Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Countdown - Day Six - December 2

We tried to do this one last year and failed. This year, we succeeded.
The house is where the film A Christmas Story's Parker family home exteriors (and a couple of interiors, but not most) were shot. The bulk of the film was shot in Cleveland in 1983. The house was actually a duplex at the time, but due to location, age, and other attributes, was chosen as ideal for the purposes. The owner passed in 2005, having never lived in it, and not really maintained it well as a rental property. It was left to his two sons who wanted nothing to do with it. They got the bright idea to sell it on ebay as the Christmas Story house. They put it up for sale at $99,000, even though houses in the neighborhood were going for 40k. A guy in San Diego who was obsessed with A Christmas Story (and had already begun manufacturing memorabilia like those leg lamps) thought that compared to prices in San Diego, 99k was positively cheap, so he offered $150,000. The sellers thought this was awesome as they'd just successfully unloaded a lemon for a lot of money.

Finally, Brian Jones (San Diego guy) came to check the place out only to discover it had no woodwork, no electricity, no plumbing, and rotting floorboards. So he poured another $250,000 into redoing the place, eventually bought two other houses on the street to make an entire A Christmas Story house, museum, and gift shop. Dude's nuts, right? Well, over the last three years, they've had 150,000 visitors from 28 countries all shelling out $7.50 a pop and buying up two hundred dollar full-sized replica leg lamps. There were two tour buses and a tour trolley full of people while we were there.

This year, the place was decked out like the Griswold's house (from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).
The three of us, blurry, in front of the tree. Aleks is holding the Red Rider BB Gun box (with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time).
In the kitchen. Aleks was curious about the fake turkey. I liked the vintage Fiestaware on the table.
Aleks doing "Dad's gonna kill Ralphie!" The tour guide was suggesting these photo ops for us.
The soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window...
Aleks as a deranged Easter Bunny.
Bastian's turn as the pink nightmare.
At least I'll only have to wear it when Aunt Clara comes to visit. (Aleks' photo skills in low light)
Ralphie's homework.
And that was our trip. Ta-da! We went to the museum too and saw a bunch of the costumes and props and perused the gift shop (but didn't buy anything).

Afterward, we went to the west side to get a birthday present for a friend then ended up stuck in traffic for two hours, postponing Jon's braised lamb for dinner for a day.


Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

Oh, how brilliant is that! We love A Christmas Story - watched it for the first time a few weeks ago and just about died laughing.

I'm so glad that someone had the foresight to do this. And a little bit envious that your gang got to see it as it's a bit out of the way for us. I did notice that our local cool independent book seller has the replica lamps for sale... I'm not going to tell my husband, though.

(comment edited for a major typo that only I could pull off)

Mel said...

OMG!!!! That is SO funny!! That movie is a long-standing family tradition in our house -- we all watch it together every year.....I can't wait to tell my parents about this!! :){We also do National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation too...)

And hey, never underestimate the cult following a movie like that can produce....*grin*

Rachel said...

Ooo, you got to actually go in this year! :) Looks like fun!