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A Christmas Story House (not so nerdy trip)

A Christmas Story House (not so nerdy trip)

By on Dec 21, 2013 in Not So Nerdy Trips | 2 comments

A Christmas Story house, Cleveland

A Christmas Story house, Cleveland

This is the story of the “A Christmas Story”  house, a trip we have to call “not so nerdy” because this movie is such a part of pop culture. An enterprising fan bought the house in Cleveland where the movie was made, and now thousands of people pay to visit it each year, including my friend Nancy and me in the fall of 2010.

It is really amazing to see what has grown out of the simple story of Ralphie who wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and everyone who keeps telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Here's the movie, for sale at my local grocery store

Here’s the movie, for sale at my local grocery store

 

There is now a “Christmas Story” empire, which includes the house and museum, conventions and products ranging from magnets  and mugs to t-shirts, dolls, costumes and, of course,  your very own leg lamp! The gift shop itself is a marvel of merchandising!

While crews filmed much of the movie’s exteriors in the Cleveland area (the setting of the movie itself is actually Indiana), movie makers shot the  interior house scenes on a sound stage. The man who bought the original house for its cinematic connection rebuilt the interior to match the movie – and it does! (Unlike our discovery at the real Southfork).

The Christmas Story house tour

The Christmas Story house tour

Here I am with the leg lamp box

Here I am with the leg lamp box

I think there were about 30 people on our tour, and tours left every half-hour. When I called this December to ask how large the tours could be, they said it was so busy that they were doing self-guided tours in groups of 10 or 20 at a time. Maybe going in October was a smart strategy!

Our guide was very enthusiastic, sharing insider movie secrets, such as issues with the fake snow and why the leg lamp box says “his end up.” (If I remember correctly, I think they said the box  was too big to fit through the door, so they sliced off part of it).

IMG_1458You can see the recreated bathroom where Ralphie’s mom washes out his mouth with soap or you can climb under the sink where his brother Randy hid. All over the house, you’ll see small touches referencing the movie, some of which I probably missed since the movie’s details were not fresh in my mind.

In the movie, Ralphie claims an icicle fell off the house and broke his glasses

Here’s the side of the house, where Ralphie claimed an icicle fell and broke his glasses. As someone who lived in the Cleveland area for six years, I can verify that some of those houses develop amazingly long icicles, so Ralphie’s explanation is entirely plausible!

The Parkers' Christmas tree, complete with bowling ball and BB gun tucked in the corner

The Parkers’ Christmas tree, complete with bowling ball and BB gun tucked in the corner

The "old man's" car is a garage across the street the A Christmas Story house. It's where you'll also find the gift shop and museum.

The “old man’s” car is a garage across the street the A Christmas Story house. It’s where you’ll also find the gift shop and museum.

Yes, you can get your own "A Christmas Story" fudge - only $2.49.

Yes, you can get your own “A Christmas Story” fudge – only $2.49.

This year, this holiday  movie classic celebrates its 30th anniversary. I discovered some Christmas Story merchandise all the way in Maryland with this “A Christmas Story” fudge. I can’t vouch for the taste, I only took a picture. And, then I failed to grasp immediately why the phrase “Oh Fudge” was important in the movie!

I guess I need to find some time to watch “A Christmas Story” this year. This holiday season, I hope you and your family have some time to enjoy a holiday movie, sample some fudge and share your favorite stories, nerdy or not. Happy Holidays!

P.S.  Remember the “On the Map” page has more details that can help you plan a trip to the “Christmas Story” house.

The famous leg lamp in the front window of the Parkers' house in A Christmas Story

The famous leg lamp in the front window of the Parkers’ house in A Christmas Story

P.P.S: In 2014, Nerd Trips will be changing platforms to a self-hosted blog. If you are a subscriber to the blog via e-mail, we expect your subscription to transfer automatically. If you are subscribed through wordpress.com, we will try to get your subscription moved in a timely manner.

However, if you don’t notice any posts for a few weeks, you may want to check nerdtrips.net or our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nerdtrips) and Twitter feed (@nerdtrips).

Thank you for joining us on the journey of “roads less traveled to presidents, poets and other historic persons.” We look forward to many nerdy adventures in 2014!
Sharon Boston

    2 Comments

  1. wineandhistory
    December 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    My husband’s favorite Christmas movie. Not sure we’ll make it to Cleveland, but it would be interesting. Merry Christmas and don’t lick any light poles!

  2. nerdtrips
    December 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Your husband would love it. You never know when you might be passing through Cleveland. Merry Christmas to you!

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