Cleveland, Ohio – “You’ll shoot your eye out.” It’s hard to believe it’s been thirty years since we first heard little Ralphie Parker’s mom utter these immortal words in “A Christmas Story.” But it has. And three decades after the classic 1983 film based on the Depression-era memoirs of Jean Shepherd hit the big screen, Ralphie, his Old Man, his longed-for Red Ryder BB Gun, leg lamps and the movie have entered the lexicon of Christmas classics.
Perhaps nowhere more so than in Cleveland, where much of the movie was filmed and a museum in the house used in the film opened in 2006.
The museum, which has drawn more than 300,000 visitors since opening, drew 24,000 last December alone – and plans to top that number this year.
“Everybody can relate to this movie,” says Angela Dickerson, Chief Operating Officer of the museum, of “A Christmas Story’s” ever-growing appeal. “Whether you wanted something so badly, like Ralphie and his Red Ryder, or whether your old man is like the Old Man.
“It’s nostalgic, it takes you back to when times were hood and there weren’t all these problems. It’s a good family movie”
In honor of the 30th anniversary, A Christmas Story House & Museum has big plans, from an expanded Thanksgiving weekend convention to a new gift shop, cast appearances, a “Little Piggy” luncheon and more. But that’s not all. Two area theaters are also planning productions in honor of the Big 3-0.
Here’s how Cleveland plans to celebrate:
A Christmas Story House & Museum,open seven days a week, year-round, 3159 W 11th Street in Cleveland’s Tremont area, 216-298-4919 email@example.com. Tours, gift shop and more. Plus, “take your best shot (without shooting your eye out, of course) at the BB gun range in the House’s back yard!” Hours: Monday through 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 tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for children (ages 7 to 12) and free for children ages 6 and under. More info:www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com
A Christmas Story Convention, Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov.30: Based at the Renaissance Hotel on Public Square – seen in the movie! – this year’s convention will feature city and house tours, appearances from the actors who played Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, and the two Evil Elves; a book-signing with “A Christmas Story Treasury” author Tyler Schwartz; a BB gun range in the backyard of the house; and “Mrs. Parker’s Little Piggy Luncheon,” the chance to enjoy a traditional meatloaf, mashed potato and red cabbage meal, just like Mrs. Parker made, while dining with the cast members. Tickets for the convention and luncheon available atwww.achristmasstoryhouse.com. Hotel discounts available for attendees, too.
“A Christmas Story” 5K, 10K and Leg Lamp fun runs, Dec. 7, Public Square:Register for the first annual run at www.achristmasstoryhouse.com. Get a nice hot cup of Ovaltine when you cross the finish line. Really.
Grand opening of a new 3,500 sq. ft. A Christmas Story House & Museum Gift Shop, Nov.29: Storewide Black Friday specials between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., including 30 percent off leg lamps!
“A Christmas Story, the Musical,” Nov. 15 to Dec. 8: Near West Theatre presents Cleveland’s first-ever production of this new musical based on the classic 1983 movie. Call 216-961-6391 for tickets or www.nearwesttheatre.org.
A Christmas Story, the Play,” Nov. 2 to Dec. 22: The Cleveland Play House brings back one of the most popular shows in Cleveland Play House history. Expect to see footie pajamas.
“With it being an anniversary year, we wanted to do something special this year,” concludes Dickerson. “We wanted to make Cleveland a destination for all things Christmas Story.”