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'A Christmas Story' house up for sale as movie sequel debuts Thursday on HBO

"A Christmas Story" house is lit up at night.
Juli Scalzi
The "A Christmas Story" house is lit up at night in Cleveland.

If you've always wanted to display your leg lamp, dodge the Bumpus' dogs and avoid "shooting your eye out," it may be time to move. But it will cost you.

The Tremont home used in the 1983 film "A Christmas Story" is for sale, and so is much of the surrounding neighborhood that serves as a museum campus.

No asking price is listed with the advertisement for sale, but the realtor Chad Whitmer said he expects offers in the 8-figure range.

“It’s more than Ralphie’s house for sale. It’s the entire campus, including the neighbor’s house, the museum, the gift shop, there’s a couple vacant lots, parking lots – the entire business operation,” Whitmer said.

The fictional Parker home was built in 1895 and nearly demolished before the current owner, Brian Jones of Florida, bought it in 2004 for $150,000.

“Obviously, a new owner can do what they like, as with anything," Whitmer said. "But given what this is and the price it’s going to sell for, it would be hard to believe someone would spend that kind of money and turn it back into a residence.”

Jones outfitted the house on W. 11th Street with memorabilia from the film and opened it to the public in 2006, expanding the museum campus to incorporate other properties as well.

Former curator Steven Intermill said many of the artifacts came from people in the neighborhood who had worked on the film as extras.

"[The sale is] just as much of a surprise to me as anyone else," Intermill said. "I hope if anyone does end up buying it, they give it the respect that Brian gave it."

Sign outside the Christmas Story house shows hours of operation.
Annie Wu
Ideastream Public Media
The tourist attraction is open throughout the year, although the holiday season is the more popular time to visit.

It's ranked as the 4th most popular tourist attraction in Cleveland by Tripadvisor, and before the coronavirus pandemic close to 100,000 people visited each year.

The original film was based on Jean Shepherd's book "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash." It flopped in theaters in the face of stiff competition from "Terms of Endearment," "Scarface" and new Dirty Harry and James Bond films. Yet it found a new life on cable television and is now considered a classic.

In 1994, Shepherd and director Bob Clark created a loose sequel, "My Summer Story," based on the same book. It starred Charles Grodin and, despite positive reviews, was another flop.

Another sequel, “A Christmas Story Christmas,” brings back star Peter Billingsley and premieres Thursday, Nov. 17, on HBO Max. While much of the 1983 film was shot in Cleveland, the sequel was shot in Hungary.

Intermill said that does not surprise him.

“Their [film] set would have been a very active tourist destination,” he said. “So, it only makes sense to me why they would find somewhere else to film it.”

Intermill is currently director of the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick. He said seasonal destinations benefit from the run up to a holiday, whether it’s Halloween or Christmas.

“Most people, when they were a kid, and they were waiting for the holiday season, they know that feeling. What does Ralphie say [in the film]? 'The Christmas noose is starting to tighten.’ But in a fun way.”

In 2013, visitors to the house commented on the film's legacy. And in 1983, as the movie's iconic Santa sequence was being shot at Higbee's, WEWS covered the action on Public Square:

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.