One of my family’s favorite holiday movies is A Christmas Story. It was based on a collection of author Jean Shepherd’s short stories in the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. When it premiered before Thanksgiving in 1983, it got mixed reviews and disappeared from theaters long before Christmas.
It didn’t really make much of a mark at first. Now, of course, it’s considered a Christmas classic, and you can catch it playing on television throughout the month of December.
I couldn’t find any good photos of the house, so I took these as I watched the movie. I love how they recreated the look and feel of an Indiana home in the 1940s.
Dad comes home and calls Ralphie downstairs. He has big news!
Dad makes an announcement. He just won a “Major Award!”
The box says “fra-gee-lay,” so “it must be from Italy!” Dad says. Turns out his Major Award is a lamp. A leg lamp.
Dad and the boys are excited. Mom isn’t so sure:
The leg lamp creates quite a stir in the neighborhood. A little trivia: the neighbor who comes up and asks what it is was Director Bob Clark in a cameo.
I love this old radio that Ralphie listens to his shows on. We had a very similar one in my house when I was growing up (no, I’m not THAT old–it was an antique when we got it!). A reader informs me that it’s a 1940 Canadian Westinghouse model 780-X. You can see a photo and get more information about the model here. (Thanks, Jan!)
Ralphie at the desk in his room. I love how he has the globe and a jar of marbles:
A view of the sink and washing machine on the other side of the kitchen:
What was that crashing sound? “Oops! I was just watering my plants, and the leg lamp broke!” What an unfortunate accident:
You can see the dining room, which isn’t really seen much otherwise, in this scene. Dad comes up from the basement when he hears the crash. He’s broken-hearted over his beloved leg lamp:
After Ralphie says “Fuuuudge,” he gets his mouth washed out with soap. In this shot from the bathroom you can see the landing with the family’s only phone hanging on the wall.
The family around the dinner table:
The family goes to Higbee’s Department Store to see Santa. All Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle. But Santa is sort of terrifying, as are the elves, and Ralphie freezes up when the time comes to ask for it. (My kids never liked Santa, either. It’s hard to get a good photo when your child is screaming or crying or running the other way…)
I love this shot of the department store, all decked out for Christmas:
Putting the star on top of the tree can be dangerous:
Ralphie and Randy opening gifts on Christmas morning:
Ralphie gets a pink bunny suit made specially for him by his Aunt Clara, who “has always operated under the assumption that I’m a girl.”
His mom makes him try it on:
Just when he had given up hope, Ralphie gets the Red Ryder air rifle he was hoping for!
He goes outside and promptly “shoots his eye out,” sort of (but not really).
The ill-fated turkey, soon to be eaten by the “hillbilly neighbor’s” dogs. In the background you can see that the Parkers have decorated with a red paper chain in the dining room:
The final shot in the movie shows the snow falling on the Parkers’ home with the Christmas tree blinking in the window:
The house that was used in the movie was bought in 2005 by a fan on eBay for $150,000. Brian Jones then spent a year and half a million dollars restoring the home to the way it looked on screen. The interior was completely redesigned to match the interior of the home shown in the movie, which had been filmed in a Toronto studio.
In 2006, he opened the home as a tourist attraction. He even purchased the house next door and converted it to a gift shop and museum dedicated to the film. Here’s how it looks today:
Go to A Christmas Story House for more information, photos of the actors who have visited the house, or to buy your own leg lamp! (You know you want one.)
A Christmas Story is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a convention, and you can read about it here. Another good article about the movie: 12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About A Christmas Story.