Welcome to the 288th Metamorphosis Monday!
Bob Clark, the Director and a co-writer of the movie, A Christmas Story, had trouble finding funding for this now iconic Christmas movie when he first set out to make it. He had an extensive history of making horror films so none of the production companies felt comfortable funding him in the making of a comedy/family oriented movie. His next movie was Porky’s and that changed everything. He went on to make one of the most well-loved Christmas movies in the history of Christmas movies!
When searching for the perfect house for all the exterior scenes in the movie, Bob Clark sent scouts out to 20 cities before selecting this wonderful old Victorian home in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland Ohio’s west side.
When our guide brought us into the living room, she invited us to have a seat. I sat on the reddish-colored sofa there on the right and listened as she shared fascinating facts about the making of the movie. (Pssst: You can read all about how Brian Jones, the owner of the home, came to buy the house and restored it back to its former movie-house appearance, in this previous post: Tour A Christmas Story Movie House: House & Neighborhood)
Our guide, who was really wonderful and took photos of us reenacting scenes from the movie, told us Jack Nicholson had been the first choice to play the dad. The part later went to Darren McGavin, because Jack had just starred in the movie, The Shining.
One scene in the movie shows Randy hiding under the sink saying “Daddy is going to kill, Ralphie!” They were afraid the audience might believe him if Jack Nicholson played the dad. 🙂
In sharing how the Cleveland home was selected for the movie, our guide said Bob Clark came down the street on the right (seen from this upstairs window of the home) spotted the house and said, that’s the house Ralphie lives in, that’s the house for the movie.
Much of the movie was filmed on set in Canada. My memory is a little sketchy about why, but I remember the guide said it was due to someone in the movie being pregnant and being from Canada so they needed to film there. I don’t remember now if she said it was Melinda Dillion (Mrs. Parker) or someone else that was expecting.
Surprisingly, the movie didn’t do well when it came out, lasting only two weeks in the theaters. But once it hit TV, it was a different story!
Does this room look familiar?
The infamous “Major Award” leg lamp. We all sympathized with Mrs. Parker’s dismay over having this lamp in the front window of her home, facing the street for all their neighbors to see and enjoy.
You may recall it “accidentally” gets broken and though Mr. Parker does his best to glue it back together, it doesn’t work much to Mrs. Parker relief and glee.
There’s a Philco console radio in the living room that’s very similar to the one seen in the movie. I always wondered what the silver thingy was on top. Is that a bowling trophy? This is a similar radio to the one Ralphie listens to when he listens to the Orphan Annie program, a late afternoon children’s serial show based on the comic strip by Harold Gray. You may remember the Ovaltine commercials that played during the radio show in the movie…and of course the Orphan Annie Secret Society decoder pin.
A view of the other side of the living room…
Do you see it? That long-hoped-for, much-wished-for Christmas present from Santa?
Everything is interactive in the home so we were invited to pick up and play with the Red Ryder BB Gun if we wished. Don’t worry, it wasn’t loaded.
The family’s pictures hung on the wall nearby.
Remember the blue sofa seen in this view from the movie.
They found a very similar one for the home.
Over the years since the filming of the movie, this home had been turned into a duplex with vinyl siding and modern, metal windows. So glad Brian Jones rescued it and restored it. The outside was returned to the way it looked during the filming of the movie and the inside was reconfigured from the duplex it had been turned into, to look like the interior set used in the movie, including the building of this staircase.
Remember this famous scene where poor Ralphie wears the Bunny suit sent to him by a relative…was it an aunt?
It was fun seeing and going up them in person. I’m taking you upstairs soon to see all the rooms up there, including the bedroom Ralphie and Randy shared.
If you missed the other two posts I’ve shared about this famous movie house, you’ll find them at the links below. (Click on the titles or the pictures below to view those posts.)
Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!
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