In the pantheon of classic Christmas movie characters, young Ralph "Ralphie" Parker, with his glasses and bright eyes, from the film "A Christmas Story" may be among the most recognizable. Now his house, or at least the one in which the 1983 comedy took place, is being auctioned today for a two-night stay in celebration of the film's 30-year anniversary.
Brian Jones, 37, has been a fan of the movie ever since he watched the film with his family as a child in the 80s. When Jones got out of the Navy years ago, he went so far as to start a leg lamp business. Then in 2004, he bought the home in Cleveland that is depicted as the Parker family home for $150,000. It was a rental property for a couple years until his museum opened in Nov. 2006, after $240,000 in renovation costs.
The Cleveland home is known as A Christmas Story House and Museum, and is open year-round to the public for tours. While many of the film's scenes were taped on a sound stage in Canada, some scenes were shot in the house in Cleveland.
Bidding for the home-stay auction, which includes two nights at the home plus a one-night stay at The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel for four people, ends on Monday night on eBay.
Proceeds from the auction will go to A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project, a non-profit foundation that launched this year. The foundation, which has raised about $50,000 so far, restores and maintains the neighborhood surrounding the iconic house.
Because about 50,000 people a year visit the house, the foundation tries to give back to the neighbors by helping with basic needs for their homes.
"We put a lot of people through the neighborhood, so we owe them something," especially during the holidays, Jones said. "It's hard for neighbors to maneuver out of their driveways."
Bidding reached over $3,000 as of Monday morning.
The auction stay from Dec. 23 to 26, is only eligible to bidders 18 years and older and doesn't include transportation to Cleveland. But it does include over $800 in A Christmas Story related gifts, including two BB guns (careful, you'll put your eye out!) and A Major Award Leg Lamp.
After the winter holiday months, July and August are the third and fourth most popular days when tourists visit the house. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids age six and up, and $8 for seniors.