Archive for August, 2008

August 2008 Newsletter

August 27th, 2008 by Ralphie

A preview of the much anticipated 25th Anniversary DVD of A Christmas Story has been released.  The DVD is packaged in a collectors tin and along with numerous bonus features also includes a cookbook of recipes inspired from the movie.  So that everyone can cook up a nice meal for their favorite “little piggy”
Preparation for the 25th Anniversary Celebration and convention is in full swing.  The convention will be capped off with the premiere ClarkWORLD.
In order to allow fans to share thier A Christmas Story experience we have set up a fan submission section on our website.  We have have already had some really nice submissions.  Please feel free to share yours.


Ultimate Collector’s DVD
Fan Submissions

A Christmas Story Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD

A Christmas Story House LogoA Christmas Story Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD will be realeased on November 4, 2008 by Warner Home Video to commemorate the film’s 25th Anniversary. The release includes a Two-Disc DVD, five collectible cookie cutters in iconic Christmas Story shapes; a 48-page cook book filled with recipes inspired by the film; photos and quotes and a custom-designed chef’s apron. All will be festively packaged in a collectible retro holiday cookie tin.  


ClarkWORLD to Premiere During 25th Anniversary Convention 



A Christmas Story House LogoClarkWORLD”  the documentary about A Christmas Story Director, the late Bob Clark will have a special premiere screening during the “A Christmas Story” 25th year Anniversary Celebration and Convention on Nov. 29th, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel. The proceeds from tickets and a special fundraising raffle will go to MADD in Cleveland.  The movie features many of the people that worked closely with Bob Clark over the years including Kim Cattrall, Denise Richards, Jon Voight, Scott Baio, Peter Billingsley (Ralphie Parker), Dom DeLuise, and many others!  Click here to find out more about ClarkWORLD.
For those of us who have been fans of the movie for years, I’m sure the excitement must be building in anticipation of the “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention.  2008 marks the 25th anniversary of everyone’s favorite holiday film. A Christmas Story House & Museum is planning its fourth annual event to mark the occasion.
The 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention will feature appearances by seven original cast members, the premiere of two documentaries about the movie, rides in the original movie fire truck, a BB gun range in the back yard of A Christmas Story House, special exhibits of original props used in the movie, and a speakers series featuring members of the cast and original production crew.
The celebration will take place Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-30) at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel and coincide with Cleveland’s Winterfest. The  Renaissance Cleveland Hotel is offering an all inclusive package deal from $169 for convention attendees.  Click here for reservations. 
For fans located in the Toronto area who wish to attend the events, a tour bus is being arranged to make the trip to Cleveland. Further details to come.
For further details about this year’s convention, visit 


Fan Submissions – Share your experience

A Christmas Story House LogoA special section of has been established to allow fans to share their A Christmas Story experiences.  Here is the latest fan submission:  Donna of Elves by Donna sent this picture of her husband, John.  This is John with 2 elves handmade by Donna and his A Christmas Story DVD.  Donna gave John the trip to the 2007 convention as a birthday present and now they want to go every year! And another picture of John at the convention feeling up the leg lamp.


A Christmas Story House & Museum is open year-round on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tours of the house run every 30 minutes. Regular admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children (ages 7-12) and free for children ages 6 and under. For more information, visit or call 216-298-4919.

Steve Siedlecki, Executive Director
A Christmas Story House


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‘A Christmas Story’ cameo creates a Chippawa star

August 27th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

Firetruck famous after rescuing Flick from flagpole
By Corey Larocque

A cameo appearance in a flop of a film 25 years ago has turned a 70-year-old Chippawa icon into an enduring star. Chippawa residents recognize their 1938 Ford-LaFrance fire truck for its faithful service over the years, but a few seconds in the movie “A Christmas Story” has earned it international acclaim among fans of the quirky seasonal comedy.

Now, with a big convention coming up in Cleveland that celebrates the exploits of Ralphie Parker (actor Peter Billingsley) and his oddball family, Chippawa’s 1938 pumper is expected to reprise its role. Ken Prohaszka and Ray Anderson, two members of the Chippawa Volunteer Firefighters Association, will be taking the truck to the convention, held over the American Thanksgiving weekend in November.

Tyler Swartz, a die-hard Canadian fan and promoter of Cleveland’s convention, compares the annual convention to a gathering of trekkies at a Star Trek event. The movie has a devoted following now, he said.

“It’s one of those things when you watch it every year, you start looking forward to it. It’s something everyone can relate to. It’s got a certain sense of humour, it really grows on you,” said Swartz, who lives in Oakville. He’s trying to round up some of the extras from St. Catharines for a reunion.

The Chippawa firefighters say they’re constantly surprised by the interest fans of the movie have in their truck.

“To still have a piece of equipment that was in the movie and still have it operational… we take pride in it and look after it,” Prohaszka said.

“A Christmas Story” tells nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s crusade to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas even though his mother, teacher and a shopping mall Santa tell him no because – as one of the film’s recurring lines goes – “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

Ralphie’s family lives in a small town in northern Indiana, but the movie was actually shot in Cleveland, Ohio, and in St. Catharines, Ont.

In one famous scene filmed in the Canadian winter, Ralphie classmate Flick accepts the “triple-dog dare” to stick his tongue to a flagpole while the kids are playing in the schoolyard. The bell rings and the kids leave the youngster frozen to the pole.

Enter Chippawa’s 1938 fire engine.

Because the movie is set in the 1940s, producers needed a period fire truck to respond the flagpole emergency.

Back in 1983, then-firefighter Gord Chase (now the chief of Chippawa’s company of volunteer firefighters) was keen to answer the call for a vintage truck. He and then-chief, the late Alex Oleksuik took the truck to the St. Catharines set, where it was used in the filming. Bad weather meant filming went over two days.

Chase said he missed out on being an extra in the film because he could only afford one day off work, so he wasn’t around for second-day shooting which resulted in the footage that was included in the movie.

To this day, Chase said he’s surprised by fans of the movie who know the trucks origin and who stop by Chippawa’s Station 4 firehall to take a peek at a piece of movie lore.

“With this in the movie, we’ve got people coming from all over. I can’t believe how many people have seen this movie and have some connection to it, when it’s only 10 seconds in the movie,” Chase said.

The truck is now a “showpiece” for the Chippawa Volunteer Firefighters Association. It’s now stored at Chippawa’s Station 4 firehall and is regularly on display in a museum area that was added to the hall in 2000. The volunteer firefighters use it for parades and also in fire-prevention educational programs.

Chippawa firefighters beam with pride when they talk about its role in “A Christmas Story.” But they can also retell its less-glamorous day-to-day service.

The truck itself went into service for the Village of Chippawa on June 10, 1938, according to a newspaper article that referred to it as “state of the art firefighting equipment.”

That meant it could drive 30 miles an hour and pump 200 gallons of water a minute, Chase said.

It stayed in service until 1969 when the village was amalgamated with the City of Niagara Falls. The truck then became part of the private fire brigade at Norton Abrasives between 1970 and 1977. When Norton stopped using it, it reverted to a city asset. The Chippawa volunteer firefighters association bought it from the city in 1978 for one dollar. A Wintario grant in 1978 helped fund its restoration in 1982 – the year before A Christmas Story was made.

You have to look carefully to see Chippawa’s 1938 Ford-LaFrance fire truck in just a couple of scenes.

“You’ve got to know when it’s coming in and going out. As it’s driving in, if you don’t know what to look for, you don’t realize it’s there,” said Anderson.

Though the movie was set in the town of Hohman, Indiana, the fire truck kept the markings on the doors that identify it as part of the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department. A clever, careful parking job prevents audiences from seeing anything that would spoil the illusion.

Organizers of this year’s convention are going big with it because this is the 25th anniversary of the movie. Actors from the movie attend and mingle with fans. There are tours of Ralphie’s neighbourhood. Museum exhibits of props used in the movie are unveiled. There’s a lecture series with behind-the-scenes gossip and documentaries about the making of the movie. And naturally there’s a screening of the movie with an audience of some of its hardcore fans. And of course rides on the fire truck.

At the convention Prohaszka and Anderson will be giving rides on the fire truck. It will be a fundraising opportunity for the firefighters association. And the truck is expected to chauffeur the grand marshal of Cleveland’s Winterfest parade.

“A Christmas Story” was a box office bomb when it opened. But in the last few years – possibly because one American network plays it 24 hours a day on Christmas Day – it has become a fan favourite, joining “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” as must-see annual Christmas movies.

“The movie basically has a cult following. We have people that come here every day that grew up in the ‘40s so they can relate to it,” said Steve Sieblecki, the executive director of the A Christmas Story House museum.

Some of the fans grew up watching it in the theatres.

“The young children are just getting turned onto it. It’s just a big thing now,” Sieblicki said.

Cleveland plays host to the convention because it has the “A Christmas Story” House museum. A few years ago, a businessman bought the actual house in Cleveland where the movie was shot. He restored it – inside and out – to the way it looked in the movie, Sieblicki said. A house across the street serves as a museum with displays about the movie. A house next door is their gift shop.

The museum opened two years ago and has been attracting about 32,000 people a year, Sieblicki said.

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