Leg lamps may dominate the holiday-tour circuit around town. But another local venture has quietly gathered the world’s largest collection of Christmas-themed movie memorabilia. It’s called the “Holly”wood Christmas Movieland Museum, and in recent years it’s shared billing with the Christmas Story House on Lolly the Trolley’s annual holiday tours.
Movieland features more than 400 Hollywood remnants, from the sleigh used by Jim Carrey in The Grinch to Will Ferrell’s Buddy costume from Elf. It also boasts an unmistakably Cleveland bent: the elaborate holiday window displays from downtown’s Higbee’s and Halle’s of years gone by — and of course, Mr. Jingeling memorabilia.
The problem? Movieland has lost its strip-mall home in North Olmsted and may not open this month as planned. What’s worse, the museum’s owners say they’re forced to entertain a bid to move their shop to — gasp — Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“We are trying to retain it in Cleveland,” says Dena Klaus, wife of Movieland Museum creator Mark Klaus, whose name we are not making up. “The Christmas Story House is here, and with both locations open it was a tremendous draw. It’s like a hidden gem inside of Cleveland.”
Although negotiations are ongoing for two suburban Cleveland locations, if a 10,000 square-foot space with 16-foot ceilings (the Grinch sleigh is the dealbreaker) isn’t found soon, there will be no Movieland Museum anywhere this year.
“We are trying to get the backing from a city that really wants us,” Dena says. “We bring people from 20 different states, and we can really turn a community around. We are looking for people with buildings willing to work out a deal ... or an angel investor.”
Meanwhile, all is not lost: The museum will continue to sell its Christmas Vacation moose mugs and moose punch bowls online, whether the place reopens here, Pigeon Forge, or Wally World.