Monthly Archives: August 2008

Break Out The Clicquot!

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!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂
Stalk It: Beverly Hills High School is located at 241 Moreno Drive in Beverly Hills.  You can read the Washington Post article here.
 
 
 
 

 

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Marilyn’s First, and Last, Home

Just finished another excellent book about the life and times of Miss Marilyn Monroe.  The book, Goddess, was recommended to me by a staff member at Vroman’s – even though it is currently out of print – who said it was the definitive biography about the star.  See why I love that bookstore?!?  🙂

Anyway, reading the book reminded me that a couple of years back, on our annual Haunted Hollywood tour, my boyfriend and I did a little stalking of the house where Marilyn Monroe took her final breath.  This was actually the first, and last, home Miss Monroe every owned.  She purchased the house in 1961, but didn’t officially move in until March of 1962, just six months before her death. 

While shopping for homes in 1961, Marilyn decided she wanted a place close in both proximity and looks to her therapist, Dr. Ralph Greenson’s, home.  The Spanish style home on Fifth Helena Drive fit the bill, as it looked very similar to Dr. Greenson’s home and was located only a few short miles away.  According to Goddess, Marilyn actually cried while signing the final papers as she said she never imagined she would be purchasing a home alone.  Ironically, after moving in to the home, Marilyn had a plaque placed above her door which read “Cursom Perificio”.  Translation – “My Journey Ends Here”.   How right she was.

Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot to see of the home from the street as there is a huge wall surrounding it.  But it was still very cool to visit, and I highly recommend stalking it if you are at all Marilyn fan.  According to Goddess, Marilyn absolutely loved her little Spanish bungalow and was personally handpicking all of the furnishings before her death.  She even made a trip to Mexico shortly before her death to pick up some decorations for the home.  (In the above photo a large green home is visible above Marilyn’s gate – that is a neighbor’s house, not hers.) 

Remember to be courteous when stalking and not to disturb the home’s current residents.  From what I have read they do not take kindly to tourists taking pictures in front of their house.  Which begs the question – Then WHY in the heck did they buy one of the world’s most famous houses?? LOL

You can read a brief history of Marilyn’s home here.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Marilyn’s final home is located at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood.  The house can be difficult to find as there are many streets in the area with the name “Helena”.   Take South Carmelina Avenue past  First, Second, Third and Fourth Helena Drive and then you will see Fifth Helena, where Marilyn’s home is located.

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I have been an SJP fan since looooooooong before Sex and the City premiered.  Back in grade school, my friend Nat introduced me to a little 80s flick starring Sarah Jessica Parker called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun  and from that moment on I have been absolutely obsessed.  Along with my other fave 80s movie, License to Drive, I literally think I watched Girls Just Wanna Have Fun  at least once a week throughout my childhood.  For those who have never seen it, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun  is a little bit Dirty Dancing, a little bit So You Think You Can Dance, with a little bit of The Cutting Edge mixed in – what more could you ask for?  🙂  The movie is also CHOCK full of stars.  Besides SJP, GJWHF  co-starred Jonathan Silverman, Helen Hunt and my all time fave, Brenda Walsh herself, Shannen Doherty!  So can’t wait for 90210 2.0  to premiere, but I digress.  Anyway, I grew up believing that all of GJWHF  was filmed in and around the Chicago area.  So last week when I discovered that some filming took place at John Marshall High School, I decided to dig a little further to see if I could find some other LA locations from the movie.  And I am happy to report that I was successful!  🙂

         

In the very beginning of the movie, Helen Hunt takes SJP with her on a babysitting job so that the two of them can watch “DanceTV” together.  While watching the scene where the girls walk to the house where they are to babysit, I noticed a street sign in the background which said “200 S. Plymouth Blvd”.  So I did a little Zillow stalking and it turns out that there IS a South Plymouth Boulevard in Los Angeles.  In that scene, the girls walk past a HUGE brick house on a large corner lot before making their way to their babysitting job at the house next door.  When I zoomed in on Zillow to see a larger view of the homes on Plymouth Boulevard, I spotted the large brick house the girls walk past!  So I immediately hopped in my car and set out to stalk the place in person.  🙂

Pulling up to the house, I could not have been more excited.  It’s pretty silly actually, as only one very brief scene took place at this location, but I was floored just the same!  I felt like I was one step closer to finding the brick apartment building SJP’s character lived at in the movie – a location I have always wanted to stalk! 

       

I am happy to report that the large brick house looked exactly the same as it did 23 years ago when filming took place.  The home is very beautiful in person and it’s easy to see why filmmakers chose to use it in GJWHF  as it definitely looks like it would be located in a midwest suburb.   

The Plymouth Boulevard street sign that gave me my big stalking clue as to the home’s location is also still in the same exact spot it was during filming.  🙂 

     

After stalking the brick home, I made my way next door to stalk the house where HH and SJP babysat.  Although only the front porch area of the home was shown during filming, it was easy to see that it was the same house used in GJWHF.  You will notice the house number “217” in the background of the above screen capture.  Those same gold house numbers are still there in real life.  🙂

My next stalking mission is to find SJP’s apartment from the movie (pictured in above screen capture).  Does it look familiar to anyone??  I have a feeling that this location is going to keep me up at night for the next few weeks.  🙂

For those who have not seen Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, I highly recommend renting it.  It is a GREAT 80s movie and just as much fun to watch today as it was in 1985.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The house SJP and HH walk by in the movie is located at 501 S. Plymouth Road in Los Angeles.  The house where the girls babysit is located next door at 517 S. Plymouth Road.

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Charmed Challenge!

Got a challenge from Jenna a few weeks back to find a whole bunch of Charmed  locations, one of which being the “San Francisco” city street featured in both the Season 7 episode “The Bare Witch Project” and the Season 8 episode “Still Charmed and Kicking”.  In “The Bare With Project” (pictured above), the street is featured twice.  In the opening scene of that episode, Phoebe and Piper are shown eating lunch at an outdoor corner cafe located on a public street.  In the scene Piper is breastfeeding and is asked to leave by the restaurant manager.  In the closing scene of that episode, Phoebe rides a horse naked – a la Lady Godiva – down the same street to protest against the restaurant for mistreating her sister.   

In the “Still Charmed and Kicking” episode (pictured above), that same street shows up yet again as the spot where Phoebe and Piper do some serious shoe shopping after faking their own deaths. 

Well, Jenna, I have good news and I have bad news.  If you’re like me, you prefer the bad news first, so here goes.  The bad news is that the street the sisters walked along is not a real street – it is actually part of the Paramount Studios backlot in Hollywood.  While doing some online Charmed  research  to try to figure out where this street was located, I found out that after the sixth season of the series, production moved from its small Canoga Park studio to Hollywood mega-lot Paramount Studios.  After carefully watching both episodes, something about the “street” didn’t seem realistic to me.  If you look closely at both episodes, everything seems just a bit smaller than it should be – much like Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives.  The streets are a bit too narrow, the sidewalks a bit too skinny, the buildings a little too short – all causing me to realize that a back lot, not a real city street, must have been used for the filming.  If you look in the background of the above screen capture, a house or small apartment building (circled) is visible behind Alyssa Milano on the left hand side.  That was a dead giveaway for me that the street was really a set, as residential street sets are commonly located right next to city street sets on most movie studio backlots.  After I learned that both of the episodes were filmed during the time that Charmed  was being produced on the Paramount lot, I became convinced that the street was in actuality just a set.  I believe that for both of the episodes mentioned one of Paramount’s New York street scenes was used. 

Now for the good news – even though this street is located on a set, you can still see it in person.  🙂  Paramount Studios offers a behind the scenes tour and one of the stops is the New York area of the back lot.  While I have never been on the Paramount Tour, it is definitely something I want to do in the near future.  Seeing Stars does a great write-up on the Paramount Tour, with some great photos and while he didn’t seem to like the tour much, this stalker still really wants to check it out.  When I do go on the tour, I will be sure to post some photographs of the New York City streets for comparison.  Sadly, though, I don’t think the streets will be that recognizable from Charmed  due to the fact that studio street scenes and building facades are constantly changed and redressed to make way for new productions.  That being said, I would still recommend stalking the Paramount Tour, as I think it would still be really fun to see.

And don’t worry, Jenna, I am still stalking the other Charmed  locations you challenged me to find.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: Paramount Studios is located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.  To book a tour, you can call (323)956-4848.  Tours cost $39 per person.

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Lynn Bracken’s House

      

Thanks to E.J. over at The Movieland Directory, I was able to do a bit more LA Confidential  stalking this weekend.  As I mentioned in a previous post, LA Confidential  is one of my mom’s favorite movies of all time.  She has always been in love with the houses and bungalows used in the movie and has requested several times that I stalk them for her.  In fact, when my family first moved to LA she told our real estate agent that she wanted an “LA Confidential  house” and that’s pretty much exactly the type of house we moved into.  🙂

     

So when E.J. gave me the address to Kim Basinger’s character’s house from the movie, I of course had to run right out and stalk it.  Lynn Bracken’s house shows up several times in the film, especially the front door and front porch area, and from what I can tell from watching the movie, it appears that both the interior and the exterior of the home were used for filming.  The house is a very cute little 1950’s style Spanish bungalow and it’s pretty easy to see why producers chose to use it in the movie as it looks like it came straight out of the 1950’s. 

     

I must admit that when we first arrived at the house, I didn’t immediately recognize it.  The way the movie was filmed was somewhat deceiving and the layout of the house appears much different in person than I’d remembered it looking onscreen.  In the movie, Russell Crowe spends many hours in his car staked out in front of Lynn’s home watching her greet and say goodbye to her many “houseguests”.  But in real life the front door is located on the side of the home and is not immediately visible from the street which made me not entirely sure I was stalking the correct house.  But when I got home and popped in my LA Confidential  DVD it was easy to see that the two houses matched perfectly!  🙂  Thanks, EJ! 

I highly recommend stalking Lynn’s house if you are at all a fan of LA Confidential  or 1950’s California architecture.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Lynn Bracken’s house is located at 501 Wilcox Avenue, right where Wilcox meets Rossmore, in Los Angeles.  It is just around the corner from the American Idol and SYTYCD apartment which is located at 445 N. Rossmore.

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John Marshall High School

Last week, Mike (from MovieShotsLA) and I hit up John Marshall High School in Los Feliz for a little stalking of one of Los Angeles’ most oft filmed high schools.  Mike had made an appointment to tour the school with Marshall’s resident historian, Joanna, who has been teaching at Marshall for over 30 years.  Not only is Joanna a seasoned Marshall High teacher, but she also attended the school as a teenager and has a vast wealth of information about the school and its prestigious filming history. 

                 

Upon our arrival, Joanna provided us with a spreadsheet of productions filmed on campus detailing what specific areas of the school were used for each film and what each particular scene entailed.  She rocks!  I was most excited to find out that Marshall stood in for the Chicago Catholic all girls high school from one of my FAVE movies of all time- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun !  According to Joanna, three large white crosses were added to the roof of the high school during the filming of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, causing parents and local residents (who didn’t realize a movie was being filmed on campus) to call in and inquire about the religious symbols.  The screen capture above, taken from GJWHF, didn’t come out very well as the only scene that shows the crosses on top of the school is actually a very brief scene which fades in from another causing the picture to be a bit transparent.

    

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun  filmed extensively at the school and if you watch the movie you will see it popping up quite a few times – including the scene where one of the nuns (donning a full robe and habit) performs a gymnastics routine on an outdoor vault. LOL  According to Joanna, the front of the school is a very popular place for filming due to it’s gorgeous “collegiate gothic” architecture.  Even though the school is actually located in Los Angeles, it has the look and feel of a Midwest or East Coast school, leading to its popularity with location scouts and producers.  The school’s unique doors (pictured above in GJWHF) are usually a dead giveaway that a movie was filmed at John Marshall.  

The school has been featured in literally countless movies, TV shows, and music videos.  Just to name a few – Tom Hanks drove a bus for John Marshall students in Bachelor Party, Luke Perry and Kristie Swanson attended school there in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer  movie, it stood in for Dewey High on Growing Pains  and John Adams High on Boy Meets World, Garth Brooks filmed a music video in the school’s auditorium, it was John Cusak’s alma mater in Grosse Pointe Blank, and the site of the therapy session between Dr. Evil and his son in Austin Powers 2.  John Marshall was also featured as the high school in Can’t Hardly Wait, Pretty in Pink, Zapped!, Like Father, Like Son, True Crime, Splendor in the Grass, Rebel Without a Cause, Boston Public, Uncle Buck, Mr. Novak, and Nightmare on Elm Street.  Van Halen’s music video Hot for a Teacher  was filmed in the school’s former library.  And the final scene from Grease – the famous carnival scene – was filmed on the school’s football field (pictured above).  According to Joanna, in one of the carnival scenes you can actually see a large “M” (for Marshall) in the background on one of the school buildings.  🙂  Whew – that’s a lot of filming!  I would kill for that resume!  🙂

                       

John Marshall, named for the former Chief Justice of the United States, opened up on January 26, 1931.  The school currently has 4000 students and a faculty of 200.  Famous alumni include Julie Newmar aka Catwoman, Judge Lance Ito, Heidi Fleiss, countless sports heroes and my personal fave, Leonardo DiCaprio.  Leo attended the school for only one semester before landing his role on Growing Pains, which ironically filmed at John Marshall High.  🙂   Joanna said that she has been interviewed dozens of times about Mr. DiCaprio, even though his stint at Marshall was so brief.  She said that most interviews were quite ridiculous as Leo only attended Marshall for a few months and therefore there just wasn’t that much to talk about.  She did tell me that Leo’s counselor really liked him though.  🙂  She also said most interviewers wanted to see the auditorium where Leo would have performed had he ever acted in any Marshall High plays (which he never did).  She said countless interviewers walked around the high school’s main stage saying “So he would have stood right here!”  LOL

Marshall is a truly beautiful and unique school and I highly recommend stalking it.  After all, chances are it has appeared in one of your favorite movies or TV shows.  🙂

 Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: John Marshall High School is located at 3939 Tracey Avenue in Los Feliz.

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Spend the Night at Kelly and Donna’s Beach Apartment

While doing some cyber-stalking this morning, I came across this advertisement for a vacation rental of the 90210 beachhouse!  For between $300 and $600 per night, you can take the ultimate 90210  vacation and actually spend a few nights (there’s a three night minimum) in Kelly and Donna’s beachfront apartment.  How cool is that??

    

The exterior of the townhouse being advertised was used as the location of Kelly, Donna and various other cast member’s beach apartment from Seasons 4 through 10.  Many memorable scenes took place at the beach apartment over the years, my favorite being David’s proposal to Donna.  🙂  It is so odd to look at the interior pictures of the real beach house as it looks nothing like the interior of Kelly and Donna’s place.  The interior of their apartment existed only on a soundstage, of course, about 40 miles away, in Van Nuys.  But it would still be really cool to stay at the real apartment!  The advertisement doesn’t state which apartment is available for rent, but Kelly and Donna lived in the 2nd floor unit on 90210.  According to the advertisement, the newly remodeled beach house sleeps four, has a barbecue, lots of deck space, and a private jacuzzi.  Not a bad place to spend a vacation!  Looks like I might just have to drag my boyfriend out to Hermosa for a little 90210  vacation.  🙂

You can read my other post about the beach apartment here.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

           

Stalk It: Kelly and Donna’s beach apartment is located at 3500 The Strand in Hermosa Beach.   If you walk along the beach just south of where Hermosa Beach meets Manhattan Beach, you’ll see the apartment.  You can’t miss it!  To rent the place out, contact Gary Ashe at (310)809-0592 or you can send him an email inquiry.

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