“A Christmas Story” Continues In Cleveland Almost 40 Years After Filming Ended

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Few cities have adopted a film with more fullness than Cleveland has “A Christmas Story.”

The city’s unwavering enthusiasm for the 1983 holiday classic is matched only by loyal “ACS” fans who flock from far and wide to Northeast Ohio to relive their favorite stages on multiple sites. easy-to-visit filming locations.

“We have people from all over the world,” said Brian Jones, owner of A house and museum of Christmas stories.

The pilgrims who visited the site came from various parts of six different continents. No known visitors have arrived from Antarctica, although penguins are frequently known for their clever use of disguises.

The Bumpus area in winter, less scent hounds. Overnight stays are available both in the iconic “A Christmas Story” house and in its slightly more mountainous neighbor. (Photo courtesy of A Christmas Story House & Museum)

Although Cleveland is recognized as the film’s legitimate home by thousands of tourists each year, opponents frequently point out that the film is based on the Jean Shepherd short story – compiled with many others in “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash “- – about his childhood memories of Hammond, Ind.

In truth, the film also borrowed from other works of fiction and added creative elements not included in the original short story.

By now, virtually everyone knows the story of Ralphie Parker’s quest for “an official Red Ryder 200-shot action air rifle”, although fewer are aware of how the juvenile shenanigans of Shepherd on Cleveland Street have become a proud part of the history, tradition and landscape of Cleveland, Ohio.

Director Bob Clark – yes, the guy behind the much less healthy “Porky’s” movies – has scouted out in 20 cities. Only one boasted of a blue collar, metal grain, as well as a vintage department store that could be made into a slice of 1940s Northwest Indiana.

A Christmas story house at night

On a winter night, A Christmas Story House & Museum looks like a scene from the 1983 film. (Photo courtesy of A Christmas Story House & Museum)

R. Bruce Campbell, vice president of the Higbee department store, felt that advertising for the film would help the struggling business. With Campbell’s Imprimatur, workers dutifully removed Barbies, Hot Wheels, and fledgling video games and replaced them with metal toys and other WWII-era artifacts.

The charming Tremont House – which doesn’t look much like Shepherd’s low-slung childhood home in Hammond, but is conveniently located near downtown and Public Square – sealed the deal.

Although the film met with positive reviews, it suffered from a crippling distribution effort. Subsequent video releases helped, although TBS’s annual 24-hour marathon was largely responsible for the film’s recognition as a classic.

We all know the funny lines. We all appreciate the nostalgic take. But it’s the heart of the film that touches us every time.

Garden shed at the A Christmas Story house

Garden sheds are rarely considered important in Hollywood annals, but this one undoubtedly is. Hoping Ralphie still has some “old blue” by his side in case Black Bart returns. (Photo courtesy of A Christmas Story House & Museum)

This heart lives in the place we call home. Now is a great time to get out there and enjoy all that ACS has to offer, as well as the other things our beautiful city has to offer.

A house and museum of Christmas stories

The ACS Pilgrim’s Mecca is an 1895 Victorian home conveniently located near the steel mills and downtown attractions at 3159 W. 11th St.

Jones bought the house in 2004 with the money he made producing and selling floor lamps, although the structure was a far cry from its Hollywood moment.

“It was a run down rental property,” Jones revealed.

The site opened to the public in 2006. Replica props, which can be manipulated, allow visitors to “touch, feel and experience the film,” Jones explained.

The house is open seven days a week, although it closes on major holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Tickets cost $ 15 for adults, $ 14 for those 60 and over, and $ 11 for children 3-12. Children under 3 are admitted free. Military personnel with an identity document benefit from a 20% discount on the total price of the ticket.

While the house is the highlight of the tour, guests will experience several other aspects of the film as well.

The hangar where Ralphie kidnaps the members of Black Bart’s gang looks like it was in the movie.

A 1937 Oldsmobile, just like the one the Parkers drove, sits in the open garage. The vehicle was actually one of many vintage models that locals drove around the plaza while filming downtown scenes.

For true film enthusiasts, the ACS Museum can be just as rewarding as home. The museum has one of the six BB guns used on set, the Miss Shields chalkboard, behind-the-scenes photos, Randy’s padded snowsuit, and many other costumes and props.

Additionally, visitors can purchase any number of ACS items from the nearby gift shop.

And yes, you can really spend the night at the Parker Estate or the recreated Bumpus House next door. Advance planning is advised, although several dates will be available in the coming months. Further details are available on the website or by calling 216-298-4919.

Higbee

The store now JACK Cleveland Casino, appears in three pivotal scenes of the film. The casino strives to maintain the holiday spirit with festive themes, decorations and display cases filled with objects reminiscent of yesteryear.

“This year, JACK once again decorated the hallways of the historic Higbee building to carry on the traditions of Cleveland’s famous department store,” said Aleksandra Breault, the casino’s public relations manager.

JACK went all out this year, making any description insufficient. Among the offerings are Higbee’s original animatronic ballerinas decorating Christmas trees atop the entrance to Prospect Avenue, elves who climb a massive hill – the escalator – to build a snowman and a winter scene in the entrance to the skywalk which features animatronic revelers lacing up skates, having a snowball fight and simply enjoying the winter wonderland.

JACK’s pop-up bar, Sleigh, will feature mistletoe, gingerbread houses, a life-size sleigh and holiday music. Celebrate a winning hand or drown your heartbreak with one of four themed cocktails served in containers featuring Santa, snowmen and other holiday imagery.

The bar is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday to Saturday from November 26 to December 18.

A visit to the casino also leads to the public square, location of the film’s Christmas parade.

Rowley Inn

Located opposite the A Christmas Story house, the tavern was a favorite with the cast and crew. Legendarily, “the old man,” actor Darren McGavin, soaked himself in the comfy confines after a hard day on set.

A number of Rowley’s clients appear in the film, and the upstairs was used for wardrobe and makeup during filming.

Christmas castle

Located in Medina at 260 S. Court St., the 40,000-square-foot facility may not seem like a top destination for ACS fans, but according to owner Mark Klaus, the Chateau boasts of “the largest private collection of movie props and costumes in the world”.

The vintage metal toys featured in the Higbee’s window scenes can be seen in the festive attraction, as can the teeth chattering Miss Shields found in her office and the toy elves featured in the movie.

The facility also houses a wide variety of original memorabilia from other classic Christmas movies, as well as windows from a number of historic New York City department stores.

Visitors can end their adventure on a replica of the red ACS slide, where they’ll no doubt imagine the thrill of being told, “You’re gonna have a blast, kid”.

Admission is $ 24.50 for adults and $ 19.50 for ages 12 and under. Seniors and the military enter for $ 23.50. For more information, call 330-721-6635.

Other ways to celebrate the ACS

As in 2020, the fun and somewhat wacky ACS Run has been canceled again this year. Nonetheless, ACS fans can still quench their thirst with “Tripel Dog Dare” beer from Great Lakes Brewery.

Other ACS-inspired items – including “major rewards,” donuts, fudge, and themed dishes – can be purchased at various locations throughout Greater Cleveland.


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