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But don't break anything. The furnishings are fra-gee-lay.
November 17, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Make this Christmas special. Spend it in Ralphie's house! Bunny suit and Lifebuoy soap included. For an extra fee, the owner will convince you to lick a metal pole and then shoot your eye out.

Schedule & Activities

DECEMBER 23:
Winner and guests arrive in Cleveland (Time TBD)
3pm: Check into a suite at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
Visit the former Higbee’s Department Store Window (next to Renaissance Hotel)

DECEMBER 24:
10am: Personal behind-the-scenes tour of A Christmas Story House & Museum
Ride in family car (weather permitting) and receive bars of Lifebuoy Soap
Try on original costumes from the movie
Read through the costume “bible” that includes photos and notes from the production
2pm: Check into A Christmas Story House
Large FRA-GI-LE Major Award crate delivered to the front door of the house (yours to keep – provided by A Christmas Story House). Crow bar provided to open.
Go out to check the mail for Decoder pins delivered to mailbox (one for each guest and yours to keep - provided by A Christmas Story House)
Climb under the sink just like Randy
5pm: Chinese Turkey Dinner at Pearl of the Orient
7pm: Back to A Christmas Story House to watch “A Christmas Story” in the house it was filmed (25th Anniversary DVD is yours to keep; popcorn and sodas provided)
9pm: Spend the night in A Christmas Story House sleeping in Ralphie and Randy's bedroom!

DECEMBER 25:
8am: Open presents in A Christmas Story House living room
Continental breakfast basket provided by A Christmas Story House
Presents included: 2 BB guns (behind the desk), blue bowling ball, can of Simonize, and a bunny suit, 4 Christmas Story House shirts. (provided by A Christmas Story House)
Bring your own presents to unwrap as well
Shoot BB guns in the back yard (provided by A Christmas Story House)
1pm: Check out of A Christmas Story House and return to Renaissance Hotel (Room is reserved for you)
5pm: Enjoy Christmas dinner at Sans Souci, an award-winning, fine-dining restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel

DECEMBER 26:
By 12pm, check out of Renaissance Hotel
Return flight departs (Time TBD)
posted by miss lynnster (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jesus Christ, stop with the Christmas stuff. Life Day isn't even over yet!
posted by mazola at 2:46 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, lamp post is 4 down!
posted by cjorgensen at 2:50 PM on November 17, 2008


WANT!
posted by tristeza at 2:53 PM on November 17, 2008


If you like the movie(and if you don't, you're a Grinch), this is a fun way to spend an hour or so. My wife and I took a weekend trip up to Cleveland late this Spring, and made it our last thing before heading back to Columbus.

The house in Cleveland was actually only used for exterior shots, but they've re-done the interior to look as close as it might to the sets that were used in the movie.

Across the street at the gift shop/museum, they have a fully restored version of the car Ralphie's family drove too.

Oh, and they sell full-size versions of the leg lamps too, but they were like $150 or so.
posted by spirit72 at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2008


I always thought the Red Rider Rifle was a symbol for masturbation. Ralphie wanted it, but was told he was too young for it and that if he had it, he'd "shoot his eye out" (go blind). When he does shoot his eye out, he blames a larger phallus (an icicle) for the accident.

Beans, meet plate.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's get this straight. It's not a matter of "convincing," it's a double-dog dare.
posted by bradth27 at 3:31 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I always imagined that house smelled like stale cigar smoke and old cooked beef.
Am I right, spirit72?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:33 PM on November 17, 2008


I'm pretty sure that "A Christmas Story" was the last film (probably ever) that my entire family - all five of us, from my little sister to both of my parents - saw together in the theatre and for that reason alone I'll always think well of it. I had no idea there was such a cult attached to it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:39 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't Christmas cancelled this year?
posted by gman at 3:44 PM on November 17, 2008


Winner and guest understand they will need to behave in a reasonable and appropriate manner at all time during the experience. Violations will invalidate the experience for all participants and the winner and guest will be asked to leave. Causes for termination include but are not limited to: profanity, intoxication, or other codes of conduct which are considered unreasonable.

Couldn't they just wash your mouth out with soap?
posted by longsleeves at 3:45 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I always imagined that house smelled like stale cigar smoke and old cooked beef.
Am I right, spirit72?


That'd be about right.

But unfortunately, no it doesn't. As I remember it, the place smells pretty clean--about how you would expect a house that no one actually lives in to smell.
posted by spirit72 at 3:45 PM on November 17, 2008


Isn't Christmas cancelled this year?


SHHHHH!

That's the December Surprise.
posted by spirit72 at 3:46 PM on November 17, 2008


I always thought the Red Rider Rifle was a symbol for masturbation.

I always thought that the lamp served that symbolic need quite well....
posted by jammy at 3:46 PM on November 17, 2008


I might be the only American on the internet who has not seen this movie. Why is it so popular?
posted by BabySeven at 3:49 PM on November 17, 2008


I might be the only American on the internet who has not seen this movie. Why is it so popular?

Because it's fun!

Turn on TNT on Christmas Day. Can't miss it.
posted by spirit72 at 3:51 PM on November 17, 2008


Well, since the shep-archives have been defunct for a while now, and lately, troublingly, flicklives.com seems to have gone dark, I guess I'll have to console myself with this visit to Jean Shepherd's real boyhood home.

(Psst -- buddy -- you can still get a bunch of the original radio shows via the Brass Figlalee podcast in iTunes.)
posted by Kinbote at 3:58 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Causes for termination include but are not limited to: profanity [...]

Ohhhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuuudge.

I love lamp.
posted by cereselle at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I might be the only American on the internet who has not seen this movie. Why is it so popular?

Because it's #693 on the list.
posted by gman at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2008


They bought their Christmas tree in Toronto, though. You can see the streetcar going by.
posted by chococat at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2008


Why is it so popular?

It's very easy for a lot of Americans to identify with the characters, the family situations, the odd perspectives of childhood, and the aspects of a basic Christmas celebration it depicts. Jean Shepherd is just awesome, so his narration is great. There's a bit of nostalgia factor, but I don't think the popularity can possibly be due only to that because kids really enjoy it, too. Universals like the bully, the disappointing commercial product, the scariness of Santa, the incredible angst about presents, the volatile father, the placating mother, the doofiness of friends -- it's all the evergreen stuff of childhood.

We've been watching this in my family for must be 20 years now, since whenever it came out on VHS, and have actually calmed down a bit about it now. There was a time in the early 90s when we were replicating the gifts for one another - I got my mom a flyswatter, and she got my dad the blue bowling ball, and for several years running we ran down to the basement Christmas Eve to grab his Simoniz and wrap it up. We've gotten over that aspect of things now, but most of us do say "Fra-gee-lay!" when a package arrives, and the like.
posted by Miko at 4:28 PM on November 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Long as you're in town, you might as well take in the full Cleveland movie tour. Some Highlights:

The Deer Hunter -- St. Theodosius Cathedral and the wedding reception house aren't far from Ralphies.

One Trick Pony -- Paul Simon's apartment is nearby (going by the view of downtown), somewhere near the West Side Market. Concerts scenes shot at the old Agora.

Stranger Than Paradise -- Drive down into The Industrial Flats below St. T's past Grammy's house ("choo sunuvabeech") on your way to the 9th Street Pier. Usually, you can see the lake. The Lobster House is gone, but the Rock Hall is there.

Telling Lies in America -- Exterior scenes around the West Side Market.

Light of Day -- Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett played at the Euc (Yook)! The Euclid Tavern was near CWRU and University Circle. But I'd rather see Mr. Stress.

Antwone Fisher -- Shot in the Glenville neighborhood on the east side.

Welcome to Collinwood -- Still further east.

American Splendor -- Shot all over the Land of Cleves, including Tremont, Lakewood, Kamm's Corners, and other neighborhoods on THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF TOWN from where Harvey's actually spent his whole life. Too bad Irv's closed before the movie was finally made.

Spider-Man 3 -- I'm told that approximately 13 seconds of second-unit action was shot along Euclid Avenue.

For some reason, films that are specifically set in Cleveland (Major League, Howard The Duck) are more often not filmed there at all.
posted by Herodios at 4:37 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I live 5 houses down from the Christmas Story house.

No, I have not gone.
posted by starvingartist at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2008


And hey, when you're done, c'mon over to my shop -- we'll go up the street to the grilled cheese restaurant (no, really) and drink beers. Yay!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:09 PM on November 17, 2008


I heart Melt! Their fries are awesome, and the Porky Cheese sandwich is heaven on big grilled bread.

Oh and absolutely, bitter-girl's shop should be visited too. Preferably before the grease fest.

Or you can try the new cereal bar. No, really.
posted by ltracey at 5:20 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't the kid who put his tongue on the metal post become a porn star? Will he be showing up?
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on November 17, 2008


I'd bid, but I don't think the bunny suit is going to fit me.
posted by queensissy at 5:28 PM on November 17, 2008


I might be the only American on the internet who has not seen this movie. Why is it so popular?

I saw it when I was a kid. I didn't get that. I didn't relate to it and beyond that, a lot of it scared me. It seemed pretty violent and gory in a way that just kind of made me uncomfortable. I went for years avoiding it on TV.

Then, for whatever reason, I watched it a couple years ago. Holy crap! It's all about how disappointment is a huge part of the holiday season! it's about how all those toys you so desperately wanted for months never quite were as awesome as they seemed in ads. It's about how there is this fantastic rush when you DO get what you want, but it's followed by a slow fading of interest or a fast, deep crushing sense that the toy could never really deliver what it promised.

It's a story about how magic and tragic the holiday season is, and how sometimes things get so messed up that you have to go to a plan B, which ends up being way better than the original plan (chinese food on Christmas day). It's fantastically sly because on the surface it's meant for kids, but it's really for adults.
posted by piratebowling at 5:29 PM on November 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I want this in a way that I didn't think my shriveled middle-aged heart could ever want again.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 5:46 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love that movie so very, very much…but the tragic irony is that it has been turned into an idiotic marketing land-grab that demeans the actual gist of the story itself. I just don't get how dense people have to be to go and buy a leg lamp or a decoder pin when the joke was how crappy those things actually were, and how stupid that sort of hyped-up marketing madness was to begin with. If you love the movie, love the damn movie—don't insult the ghost of Jean Shepherd by being taken in by the same BS he so properly lamented. There's so much great work by Jean out there for free (via the previously mentioned Brass Figlagee), and much of his other work still in print, so why waste your time on some bizarre nostalgia money-machine simulacrum?

Isn't your own insane, messed-up family and your own cruddy, humble, yet beloved little house and your own not-quite-how-you-expected-it holiday enough of a story for you? Shep was famous for his rag-tag approach to accuracy when it came time to tell a good story, and by that standard, there's a very good chance that all our own Christmas stories might well be worth telling in the unpopular framework of our own lives, instead of in some opportunistic entrepreneur's obsessive fever dreams.
posted by sonascope at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ok. Party at the shop followed by beer and cheese at Melt. Then we'll go drink cheap beer in Tremont, get pierogi at Sokolowski's and THEN go the the museum...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:04 PM on November 17, 2008


Isn't your own insane, messed-up family...enough of a story for you?

Heck, no! Thank goodness. There's nothing that brings an insane, messed-up family together like laughing their heads of in loving contempt of another insane, messed-up family.
posted by Miko at 7:08 PM on November 17, 2008


There's nothing that brings an insane, messed-up family together like laughing their heads of in loving contempt of another insane, messed-up family.

Wasn't it Leo Tolstoy who said, "All happy families are the same, each insane, messed-up family mocks other insane, messed-up families in its own way"?

get pierogi at Sokolowski's

Mmm, Sokolowski's, home of heart-attack-on-a-plate -- that is, virtually everything on the menu.
posted by Herodios at 8:14 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


A few summers back, some friends and I were sitting at the front tables of a bar on the Lower East Side when we saw Zack Ward walk by. As big fans, we just had to say hi and found out he was lost, trying to find some party he'd been invited to. We bought him a drink or two and one thing led to another and well, Zack wound up hanging out and partying with us all night. At the time, he was working on Christopher Titus' show but all any of us could talk about was that we were drinking with Scut Farkus!
posted by JaredSeth at 8:57 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Despite how I normally might feel about the gift shop, etc., I actually am kind of a fan. I mean, the owner pretty much put his marriage and finances in total jeopardy to purchase property over 2,000 miles and pursue a crazy idea. So that he's been able to make his totally obsessive love for a movie pay off monetarily and is also donating so much of the proceeds to charity, well I just have to be kinda impressed and inspired by that.

From Wikipedia: In December 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur and fan of the film since childhood, bought the house on eBay for $150,000. Jones used revenue from his business, The Red Rider Leg Lamp Company, which manufactures replicas of the "major award" Ralphie's father won in the film, for the down payment. The previous owners had reconfigured the building into a duplex, installed modern windows, and covered the original wood siding with blue vinyl. Watching the movie frame by frame, Jones drew detailed plans of the interiors - which had been filmed on a Toronto sound stage - and spent $240,000 to gut the structure, reconfigure it to a single-family dwelling, transform it into a near-replica of the movie set, and restore the exterior to its appearance in the film.

Jones borrowed $129,000 to purchase the house across the street and converted it into a gift shop and museum which contains some of the props from the movie, including Randy's snow suit and the leg lamp (although the lamp is broken in the film, alternates survived). The house and museum opened to the public on November 25, 2006, with original cast members attending the grand opening, and the site drew 4,300 visitors during its first weekend.


Honestly, the odds were not in his favor that this was a good business idea, but he's actually making it work. With the amount of effort he's put in, more power to him, I say.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


(...meant to say over 2000 miles away. The Christmas Story house is clearly not 2000 miles in size.)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2008


This is the coolest. Thing. Ever.
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:38 AM on November 18, 2008


Ok. Party at the shop followed by beer and cheese at Melt. Then we'll go drink cheap beer in Tremont, get pierogi at Sokolowski's and THEN go the the museum...

Yeah, that's pretty much the best way to do pre-Rock Hall.

Ditto to whoever mentioned the Porky Cheese sandwich, too. I almost headed straight for the Clinic after that one.
posted by spirit72 at 5:44 AM on November 18, 2008


I'll hold out for next year's program, when I will be given the opportunity to use up all the glue on purpose.

And I wonder what Shep would have made of all this. Shep in his twilight years might not have said much about it, or perhaps kept it to himself and Leigh. But Shep of the 1960s would have just openly and publcially boggled at it all, I'm sure, much like when he visited the 1964 World's Fair and took his portable reel-to-reel into the Carousel of Progress and snarked all over the show. (But thirty years later, guess who was tapped to provide the voice of the Father in the Carousel update at Walt Disney World...)
posted by Spatch at 6:05 AM on November 18, 2008


Spatch, can you point to a copy of 60's Shep snarking the World's Fair? I must see this.
posted by JHarris at 10:38 AM on November 18, 2008


Oh, you... you... wussies. The Porky Cheese is not to be TRIFLED with, but if that's all it takes to send you to the Clinic... ;)

(I keed! I keed!)

Besides, you gotta order the Porky Cheese with the caramel port onions on it, too.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:17 AM on November 18, 2008


"I might be the only American on the internet who has not seen this movie. Why is it so popular?"

I've also never seen it. I'd never even heard of it til around the time I joined MeFi a few years back (probably around Christmas 2005, actually). I'm pretty sure the only place I've heard of it is MeFi (and MeCha).
posted by Eideteker at 1:05 PM on November 18, 2008


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