Archive for October, 2008

Pearl of the Orient now claims official ties to ‘A Christmas Story’ house

October 31st, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to original Article

by Julie E. Washington/Plain Dealer reporter

Now, Pearl of the Orient is officially linked to “A Christmas Story.”
INFO
What: A Christmas Story House and Museum.
Where: 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland.
Details: For hours and admission, go to www.achristmasstoryhouse.com or call 216-298-4919

CLEVELAND — A Christmas Story House and Museum has named Pearl of the Orient as its official Chinese restaurant.

Museum visitors can get a coupon good for a discount on their meal at Pearl of the Orient.

In “A Christmas Story,” the classic 1983 movie that was partly shot in Cleveland, the Parker family enjoys roast duck at a Chinese restaurant after a pack of dogs lays waste to their turkey.

The movie, based on stories by Jean Shepherd, follows the trials and tribulations of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, who desperately wants a BB gun for Christmas.

Pearl of the Orient, with locations in Shaker Heights and Rocky River, is a sponsor of “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration and Convention. The event, planned for Friday, Nov. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 29, offers activities and a reunion of actors from the movie.

The museum’s previous official restaurant, C&Y Chinese Restaurant, closed this year.�

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Cleveland is stuck on ‘A Christmas Story’

October 28th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

'I won't shoot my eye out!' Peter Billingsley plays Ralphie.
Twenty-five years after A Christmas Storyopened in theaters, Ralphie Parker remains an adorable, apple-cheeked kid yearning for an official Red Ryder carbine action BB gun, thanks to the movie’s heavy holiday rotation on cable TV.

In honor of the anniversary, fans (the true die-hards of whom call themselves “Ralphies’) are convening in Cleveland today and Saturday to pay homage to the low-budget movie that has become a holiday staple. Events include appearances by cast members (Peter Billingsley, who portrayed Ralphie, is shooting a movie in Bora Bora and won’t make it, but Zack Ward, who played yellow-eyed Scut Farkas will), costume contests (someone came last year as a kid with his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole), opportunities to fire BB guns and the debut of three documentaries related to the movie.

 

 

The bash is the brainchild of Brian Jones, 32, who three years ago bought the house in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood that served in exterior shots as Ralphie’s Indiana home and promptly turned it into a museum. Inside are 1940s-era toys and other props used in the movie, plus original costumes.

It’s probably one of the few — if not the only — museums of its kind. Jones says he talked to a guy who’s trying to build a likeness of Tara, the mansion in Gone With the Wind, outside Atlanta, and he read recently that new owners of the Woodstock, Ill., house that stood in for the bed and breakfast inGroundhog Day want to convert it to an actual B&B. But his Christmas Story House & Museum, which has attracted about 70,000 visitors since opening in 2006, is the only museum he knows of dedicated to a single movie.

It wasn’t Jones’ first foray into an enterprise related to the film. The U.S. Naval Academy graduate had always been a fan. After he was turned down for flight training because of poor eyesight, his parents cheered him up by sending him a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg like the one the father in the movie proudly displays in the living room window, to his wife’s horror. Jones’ parents mentioned how much discussion the lamp had generated among their friends.

So Jones decided to have leg lamps made and sell them online (redriderleglamps.com). He has since sold about 20,000.

They’re available in the museum’s gift shop for $40 to $200, along with other Christmas Story-inspired stuff, including, in honor of the anniversary, a special-edition Red Ryder carbine action BB gun, just like the one Ralphie got for Christmas.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE MARKS THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF HOLIDAY FILM WITH CELEBRATION & CONVENTION IN CLEVELAND

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention

to take place Nov. 28-29

CLEVELAND – Oct. 15, 2008 – The beloved holiday classic and family-favorite film “A Christmas Story” celebrates its 25th anniversary this November. To mark this special milestone, A Christmas Story House & Museum presents “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention on Nov. 28-29 (Thanksgiving weekend) in Cleveland. The event features a reunion of actors from the movie.

“A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention will bring “A Christmas Story” fans (known as Ralphies) to Cleveland where many exterior scenes of the movie were filmed. Cleveland is also the location of A Christmas Story House, the home featured in the film that was restored to its original movie appearance and opened to visitors Thanksgiving weekend two years ago. In addition to the Parker family home, guests can tour the museum to see original movie props and costumes, including Randy’s “I-can’t-get-my-arms-down” snowsuit, and visit the gift shop to take home their own major award (a leg lamp) and other movie-related items.

The majority of convention events will take place at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Other activities, like taking your best shot at the BB gun range (weather permitting), will occur at A Christmas Story House. The celebration and convention coincides with Winterfest, an annual festival that kicks off the holiday season in Cleveland.

Highlights of this year’s convention include:

·  Appearances by eight of the original cast members, including Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Dwayne McLean (Black Bart), Patty Johnson (Head Elf) and Drew Hocevar (Male Elf)

·  The premiere of two documentaries: “ClarkWORLD” about the life and works of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark and “Road Trip for Ralphie’” about the forgotten locations, memorabilia, and facts of “A Christmas Story”

·  Rides in the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene with proceeds benefiting the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department of Niagara Falls, Ontario, which owns and maintains the fire truck

·  The unveiling of newly acquired costumes from the film, including those worn by the Parker family on Christmas morning

·  The first public display of two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) won by “A Christmas Story” for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay on loan from Clark’s estate

·  A special preview of the upcoming “A Christmas Story – The Musical”

Brian Jones, owner of A Christmas Story House, encourages all fans to come to this quarter-century celebration since future conventions may not occur on an annual basis. “After four years of consecutive conventions, A Christmas Story House & Museum is going to take a couple years break from hosting ‘A Christmas Story’ Convention,” Jones said. “This will be your last chance for awhile to see the actors and revel in the all the events of the convention weekend. We have pulled out all the stops to make this year’s convention that much more memorable.”

“A Christmas Story” premiered around Thanksgiving of 1983. It 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.

For more information on “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention,” including a schedule of events, hotel packages and convention tickets, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.

A Christmas Story House & Museum is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th St. in the Tremont neighborhood. It 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. From Nov. 26 through Dec. 31, the house is also open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours of the house run every 30 minutes. Regular admission tickets are $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children (ages 7 to 12) and free for children ages 6 and under. For more information or for directions, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

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“A CHRISTMAS STORY” 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION & CONVENTION

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

2008 marks the 25th anniversary of the beloved holiday film “A Christmas Story.A Christmas Story House & Museum is hosting its fourth annual event to mark the occasion: “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention. The convention will feature appearances by eight original cast members (Black Bart, Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, Miss Shields and the two evil elves), the premiere of two documentaries about the movie, rides in the original fire truck from the movie, the unveiling of original movie costumes, a BB gun range in the back yard of the house (weather permitting) as well as other events. The celebration will take place Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-29) at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, coinciding with Cleveland’s Winterfest 2008.                                                         

The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel is the site for almost all of the celebration and convention events. Other activities will take place at A Christmas Story House & Museum, which is a short five-minute drive from the downtown hotel. For “A Christmas Story” fans coming from outside the Cleveland area, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel is offering all-inclusive accommodations packages. Hotel guests will receive two complimentary Ralphie Passes and early access to an exclusive meet-and-greet with the actors Saturday morning.

CONVENTION SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 2008

10 AM – 5 PM: A Christmas Story House & Museum opens. Tour the house, visit the museum and stop by the gift shop. Also, ride the fire truck from the movie and take your best shot (without shooting your eye out) at the BB gun range in the house’s back yard (weather permitting). 
Location: A Christmas Story House. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass ($40 Adults, $25 Children & $35 Seniors); Separately $7.50 Adults, $5.50 Children. 

10 AM – 5 PM: Fire truck rides at A Christmas Story House. Ride the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene. Rides begin at A Christmas Story House and travel around the neighborhood. Proceeds benefit the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department (Niagara Falls, Ontario), which owns and maintains the fire truck. 
Location: A Christmas Story House. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $5 Adults, $3 Children.

12 PM – 5 PM: Meet actors from “A Christmas Story” and get their autographs. Meet Black Bart, Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, Miss Shields and the two Evil Elves.
Location: Ambassador Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $10 Adults, $5 Children. Autograph fees apply. 

2 PM: Original Genie Awards unveiling at A Christmas Story Museum. Witness the unveiling of the two Genie Awards won by “A Christmas Story” on public display for the first time ever. The Genie Award is the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars. The exhibit is on loan from the estate of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark for the 25th anniversary holiday season only.
Location: Canada Room of A Christmas Story Museum.
Cost: Free with House and Museum admission.

4 PM – 6 PM: Screening of “A Christmas Story.” Enjoy the movie on the big screen.
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
Cost: Free.

7 PM – 9 PM: Premiere of “Shooting Your Eye Out: The Untold ‘Christmas Story.’” Join the actors from “A Christmas Story” for the premiere of this documentary. Directed by Bill Szarka,  “The Untold Christmas ‘Story’” is a documentary about the making of “A Christmas Story” and the phenomenon it has become. The documentary includes commentary and insights from the actors about their memories from the making of the movie. DVD copies of the films will be for sale on-site at the convention and at A Christmas Story House Gift Shop. 
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 

Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $5 Children.

9 PM: Cocktail reception with actors from “A Christmas Story” immediately following the premiere of “The Untold “Christmas Story.’”  
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: $10 per person, which includes one free drink per ticket. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Two tickets are included with the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel package.

SATURDAY, NOV. 29, 2008

9 PM – 7 PM: A Christmas Story House & Museum opens with extended hours. Tour the house, visit the museum and stop by the gift shop. Also, ride the fire truck from the movie and take your best shot (without shooting your eye out) at the BB gun range in the house’s back yard (weather permitting). 
Location: A Christmas Story House. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7.50 Adults, $5.50 Children.

10 AM: Original movie costume exhibits unveiled at A Christmas Story Museum. Exhibits include costumes from the Parker family Christmas Morning and the Black Bart Bandits scenes. These costumes have never been seen by the public and are part of a recently discovered collection thought to have been lost to the ages. These exhibits will be on display through Sept. 30, 2009, when they will rotate out to make room for other costume displays.
Location: A Christmas Story Museum.
Cost: Free with House and Museum admission.

10 AM – 5 PM: Lolly the Trolley’s “Ralphie Express” will provide round-trip transportation between the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel and A Christmas Story House. The trolley departs every half-hour. Due to limited street parking at A Christmas Story House, attendees are encouraged to park downtown near the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel and take the trolley to the house. 
Location: Renaissance Cleveland Hotel main entrance. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $4 Children for round-trip transportation.

10 AM – 5 PM: Fire truck rides at A Christmas Story House. Ride the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene. Rides begin at A Christmas Story House and travel around the neighborhood. Proceeds benefit the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department (Niagara Falls, Ontario), which owns and maintains the fire truck. 
Location: A Christmas Story House. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $5 Adults, $3 Children.

10 AM – 12 PM: Exclusive actor meet-and-greet for Renaissance Cleveland Hotel guests only. Meet actors from the movie and get their autographs. Meet Black Bart, Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, Miss Shields and the two Evil Elves. (The meet-and-greet opens to the general public at 12 PM.) 
Location: Ambassador Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Included in Renaissance Cleveland Hotel package and open to hotel guests only. Autograph fees apply.

10 AM – 11:30 AM: Speakers Series – Session #1. Find out what REALLY happened behind the scenes of “A Christmas Story.” Hear from guest speakers who share their special stories about the making of the movie. To join the sessions, you must have a Ralphie Pass that gets you into all of the weekend’s events. Ralphie Passes can be purchased online.

·         “A Christmas Story” Class Reunion – a panel discussion with several of Ralphie’s grown-up classmates. Find out what happened when Hollywood came calling at an ordinary elementary school and the students were cast as extras and paid $1 a day for their work. Hear how “A Christmas Story” changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

·         “A Christmas Story” Production Panel – a panel session featuring Jim Moralevitz, who delivered the leg lamp crate to The Old Man, looked after Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) on set and still lives a few doors down from A Christmas Story House; Julie Matthews, who cast all the supporting roles; Carl Zitter and Paul Zaza, who composed the score and music; and Dwayne McLean (Black Bart), who coordinated all the stunts.

·         The speakers series is organized and moderated by Tyler Schwartz and Jordie Smits, the experts (and mega fans) on all the Canadian location shoots for “A Christmas Story.”
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
Cost: Ralphie Pass holders only; no separate admissions will be sold. 

10 AM – 11:30 AM: Second Screening of “Shooting Your Eye Out: The Untold ‘Christmas Story.’” Directed by Bill Szarka,  “The Untold ‘Christmas Story’” is a documentary about the making of “A Christmas Story” and the phenomenon it has become. The documentary includes commentary and insights from the actors about their memories from the making of the movie.
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $5 Children.

11:30 PM – 12:30 PM: “A Christmas Story – The Musical” preview. “A Christmas Story” is being made into a Broadway musical. Be the first to find out the production details, cast introductions and hear a reading from the script by producer Gerald Goehring and several members of the creative team.
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
Cost: Ralphie Pass holders only; no separate admissions will be sold.

12 PM – 5 PM: Meet actors from “A Christmas Story” and get their autographs. Meet Black Bart, Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, Miss Shields and the two Evil Elves.
Location: Ambassador Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $10 Adults, $5 Children. Autograph fees apply.

1 PM – 2:30 PM: Speakers Series – Session #2. Find out what REALLY happened behind the scenes of “A Christmas Story.” Hear from guest speakers who share their special stories about the making of the movie. To join the sessions, you must have a Ralphie Pass that gets you into all of the weekend’s events. Ralphie Passes can be purchased online.

·         “A Christmas Story” Class Reunion – a panel discussion with several of Ralphie’s grown-up classmates. Find out what happened when Hollywood came calling at an ordinary elementary school and the students were cast as extras and paid $1 a day for their work. Hear how “A Christmas Story” changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

·         “A Christmas Story” Production Panel – a panel session featuring Jim Moralevitz, who delivered the leg lamp crate to The Old Man, looked after Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) on set and still lives a few doors down from A Christmas Story House; Julie Matthews, who cast all the supporting roles; Carl Zitter and Paul Zaza, who composed the score and music; and Dwayne McLean (Black Bart), who coordinated all the stunts.

·         The speakers series is organized and moderated by Tyler Schwartz and Jordie Smits, the experts (and mega fans) on all the Canadian location shoots for “A Christmas Story.”
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
Cost: Ralphie Pass holders only; no separate admissions will be sold. 

2:30 PM – 4 PM: Premiere of “Road Trip for Ralphie” A Documentary produced by two mega-fans of A Christmas Story that set out to find all of the film’s shooting locations.  During an adventure spanning two years and two countries, they uncover forgotten facts, discover little-known shooting locations and recover long-lost memorabilia including the costumes unveiled convention weekend.
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $5 Children.

4 PM: Character look-alike contest. Dress up as your favorite “A Christmas Story” character. The contest is moderated by Canadian mega fans Tyler Schwartz and Jordie Smits. The winner of the contest will get to be a part of the Winterfest Parade and ride with the actors in the fire truck from the movie. Other prizes will also be given out. 
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Free.

4:30 AM – 6PM: Final Screening of “Shooting Your Eye Out: The Untold ‘Christmas Story.’”Directed by Bill Szarka,  “The Untold ‘Christmas Story’” is a documentary about the making of “A Christmas Story” and the phenomenon it has become. The documentary includes commentary and insights from the actors about their memories from the making of the movie.
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.  
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $5 Children.

5 PM: Last trip of the “Ralphie Express.” The last Lolly the Trolley trip departs A Christmas Story House for the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. The BB gun range in the back yard of A Christmas Story House also closes.
Location: A Christmas Story House.
Cost: Included with Ralphie Pass; Separately $7 Adults, $4 Children for round-trip transportation.

6 PM – 7:30 PM: Screening of “A Christmas Story.” Enjoy the movie on the big screen. 
Location: Gold Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: Free.

6 PM: Winterfest! Get into the holiday spirit with the tree lighting ceremony, parade and fireworks show. The Winterfest parade will feature the actors riding in the fire truck from the movie. The parade and other events take place on Public Square in front of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Enjoy the parade while standing in front of the Higbee’s Building (also on Public Square) just like the Parker family did in “A Christmas Story.” 
Location: Public Square. 
Cost: Free.

7 PM: A Christmas Story House & Museum closes for the day.

8 PM – 11 PM: Premiere of “ClarkWORLD” documentary by ClarkWorld Films about the life and works of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the local Cleveland chapter of MADD. 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, Dom DeLuise, and many others! Also on public display for the first time will be the two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) won by “A Christmas Story.”
Location: Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. 
Cost: $5 Adults, $3 Children and please bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Priority upfront seating will be given to all Ralphie Pass holders, but they must still pay admission. VIP tables also are available. All proceeds go to support the local Cleveland chapter of MADD.   

SUNDAY, NOV. 30, 2008

12 NOON – 5 PM: A Christmas Story House & Museum opens. Tour the house, visit the museum and stop by the gift shop. Also, take your best shot (without shooting your eye out) at the BB gun range in the house’s back yard (weather permitting).
Location: A Christmas Story House. 
Cost: $7.50 Adults, $5.50 Children.

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A Christmas Story House & Museum Fact Sheet

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

Overview

The house used in the popular holiday classic “A Christmas Story” has been restored to its original movie appearance. Purchased and renovated by Brian Jones, a true fan of the movie who sells leg lamps for a living, the house takes visitors on a nostalgic journey to the sights and scenes where Ralphie Parker dreams of receiving an official Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle BB gun for Christmas.

In addition to A Christmas Story House, visitors can explore the museum and gift shop, where original costumes, props and other items from the movie are on display, more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos are featured and movie-related memorabilia can be purchased.

Location

A Christmas Story House & Museum is located in Cleveland, just five minutes from downtown in the Tremont neighborhood. Just look for the leg lamp in the front living room window (it’s a major award).

A Christmas Story House & Museum
3159 W. 11th St.
Cleveland, OH44109
Phone: 216-298-4919
Web site: www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com
E-mail: info@AChristmasStoryHouse.com

Directions

From downtown Cleveland: Take Interstate 90 West. Exit at W. 14th Street. Turn left onto Clark Avenue. Turn right onto W. 11th Street.

From Interstate 71 or State Route 176/Jennings Freeway: Head north. Exit at W. 14th Street. Follow the signs for W. 14th Street North around the traffic circle. Turn right onto Rowley Avenue. Rowley Avenue ends at W. 11th Street at A Christmas Story House.

House and Museum Hours

A Christmas Story House & Museum is open year-round. Hours of operation are:

Thursday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* From Nov. 26 – Dec. 31, open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and all other major holidays

Tour Directions

Admission tickets to A Christmas Story House can be purchased at the gift shop located diagonally across the street from the house. Tours are conducted every half-hour. Advance tickets are not necessary. Group tours and rates are available.

General Admission

Adults: $7.50
Children 7 to 12: $5.50
Children 6 & Under: Free
Senior: $6.50

 

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A Christmas Story House & Museum Trivia Fact Sheet

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

 

All Ralphie wants under the tree on Christmas morning is an official Red Ryder carbon-action, 200-shot range model air rifle BB gun. Unfortunately, his mother, his father, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself downplay the idea with the infamous tagline, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Released in 1983, “A Christmas Story” has become a seasonal classic. The story of how this raucous adventure came to the screen is almost as unbelievable as the path Ralphie takes to get his cherished gun.

In Ralphie We Trust

“A Christmas Story” is based on Jean Shepherd’s book “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” The book was comprised of a collection of short stories originally published in Playboy in the 1960s. The stories dealt with Shepherd’s childhood, growing up in Indiana in the 1940s.

Director Bob Clark heard Shepherd telling the story on the radio and set out to collaborate with the author to make a film version. Clark, who directed the teen comedy “Porky’s,” would only agree to do a sequel of that film if the studio allowed him to make “A Christmas Story.”

Casting Call

The cast of “A Christmas Story” has become synonymous with the film. The faces are so etched in our memories that we can barely think of a line from the film without picturing them. While the cast seems perfectly assembled, it definitely wasn’t that simple. Some fans might be surprised to know who had been considered for roles, and who was in the film that you probably have never noticed.

· The role of The Old Man, immortalized by the late great Darren McGavin, was originally offered to Jack Nicholson.

· Author Jean Shepherd is the voice of the adult Ralphie and narrator of the film. He also plays an irate man who tells Ralphie to go to the end of the Santa line when the family visits the department store.

.  Director Bob Clark also makes an appearance in the film. He played Swede, the neighbor who asks The Old Man about the proudly displayed leg lamp in the window.

· A little known sequel of “A Christmas Story” was distributed in 1994. “My Summer Story” featured the same characters though only one actor from the original film – Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields, played by Tedde Moore. Charles Grodin took over the famous role of The Old Man from McGavin, and Kieran Culkin (Macaulay’s brother) played Ralphie.

Little Known Facts

“A Christmas Story” premiered around Thanksgiving of 1983 and was actually pulled from theaters by Christmas as the studio felt it was “played out.” Thanks to an outpouring of protest from moviegoers, the film was re-released and played through the start of 1984. Fans of the movie not only watched it in theaters but also make it a holiday tradition, viewing it every season. Try to see if you picked up any of these little known facts in your viewings.

· The infamous tongue vs. flagpole scene wasn’t quite as difficult to film as it looked. The crew used a hidden suction tube to safely create the illusion that Flick’s tongue was stuck to the metal flagpole. Please note: We still don’t recommend you try it, even if you are triple dog-dared.

· Much of the snow that the child actors sloshed around in was actually firefighters foam and soap flakes, making for a very slippery set.

· How much did Ralphie actually want that BB gun? He mentions his desire for the gift 28 times in the film.

· Did you know that Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) was the only child to receive the Daisy Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass and sundial for Christmas in 1983? This was because the Red Ryder BB gun with a compass and sundial was created specifically for the film and was not available prior to its release.

Christmas Inspiration

Given its childlike charm and hilarious adventures, it’s no wonder that the film has been treasured by its fans. What may be surprising is how much of an impact the film had after its release.

· In addition to the 1994 sequel, the creators of the sitcom “The Wonder Years” explained that they got their inspiration for their show from “A Christmas Story.”

· “A Christmas Story” is one of the favorite films of “South Park” creator Trey Parker. Parker used the inspiration of notorious bully Scut Farkus to create Scott Tenorman, the bully from “South Park.”

· New fans of the classic are added every year as TBS airs its 24-hour marathon of the film starting at 8 p.m. Eastern on Christmas Eve. In 2006, more than 45.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the film.

 .  In 2007, TBS reported record-setting viewership. The 8 p.m. Christmas Eve airing drew the most viewers in a single showing with 4.4 million viewers.

Where Are They Now?

The stars of “A Christmas Story” have gone in many different directions following their time on Cleveland Street. Here is a look at what some of the stars have been up to.

· Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) has continued to work in Hollywood. He was executive producer of the 2008 hit “Iron Man” that starred Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard. He has had roles in recent films including “Elf” with Will Ferrell and the 2006 comedy hit “The Break-Up” with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, for which he was also a producer.

· Ian Petrella (Randy) attended puppeteering school and has a passion for puppets and animation, which he hopes to continue professionally.

· Melinda Dillon (Mrs. Parker) has appeared in more than 50 films and television series following her work on “A Christmas Story.” Most recently, she had a role in the 2007 film “Reign Over Me” with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

 . Zack Ward (Scut Farkus) has continued acting and has roles in a variety of upcoming and recently released films. In 2007, he appeared in the summer blockbuster “Transformers” and the hit show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

One-Liners

Do you remember the classic lines from “A Christmas Story?” The lasting effect of the film is most often seen in the hilarious quotes that fans of the film can rattle off to this day.

· “Only I didn’t say ‘Fudge.’ I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!” – Adult Ralphie narrating the event which led to his “blindness.”

· “Fra-GEE-lay. That must be Italian.” – The Old Man upon receiving his “major award.”

· “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.” – Adult Ralphie explaining why he finally stepped away from the major award.

· “Now I know that some of you put Flick up to this, but he has refused to say who. But those who did it know their blame, and I’m sure that the guilt you must feel would be far worse than any punishment you might receive. Now, don’t you feel terrible? Don’t you feel remorse for what you have done? Well, that’s all I’m going to say about poor Flick.” – Miss Shields following the triple dog-dare incident.

· Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf.” – Randy discussing his distaste for the menu just before showing his mother how a little piggy eats.

· “He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.” – The Old Man after seeing Ralphie wearing his Christmas gift from Aunt Clara. 

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Brian Jones, Owner, A Christmas Story House & Museum

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

The path that has led 32-year-old Brian Jones from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis to “that little house on Cleveland Street” is a result of his love for his favorite movie, “A Christmas Story.” On Nov. 25, 2006, the ongoing relationship between Jones and his favorite film took on a whole new meaning with the opening of A Christmas Story House & Museum.

A Christmas Story House takes visitors on a nostalgic journey to the sights and scenes of the classic Christmas film. In addition to A Christmas Story House, visitors can explore the museum and gift shop where original costumes, props and other items from the movie are on display, more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos are featured and movie-related memorabilia can be purchased.           

A San Diego native, Jones had always dreamed of becoming a naval aviator like his father. After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, he went on to flight school. Once he arrived, however, he learned that he did not have the sight requirements to achieve his dream and become a pilot.

Obviously downtrodden by the sobering news, Jones’ parents decided they had just the thing to cheer him up. A couple of weeks after the unfortunate news, Jones received a large wooden crate marked “FRAGILE.” When he opened it, he found the infamous leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” inside. His parents made him a leg lamp (the “major award” from the film) to help deal with the disappointment of not becoming a navy pilot.

The film was a family favorite, and Jones’ parents had such a good recollection of the lamp that they actually recreated one. While it was a difficult and time-consuming task, it also was a humorous project for the Jones’. After sending it to their son, they told him of the significant interest that the lamp received and the fact that many people requested one for themselves.

After he left the Navy to pursue a new career, Jones was forced to make a decision about what he would do next. Struggling with the possibility of having to move to the East Coast for a corporate job, Jones remembered the comment from his parents about how popular the leg lamp had been. Jones set out to figure out a way to turn this interest into a realistic business. On April 9, 2003, RedRiderLegLamps.com – a largely online venture that sells replica leg lamps – was launched.

In the second year of his leg lamp business, Jones’ wife e-mailed him while on deployment in the Middle East. Her captain had alerted her to the fact that the house used in “A Christmas Story” was up for sale on eBay. She thought she would just send a funny e-mail about how he should buy it. For Jones, it wasn’t funny – it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In a move that any fan could appreciate, Jones told the seller that if he took the house off the market that he would pay $150,000 for it. As quick as a tongue will stick to a metal pole in the winter, the deal was done. Within 24 hours the house was his, and Jones flew to Cleveland for the first time ever to sign the papers.

Since its opening on Thanksgiving weekend 2006, more than 60,000 people have toured A Christmas Story House, making it a top tourist and pop culture destination in Cleveland. Though he makes periodic trips to Cleveland, Jones continues to reside in San Diego.

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Steven Siedlecki, Executive Director, A Christmas Story House & Museum

October 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

As a boy, Steven Siedlecki often visited the Tremont area of Cleveland and can remember driving past the famous house that was used in “A Christmas Story.” A native of Brunswick, Ohio, Siedlecki was always intrigued by the house due to the huge popularity of the film. When he heard that California-native Brian Jones had purchased the house and was interested in turning it into a museum, Siedlecki knew he had to be a part of the project.

One day after an article appeared in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer about Jones and his plans to renovate the home in March 2005, Siedlecki sent a letter to the fellow fan explaining his interest in the project. After only a few phone conversations, Jones hired Siedlecki to run the East Coast operations for his Red Rider Leg Lamp company and named him director and curator of A Christmas Story House & Museum.

A Christmas Story House takes visitors on a nostalgic journey to the sights and scenes of the classic Christmas film. In addition to A Christmas Story House, visitors can explore the museum and gift shop where items from the movie are on display, more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos are featured and movie-related memorabilia can be purchased.

For the opening of A Christmas Story House on Thanksgiving weekend of 2006, Siedlecki oversaw the complete renovation of the house. The extensive renovations required a strong eye for detail, a strong familiarity of the movie and a good knowledge of the area, something Siedlecki had gained in his previous experience. He oversees the operation of the house, museum and gift shop and manages a staff of 10 year-round employees plus seasonal help during the busy holiday season.

Prior to joining Jones and A Christmas Story House, Siedlecki worked at the Western Reserve Historical Society, where he specialized in research for the Education Department and moved into conducting tours for the Interpretation Department.

Siedlecki graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in business administration. He resides in Cleveland.

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October 2008 Newsletter

October 7th, 2008 by Ralphie

A Christmas Story 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention is next month (Nov. 28 & 29) in Cleveland.  Half of the Extravaganza Packages at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel have been sold.  We recommend reserving a room if you plan on attending the convention.
 
The 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention will include a preview of A Christmas Story The Musical.  That is right!  Everyone’s favorite movie is being made into a Broadway musical.  Be among the first to find out all the details.
 
Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) will be making his directorial debut this month when shooting for Couples Retreat begins.  The movie is a collaboration with his long-time friends Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn.
 
Our gift shop has started an affiliate program that will allow website owners and blogs to earn commissions on sales they refer to our site.  The program is free to join and lets you earn commissions from web content about your favorite movie.

IN THIS ISSUE
Extravaganza Package
The Musical
Affiliate Program
Ralphie Directs
QUICK LINKS

Renaissance Hotel A Christmas Story Extravaganza Package

A Christmas Story House LogoExperience everything surrounding the holiday classic A Christmas Story on its 25th anniversary, in the city where it was filmed.  The movie, the house, the leg lamp, the cast, Higbee’s Department Store, Winterfest tree lighting and fire works and so much more.
A Christmas Story Extravaganza Package is available Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-30) with deluxe accommodations, complimentary self-parking, welcome amenity featuring items from the film and two all-inclusive Ralphie Passes for the covention.
 
Hotel Guests with Ralphie Passes will receive:
 · Admission to A Christmas Story House & Museum
 · Admission to the convention to meet original actors
 · Admission to the premiere of Shooting Your Eye Out
 · Transportation to A Christmas Story House on the Ralphie Express (Saturday only)
 · Ride on the fire truck from the movie
 · Priority Seating at ClarkWORLD premiere screening
 · Admission to special Speakers Series & A Christmas Story The Musical preview
                                                                           
Click for more information and reservations
For further details about this year’s convention, visit  www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/convention

A Christmas Story The MUSICAL!!!

A Christmas Story House Logo

 That is right! Everyone’s favorite movie is being made into a Broadway musical!

 

A Christmas Story The Musical will have its first preview at the A Christmas Story 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention.  Be the first to find out the production details, be introduced to the, and hear a reading from the script by producer Gerald Goehring and several members of the creative team.

 

Help make A Christmas Story House the #1 Museum in Cleveland
 

Vote for A Christmas Story House at Fox 8 ClevelandA Christmas Story House and Museum is still in the running for Best Museum in Cleveland but we need more votes to win.  Please vote for A Christmas Story House and Museum on Cleveland’s Fox 8 News “Hot List” of places in Cleveland.  We need your help to repeat as the #1 Museum in Cleveland.  Simply follow the link below to vote for A Christmas Story House and Museum as your favorite museum.  
 
Click here to vote for A Christmas Story House as your favorite museum.

To everyone that has already voted for us: THANK YOU!

 

Affiliates program for gift shop now open

 

A Christmas Story House LogoA Christmas Story House Gift Shop has just opened an affiliate program for web site owners of all sizes. If you own a website, blog or other online forum we want to pay you to refer new customers to our site. We will provide graphics, images and text links, which you can post on your site. When a visitor clicks-through and makes a purchase on A Christmas Story House Gift Shop, we’ll pay you a 10% commission based on the net shipped sale.  It’s that simple. You will receive your commissions each quarter (minimums apply), and you can track your earnings daily. 
 
 Some highlights of the program include:
  • Enrollment is FREE. There is no cost to become an affiliate.
  • A 10% commission on all sales referred by our affiliates.
  • Web-based software for real-time reporting of your earnings.
  • Referral checks sent to you each quarter (if you meet the minimum).
  • Access to graphics, images and links that you can place on your site. 

Click here for more information or to sign up. 

Ralphie makes his directorial debut with “Couples Retreat”
 

A Christmas Story House LogoPeter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story and is fresh off his executvie producing role in the blockbuster Iron Man will make his first major directorial debut with a new big-screen comedy called Couples Retreat.  Billingsley’s long-time friend and project collaborator, Jon Favreau wrote the script and will be starring with their other good friend, Vince Vaughn, who is the movie’s producer.  The movie also star Jason Bateman and Faizon Love. Since that “defining” role in 1983, Billingsley has gone on to produce most of Favreau’s films and work as a second-unit director. He is now making his directorial debut after directing a short titled The Sacred Fire from 1994.
 
Couples Retreat follows four couples who go to a tropical island resort. While one couple is there to work on their marriage, the others are there to play, but they all soon discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional. The idea for the film was originally devised by Vince Vaughn before being handed off to Jon Favreau to script.  Production is expected to begin in late October in Bora Bora and Los Angeles.
 
Billingsley has collaborated with Vaughn on “Four Christmases” and “The Break-Up,” and with Favreau on “Iron Man,” “Elf” and “Dinner for Five.” Billingsley also worked with both Favreau and Vaughn on their 2001 film “Made.”

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