A Visit to Ralphie’s House

Ralphie House

By Jerry Lambert

Back in the late 80s, I discovered a great little movie on HBO. It was called A Christmas Story. Using my top of the line Magnavox VCR, I quickly recorded it onto a blank VHS tape. Watching the exploits of Ralphie, Flick, Schwartz, and Randy, became an annual Holiday Tradition at our house. Then, a strange thing happened. Ralphie blew up! TBS started it’s annual 24 Hours of A Christmas Story in 1997, and my little discovery went nationwide. A Christmas Story joined the ranks of movies that had originally flopped at the box office, like It’s A Wonderful Life, but achieved cult status on cable in annual holiday reruns.

The other night, I decided to watch the movie from start to finish, instead of the bits and pieces I usually catch during the annual Christmas marathon. However, this screening had a special meaning for me. In early November, my wife and I made a pilgrimage to Cleveland, to visit the actual House on Cleveland Street. In 2004, Brian Jones, a guy who loves the movie as much as we do, bought the Christmas Story House on eBay. He restored it to its original glory by going through the film frame by frame. Then he opened it up for fans to enjoy. So this airing of the movie inspired me to recall the inside of the house and to make special note of the camera angles for each scene. It definitely turned this screening of the movie into something special.

As you can see from the photo above, the house has been restored to all of its 1950s glory. Guided tours run every hour starting at 10:15 am. You spend about 15 minutes in the house, and 10 minutes or so in the Museum across the street. You could get lost for hours in all of the Ralphie Memorabilia. The only missing items are the Bunny Pajamas and Cowboy Outfit. Both were kept as souvenirs by the movie’s star, Peter Billingsley. However, the Oiled Blue Steel Beauty is on prominent display. Of course, the Gift Shop across the street has everything any serious fan could want. Jars of Ovaltine, Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Pins, Bars of Lifebuoy and of course the Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. It is certainly worth the drive, and I highly recommend it. When you get to Ralphie’s House, be sure to check out the Major Award, prominently on display in the front window! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Triple-Dog Dare!

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