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Pop Pilgrims

The A.V. Club visits Cleveland’s A Christmas Story house

"You'll shoot your eye out!" 

About This Episode

A Christmas Story didn’t start out as a beloved holiday institution: In fact, upon its release in 1983, the film was met with a pretty resounding “meh.” Directed by Bob Clark, whose previous film was the sex comedy Porky’s, the movie did okay at the box office and okay with critics. No one had any idea that it would someday become the subject of 24-hour cable-TV marathons, big-money merchandising, and its own house-museum.

Though set in fictional Hohman, Indiana—a stand-in for Hammond, Indiana, just outside Chicago—much of the film was actually shot in and around Cleveland, including the exteriors of the Parker residence, as well as a couple of interiors. (The interiors were shot on a sound stage in Toronto.)

In 2004, a guy named Brian Jones—who had made some money selling replicas of A Christmas Story’s famous leg lamp—bought the Cleveland house and set about replicating the interiors as closely as he could. It took a couple of years, but he eventually opened the house to the public, and it does very brisk business as a shrine to the film. (And a brisk gift-shop business as well!)

When Pop Pilgrims visited the house, we were lucky enough to have a special tour guide: Ian Petrella, the actor who played little brother Randy in the film. It was his second tour of duty as an added attraction at the house, giving tours and talking to diehard fans. If you can visit before the end of August, you might still catch him.

  • Pop Pilgrims
  • 67 Episodes
  • Pop Pilgrims is our pop-culture travel show, in which we visit sites that are relevant to movies, music, TV, and more, from The Shawshank Redemption prison to the apartment from Vertigo.