Tuesday, January 05, 2010

WINNETKAD

As I mentioned yesterday, Chris and I made a little side trip while we were up north. I've mentioned before that the McCallister home is a quick trip from Chicago, so since I was there with a car and nothing to do...

Crowbars up, kids
- I visited the McCallisters! Let me preface this story by saying I had threatened to do this with or without Chris. But, I'm so glad he went with me to talk me out of knocking on the door or going in the backyard be my photographer and chauffeur. It’s no secret that he and I disagree on what is the greatest Christmas film of all time, so I was expecting polite tolerance for the situation and not much more out of him. However, he was SUCH a trooper, driving me to the house multiple times, making illegal u-turns and putting up with my incessant gawking and giggling. Thanks babe!
So with a camera in my hand and a dream in my heart, I pulled up the directions I had saved into my phone JUST in case. We got off the interstate, followed the directions and landed in the middle of a village. It reminded me of Mountain Brook Village but with a lot more snow. It was cute, but all I could think about was that Kevin didn’t live in a storefront, so where was the house? Had I Google mapped the wrong Lincoln Avenue? But then I saw were only on the 400 block and Kevin lived at 671. “Keep going,” I urged, hoping we were on the right track.

And then, at a stop sign, I looked up and to my right and saw It.The Home Alone House. “There it is!!” I squealed. “Where?” “Up on the right.” C sloooowly pulled up and parked the car right. in. front. of. the. house. Strike up the angel band, because surely I am in heaven:
I sat and stared for a good while before getting out of the car. While I was giggling and deciding my next move, another car pulled up and motioned for us to roll down the window. “Crap – the owners!” I thought. But then I saw it was three people my age, completely enamored with the Greatest Movie Ever and paying homage, just like me. “Pretty cool, right?” “Uhhhh yeah.” “We just went and found the place where he bought all the food – it’s just up the road.” “Neat! I’m thinking of going and buying a bunch of pizza and ringing the doorbell and saying someone owes me $122.50!”

I decide to get out of the car. Kevin’s snow was on my boots! I walk around, unsure of where I should stand or how I should pose and then I realize it’s 5 degrees and my camera (and boyfriend) are going to stop working soon if I don’t hustle. So we took a few shots in front of the house, I gawk some more, and then we get back in the car for even more giggling, gawking and staring.

The house looks a lot bigger on film and in pictures than it is in real life. It’s a nice-sized house, of course; but in the movie it looks so ominous and looming. I knew the interior shots weren't filmed there, but I was still surprised at how much bigger they can make the exterior seem on camera. That's the magic of a lens, I guess. A stone entryway in front of the house has been removed, and there’s a fence and what looks like a screened in porch out back. The tiny little greenhouse was there in the movie – you just have to look for it. Kevin's treehouse isn't there anymore and apparently neither are the basement stairs, but everything else looked exactly as I remembered it - right down to the shutters with tiny stars cut out of them. I am glad I went when it was cold and snow was on the ground - it looked just perfect.

"The cars are still here; they didn't go to the airport!" Guess we'll never know - alas, the garage was shut.

Side view of the house. Dark-colored greenhouse was in the film, everything else is new.
The Murphy house across the street - the Wet Bandits' first stop.

I eventually pick my jaw up off the floorboard and we decide to go find more filming spots. We found the grocery store where Kevin bought his “milk, eggs and fabric softener.” We also stopped by what was formerly Hubbard Woods Pharmacy, site of? You guessed it – “Is this toothbrush recommended by the American Dental Association?” Only problem is Hubbard Woods is now a Panera Bread, so the best we could do was go inside and order some hot chocolate.

I was taking in everything. It was all I could do not to ask if the hardwood floors were original. I did ask the lady who served us if they got lot of Home Alone fans in there, and she made a face and nodded. “Every Friday night. One time we had to call the cops on them.” I was super intrigued, but didn’t want her to call the cops on ME, so we took our drinks and left.
We walked across the street, and on the escape path that led to a bandstand and the ice skating rink where Kevin hit his knees and slid to safety. I didn’t go that far, but we did take a few photos and for your viewing pleasure – this video. Now, before you watch it - please know I was making this up as I went and had I put a moment's thought into what I was going to say, I wouldn't look like such a huge, huge loser. Unfortunately, there's no Windows Movie Maker Loser filter, so here we go: video
In case you couldn’t tell, I was awestruck and FREEZING. We got back in the car and decided to go BACK to the house, so I could video the house as well (and this time, I was a little more composed):
video
The “Where Are We, Linny?” is kind of inside joke – I have taken videos of Chris everywhere from Vegas to Florida, sitting at a hockey game and riding in the car after dinner on Valentine’s Day, attempting to documenting special time together. Each video starts with “Where are we Christopher?” So he was keeping suite.)

After we bid the McCallister house a final farewell, we made one last stop at Kevin’s church. Rather than get out and act like I was a shepherd in a nativity set that wasn’t there, I opened the sunroof and took this photo from the car. I would have gone in, but they filmed the interior church shots someplace else… and it was getting dark. So there you have it – mission complete. I cannot believe I finally got to see all of this with my own two eyes. I really am going to make a little PDF map driving directions for the rest of the fans out there. Judging by the number of cars we saw just while we were there, this is quite the pilgrimage for people my age. Someone should get a bus and take people on tours. It would make a killing. Especially if the tour guide dressed up like Old Man Marley. Or, I’m guessing the guy that played Buzz isn’t up to much these days – someone call him! Wouldn’t that be great? If you're a big Home Alone nerd like me and have questions, ask me in the comments section - I think the rest of the readers are getting tired of hearing about it.

10 comments:

  1. I would definitely pay money for a "behind the scenes" Home Alone tour.

    So jealous!!

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  2. I AM SO JEALOUS!!!! I will be watching these videos over and over again...while at work. Oh well!

    Also...now you can't say that I never comment :)

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  3. This is so great! How fun... and if I remember correctly, you've seen the Father of the Bride house in person too, right? You're a pro!

    I MIGHT have put my headphones in and even watched the videos while at work!

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  4. I don't think I've commented on your previous Home Alone post, mainly because I also like the movie A Christmas Story. BUT let me make this perfectly clear: Home Alone is the best Christmas movie of all time!!! We bought the VHS as kids and memorized every line. I bought the DVD a few years ago and still watch it all the time. My favorite toy as a child was my talkboy (not talkgirl- I wanted the talkboy just like Kevin). I think this was the best side trip ever. Yay for Chris taking you there. I am so totally jealous. I love the pictures. Y'all rock.

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  5. Oh my gosh... This cracks me up... but I have to say I am a little jealous. I want to go there :)

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  6. Jealousy just doesn't even begin to cover it.

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  7. Oh MAN I am jealous!! What an amazing side trip! I wonder if the people who live in Kevin's house are huge fans themselves? Or maybe they were totally clueless that they bought sort-of a really big deal. I would definitely come take your van tour, so let us all know when it's available!!

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  8. Soooo fun! Makes me want to go! If I do, I'll swing by and pick you up so I can have a tour guide.

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  9. You are so giddy in these videos I love it. I really like your persistence with things like this.

    Home Alone is fantastic, and I'm happy you got to pay tribute to it.

    I think you should get together the Home Alone Behind the Scenes tour.

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Oh goody!

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