident. For those truly die hard fans, C&Y Chinese Restaurant does offer Roasted Pei King Duck a.k.a. “Chinese Turkey,” the family’s infamous holiday meal from the film’s finale.

 

Trolley Tours is also offering evening tours to A Christmas Story House for groups and individuals without the restaurant stop. For reservations or additional information, contact Lolly the Trolley at info@lollytrolley.com or 216-771-4484 or 800-848-0173.

 

C&Y Chinese Restaurant is located at 2222 St. Clair Ave. Bearing a striking resemblance to the restaurant from the film, the restaurant offers a wide range of Chinese cuisine with a full bar and banquet room. For restaurant reservations, call 216-566-1188.

 

Once it opens on Nov. 25, A Christmas Story House will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. After Jan. 16, 2007, the house will be open Thursdays through Sunday. Admission to A Christmas Story House is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Group discounts are available. The price of admission includes a guided tour of the house and yard and admittance into the accompanying museum.

 

A Christmas Story House is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. For more information or for directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

 

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HO-HO-HO! HOUSE FROM “A CHRISTMAS STORY” MOVIE OPENS IN CLEVELAND

October 30th, 2006 by Ralphie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        CONTACT:

                                                                                                            Emily Vincent

                                                                                                            Landau Public Relations

                                                                                                            216-912-2848

                                                                                                            evincent@landaupr.com

 

 

HO-HO-HO! HOUSE FROM “A CHRISTMAS STORY” MOVIE OPENS IN CLEVELAND

 

The home featured in the 1983 holiday film welcomes visitors

to relive moments from the nostalgic classic

 

CLEVELAND – Oct. 30, 2006 – Since the 1983 release of the hilarious holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” fans have driven past or stopped to see the house that was home to Ralphie Parker and his 1940s family. Some snap a quick picture of the Parker house. Others walk down the driveway to the backyard to see the shed and where Ralphie nearly “shot his eye out” with his treasured Red Ryder BB gun.

 

Starting Nov. 25, 2006, fans of the film will be able to tour the inside and outside of A Christmas Story House when it opens Thanksgiving weekend as the latest pop culture destination and tourist attraction in Cleveland. Located at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, the house pays tribute to the film and its fictional residents – The Old Man, Mrs. Parker, Ralphie and younger brother Randy.

 

“The house’s grand opening coincides with Cleveland’s annual Winterfest celebration, kicking off the holiday season,” said Brian Jones, owner of A Christmas Story House. “I can’t think of a more appropriate time of the year to open the house and get into the holiday spirit. Actors from the movie including Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Patty Johnson (Head Elf) and Drew Hocevar (Male Elf) will reunite and help us officially open A Christmas Story House to fans of this popular family Christmas film.”

 

Visitors to A Christmas Story House will feel that they have just stepped into the 1940s, taking a nostalgic trip through the Parker home. Though most of the interior shots seen in the movie were done in a studio in Canada, the house has been renovated to look like it did in the movie. The beacon that will draw “A Christmas Story” fans to the house is the infamous leg lamp displayed prominently in the front living room window (after all, it’s a major award of which The Old Man is very proud). Several pieces of furniture were donated by fans of the movie who wanted to help with the restoration of A Christmas Story House.

 

In addition to the house, guests can tour the accompanying museum dedicated to the film. It is located directly across the street from A Christmas Story House at 1103 Rowley Ave. and is where tickets to the house can be purchased and where all tours begin. The museum features more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos and items donated by actors from the movie. For instance, Ian Petrella who portrayed Randy has donated his “I can’t put my arms down” snowsuit, toy zeppelin and rat from Miss Shields’ drawer to be on display. The museum also includes a gift shop where items such as leg lamps, T-shirts, painting, pictures, action figures, Ovaltine, Lifebuoy Soap, secret decoder pins and pink bunny suits are available for purchase.

 

Jones, 30, of San Diego, purchased the home – sight unseen – in an eBay auction without ever having been to Cleveland or Ohio. A former Navy intelligence officer, Jones is a huge fan of “A Christmas Story” and sells leg lamps (just like the one in the movie) for a living through his online site www.RedRiderLegLamps.com. Since 2003, he has sold more than 6,500 leg lamps to movie fans across the country and throughout the world.

 

He learned that the original house from “A Christmas Story” was for sale from his wife, Beverly, who was serving on the USS Bonhomme Richard, a U.S. amphibious assault ship, heading to the Middle East. Beverly’s captain had one of Jones’ leg lamps and told Beverly about the online auction. A few days later, Beverly e-mailed her husband about the house, and less than 24 hours later, he informed her that he purchased the house. “She wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry,” Jones said.

 

Jones purchased the 111-year-old house for $150,000 on Feb. 1, 2005, and estimates he will spend an additional $200,000 for the restoration work that started January 2006 with most of the money coming from sales of his leg lamp business. He also purchased the house across the street to serve as the museum for $129,000.

 

Since the filming of the movie 23 years ago, the house has been renovated several times by various homeowners. When Jones came to Cleveland to see the house for the first time, he saw that vinyl siding had been installed over the original yellow paint with green trim. The house also was re-roofed and had new windows installed. The house also was turned into a duplex, and much work would need to be done to change it back into a single-family home and update all of the electrical wiring and plumbing.

 

“I thought that the house from ‘A Christmas Story’ would be a cool place to visit,” Jones said. “When I saw it with the gray siding and the updates that had been made to it over the years, I didn’t want the house to fade away and become unrecognizable. I wanted to bring it back to its original movie appearance. Borrowing from another movie that has thousands of visitors to its movie site, I thought that if I build it, they [“A Christmas Story” fans] will come.”

 

To help Jones with this venture is Cleveland-native Steven Siedlecki who worked previously at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Siedlecki serves as curator and director of A Christmas Story House and has overseen the renovation work. Siedlecki is a big fan of the movie, too, and has driven past the house numerous times since childhood, visiting relatives in that neighborhood. Once he learned that Jones was going to restore the house and create a museum, Siedlecki knew he had to be a part of it.

 

Beginning Nov. 25, A Christmas Story House is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. After Jan. 16, 2007, the house will be open Thursdays through Sundays only. Admission to A Christmas Story House is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Group discounts are available. The price of admission includes a guided tour of the house and yard and admittance into the museum.

 

A Christmas Story House is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. For more information or for directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

 

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RENAISSANCE CLEVELAND HOTEL WELCOMES THE STARS OF “A CHRISTMAS STORY” TO HELP CELEBRATE GRAND OPENING OF A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE

October 2nd, 2006 by Ralphie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        CONTACT:

                                                                                                            Emily Vincent

                                                                                                            Landau Public Relations

                                                                                                            216-912-2848

                                                                                                            evincent@landaupr.com

 

RENAISSANCE CLEVELAND HOTEL WELCOMES THE STARS OF

“A CHRISTMAS STORY” TO HELP CELEBRATE GRAND OPENING OF

A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE

 

Official Hotel of A Christmas Story House Offers Two Special Packages for Fans

 

CLEVELAND – Oct. 2, 2006 – To help celebrate the grand opening of A Christmas Story House, the home used in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” that has been renovated to its original movie appearance, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel is offering two special packages for guests and a very special meet and greet with stars of the holiday classic. Actors from the film, including those who portrayed Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill and Miss Shields, will be at the hotel Saturday, Nov. 25, from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

In addition to the opportunity to meet the stars of the film, fans and Cleveland visitors can take advantage of two special hotel packages.

 

The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel’s A Christmas Story Extravaganza Package will be available for the opening weekend, Friday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 26. Amenities will include:

  • Deluxe room accommodations (one or two beds)
  • Complimentary parking in the hotel garage                        
  • Complimentary breakfast buffet for two in the Brasserie Restaurant 
  • “A Christmas Story” gift bag including a T-shirt, Lifebuoy Soap, decoder pin, Ovaltine and more
  • Transportation for two to A Christmas Story House courtesy of Lolly The Trolley
  • Two tickets to A Christmas Story House and museum
  • Two tickets to a special presentation of the film “A Christmas Story” in the hotel ballroom 
  • Opportunity to meet with original cast members from the film

 

The hotel’s A Christmas Story House Weekend Package will be available Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 29 through Jan. 28, 2007. Amenities will include:

  • Deluxe room accommodations (one or two beds)
  • Complimentary parking in the hotel garage                        
  • Complimentary breakfast buffet for two in the Brasserie Restaurant 
  • “A Christmas Story” gift bag including a T-shirt, Lifebuoy Soap, decoder pin, Ovaltine and more
  • Directions to A Christmas Story House
  • Two tickets to A Christmas Story House and museum
  • In-room showing of the film “A Christmas Story”

 


Coincidentally, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel is the same hotel that cast and crew members stayed in during filming in 1983. At that point, the establishment was called Stouffer’s Inn on the Square; however its location, directly across from the Higbee’s department store that was featured in the film, is special to the history of the film in this area and is one of the reasons that it has been named the official hotel of A Christmas Story House.

“We are thrilled to be the official hotel of A Christmas Story House,” said John Zangas, director of sales and marketing of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. “The film has a special place in the history of Cleveland and our building, and we are very happy to bring these offers to fans of the film.”

 

The grand opening Extravaganza Package will cost $169 plus tax, and the Weekend Package will cost $155 plus tax. Those interested in either package should contact the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel at 216-696-5600 or toll-free at 1-800-468-3571 or visit www.renaissancecleveland.com and click on the “Hotel Specials and Packages” link.

 

Once it opens on Nov. 25, A Christmas Story House will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. After Jan. 16, 2007, the house will be open Thursdays through Sunday. Admission to A Christmas Story House is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Group discounts are available. The price of admission includes a guided tour of the house and yard and admittance into the accompanying museum.

 

A Christmas Story House is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th Street in the Tremont neighborhood. For more information or for directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

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