This is a post I’ve been itching to do for almost two weeks now, but had to keep mum on! Two weeks ago I was interviewed by Washington Post travel correspondent Andrea Sachs, who, based on the major hype of the upcoming 90210 v. 2.0, was sent out to the West Coast to do a travel piece on the world’s most famous zip code. Andrea contacted me to do an interview about the iconic TV series and also a little BH stalking. The article was finally published today and I could not be more excited!! My family and I just got back from celebrating with a little champagne. 🙂 You can read the article here.
When I first received Andrea’s email asking if I would have time to chat about my fave TV show for a newspaper article, I have to admit I thought someone was playing a joke on me. The name Andrea Sachs seemed extremely familiar and after doing a little Google research, I realized that I recognized it from the movie The Devil Wears Prada where it was the name of Anne Hathaway’s character. Besides sharing a name, the two also share a profession. In the movie Andrea Sachs is a budding newspaper journalist. So I was completely convinced someone was pulling my leg. But, it turns out that there is, in fact, a real life Andrea Sachs who is, in fact, a reporter for the Washington Post. And I was happy to discover that the real Andrea is much cooler and a hundred times more funny than her silver screen counterpart. 🙂
Andrea and I decided to meet up for a “power lunch” at the legendary Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel (where we spotted a very large Rob Reiner – I had no idea he was such a big man!) and we wound up spending the entire afternoon stalking. Andrea’s assignment – to report on both the Hills of Beverly and the legendary television show – had a built in challenge for me. Andrea was required to stay in the 90210 zip code and, ironically, there isn’t one filming location from the TV show actually located in Beverly Hills. So I had to think a bit outside the box for this one. 🙂 During our adventure we hit up Aaron Spelling’s manse (which is currently for sale for a reported $150 million!!!), the Playboy Mansion, the home where Shannen Doherty attacked then-boyfriend Dean Factor, and Brad and Jen’s former Beverly Hills love nest.
The last stop on our Beverly Hills stalking tour was Andrea’s inspired idea – the real Beverly Hills High School, upon which 90210’s fictional West Beverly High was loosely based, but of course where no actual filming took place. Producers had originally wanted to film at the real Beverly Hills High, but the school board was having none of that. So producers created the fictional West Beverly Hills High School and set out for Torrance High School in the South Bay to film. Torrance High will also be featured once again in the new 90210 series.
Even though BHHS shied away from being featured in the 90210 series, it has been used in several other Hollywood productions including Anywhere But Here, The Beverly Hillbillies, Less Than Zero, the Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Taggat, Whatever It Takes, and the videos for Nickelback’s Rockstar and NLT’s That Girl. In the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life, the school’s “Swim Gym” (pictured above) which features a basketball court that slides open to reveal a swimming pool underneath, was prominently featured.
Andrea had read about Beverly High’s “Hall of Fame”- a wall display featuring headshots of BHHS’ famous alumni and I was absolutely dying to see it! The display actually ended up bringing us full circle in our stalking adventure when we spotted Rob Reiner’s photo on the wall. Andrea took one look at Rob’s photo and said “You really didn’t realize he was a large man???” LOL As excited as we both were to see the Hall of Fame, it proved to be pretty anti-climatic. Sadly many of the most famous names were strangely missing from the display. BHHS’ famous alumni include Angelina Jolie, Tori Spelling, both Ephron sisters, Albert Brooks, 80s heartthrob Steve Burton, Cari Fisher, Bonnie Franklin, Gina Gershon, Nicolas Cage, Shaun Cassidy, Jennifer Grey’s father Joel, Brady mom Florence Henderson, Lenny Kravitz, Monica Lewinsky (LOL!), the Menendez Brothers, Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meister, Pauly Shore, Antonio Sabato Jr., Alicia Silverstone, and countless, countless others. I was most looking forward to seeing BHHS alumni David Schwimmer’s photo on the wall, but like many others it was absent. I mean, hello – where’s the Friends’ love?
In person the school has minimal resemblance to how West Beverly High was portrayed onscreen. For being located in the world’s most exclusive zip code, the school is actually quite unremarkable and ordinary. I really expected much more from BHHS. In reality the school looks pretty much like every other American high school I have ever seen. The interior leaves much to be desired, as well, and, in truth, looked pretty run down. Andrea and I were cracking up at the sad state of the hallway’s ceiling tiles (pictured above). I am happy to report, though, that both the students and faculty of BHHS could not have been friendlier to us as we wandered the halls. But all I kept thinking was how young the students looked compared with what was portrayed on 90210. I mean, there wasn’t a Luke Perry style receding hairline in the bunch!
I truly had a BLAST stalking with Andrea all afternoon and I cannot wait for her next West Coast adventure as I’d love to hang out again. And the article turned out fabulous – I really could not be more excited! 🙂