Thursday, October 12, 2017

Conestoga trip to Cleveland

Today our Conestoga group toured the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a visit with the CEO Greg Harris, ate in the new lunch area, and saw the newly installed (July) Power of Rock film in the renovated I.M. Pei spectacular building. Harris is a charming story teller in his early 50s, obviously in love with his job, and told us about some of the exhibits, including the wedding invitation on which Doc Pomus wrote the words for "Save the Last Dance for Me." He had polio... as a child and couldn't walk, let alone dance, but at his wedding he watched his bride dance with others, and then wrote that song, covered by many, and known by just about everyone who came of age before the 90s. Probably not a dry eye in our group after that one. We had never been there (opened 22 years ago), but it's well worth the trip and brings millions of tourist dollars to Cleveland every year, offsetting the original and renovating costs many times over.

Then we boarded the bus for a short drive to tour the Christmas Story (film) house. The film about Ralphie and his family is based on the book of Jean Shepherd's semi-fictional anecdotes in his 1966 book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. Years after the 1983 film, the house came up for sale on E-Bay and was purchased, then renovated and additional property was bought for a museum and gift house. It opened for visitors in 2006.  It's now quite a popular tourist spot, yet the neighborhood remains much the same.  The docent/employee guide told us that Cleveland was chosen for the set (Shepherd was from Hammond, IN) because Higbee's was the only department store willing to allow them to film the scenes of visiting Santa. That was a year Cleveland didn't have snow, so that is artificial in the Cleveland scenes--and the guide explained how that was done.  Other scenes were filmed in Canada, and there are a few inconsistencies based on the 2 locations, according to our guide.

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