travel

Travel / A Christmas Story House

It’s that time of year when you turn on the TV and can find “A Christmas Story” playing nonstop. While if most movies, I’d probably be annoyed, this movie is one I could watch anytime and still laugh just as hard. It is truly a classic, bringing back fond memories of my childhood.

I always assumed the movie was filmed where it was based (amateur move, I know). The setting for the movie was based in Hammond, IN, the hometown of author Jean Sheperd. However, the movie was actually filmed in Cleveland, OH, and Toronto, Ontario. The original house is located outside of downtown Cleveland. The Higbee building still stands in downtown Cleveland. 

Fortunate for me, I was recently in Ohio and got to make a stop at this incredible (not exaggerating) tourist attraction: “A Christmas Story” House & Museum!

For $15, they take you on a guided tour of the house where the movie was filmed with a tour guide who provides the incredible history of the film. You also get admission to their museum with one-of-a-kind memorabilia from the movie and its cast. You can even stay at the house overnight or the house next door too (the Bumpus house). We also really enjoyed the gift shop where you can buy real leg lamps and red rider bb guns (I picked up two for my boys!).

Here are some fun facts from our tour you may not know about this oe-of-a-kind film:

  • the tongue on the pole scene was filmed in Canada and was just a hole drilled into a pole with a vacuum on the other end to give the appearance of his tongue being stuck
Randy’s snow suit
  • The movie was a huge flop, so they threw away a ton of the props thinking it would never gain the notoriety it has today. Luckily the costume designer kept all the work she did which can now be seen in their museum.
  • The snow in the film is fake (a mixture of fireman’s foam and instant potato flakes) because that year Ohio had lake effect snow causing the lake to freeze over
  • The fireman’s foam used to create the snow was later found to contain asbestos which causes fear that Randy (who was in it the most) might develop cancer. Good news is he never did and they think the large snow suit might have protected him
  • Any scene in the house where you can see out the windows means it was filmed in Cincinnati, if the windows are closed it was film in a sound stage
  • The teacher at the school was 8 months pregnant when filming, they stuffed her dress to just make her look chubby instead
  • The dogs who eat their turkey were the only two trained dogs in the area and were police canines. They were so well trained, the first take they ran right in the house past the turkey and right out the door. They ended up having to not feed them for a day before the next take so they would be hungry.

I won’t give away all of the fun facts because there are plenty more when you visit the house. I am really hopping to plan a time to stay the night there with the family and relive all our favorite Christmas Story memories (maybe except getting my tongue stuck on that flag pole, lol!)

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