A Christmas Story House, Part III: The Living Room

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!

A Christmas Story House W. 11th Street, Cleveland Ohio


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.

A Christmas Story Movie House, W. 11th Street, Cleveland Ohio_wm


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.

A Christmas Story Moive Living Room in Cleveland, Ohio


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. 🙂

Kitchen in A Christmas Story Movie 2


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.

A Christmas Story Movie Museum


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?

A Christmas Story Movie Home Tour, Living Room with Lamp


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.

A Christmas Story Lamp, A Major Award


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.

Major Award Lamp Broken in A Christmas Story Movie


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.

Console Radio in A Christmas Story Movie, Cleveland Ohio


A view of the other side of the living room…

A Christmas Story Movie House Tour Cleveland Ohio


Do you see it? That long-hoped-for, much-wished-for Christmas present from Santa?

A Christmas Story Living Room Mantel and Christmas Tree


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.

Red Ryder BB Gun in Movie, A Christmas Story


The family’s pictures hung on the wall nearby.

A Christmas Story Family Photos on Wall


Remember the blue sofa seen in this view from the movie.

Sofa in A Christmas Story


They found a very similar one for the home.

A Christmas Story Blue Sofa


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.

A Christmas Story Movie House Staircase


Remember this famous scene where poor Ralphie wears the Bunny suit sent to him by a relative…was it an aunt?

Ralpie in Bunny Suit From A Christmast Story


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.

A Christmas Story Movie House, Staircase


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.)

Tour “A Christmas Story” Movie House: The House & Neighborhood

A Christmas Story Movie House Neighborhood


Inside The Kitchen of “A Christmas Story” Movie House

A Christmas Story Movie House Kitchen


Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!

Met Monday

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  1. Such a cute movie and that tidbit you shared about the movie not doing well in theatres surprised me. I have never heard that before…That’s really shocking! I would thought it was another “Jaws” LOL

    Thanks for hosting the party!

  2. Susan, I’ve loved reading this series of posts about the house from A Christmas Story. I’m glad it has been restored to the way it looked in the movie! Thanks for hosting!

  3. I love that scene with poor Ralphie in the bunny suit! Such fond memories, Thanks, Susan!

  4. Gloria in Pgh says

    Susan: Thanks for this post!! What a hoot about Jack Nicholson being considered for the part! Timing is everything!!
    Love that they recreated that living room from the “Major Award” lamp in all its fishnet stocking, neon sex glory to the Red Ryder BB gun. So glad you didn’t “shoot your eye out!” In all the time that I have seen the movie, I never noticed the eagle plaque on the wall over the fireplace mantel. I have one of those eagles in my home — it was my mom’s and she gave it to me when I bought my first house. I’ll have to pay more attention the next time that I watch the movie. As always, thanks for hosting the party!

  5. Did you see that platform rocking chair in the living room, to the left of the fireplace? That’s very similar to the one I inherited from my paternal grandmother. My father died 3 years ago at the age of 93. He was the youngest of 7 children, so my grandparents were long dead before I was ever born. I have no idea how old it is (the rocker)but my Mom recovered the upholstery herself and didn’t refinish the wood at all. The upholstery was practically rotting off before she covered it with a tapestry looking fabric and gimp trim. I put it in a corner, because if you’re not careful it will tip you over backwards. Ask me how I know this ; )

    • Oh, my gosh…not fun when that happens! Those platform rockers must have been really popular back then because we have one that’s been passed down from my son’s great grandfather, it went to Chip’s grandfather and then finally to Chip’s dad who has it now. It will eventually be passed down to Chip and I guess to his son that was just born a few months ago. So glad you have that piece from your family. Denise. I know it’s special to you.

      • Yes, it’s special to have something like that to pass down, so glad you have a grandson to keep the tradition going! Well, my oldest son gets the rocker, his younger brother gets the gold pendant watch that belonged to that same grandmother…the one he took a hammer to when he was 4. Yup, he wanted to see what was inside ticking. I took it to a specialist in watch and clock restoration. He just looked at me and shook his head…so the family joke is that is his inheritance, a busted watch. Maybe they could share the rocking chair, 6 months at one’s house, 6 months at the other’s…..hehehe

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post, Susan! Love the tidbit about Jack Nicholson – good call on their part. 😉 I get a chuckle when driving to Memphis through Germantown. There’s a 2-story house with the leg lamp in the upstairs window – full size. My family plays dirty Santa every Christmas. The first time we played, I gave a mini leg lamp “head-knocker” (yes, worthless), and I was really embarrassed when my dad chose it. Everyone else gave useful gifts (not dirty Santa at all!). He insisted the leg lamp be brought every year and passed around. He clung to that lamp, displayed it in his office all year, stole it back the following year, and I finally got it back 2 years ago, and it bothered him so!! He snatched it last year, so the game continues…. Many memories have been made from this movie! Thanks again for the great Met Monday you host each week!

    • Kim, what a great story! I love that! I’m glad you gave the leg lamp! Too funny that he had it in his office…he obviously has a great sense of humor and you inherited it! 🙂

  7. Such a classic movie Susan and part of our Christmas tradition, I’m shocked to hear it didn’t do well in the theatres! Thanks so sharing more of your tour 🙂

  8. So much fun Susan, that was so interesting about Jack N, he would have been too scary! Love all the nostalgia! Thanks for the Monday inspirations~

  9. Thank you for hosting Susan!

  10. Peggy Thal says

    Such a fun movie of a different time in the life of many Americans. Always our favorite go to Chistmas movie. We watch this every year with our grown children. Always brings laughs and good feelings. One of my favorite parts is when the family has to eat at the Chinese restuarant . Their beautiful roasted turkey was ravaged by the neighbors dogs. The lamp is always a funny part of the movie too . Also, love the part with the mom collecting dishes from going to the movies. Such a sweet time in the USA.

    • I remember that…so funny. One tidbit the guide shared that I forgot to mention, the Chinese restaurant scene was actually filmed inside a Bowling Alley and they covered up the “W” so it read Bo Ling…for the name of the restaurant. lol I had forgotten about the Mom collecting dishes from going to the movies…love that!

  11. What a fun post! Thanks for sharing with us :0)
    Have a great week,

  12. Thanks for hosting, Susan! Happy Week to You! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  13. Thanks so much for hosting!

  14. So fun to learn the behind the scenes facts about the movie my family and I love. I bet it was really fun to tour. Hope you have a wonderful week, Susan!

  15. I’ve always thought that lamp was genius. Whichever writer came up with that did such a great job. I’m not sure how they ever dreamed up that lamp, but it made the movie. All of your posts about this movie have been so entertaining. laurie

  16. Loved reading the story about the movie! Thanks for hosting, Susan, and have a great week.

  17. The bunny suit was hilarious! I don’t want to rush winter but I look forward to seeing A Christmas Story this year.

  18. I always notice the kitchen; the space and the light. Imagine trying to cook dinner in that kitchen. How did they do it? You could not set the table until you used the table as the prep area, I guess.

  19. Beautiful! LOVE THE COLORS

  20. It was the actress who played Ralphie’s teacher that was pregnant during filming. The very fact that I know this tells you what a big fan I am of the movie 😉 I didn’t even know that you could tour the house though, thanks for sharing!

  21. I love hearing stories about movie houses. Thanks for sharing this and for hosting MM. Hope you have a great week.

  22. I have to confess I have never seen the entire movie. Now don’t throw things at me I found the narrator’s voice drove me crazy! Of course some would argue I have already arrived at that stage. Thanks for hosting Susan and no I didn’t do it right this time either. I am whispering so nobody will hear me. I am relatively normal but I find linking up is impossible for me. Thanks!

  23. Thanks for sharing, this must have been a fun tour!!! Thanks again for hosting !!!! Have a great week.

  24. We love tha t movie! Thanks for the party and for the wonderful tour, Susan. 🙂

  25. Thank you so much for sharing your tour! I love that movie, and it was fun to see all the photo’s and learn some new trivia that I wasn’t aware of!

  26. No matter how many times I see this movie, I always laugh! Sometimes I watch it mid year just for a giggle. Thanks for the party Susan!!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  27. What a fun post, Susan! And what fun to get to visit such an iconic home! Thanks for hosting!…hugs…Debbie

  28. This is great susan well done with this post and job. Also thank you for hosting. Like to inspire you

  29. ahh, who doesn’t love that movie and that infamous leg lamp! thanks for sharing some movie trivia!

  30. Lots of interesting tidbits in today’s post Susan! Never knew about Jack Nicholson! Interesting to say the least ;).

    Thank you for hosting and have a great week!!

  31. Hi Susan. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts about the Christmas Story House. We visited in December and were part of the long line you mentioned. Your trip was so much more in depth and informative. Thanks for sharing!
    I am not sure if anyone else has mentioned it or not, but nearby”ish” in Medina Ohio, there is a fantastic museum called Castle Noel ( Castlenoel.com ), where among many fantastic displays, they have have rebuilt the Higbee store slide and Santa even gave us a sharp shove with his boot as we slid down. Other notable pieces were intricate store displays, costumes from the movie Elf, and an unbelievable collection of The Grinch props. Heck, Cousin Eddie’s actual RV from Christmas Vacation is parked out back and you can take a picture emptying the septic tank. Ho ho ho!

  32. Peggy Thal says

    Susan, you can get yourself that leggy lamp on Amazon. It would look real cute on your porch. So classy!

  33. Julia Greenway says

    Susan, thanks for another post from the Christmas Story house. I love it! It’s just so much fun to see pictures from the house. It makes us relive the movie through every picture. I have always loved the leg lamp so much that when we redid our tiny vintage camper, I bought a mannequin leg, put a fishnet stocking on it and a spike high heel and had my husband incorporate it as the leg on the little dining table in the camper. We get a lot of great comments and everybody has to take pictures of it. So much fun! Thanks again for the fun post!

  34. Susan…I love this series as I am such a fan of the Christmas Story…I have that leg lamp…and the bunny suit…hopefully I can talk my granddaughter into wearing it this Christmas…when I first got it, it was way too big for her…

  35. Hi Susan! How I love this cute little movie and you’ve brought back movie memories for us all. I’m so glad to join your party and guess what? We’ve sold our house and are moving to upstate New York to be close to our little grandchildren. Life has been a whirlwind this year. Hope you’re doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  36. It is interesting how some movies are not popular at the box office, but then become popular on TV or DVD – great tour! I do appreciate you hosting,

  37. I have truly enjoyed your posts about A Christmas Story. It is my husband’s favorite movie and we have seen it so many times that I could recite the lines from memory. I can also feel Mrs. Parker’s pain. Everyone knows how much my husband loves the movie and as a result he has received a number of “leg lamps” over the years, most of which light up. Thankfully I have convinced him that they are all Christmas decorations so I only have to live with them during the holidays.

    • lol That is too funny, Traci! If I had a big ole picture window on the front of my house, I would definitely have to buy one of the really big ones to display at least part of the season. 🙂

  38. Linda owens says

    Two famous paintings in the living room one of a sailing ship and the other of a wind mill with three girls walking towards the wind mill I have both of these pictures given to me by my mother brought back good memories.

  39. OMGosh, Thank you for Sharing this, I Absolutely Love it! My Grandmother was actually Good friends with his mother & took care of William Lyle Richardson AKA Darrin McGavin way back in the day, in fact my mother was named after his mother Grace. One of my Grandmothers favorite stories was of when he had wrecked their car after telling them that he knew how to drive when in fact he didn’t lol! She also used to show us his graduation picture that she was given back in the day. Needless to say thats been one of my families Favorite Christmas movies & I do have that same leg lamp aka major award in a smaller version. Not sure if she ever really got to even see the movie or not but every time I see that movie now it brings back such wonderful family memories for me. That must have been so much Fun to see it in person!!!
    Well Thank you again & have a Fantastic 2017! =)

  40. Constantine says

    The silver globe is a shot dispenser. My grandfather had the exact same one in his home. My mother now has it and I one day will add it to my household. Super cool and mom says that my grandfather always used it for parties back in the 50s and 60s. Love the film and when I first noticed the silver globe in the background I was blown away.

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