The next chapter in ‘A Christmas Story’ restored, opens to public this weekend

Jinae West

Cleveland house featured as famous residence in family-favorite Christmas movie

The famous leg lamp delivered as a prize to the Christmas Story family is on display in the house. It is an exact replica made by the owner of the Christmas Story house in Cleveland and is displayed in the living room. STEVEN MANTILLA | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

On an unsuspecting side street just outside of downtown Cleveland, a house with gold siding and dark green trim sits quietly amidst maple trees and suburban sidewalks. The silhouette of a leg lamp can be seen from the front window enticing young, adolescent boys with its “soft glow of electric sex.”

The house was used in the popular holiday classic, A Christmas Story, as the Parker family residence. The movie centers around Ralphie Parker, a stubborn young boy determined to get a BB gun for Christmas.

The grand opening of A Christmas Story House will take place Saturday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Actors from the film will appear for the official commencement. The house’s curator and director, Steven Siedlecki, said he expects 3,000 to 4,000 people to show up this weekend.

“The actors who played Randy, Flick, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill and Miss Shields will be there, and the councilman and the owner (of the house) will give a speech,” Siedlecki said.

The film was based on Jean Shepherd’s “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash,” a collection of short stories about the author’s childhood in the 1940s.

Located in the historic Tremont neighborhood, the house has been fully restored to its original A Christmas Story appearance.

Brian Jones of San Diego purchased the house for $150,000 through an online eBay auction in February 2005. Soon afterward Jones began an extensive 11-month renovation totaling close to $250,000, according to Siedlecki. Jones also bought the house across the street to turn into a museum.

Siedlecki said he was eager to get involved with the project.

“I thought it was a great idea,” he said. “I have family here, and I’ve seen the ups and downs of the house.”

While only the exterior of the house was used in A Christmas Story, the interior has been recreated to mirror that of the film’s.

Siedlecki said fans donated furniture to aid in the process. One of the most recognizable pieces featured in the house is the infamous leg lamp.

“Brian makes leg lamps for a living,” Siedlecki said.

Public relations director Emily Vincent said the leg lamps are available for sale in the museum ranging from $149 for a full size to $199 for a deluxe.

“One time I asked Brian what the difference was between a full size and a deluxe,” she recalled. “He said the deluxe had a knobbier knee and a butt cheek.”

The museum also offers visitors a rare glimpse into A Christmas Story history. Behind-the-scenes photographs, old newspaper clippings and memorabilia from the film, including a Red Ryder BB Gun and Randy’s “I-can’t-put-my-arms-down” snowsuit, are displayed for the public’s viewing pleasure.

The gift shop carries an assortment of amusing souvenirs: A Christmas Story action figures, paintings, T-shirts, ornaments, Ovaltine, Lifebuoy soap, and of course, the leg lamps complete with “Fra-GEE-lay” cardboard crates.

Even after more than 20 years, A Christmas Story still remains immensely popular.

Siedlecki said the film “spans across all generations” and will “keep rolling” into the future.

“I think this movie is extremely popular because of how funny and realistic it is,” said sophomore accounting major Kristen Sims. “I watch the movie every season. If it’s on TV, I watch it. The tradition at my house is to watch it all day on Christmas.”

Corey Fowler, a sophomore music education major, agreed A Christmas Story has lasting appeal.

“It is an iconic part of the Christmas season,” Fowler said. “I can’t even think about going through the November and December months not hearing, ‘Fudge!'”

Contact features correspondent Jinae West at [email protected].