Look Inside the Movie House from A Christmas Story
December 14, 2020
The house from A Christmas Story is a time capsule of midwestern construction. The two-story in Cleveland, OH, was built in 1870, and it will be remembered forever as the setting for Ralphie Parker's Christmas when he was nine years old.
A new infographic of A Christmas Story House has diagramed the home's floor plan and included memorable scenes hidden within the rooms. Using the interactive feature, you can slide the image back and forth to discover new scenes. How many movie props can you find?
Where Was A Christmas Story Filmed?
A Christmas Story is based on author Jean Shepherd's stories about growing up in Indiana.
His hometown of Hammond, IN, is in the northwest part of the state along Lake Michigan. Today, the city has a bronze statue of a boy with his tongue stuck to the real flagpole in front of the Indiana Visitor Center.
Indiana may have been the inspiration for A Christmas Story, but the house used in the movie is actually in Ohio. The script described the setting as a steel town, and after scouts considered 20 locations, Cleveland was chosen for two reasons: it was an industrial midwestern town, and the local department store gave permission for filming.
The entire movie wasn't shot in Cleveland. Instead, a sound stage in Toronto was used for many of the indoor scenes. The rooms of the older house are small, and filming on set allowed the camera crew room to capture the actors.
About the House Used to Film A Christmas Story
The Cleveland site used to make A Christmas Story was turned into a museum after an investor purchased it on eBay for $150,000. After extensive renovations to transform it back to what it looked like in the movie, visitors can now step inside the movie house after having only seen it on the screen.
The illustration of A Christmas Story house shows us the front porch, main living areas on the ground floor, and the kitchen looking out to the backyard. The bedrooms and the bathroom is upstairs, and the unfinished basement has the house's mechanicals.
The house is located in Tremont, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland. In the late 1800s when the house was built, Cleveland's population was skyrocketing because of the city's industrial jobs. It was the country's 10th largest city.
How Does the Floorplan Affect the Plot?
Not all of the rooms are shown in the movie. For example, when Dad heads down to the basement to fix the furnace, we're still looking at the faces of Ralphie and his mom who are in the kitchen. We hear the old man fall down the stairs, the clanking of the repairs, and the obscenities he shouts. In the kitchen, we see the smoke billowing out of the air ducts as it rises from the basement.
Other locations such as the bathroom have a more visible role in the movie. Ralphie races up the stairs with his decoder to find out the message that was read aloud on the radio. He said, "I'm in the only room in the house where a boy of nine could sit in privacy and decode." Shortly thereafter, family members start yelling through the door they need to use the bathroom while Ralphie discovers that the secret message was actually a "crummy commercial."
Modern houses with multiple bathrooms wouldn't have had the same drama of frantic pounding on the door.
The Movie Began With an Ode to the House
The first lines of the movie start with Ralphie as an adult narrating:
"Ah, there it is. My house, and good old Cleveland Street. How could I ever forget it? And there I am, with that dumb round face and that stupid stocking cap. Oh, but no matter. Christmas was on its way—lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, around which the entire kid year revolved."
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