Because I am a nerdy geek, I did a nerdy, geeky thing with my sister, Jenny. To begin celebrating the holiday season, we took a five hour car trip to Cleveland Ohio, where we went on a tour at the house where the holiday must-see movie A Christmas Story was filmed! We had no idea what to expect. Would it be cheesy? Embarrassing? Would there be only one person there besides us? As it turned out, it wasn’t cheesy or embarrassing at all but in fact far more nostalgic than we ever dreamed.
They charge $11 per person for the tour, and in our group there were fifteen. The tour guide said that the closer it gets to Christmas, the lines and groups are incredible—approximately twenty to twenty five people per hour all day long, with lines around the block. The tour guide was knowledgeable and told us entertaining, behind the scenes information. For instance, the snow wasn’t real! Watching the movie now, would you have ever been able to tell? Also, Darrin McGavin, who played the furnace battling father, is the only one who got royalties from the movie!
We stood on the landing where Ralphie wears the horrifying pink bunny outfit. That was a dream come true. The tour took us upstairs, where we saw the phone Ralphie’s mom used when she made the phone call that got Flick in trouble. As a matter of fact, when you pick up the phone, you can hear a recording of the conversation. The bedroom Ralphie and Randy shared was open for viewing, as was the bathroom where Ralphie solves the “drink more Ovaltine” puzzle and where he is also punished by having to hold a bar of Lifebuoy soap in his mouth.
We saw the kitchen where the Bumpus’ dogs demolish the turkey, where mother hasn’t eaten a hot meal in nine years, Randy eats like a little piggy, and where he later hides under the sink because he thinks Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie. We also went outside into the back yard where Ralphie has his imaginary shootout with Bad Bart and breaks his glasses. Let’s not forget the most important thing of all…the crate containing THE leg lamp.
When the tour was over, we were allowed to enter the Christmas Story museum and see costumes and props from the movie. We found out there were six different Red Ryder BB guns used in the movie. There were lots of pictures of behind the scenes filming—fans of the movie would love it.
We next went to the gift shop. My Discover card is still rather warm to the touch from our shopping. I mean, they had everything you could hope for in souvenirs. I bought a t-shirt, a leg lamp ornament, and horrid red Christmas sweatshirts that features the leg lamp on them and says “Fragile”, which I forced my long suffering husband to wear not only to Christmas with the family, but also to our corporate Christmas party. We needed to get our money’s worth out of them before they’re put away for the season.
The highlights of our trip were many. We talked about kids, writing and husbands. I was informed that I snore, but “very lightly.” I might have misheard because I was pretty high on painkillers from a dental procedure. And we were eating potato chips in the car when driving out to Cleveland; my sister misjudged how quickly a toll gate would come down. It turns out it comes down VERY quickly. It hit the top of her minivan and cracked off. We spit out chips and cough-laughed for almost an hour over that, calling ourselves Thelma & Louise (but in sensible shoes). We also had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which was awesome. I got a piece of Lemon Raspberry cheesecake and if that wasn’t a Christmas miracle, I don’t know what is.
All in all, this was one of those unusual trips that turned out to be so much more fun than we ever imagined, and we’re already planning our next nerdy geek adventure.