The neighborhood’s late-19th-century homes, skinny, tall and often in the Victorian style, fetch a median selling price of about $136,000.
Then there’s 3159 W. 11th St., which is quickly recognizable as the home of Ralphie Parker and his tale of material desire, 1983’s “A Christmas Story,” which was officially put on the market Friday with no minimum price revealed.
Potential buyers will have to consider not only the home’s value as a working Cleveland icon and exterior movie location that attracts visits estimated in the six figures annually, but also the additional cost of purchasing the entire “Christmas Story” campus there.
“I’m looking for the right buyer,” owner Brian Jones, 47, told NBC affiliate WKYC of Cleveland. “It’s something you not only own but that you have to take care of.”
Included in the 1.3-acre package: a museum, a gift shop, a rental property, a parking lot used for museum and gift shop employees and the neighboring home of Ralphie’s neighbors, the Bumpuses, whose rambunctious hound dogs wrecked a Christmas lunch.
Jones, who is from San Diego, lives in Florida and has obsessed over the film for the better part of a lifetime, bought the campus piecemeal, starting with the main “Christmas Story” property, built nearly 100 years before the movie’s debut, in 2004.
It all started after he discovered his eyesight would limit his ability to reach his goal of becoming a Navy pilot. Jones was feeling down, and his parents sent him a leg lamp modeled after the Old Man’s shapely and cherished Major Award, a star of “A Christmas Story” in its own right, according to the home’s official revival story.
The replica of a woman’s leg covered by fishnet stockings and topped by a skirt of a lampshade brightened Jones’ spirits, as it did the Old Man’s in the movie. Mr. Parker, played by Darren McGavin, described it as exotic and European when he read a word on its shipping box: “FRAGILE,” mispronouncing it with long, Latin vowels.
“It must be Italian,” the character said.
Jones dived in, producing his own leg lamp replicas. During the endeavor’s second year, his wife emailed to tell him that the actual location of the Parkers’ home, as seen in the movie filmed in Toronto and Cleveland, was available, according to the narrative.
He debuted the home as a tourist attraction in 2006 while adding property to the campus as it became available. He didn’t shoot his eye out, to borrow a theme from “A Christmas Story,” in which Ralphie’s mission to get a BB gun would challenge him not to bite off more than he could chew.
Jones didn’t say exactly why he was selling.
Monday’s news comes just days before HBO was scheduled to air a new sequel, one of three produced since the 1983 original.
“A Christmas Story Christmas” has an adult Ralphie (reprised by Peter Billingsley) trying hard to bring the giving spirit of the holidays to a new generation.
At least one neighbor said the “Christmas Story” campus has contributed to the community.
“It’s got its drawbacks, with the backup of crowds and the fact that it’s all one-way streets around here,” neighbor Byron Roberts told WKYC. “But otherwise, it’s been very beneficial for the neighborhood.”
He continued, “This is a treasure in Cleveland.”
Source: NBC News