The cult classic; A Christmas Story, with it’s tacky leg lamp, lovable characters, and treasured Red Rider BB gun has been a part of Christmas for me as long as I can remember. My brother and I watched it hundreds of times as kids. Now, I watch it with my kids as soon as the first snowflakes start to fall. I could probably recite the lines of every scene.
Well, I was thrilled when I learned that Ralphie’s house is real. On the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, the house where the movie was filmed, is open to the public for tours. I made my pilgrimage to “good old Cleveland Street” this past October. It was everything I’d hoped it would be.
After making a decent living making leg lamps and selling them online, Brian Jones, purchased and restored the yellow Victorian to it’s Hollywood splendor. He added a museum of memorabilia and a gift shop stocked with iconic leg lamps, pink bunny suits, and Life Buoy soap. The little campus is open year round. They operate seven days a week from 10 am til 5pm. They are closed on major holidays and I’m told they get pretty busy during the Christmas season.
Since the holiday crowds hadn’t flocked in, we had time to really look at everything, take tons of pictures, and just generally play. The great thing about the house is that all the real props are housed in the museum. The house is filled with replicas. The guides give a tour and then encourages everyone to roam around and pick things up. Take photos sitting under the sink where Randy had a glass of milk, pick up the old man’s “blue ball” bowling ball, or find a partially wrapped Red Rider hiding behind the desk. The old man’s car and the fire truck that came to get the poor Flick’s tongue off the flagpole are here too. Let me tell you, I had a blast. It was so fun to pick up the rotary phone receiver in the hall outside the bathroom and hear Schwartz’s mother on the line. I heard behind the scenes stories and learned facts about filming. It was great. My kids slept in pink bunny suits that night. I went home with a Little Orphan Annie secret decoder pin and a life-size cardboard cutout of Ralph in his sparkly white cowboy getup. He now protects my Christmas tree.
Admission is $11 for adults, $7 for kids 2-12 yrs. Seniors are $9. Military discount available.
Address is 3159 W. 11th Street Cleveland, OH 44109
Telephone: 216 298 4919
Tip: a couple of the neighboring houses have turned their driveways into paid parking lots and have put up flags encouraging you to “park here.” They are not affiliated with the museum at all. Street parking is ample and free.