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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities.
Updated "A Christmas Story" House
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By CR Rae
CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities. She likes to find unique, off-the-beaten-path things to do in even the biggest cities. Traveling the highways and byways, she finds the dirt on the back roads and the ins and ...
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CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities. She likes to find unique, off-the-beaten-path things to do in even the biggest cities. Traveling the highways and byways, she finds the dirt on the back roads and the ins and outs of some of the most fun and interesting places -- giving you, the traveler, those little tidbits of info to get the most from your travels.
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Dec. 11, 2013 12:01 a.m.





<> One of the most famed Christmas movies of all time, "A Christmas Story" was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. The house used in the movie where Ralphie and his family lived is open year-round for tours. You can climb under the sink, shoot the BB gun and see the famed leg lamp.



The popular movie is a walk down memory lane for those who grew up in the Cleveland area and even surrounding states as the large iconic department stores of Higbee’s and Halle’s decorated the windows with holiday scenes for many years. Halle’s seventh floor was the home to the “keeper of the keys,” Mr. Jing-a-ling. Both stores had large decorated areas surrounding Santa Claus.

The former Higbee's Department store is currently home to the Horseshoe Casino. It has been remodeled but the iconic chandeliers and pillars remain. While working in the building workers found some decorations from years gone by. The decorations have been used to once again decorate the windows--even using a leg lamp, the famed "major award."

The movie was released in 1983 without a lot of hoop la and became one of the most popular holiday movies of all time, right up there with "It’s a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street." The story is a semi-autobiographical story of author, Jean Parker Shepherd’s childhood. The star of the movie, 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. His mother is afraid he will "shoot his eye out."<>



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Higbee’s<>


Higbee’s Department Store was used in three scenes for the movie. The opening scene where Ralphie is peering in the store window at the Red Ryder BB Gun, look for the glow of the Higbee sign. <>


The parade scene was filmed just outside Higbee’s in Cleveland’s public square at 3 a.m. and Higbee’s is seen during the parade just before Ralphie goes to see Santa. <>


Also, when Ralphie and Randy visit Santa it was filmed inside Higbee’s. The store kept the Santa slide that was made especially for the movie and used it for several years after the movie’s release.

The 12 floor Higbee building was the first department store in the greater Cleveland area and is right in the heart of Cleveland’s Public Square. It opened in 1931 and closed in 2002 and the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.<>


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The House Where Ralphie Lived<>


Brian Jones purchased the house in 2005 during an eBay auction. He paid for it by selling leg lamps. Jones restored it from its more modern and re-modeled look to be just like it was in the movie; detailed right down to the shed in the backyard and the leg lamp in the window. It is now open all year for public tours.<>


<> Traditionally, many of us watch the movie each year. We know Ralphie did not shoot his eye out with his Red Ryder BB gun. Start a new tradition--watch the movie and pack the family in the station wagon and visit the house where Ralphie lived.<>


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Directly across the street is the official, "A Christmas Story"museum, which displays original props, costumes and memorabilia including behind the scenes photos and a gift shop. The house was chosen for the movie as it represents the houses in the neighborhoods of Hammond, Indiana, the hometown of Shepherd. The director of the movie sent people out to 20 different cities to find the right location, one that resembled the Indiana town of the 1940s – Cleveland was that city.

"A Christmas Story"House convention is held each year late in November. Actors from the movie are on hand including those evil department store elves. Convention events include a Chinese Turkey Dinner, Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra and all, tours of the house and museum, a BB gun range in the backyard, a Ralphie look-a-like contest, screenings of the movie, Winterfest fireworks, a parade and much more.

Watch the movie for the first time or watch it again, then visit Ralphie's house--it will be like winning a major award.<>


The house is located at 3159 W. 11th St.Cleveland, OH 44109.<>

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