Forget It’s a Wonderful Life, the real holiday classic is A Christmas Story.
While all anyone remembers of Wonderful Life is something about bells ringing and angels getting their wings, just about everything in A Christmas Story has become an ingrained part of holiday tradition – from the visuals: Ralphie and his brother stuffed into their snowsuits, a tongue stuck on a frozen pole, destruction of the Christmas turkey by neighborhood hounds, and Ralphie dreaming of “an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, a blue steel beauty with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time” – to one classic line after another: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid,” “Fra-gee-lay… that must be Italian”, “Ooooh, fuuudge!”
While it bombed in the theaters when it was released in ’83, it’s gone on to become one of the most beloved holiday movies ever. And since this is the 25th anniversary of the release of this classic, you can pay homage to the Parkers by visiting their house on Cleveland Street.
A few years ago the house was bought on eBay, turned into a museum and restored to the exact way it looked in the film. (Even though the interior shots were filmed on a soundstage in Toronto.) Everything is there, from the fully-functional 1940’s kitchen complete with a plastic turkey waiting for the dog attack, to an upstairs bathroom with a bar of Lifebouy soap sporting Ralphie’s teeth marks, the result of uttering of “the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words”, to that leg lamp, which stays lit in the window 24/7/365.
A five minute drive from downtown Cleveland, admission is $7.50 for adults, and it’s open Thursday through Sunday all year round. Although, not surprisingly, the crowds show around this time of year.
Take the tour, then head out for some Chinese food and Christmas carols… “Deck the halls with boughs of horry, ra ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra.”