Cleveland Celebrates 30 Years Of 'A Christmas Story'

fromWCPN

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the movie A Christmas Story. The holiday film has grown a cult following over the years, but it has taken on a special importance in Cleveland, where some of the scenes were shot.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's the season for endless viewings of "A Christmas Story," the story of Ralphie Parker, who really wants a Red Ryder BB gun.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "A CHRISTMAS STORY")

MELINDA DILLARD: (as Mother Parker) No. You'll shoot your eye out.

JEAN SHEPHERD: (as Ralphie) Oh, no! It was the classic mother-BB-gun-block. You'll shoot your eye out.

INSKEEP: We would take any excuse to bring up "A Christmas Story," and today, we have one, because the movie is 30 years old.

Nick Castele of WCPN reports Cleveland is celebrating.

NICK CASTELE, BYLINE: Three decades ago, producers needed a house exterior to play the part of the Parker family home. They settled on one in Cleveland, and also shot a scene in Higbee's department store downtown. The city hasn't forgotten - never mind that the story takes place in Indiana.

In 2005, an entrepreneur bought the house and soon started charging admission. Now there's a gift shop and a museum across the street. Steve Siedlecki curates the site.

STEVE SIEDLECKI: We see anywhere between 30 to 40,000 people a year. You know, we're probably on pace for that easily this year, and especially with our events coming up.

CASTELE: On Black Friday, dozens of people lined up in the cold for a tour. Meanwhile, people came out of the gift shop carrying replicas of the movie's iconic leg-shaped lamp. Bridget O'Grady picked one up on sale.

BRIDGET O'GRADY: Who doesn't want a leg lamp at Christmas? It's a tradition.

CASTELE: Two theaters are showing stage versions of the movie. And fans gathered here over the weekend for a convention.

If you walk past enough houses and stores here, you may see the soft glow of a leg lamp in the window.

For NPR News, I'm Nick Castele, in Cleveland.

INSKEEP: Fragile. This is NPR News.

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