Archive for December, 2011

New 2012 Dept 56 Releases for A Christmas Story

December 30th, 2011 by Ralphie

For 2012 Department 56 will release three brand new accessories and one new building!  They will also release two exclusive items: one building and one accessory. Fragile DeliveryThe Last Bad Guy, and Miss Shields Fruit Basket are the new accessories. Fragile Delivery features the deliver of the “FRAGILE” crate containing the Leg Lamp.  The Last Bad Guy features Black Bart escaping on his horse after Ralphie dispatched the rest of his gang in order to save the family from creeping marauders during his day dream.  Miss Shields’ Fruit Basket features Ralphie bringing Miss Shields an entire basket of fruit in order to bride her into giving him an A+++++ on his theme so that he can get an Official Red Ryder 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! The new building is Miss Shields’s House the home of Ralphie’s teacher.  The two exclusive items will be released in the later part of 2012.

All of these new Dept 56 items are available in our Gift Shop.


Fragile Delivery is available in our Gift Shop.


The Last Bad Guy is available in our Gift Shop.


Miss Shields Fruit Basket is available in our Gift Shop.


Miss Shields’ House is available in our Gift Shop.

Dept 56 A Christmas Story Village 2012

Category: Department 56 A Christmas Story Village | Comments Off on New 2012 Dept 56 Releases for A Christmas Story

5 spots for Christmas movie magic

December 20th, 2011 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article by Sarah LeTrent

The Parker family's house in

(CNN) — If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas — much like the one Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen used to know at the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont — the humbug of the matter is: Neither the inn nor the town exist.

You better not pout, though. There are still a few of the season’s favorite film locales that you can visit in real life:

The Parker family’s house in “A Christmas Story”

If you find yourself in the vicinity of Cleveland and a fanatic of the 1983 cult holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” make a pit stop at the Parker family’s house, which is open for public tours complete with a museum and gift shop directly across the street.

If fawning over the “I-can’t-put-my-arms-down” snowsuit and the “Oh fuuuuuudge!” family Oldsmobile isn’t quite enough movie magic, visitors can buy leg lamps at the gift shop for their very own “soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”

Or if you’re feeling extra rebellious, Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifles are also available.

Bedford Falls from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

The town of Bedford Falls in the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” may have been fictional and created on soundstages for filming in Encino, California, but the folks in Seneca Falls, New York, claim their tiny mill town was director Frank Capra’s inspiration for the cinematic community. (He is believed to have visited the town in 1945.)

Visitors are encouraged to celebrate the film’s ties each December by taking part in a movie-themed walking tour and judging the similarities for themselves.

Stand on the steel Bridge Street Bridge, similar to the one that Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, leapt from in the movie to “save” his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, or stroll down the streetlamp-lined main street.

If you feel like making a weekend in New York’s Finger Lakes region, opt to stay in one of the 48 rooms in the newly opened Hotel Clarence, named after Bailey’s guardian angel.

Fans can own a piece of \
Fans can own a piece of “Home Alone.” The house featured in the movie is for sale.

The McCallister residence from “Home Alone”

While you can’t go through all Buzz’s private stuff (or inside the house for that matter, unless you’re in the market for a new home), you can do a drive-by like your favorite Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, of the McCallister residence approximately 15 miles north of downtown Chicago in the Winnetka suburb.

The home, built in the 1920s, is listed for sale at $1,950,000, and still features the recognizable staircase just inside the front door in case indoor sledding is one of your favorite pastimes.

Serendipity restaurant from “Serendipity”

Part holiday movie, part romantic comedy, this 2001 film starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale opens during the peak of the holiday shopping rush with the then-strangers attempting to buy the last pair of black cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale’s.

After initial sparks, the smitten characters, both in relationships, spend the rest of the evening together in New York.

The title of the movie itself is equal parts definition of serendipity — Merriam-Webster lists it as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for” — and the New York restaurant where the two fated lovers partake in frozen hot chocolate and eventually part ways (only to be reunited by a series of fortunate accidents by the end of the film).

If you’ve got a sweet tooth and an even sweeter romantic side, the cafe, Serendipity 3, is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, 1 a.m. on Fridays and 2 a.m. on Saturdays. After all, you never know who you may be waiting with in the line that stretches down East 60th Street.

Macy’s from “Miracle on 34th Street”

The actual miracle on 34th Street in the 1947 movie, as well as the 1994 remake, takes place at 151 West 34th Street to be exact, Macy’s flagship store in New York’s Herald Square.

Since 1924, the department store kicks off the Christmas shopping season with its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus at the parade’s finale. After the parade and until Christmas Eve, children can visit the “nice man with the white beard” like Susan Walker and tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas.

If you can’t make it to New York, every Macy’s across the country has a letterbox for stamped letters to the North Pole. As a bonus, each letter received will generate a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Category: News Stories | Comments Off on 5 spots for Christmas movie magic

Interesting Expert of the Week, ‘A Christmas Story’ Edition

December 16th, 2011 by Ralphie

Link to Original Article by Maria Perez

There are many iconic scenes in “A Christmas Story”: Flick’s tongue getting stuck to a flagpole. Ralphie getting his mouth washed out with soap. The “deranged Easter bunny” suit. And, of course, the leg lamp. Who can forget the leg lamp?

Not Brian Jones, owner of A Christmas Story House in Cleveland. Jones, who is profiled on ProfNet Connect, is an expert on the holiday movie and can share facts and trivia about the film and the actors.

In 2003, Jones launched a business that sells leg lamps just like the one featured in the film. In 2004, he purchased the Cleveland home used in the movie off of eBay and restored it to its original movie splendor. A Christmas Story House opened Thanksgiving weekend 2006 and has become a top tourist destination. In 2008, Jones hosted A Christmas Story 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention in Cleveland, which included a reunion of original cast members.

Jones took some time out of his busy holiday schedule to answer a few questions for us:

Can you tell us a little more about the house? What should people know about it?

The house is in Cleveland, at 3159 W. 11th St., just five minutes from downtown. I purchased it sight unseen off of eBay in 2004. I renovated it back to how it appeared in the movie (inside and out) and it opened the day after Thanksgiving in 2006. This month will mark our fifth anniversary.

The movie’s production crew chose Cleveland because the Higbee’s department store would let them film inside, when several other department stores had already turned them down. To find a house, they simply fanned out from downtown. This house was available and had the backdrop of steel mills in the valley behind the house. Steel mills were a big part of the author’s childhood in Hammond, Ind. Also, no house was on the left side to give a better camera angle. It was an available rental property. The house was mostly used for exteriors, with only a couple interior shots. The rest was filmed on a sound stage in Canada.

What we try to recreate is a feeling that you really are at Ralphie’s house inside and out, so that you can relive the movie. The house across the street serves as a museum, with original props and costumes, as well as behind-the-scenes photos and information.

When did you know you wanted to make the film such a big part of your life and career?

Never. I wanted to fly jets for the Navy; I just stumbled into this. I started making leg lamps in my condo and selling them online part-time. The response was great, so I decided to leave the Navy to do it full-time. The second year was better than the first — I had trouble keeping up with demand. That same year, the house came up for sale, and I simply figured that if this many people wanted a leg lamp, then a large number of people would also like to come see the house. A part of it was also that I am a fan and wanted to see a piece of Americana saved and cherished. I figured there was nothing to lose. Why not give it a shot?

What about the film appeals to you?

It’s hilarious and relatable at the same time. You can relate to Ralphie’s experiences in the movie presented in such a comical but true-to-life way. All the dynamics of being a kid, and being a kid at Christmas, are here: the double standard of your dad cursing all the time but it being the end of the world if you say one curse word; the peer pressure to do a dare you know you should not; the family dynamic between the mom and dad over the stuff he thinks is great that she can’t stand; campaigning so hard for that one thing you really want for Christmas; the first time you realized there are a lot of gimmicks out there.

Has making a career out of the film changed the way you experience the holidays?

I work a lot more around the holidays. Before this, the holiday season was when I took the most time off, so it a complete switch. In fact, it’s now the time of year I work the most. Watching the film is different too. I can still get into it, but it takes me a little longer to suspend reality and just enjoy it. I now know all the actors personally — I know their real personalities in addition to their character personalities. I just know so many of the ins and outs of the film that I enjoy it in a different way now.

Why should families today care about “A Christmas Story”?

It’s a great family film and a classic that is true to the American Christmas experience. It’s the classic Christmas movie of this generation. It shows Christmas as it really is, with fun and festivity but also the stress and hectic worry that are part of the holidays.

When does one cease to be a “superfan” and start to be an expert about a film?

I just happened to me out of circumstance. I needed to know things to make sure the house was accurate to the movie. People would start to ask me questions and expect me to know the answer because I owned the house. So I just started talking to people who were involved in making the movie or knew stuff about the film.

Do you have any memorable holiday stories of your own? I campaigned for a year to get a dog. I was just as sure as Ralphie that it was never going to happen. But it was my Christmas present that year — the greatest present I ever received, better than the Millennium Falcon I had gotten a few years earlier.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Merry Christmas!

Category: News Stories | Comments Off on Interesting Expert of the Week, ‘A Christmas Story’ Edition