An Iconic Christmas Movie:
We had so much fun touring the house in the movie Home Alone a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to step inside another classic and much loved Christmas movie house. This movie was released in 1983 and over the years its popularity has grown tremendously. I’m sure you’ve seen it since it always airs many times every Christmas season on tv. Have you guessed the movie? Here’s another hint…this movie is so popular, tv stations sometimes run 24 hour marathon viewings of it during the Christmas season and on Christmas eve.
If you guessed, A Christmas Story…you are right! When my son was growing up, he watched this iconic comedy every single year. I was always surprised he enjoyed it so much since it is set during a time period long before he was even born…the early 1940′s. Ironically, when the movie was first released the week before Thanksgiving, it didn’t get the greatest reviews…some critics liked it but some did not. It turned out to be a bit of a sleeper and was gone from most theaters even before Christmas day.
Did you know the voice you hear narrating the movie is actually that of the author, Jean Shepherd? I did not realize that until recently. The stars of this movie are Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, Darin McGaven and Melinda Dillon as his parents…Mr. and Mrs. Parker and Ian Patrella as Ralphie’s brother.
A little background:
The story revolves around 9-year-old Ralphie Parker who wants only one thing for Christmas: “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.” Of course, every single adult he ever mentions this to has only one thing to say about his Christmas wish: “No! You’ll shoot your eye out.”
Here’s a view of the outside of the home where Ralphie and his family live….
The movie is supposed to take place in Hammond Indiana, the childhood home of the author, but the home depicted in the movie is actually located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The exterior scenes just outside the home were filmed in front of the actual home (above) that you see in the movie, as were some of the foyer and living room scenes. Some of the other outside scenes were filmed in Canada and a lot of the interior scenes were filmed on a movie set.
This is the neighborhood where their home is supposed to be in the movie. This may actually be one of the scenes that was filmed in Canada since many of the heavy snow scenes were filmed there. Just look at all those wonderful houses will double porches! I wouldn’t like living with that much snow but I do love those porches.
Another view of Ralphie’s home…
The infamous Oldsmobile mentioned in the movie…
A close-up of the front of the home…
The front door… Note the upside down horseshoe (door knocker) for good luck.
One of the more well-known (and funny) scenes involves this “lovely” leg lamp that Mr. Parker wins through a contest he entered…it’s a “major award.”
As you might imagine, Mrs. Parker is NOT thrilled with this new accessory in her living room.
And, lo and behold, it gets “accidentally” broken by Mrs. Parker. Mr. Parker is not pleased and his futile attempts to glue it back together fail to the obvious delight of Mrs. Parker. Replicas of this now famous leg lamp, are hot sellers in stores around Christmas time each year. Look at the decorative lines on the walls…interesting. This movie is like a little time capsule.
A close-up of the radio we could see in the background in the photo above…
Here are a few more views of the living room…. In this scene, Mr. Parker is dancing around after receiving the telegram saying he has won a major award. They don’t know what it is at this point.
We get a view of the sofa in this scene…
And a close-up here… kind of odd that the sofa faces away from the fireplace isn’t it?
A wider view of the living room as the tree almost topples over…
A little glimpse of the wallpaper in the dining room just outside the kitchen… Mr. Parker has been battling with the furnace, yet again.
Many scenes take place in the kitchen and some are quite funny! Check out that stove! Don’t you love the canisters on the shelf, the toaster and the bread box atop the refrigerator? The wiring looks like a fire hazard waiting to happen, doesn’t it? Wish I could read the name/brand on the stove.
Love the old cabinet we see to the left…
A better view of the kitchen table…remember those old milk bottles? I do! GASP…they are eating plain, white bread…that evil stuff that’s so bad for you!
Love the shot of the sink with the Oxydol and Chips box. What kind of dishware is this? Doesn’t look like Fiestaware, does it? Or, maybe it is and it came in pale colors, too. I’ve only seen it in the bright colors.
Update: Several folks have identified the china as vintage Fiestaware. You guys know your dishware!
Love the old clock! Do you know what that large metal thing is we can just see on the left side of the picture? The next photo reveals it.
How would you like to wash clothes in that washing machine? It would be interesting, for sure.
For Christmas, the table gets a tablecloth. Check out the cute china cabinet. We get a brief glimpse into the dining room here and since it’s decorated, maybe that’s where Christmas dinner is “supposed” to be eaten. Of course, if you’ve seen the movie, you know that doesn’t happen. Instead, they end up eating duck at a local Chinese restaurant.
This is an earlier scene in the movie where Randy is hiding under the kitchen cabinets. He is afraid there’s going to be big trouble when his Dad gets home from work.
Mrs. Parker tries to coax him out and when he won’t come out, she gives him a glass of milk to drink and let’s him stay in there. I can’t remember now why he is hiding. Any fans out there remember? Check out the old tiled kitchen floor.
Update: Ah, yes! Thanks Kat and Shannon for reminding me. The reason Randy is hiding is because he’s afraid their Dad (Mr. Parker) is going “to kill Ralphie” for getting in a fight earlier that day with Skut Farkus. Skut was very much the bully and Mrs. Parker smooths everything over and Ralphie is spared.
Let’s take a peek into the upstairs. Here’s a view of the lower section of the staircase…
The upper section…
And the upstairs hall…
The phone was located in the upstairs hallway…rotary dial of course.
A brief view of the boy’s rooms…with chenille bedspreads. Remember those?
Mr. and Mrs. Parker’s Bedroom…also with twin beds and chenille bed spreads. Fancy wallpaper! That is one strange looking lamp!
I think this was the only bath in the house and it was upstairs.
Another view of the bathroom as Ralphie runs in so he can have some privacy while he uses his Secret Society Decoder Pin (that’s just come in the mail) to decode a top-secret message. He is quite disappointed to find the message is nothing more than a commercial slogan for Ovaltine.
In the movie, this is “Warren G. Harding”…the school Raphie and Randy attend. Remember when schools looked like this? The actual school depicted in the movie is in Canada.
Over the years, the house was sold and divided into apartments. It was renovated, new windows were put in and its wood siding was covered with vinyl siding.
In December 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur who was a HUGE fan of the film since childhood, bought the house on eBay for only $150,000. Mr. Jones spent $240,000 returning it to its previous “movie” state which involved removing all the blue vinyl siding to uncover the original wood siding, and removing the modern windows. Mr. Jones also completely gutted the inside so he could recreate the rooms as closely as possible to how they had appeared in movie sets/studios where many of the interior scenes were filmed.
Here’s how the house looks today…
Mr. Jones also bought the house across the street and turned it into a museum for the movie, filling it with all kinds of memorabilia about and from the movie. He purchased the house next door to the museum and it is now the gift shop for the museum/house.
Tours are given year around and they are currently being conducted by Ian Patrella who played Randy in the movie. You can read more about the tours as well as the current auction that’s going on at the website, A Christmas Story House & Museum. The winner of the auction will win a great prize package which includes spending two nights in the home.
Love Christmas movies, especially when they include a beautiful home? Below you’ll find links to other wonderful holiday movie house tours.