Archive for November, 2008

MOVIE CAST AND FANS CELEBRATE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF “A CHRISTMAS STORY” IN CLEVELAND

November 21st, 2008 by Ralphie

*MEDIA ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY*

FOR NOV. 28 & 29

  

WHAT:       “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention

 

WHEN:       Friday, Nov. 28 @ 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29 @ 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

                  MEDIA NOTE: A full schedule of convention activities follows this advisory. It is also posted at www.achristmasstoryhouse.com.

 

WHERE:     Renaissance Cleveland Hotel

                  24 Public Square

Cleveland, OH  44113

MEDIA NOTE: Additional activities to occur at A Christmas Story House & Museum.

 

WHY:          The beloved holiday classic and family-favorite film “A Christmas Story” turns 25 this holiday season. To mark this special milestone, “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention takes place Nov. 28-29 (Thanksgiving weekend) in Cleveland.

 

                  “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention brings “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.

 

                  Actors from “A Christmas Story” who played Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, Miss Shields, Santa’s two evil elves and Black Bart will reunite for the 25th anniversary celebration.

 

                  Members of the media will have the opportunity to:

·         Interview cast members, A Christmas Story House & Museum owner Brian Jones and executive director Steve Siedlecki

·         Talk to “A Christmas Story” fans who came near and far for the 25th anniversary

·         Witness the world premiere of “ClarkWORLD,” a film on the life, works and tragic death of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark (proceeds of screening to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving)

·         Ride in the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene

·         See newly acquired costumes from the film and a special preview of Broadway’s upcoming “A Christmas Story – The Musical”

 

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Bryan Phillips in the Bunny Suit

November 21st, 2008 by Ralphie

 

This is our son Bryan. His grandmother made him this bunny costume as

part of the 2007 Ralphie Lookalike contest at the downtown motel in

Cleveland. We visited the house afterward, where he had the Ralphie pose

down cold.

Sincerely,
Larry Phillips
Ralphie bunny suit costume
bunny suite ralphie look a like costume
ralphie bunny suit costume
ralphie in the bunny suit costume

 

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‘A Christmas Story’ firetruck comes to Cleveland

November 20th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

Your mother warned you. Don’t ever stick your wet tongue on a cold metal flagpole in winter. But did Flick, a character in the 1983 holiday classic film “A Christmas Story” listen? Noooo… So when Flick takes the “triple dog-dare” and attaches himself to a flagpole, the fire department had to be called.

The 1938 Ford LaFrance fire truck that came to Flick’s rescue appears for only 10 seconds in the movie, which was shot in Cleveland and Ontario. But the pumper has become an international cult hero. Fans of the movie can see the vintage fire truck Saturday, November 29, when several cast members will ride on the truck during Cleveland’s Winterfest Parade. Rides are also available at “A Christmas Story” House and Museum, 3159 West 11 Street, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 28 and 29. The events coincide with “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration and Convention that will be held next weekend.

The fire truck was purchased new for the Chippawa Fire Department in Ontario as “state-of-the-art firefighting equipment.” It has a top speed of 30 miles an hour, pumping capacity of 200 gallons of water a minute, and gets about 10 miles per gallon. It served Chippawa until the village joined the City of Niagara Falls. The pumper became part of a private fire service for the Norton Abrasives company between 1970 and 1977. The city bought it back, but in 1978 the Chippawa Volunteer Firefighters Association paid $1 for the truck. It was restored in 1982.

“The fire truck is now housed in our museum, and we get a number of visitors, mostly firefighters, who want to see the truck,” said Ken Prohaszka, a former firefighter and association member who will trailer the truck to Cleveland next weekend.

Prohaszka and another member, Ray Anderson, are the truck’s drivers. Proceeds from next week’s “A Christmas Story” rides are earmarked for the Firefighters’ Association.

“Whenever we take the truck to a parade, people are just fascinated,” said Prohaszka, who added that the truck has been a part of several firefighters’ funeral services. “If you put it next to modern fire trucks, they look like giants. You can only barely fit two people in the cab and two on the tailgate. For safety reasons, we don’t have people holding on to the truck anymore, but we may make an exception in Cleveland.”

The association has tried to keep the truck as original as possible. It has a “Ford chassis, Ford motor and is a straight six,” according to Prohaszka. But he’ll make sure the truck’s lights and sirens all work well for its Cleveland appearance.

The fire truck can trace its heritage to American LaFrance, an emergency and vocational vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Summerville, South Carolina. One of the oldest fire apparatus companies in the United States, it has 200 dealerships nationwide.

In 1872, Truckson LaFrance and his partners founded LeFrance Manufacturing Co., which made hand pumps and those that could be pulled by horses. Over the years, the company was a leader in fire safety technology, offering ladder trucks for urban firefighters and rotary, piston, steam, and gas-powered engines.

In January of this year, American LaFrance filed bankruptcy but emerged seven months later. The company’s fire truck body building operation was transferred to its Hamburg, New York, plant.

For more information about the fire truck or rides, visit www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.

Jill Sell is a freelance writer with expertise in the local car culture. Jill can be reached at jillsell@en.com.

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“A CHRISTMAS STORY” 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION & CONVENTION HOSTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “CLARKWORLD” DOCUMENTARY

November 19th, 2008 by Ralphie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Screening of film about the life, works and tragic death of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark

to benefit the Cleveland chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving

CLEVELAND – Nov. 19, 2008 – “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention that takes place Nov. 28-29 at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel in Cleveland is filled with many events and activities related to the holiday classic film. Held in the city where many memorable parts of the movie were filmed, the pinnacle event of the two-day convention is the world premiere of “ClarkWORLD,” a documentary about the life, works and tragic death of Bob Clark. The screening will take place Saturday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel.

Clark was an American actor, director, screenwriter and producer. He was best known for directing and writing the script with Jean Shepherd to “A Christmas Story.” He even made an appearance in the film as Swede, the neighbor who asks The Old Man about the proudly displayed leg lamp in the window. He and his 22-year-old son, Ariel, died April 4, 2007, when Clark’s car was hit head-on by a drunk driver.

“Cleveland is really where it all began,” said Deren Abram, who wrote, directed and produced the documentary. “And now, 25 years later with the 25th anniversary celebration of ‘A Christmas Story’ and the fans that are more like an extended family, there’s no other place we’d rather premiere ‘ClarkWORLD.’ In essence, it’s like coming home.”

Following Clark’s death, a nonprofit production company called ClarkWORLD Films was formed by Abram and Lyne Leavy, both friends and associates of Clark who wished to keep his spirit and vision alive. Its mission is to create films that positively impact the world and to raise money for social needs. “ClarkWORLD” is the company’s first film, and it aims to help educate and promote awareness of drunk driving. Proceeds from the documentary’s premiere screening will go to the Cleveland chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“ClarkWORLD” features many of the people who worked closely with Clark, including Kim Cattrall, Jon Voight, Denise Richards, Scott Baio and Peter Billingsley (who played Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”). The documentary covers how Clark would effortlessly switch genres, studios and even countries – anything to continue making movies – when success was met with high-profile box office failures. But as Clark continued to struggle against a series of flops, he was simultaneously being heralded as an inspiration to a new breed of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter and many others, citing their influence from his iconic films such as “Porky’s,” “Murder by Decree,” “Turk 182,” “Black Christmas,” and the legendary film “A Christmas Story” (which is on more than 100 critics’ lists of top 50 movies of all time and the best Christmas movie of all time). As the film weaves between various anecdotes told by some very famous people, viewers discover insight to Clark’s quirky and unpredictable personality as well as his integrity and genius. “ClarkWORLD” is a riveting, hilarious, edgy and poignant film that takes us on a whimsical journey inside the world of Bob Clark.

“This is more than a biography – this is a celebration of a life’s work that continues to entertain so many people, especially at this time of year,” Abram said.

“This is about Bob,” Leavy added, who serves as executive producer of the film. “I think we got it right.”

In celebration of Clark’s long-standing commitment to Toys for Toys, ClarkWORLD Films and A Christmas Story House & Museum will host a toy drive during both days of the 25th anniversary convention at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. This will serve as the local kick-off event for the Marine’s ’08 Toys for Tots campaign. Convention attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the hotel. Those who donate will receive a voucher for free popcorn, which is good with any ticket purchased for the ClarkWORLD premiere.

During the “ClarkWORLD” premiere, representatives from the Marines will be on-hand to man the toy collection bins, and the two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) won by “A Christmas Story” for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay that are on loan from Clark’s estate will be on display.

Tickets to the premiere screening of ClarkWORLD are $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. VIP tables also are available for $250 and include eight seats, drinks, snacks, candy and a leg lamp centerpiece to keep as a souvenir. For tickets or more information, call A Christmas Story House & Museum at 216-298-4919 or visit http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/index.php/convention/clarkworld-premiere/. Tickets also can be purchased the day of the event at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.

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.

ClarkWORLD Films, Inc., is a nonprofit production company formed in 2007 by a few of the people that worked closely with Clark for many years and wish to keep his spirit and vision alive. Its mission is to create films that positively impact the world and raise money for social needs. For more information on ClarkWORLD Films, visit www.clarkworldfilms.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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WIN A CHANCE TO LIVE OUT A HOLIDAY FANTASY WITH EBAY GIVING WORKS

November 17th, 2008 by Ralphie

eBay Giving Works A Christmas Story Experience Charity Auction

A Christmas Story House & Museum    Wounded Warrior Project

http://www.ebay.com/AChristmasStory

WHO:     

Bid on a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend Christmas reliving your favorite moments from the cult classic “A Christmas Story” at the original A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland. eBay Giving Works, eBay’s program for charity listings, and A Christmas Story House & Museum are helping one lucky winner and three friends experience “A Christmas Story” like never before. All your favorite moments are up for grabs on this, the movie’s 25th anniversary. From leg lamps to BB guns to bunny suits and a Chinese Christmas dinner, celebrate “A Christmas Story” at Ralphie’s house for a holiday to remember while giving to a great cause.            

The eBay Giving Works A Christmas Story experience charity auction benefits the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The charity was selected by Brian Jones, owner of A Christmas Story House & Museum and former Navy intelligence officer. The mission of WWP is to honor and empower wounded warriors. Its goal is to ensure this generation of veterans is the most successful and well-adjusted in our nation’s history. WWP offers services like adaptive sports opportunities, benefits and career counseling and TRACK – the country’s first and only program for veterans that addresses their unique needs and takes an integrated approach to rehabilitating the mind, body and spirit.

WHAT:

·  $1800 in airfare for four (4) from anywhere in the lower 48 states

·  Two (2) Day, two (2) Night suite stay for four (4) provided by the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel

·  Christmas Eve dinner for four (4) provided by Pearl of the Orient Chinese restaurant

·  Christmas Day dinner for four (4) provided by Sans Souci, an award-winning, fine-dining restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel

·  Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning accommodations for four (4) at A Christmas Story House & Museum

·  $200 stipend for food & beverages during stay

WHEN:   Charity auction begins: Thursday, Nov. 17
               Charity auction ends: Saturday, Nov. 26        

WHERE:  Place your bids at http://www.ebay.com/AChristmasStory  

CONTACTS: 
Ryan Wallace
Kaplow for eBay
212.221.1713
rwallace@kaplowpr.com
http://www.ebayholidaymediasource.com

Emily Vincent
Landau Public Relations for A Christmas Story House & Museum
216.912.2848
evincent@landaupr.com
http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

 

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Plain Dealer essay contest: What do you want for Christmas?

November 14th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

by Laura DeMarco/Plain Dealer Friday magazine editor
Beginning Monday, “A Christmas Story”-themed window will be on display in the old Higbee’s building on Public Square in Cleveland.

What do you want for Christmas this year? Now’s your chance to tell us.In honor of the 25th anniversary of the movie “A Christmas Story,” The Plain Dealer, Positively Cleveland and A Christmas Story House and Museum are running a “What I Want for Christmas” essay contest.

Submit an essay about your wish list — just like the one Miss Shields asked her class to write in the classic film — and enter to win a few presents on us. The prizes will be almost as good as the official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle that Ralphie wanted. 

There will be two prize packages, one for kids 16 and younger, and one for those over 16. Each 400-word essay must be e-mailed to contest@positivelycleveland.com by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3. Essays can also be sent to the Positively Cleveland Visitors Center, 100 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113. The winning essays will be published in The Plain Dealer on Saturday, Dec. 13. Here’s what you could win:

16 and younger: $100 gift certificate to take the whole family to Pearl of the Orient, a four-pack of general admission tickets to A Christmas Story House and Museum, a four-pack of general admission tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a $50 gift certificate to Big Fun in Coventry and two tickets to the Lake Erie Monsters game Friday, Dec. 26.

17 and older: A 45-inch, full-size leg lamp instead of the Pearl of the Orient certificate. All other prizes are the same. For more contest details, go to www.positivelycleveland.com.

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Ralphie’s pals coming to Cleveland

November 9th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

Can “A Christmas Story” really be 25 years old?

Scott Schwartz (Flick) gets stuck to a flagpole; Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) looks on.

The iconic 1983 holiday film about Ralphie Parker and his dream of getting a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa is marking a big anniversary this month.

At the “A Christmas Story” House & Museum in Cleveland, a celebration Nov. 28-29 will feature a reunion of the cast, including Scott Schwartz, who played Flick, the kid who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole, and Ian Petrella, who played Ralphie’s little brother Randy.

“People don’t realize the movie is 25 years old,” says Steve Siedlecki, executive director of the museum. “It’s only been popular for 10 years or so, when they started showing it on television.”

35,000 fans

Even if you can’t make the party Nov. 28, you can visit the house anytime. (Cleveland is just a three-hour drive from Detroit.)

The plain, clapboard two-story home was used for all the exterior shots in the movie. Now, it’s a lovingly restored museum containing “A Christmas Story” props, costumes, memorabilia and photos.

Purchased in 2004 by “A Christmas Story” fan Brian Jones, the house has been restored to the yellow-with-green-trim color it had in the film. Jones opened it as a museum in November 2006.

The gift shop across the street sells everything from leg lamps to decoder pins to talking Ralphie dolls.

About 35,000 people visit per year, Siedlecki says.

Marathon movie

“A Christmas Story” premiered on Thanksgiving 1983. It starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, the boy whose greatest Christmas wish was a Red Ryder BB Gun. His dad was played by the late Darren McGavin. Cleveland was chosen for part of the filming, director Bob Clark said, because it most resembled 1940s Indiana.

Like Trekkies, the most avid fans of “A Christmas Story” have a nickname, too — Ralphies. That could include many Americans: when TNT runs its “A Christmas Story” marathon each year, an estimated 40 million people tune in at least once.

The museum and house are at 3159 W. Eleventh Street in Cleveland. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and noon -5 p.m. Sundays. From Nov. 26-Dec. 31, the house also is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays for the holiday crowds.

Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children ages 7-12 and free for younger children.

For the celebration Nov. 28-29, a $40 “Ralphie Pass” can get you into most events, “but if you just want to meet and greet the actors, that’s $10,” Siedlecki says.

For more, see www.achristmasstoryhouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

And be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

Contact ELLEN CREAGER at 313-222-6498 or ecreager@freepress.com.

 

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November 2008 Newsletter

November 6th, 2008 by Ralphie

 

A Christmas Story Gift Shop Opens in Canada
A Christmas Story House Canada The Canadian branch of A Christmas Story House Gift Shop is now open. We have expanded operations into Canada and opened an online branch of our gift shop based in Oakville, Ontario. The Web site for the Canadian branch is www.AChristmasStoryHouse.ca.

The movie was filmed in three locations – Toronto and St. Catharines, Ontario, and Cleveland, Ohio – so it’s only fitting that we be able to serve the customers in the communities that made film possible. We are happy to finally be able to meet the demand for leg lamps north of the border.

To lead the branch, A Christmas Story House has named Tyler Schwartz as director of Canadian operations. An Oakville-native, Schwartz is a true fan of the film. He has researched all of the film’s shooting locations and documented his two-year adventure in a 90-minute film called“Road Trip for Ralphie.” While filming this documentary, Schwartz struck up a friendship with A Christmas Story House owner, Brian Jones who later approached him about opening a Canadian location.

Schwartz’s“Road Trip for Ralphie” documentary will premiere at “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention, held Nov. 28-29 in Cleveland that will bring thousands of fans of the movie for two days of activities and events at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.

Other Canadian-related highlights at this year’s convention include:
· A reunion of actors from the movie, including Canadians Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus) and Dwayne McLean (Black Bart)
· 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 which have been in storage these past 25 years at a Toronto costume company
· The first public display of two Genie Awards won by “A Christmas Story” for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay on loan from the estate of Bob Clark, director of “A Christmas Story”


 www.leglamps.ca

Lets Talk Turkey… Chinese Turkey that is!
Pearl of the Orient Chinese Restaurant Christmas Story House & Museum is proud to name Pearl of the Orient as its new official Chinese restaurant. The award-winning restaurant has partnered with A Christmas Story House & Museum to offer a special discount to movie fans. Visitors to A Christmas Story House & Museum can pick up and bring a discount coupon to Pearl of the Orientto receive 10 percent off their bill. In addition to becoming the official Chinese restaurant of A Christmas Story House & Museum, Pearl of the Orient has been named presenting sponsor of “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention.

We are very pleased to have such a fine restaurant as Pearl of the Orient onboard as our new official restaurant. And yes, for the true fans who want to relive the Parker family’s infamous holiday meal from the film’s finale, Pearl of the Orient does offer Peking Duck, aka “Chinese Turkey”.

Pearl of the Orient replaces C&Y Chinese Restaurant as the official restaurant. C&Y Chinese Restaurant closed earlier this year and served as the official Chinese restaurant since A Christmas Story House opened on Nov. 25, 2006.

Pearl of the Orient has two locations serving both sides of Cleveland. The eastside location of Pearl of the Orient in Shaker Heights is located at 20121 Van Aken Boulevard in the Van Aken Center. The phone number for this location is 216-751-8181. Serving the west side, Pearl of the Orient in Rocky River is located at 19300 Detroit Road in the Beachcliff Market Square. The phone number is 440-333-9302.

Click here for more information on Pearl of the Orient.

A Christmas Story House Logo
 

Recent Fan Submissions
A Christmas Story Leg Lamp CostumeWe received a couple really nice fan submissions last week. 

Jason Harris of Fairport Harbor, Ohio sent in this submission:

“This year I decided to dress up as the leg lamp for my works annual Halloween Costume Contest.  I made the costume myself and I came in first place due to the creativity of the costume.  I wore the costume around that night for trick or treat and ironically met Patty Lafontaine who played the elf in the movie.  She loved the costume and also took pictures of me.”

 

Only 21 Days until A Christmas Story Convention and Celebration!

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Higbee’s and the Elves from A Christmas Story

November 6th, 2008 by Ralphie

A Christmas Story Elves in My Turn Magazine

Higbee's department store article from My Turn Magazine

 

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Act out your own Christmas Story at Ralphie’s

November 6th, 2008 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article

 
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

Cleveland, Oh– “Closer. Closer!” I say to my husband, motioning in the direction of the French-laced leg and fringed hemline. “Would you just touch it already?”

Who would’ve thought, after all these years, I’d have to beg him to get near it?

Christmas after Christmas, my husband’s family has gathered around the television and laughed hysterically through repeats of the movie A Christmas Story.

Now here we were at the actual house where parts of the movie were filmed, standing in the living room an arm’s length away from the famous leg lamp (won in the movie by “the old man” as a “major award”), and my husband Ish was acting like he wanted nothing to do with it.

Even if, like me, you have never seen the movie in its entirety, chances are someone in your home considers it a classic.

This holiday season marks the 25th anniversary of A Christmas Story. In the film, Ralphie – a precocious misfit played by Peter Billingsley – wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, but his mother fears he will “shoot his eye out.” Hilarious hijinks ensue (cue: eye rolling) and in the end Ralphie gets the gun and proves his mother was right … sort of.

The house we’re standing in was the one used in all the exterior shots in the movie (including the classic final scene). And judging by the 60,000 visitors who have passed through its doors since they opened in 2006, my in-laws aren’t the only ones who find the movie funny.

Count Brian Jones among the movie’s fans.

The 32-year-old San Diego native turned his childhood love of the film into a lucrative business. When his dreams of being a fighter pilot were dashed after he failed the sight requirements, Jones began making and selling replica leg lamps (www.redriderleglamps.com).

In 2005, when the two-family apartment house in Cleveland went up for sale on eBay, Jones paid $150,000 for the property and then spent 10 months and $250,000 more to renovate the house to match his all-time favourite movie.

The rest is history.

Lest you think my husband, his sisters and the two men who run this shop are the only die-hard fans, you should know that every November over the American Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-29), an A Christmas Story convention brings people from around the globe out to the simple yellow house with green trim.

This year, in celebration of the 25th anniversary milestone, original actors will be back in town, two documentaries about the film will debut and rides will be offered in the original Canadian fire truck used in the film.

Year-round tours offer visitors a chance to take photos throughout the house while a guide explains the various rooms and special touches, as well as access to the museum and gift shop across the street (where mini replicas of the leg lamp in night-light form sell for $15).

“I find people who are of the retiring age like (the house) because in many ways it is similar to what they grew up with,” says our tour guide. And because the house is a renovation, not a restoration, guests can go to town re-enacting their favourite scenes.

“Everyone likes to climb under the kitchen sink,” she says, referring to a popular scene from the movie.

The items in the museum across the street are less hands-on. All have been purchased, collected or donated to the museum. The walls are lined with Warner Bros.’ archive shots of the film and actors have donated their own snapshots of fun in between takes. Original costumes from the Chinese restaurant chop suey scene, Randy’s “I can’t get my arms down” snowsuit and anything else that could be damaged or stolen are protected behind glass.

While many of the cast members have already made a visit to the museum, “Ralphie” remains a holdout. What, you may be asking, ever happened to that pudgy little guy with a penchant for guns?

Turns out he did all right.

“He went on to be an executive producer of some small movies you may have heard of,” museum executive director Steve Siedlecki says with a grin, “like Iron Man and The Break-up.

Not bad.

And yet, despite what everyone has gone through to make this moment possible, my husband is standing stone-faced, a full foot away from the lamp others would kill to touch.

It takes a few minutes of begging and cajoling but I finally make it happen: the husband and the lamp in one shot. His fears that I’ll somehow expose his obsession to the world subside as I snap another shot by the Christmas tree and yet another by the film-family portraits on the stairs.

“See?” I say as I shut down the camera and pat him comfortingly on the back. “That wasn’t so bad.”

Heather Greenwood Davis’ visit was subsidized by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland.

Heather Greenwood Davis is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

 

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