by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Photo: Exterior of Higbee's
Photo: Exterior of Higbee's

How many times have you seen the movie in which the little Ralphie insists on wanting a Red Ryder toy rifle for Christmas?  The Bob ("Porkys") Clark "A Christmas Story" has become a beloved holiday comedy since its 1983 release.

Set in the 1940s, the film has a scene of Cleveland's former downtown department store icon Higbee's, which sat above the incoming trains and below Terminal Tower.Ralphie first spots the rifle in one of three scene shot at the store. The parade was shot at 9 a.m. in the morning and Ralphie visits Santa inside the store.

The Public Square store had roots near Playhouse Square (the revived movie palace, Cleveland second to Broadway district with the Palace, Ohio, Allen, and State anchors all saved from wrecker's balls).

Producers had been turned down by department stores in several states so they complied with a family friendly request: Curse words from the Old Man became nonsensical grumbling.

Commanding eleven stories, the tenth floor housed the Silver Grille restaurant. Dillard's eventually bought the chain. The closed Public Square structure reopened restored with two floors housing the city's convention and visitor's bureau. By 2012, it became the 24/7 Horseshoe Casino Cleveland , now Jack Cleveland Casino.

THE FLASHBACK SERIES continues at select Marquee Cinemas on Sunday and Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Nov. 20/23  A Christmas Story

Nov. 27/30  Polar Express

Dec. 4/7  White Christmas

Dec. 11/14 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Dec. 18, 23 & 25  It's a Wonderful Life.