“You’ll shoot your eye out” and “Momma, I can’t put my arms down” may be the most well-known lines from “A Christmas Story.” But it is the child that spoke the latter who has garnered all of the attention in Northeast Ohio recently.
Ian Petrella will be forever known as Ralphie’s little brother Randy and “Mommy’s Little Piggy” from the 1983 holiday movie classic.
Snorting as he smeared his mashed potatoes all over his face while his mother admiringly laughed and his father watched in disgust was just one scene audiences remember of the child actor.
Only 8 years old when he played the part of Randy Parker, Petrella has now returned to Cleveland and “A Christmas Story House and Museum” as a tour guide for aficionados of the much-loved film.
Now a 36-year-old graphics designer, Petrella is spending the holiday season living in an apartment inside of the “A Christmas Story House and Museum” on W. 11th Street in Cleveland.
In hopes of giving the fans a better experience by recalling his experiences at the house, Petrella is giving tours through the first week of January 2011.
“What made me want to come back was [the] interesting opportunity with the house,” he said. “There’s a whole apartment built in upstairs, and it’s an opportunity to make [tours] a bit more personal and give fans more of an experience of the movie.”
The house itself was used only for exterior shots, as the scenes inside of the home were filmed in Canada. According to Petrella, everything done outside of the house (such as the backyard scenes and when he was pushed in the snow), was filmed in Cleveland.
Yet while the house may be a replica of the set used in the film, most of the original props from the house are located in the museum directly across the street from the house.
Among the props are the toys from the Higbee’s window, the chalkboard from Miss Shield’s classroom and the Parker family car.
Petrella loaned his snowsuit costume and zeppelin to the museum to put on display, and fans who own their own memorabilia from the film are loaning items to the museum as well.
“More and more stuff is popping out of the woodwork, and more people are starting to call up and say, ‘Hey guess what, I’ve got this, I’ve got that,’” he said. “So who knows what [props] we are going to have next year?”
With all of the original props in the museum, Petrella said with a laugh the only original item residing in the home is himself.
As for the Old Man’s beloved leg lamp?
“It’s gone,” said Petrella. “I’ve already done the research on that, I’ve talked to the designer and asked what happened to them and he said they destroyed them all. It’s like the leg lamp has become my holy grail and I was going to set out on a quest to find it but sadly enough it’s gone.”
Tours at “A Christmas Story House and Museum” cost between $6-$8, including access the house and museum.
For more information about dates for which Petrella will be available, visit achristmasstoryhouse.com.