Lee Stanton stayed an extra day on his road trip through Cleveland just to visit the pop culture destination and won a "major award."
A Christmas Story House & Museum just reached a major milestone with its100,000th visitor. Brunswick, Maine's Lee Stanton won the distinction--and a leg lamp--on his stop in Cleveland to visit the pop culture destination where people from around the globe go to celebrate the holiday movie classic, A Christmas Story.
A Christmas Story House & Museum located in the Tremont neighborhood in Cleveland, is one of the original locations for the 1983 holiday film in which Ralphie Parker pleads for a Red Ryder BB Gun although everyone assures him he will only shoot his eye out.
Visitors to the house take a nostalgic journey through the sights and scenes of the film, including visiting memorable spots such as the backyard where Ralphie battled Black Bart, under the sink where little brother Randy hid because "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!", and the bathroom where Ralphie's decoder ring helps him to decipher, "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."
Of course, the front window is graced with "the soft glow of electric sex" from the Old Man's leg lamp, which he called a "major award." In addition, the museum contains hundreds of photographs and original props, including the "I can't put my arms down" snowsuit.
The house was purchased in 2004 by 33-year-old San Diego native Brian Jones, a fan of the movie and founder of RedRiderLegLamps.com. Jones saw the house listed on eBay, made an offer of $150,000, spent $247,000 to renovate the outside and make the inside match the movie's sound stage, and opened it as a tourist destination Thanksgiving weekend 2006.
Fast-forward to summer 2009, and 26-year-old physical therapist Lee Stanton insists on a stop to the house on his drive from Maine to compete in an Ironman competition in Lousiville, Kentucky. "I have probably watched the movie 25 times since I was 10 years old; it is one of my favorites. We got lucky!" Traveling with his mother, Sally Stanton of Fair Haven, Vermont, the pair decided to stay an extra day in Cleveland just to see the movie lovers' mecca. She said, "It couldn't have happened to a better person. He really loves the movie!"
The Stantons are taking home the same "major award" as the Old Man, a leg lamp, as well as other A Christmas Story House memorabilia, including an actual piece of the house, framed along with a commemorative ticket. About the house Lee Stanton says, "They haven't missed a detail."
Since opening, the house has hosted three weddings, one renewal of vows and two proposals. Visitors have come from all 50 states and many countries, including Germany, England, China, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Mexico and Thailand.
Brian Jones said, "We knew this milestone was approaching, but anticipated reaching 100,000 visitors in late October. People from all over the country and all over the world who love the movie have been coming in record numbers to join in the fun. It's a great honor to share my tribute to one of the most memorable movies of our time with everyone, and especially today with Lee Stanton."
What's next? This season, two holiday classic movies will collide: A Christmas Story House & Museum will "go Griswold" and bedeck in 25,0000 twinkle lights to celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Lampoon's A Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase. To commemorate, A Christmas Story House gift shop will sell replica moose mugs, just like the ones that Clark and Cousin Eddie toasted.
ABOUT THE HOUSE & MOVIE
A Christmas Story starred the late Darren McGavin as The Old Man and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie. The film became a holiday favorite years after its theatrical release and is celebrated annually on cable with a daylong marathon.
A Christmas Story House & Museum is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th St. in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.
It is open year-round on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tours of the house run every 30 minutes. Regular admission tickets are $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children (ages 7 to 12) and free for children ages 6 and under.
For more information or for directions, call 216-298-4919. You can also purchase leg lamps and other items online, including this year's new Pink Nightmare Bunny Suit, just like the one from Aunt Clara.