Monthly Archives: October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy, Happy, Happy Halloween, everybody!  As I have mentioned many times before, Halloween is my favorite holiday, so today I thought I’d post some pics of one of my favorite Halloweens ever – the year my boyfriend and I dressed up like Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. 

This was back in 2005, the same year that Britters wore the now famous “I Have the Golden Ticket” tank top over her pregnant belly to the Willy Wonka  premiere.  Of course, I became totally obsessed with that tank top and got to scouring Ebay, where I found an exact replica and also some urban loungewear (yes, it’s actually called that!) a la KFed’s wedding ensemble.  And voila – a costume was born.  🙂  For my pregnancy “bump” I just stuck a  semi-blown up beach ball under my shirt.  And it was so realistic that a lady in the bar I was at on Halloween night actually yelled at me for drinking while pregnant.  LOL!!!!  🙂

Today I decided to stalk the house where Miss Spears and Mr. Federline tied the knot back on September 18, 2004.  I realize that tying this location in with my Haunted Hollywood theme is a bit of a stretch, but I can justify it by saying that the union of Britney Jean Spears and Kevin Earl Federline was downright scary.  🙂  After watching BritBrit and Kevin interact with each other on their  Chaotic  reality TV series, I absolutely could not believe that two such complete morons managed to find each other.  It’s almost as if they were tailor-made for each other.  I’m actually really surprised the marriage didn’t last!!  Anyway, I decided I just HAD to stalk the home where their marriage took place.

On September 18, 2004 Britney and Kevin invited 25 of their closest friends and family members to an impromptu wedding ceremony at the Studio City home of their wedding planner, Alyson Fox.  The couple had planned on getting married at Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara, but due to the media frenzy surrounding the event, they decided to celebrate their union at this modest home in Studio City a few weeks earlier than expected.  Stalking this location proved to be a tough one, though, as the only info I had on the house was the owner’s name and the general location.  But thanks to master stalker E.J. over at the Movieland Directory, who offered me his help, I was able to located the address of the house and yesterday I ran right out to stalk it.  🙂   Thanks, E.J.!  (The above scan was taken from the 2004 issue of People Magazine  that covered BritBrit and KFed’s union.)

The home where Brit and KFed got married is a super cute, very picturesque, but also very normal looking house.  Not at all the type of place I’d envision the pop princess tying the knot.  But I also could have never pictured her walking into a gas station bathroom sans shoes – so go figure!  Anyway, after doing some cyber-stalking yesterday, I discovered that Brit’s wedding house is currently for sale!  For a mere $1,999,950, you can have the priveledge of owning the home where this blessed ceremony took place.  🙂  You can see interior pics of the home here.

Until next time, Happy Stalking and Happy Halloween!  🙂

Stalk It: Britney and Kevin’s wedding house is located at 4053 Farmdale Avenue in Studio City.

 

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“Cause This is Thriller . . .”

Last week, while cyber-stalking the theatre used in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, I read that the final dance sequence in the video was filmed on a street in Los Angeles named Union Pacific Avenue.  So, of course, I immediately called up Mike from MovieShotsLA to let him know.  Unfortunately, Union Pacific Avenue is a very long street and the two of us had no idea where the exact spot was that Thriller  was filmed.   But, as usual, Mike worked his magic and within about ten minutes he had found it!  He is so my hero!!  So, with only two days left to go of my Haunted Hollywood theme, this morning I dragged my dad out to Union Pacific Avenue to do some Thriller  stalking.

I was EXTREMELY excited to see that the street looks EXACTLY the same today as it did back in 1983 when Thriller  was filmed!  The wall that MJ and his fellow zombies dance in front of is still standing and looks just the same as it did in the Thriller  days.  In fact it was that wall that Mike used to figure out the location of the filming.  Using Google Maps Street View, he went up and down Union Pacific Avenue on his computer looking for the wall, hoping it was still standing.  And it was!  I am absolutely amazed (and thrilled!) that the wall is still there for us stalkers to appreaciate all these years later. 

It also looks like the very same company that inhabited the building where the dance sequence took place twenty five years ago, is still, in fact, stationed there.  As you can see in the above screen captures, the company signage is still in the exact same spot and looks pretty much identical to how it did in the video.  🙂   I can’t tell you how excited I was to be standing in the exact spot where MJ danced twenty-five years ago!   There were a few workers standing around eating breakfast at a food truck while my dad and I were taking pictures and they thought we were absolutely crazy!  They were looking at me while I was doing my Thriller  poses as if I was stark raving mad.  LOL  Love it! 

Had to do it!  🙂

You can watch the Thriller  video here.  On a side note, this year is the 25th Anniversary of Thriller  and Michael Jackson released a 25th Anniversary Special Edition Album  for the occasion.  How did I not know about this????  I mean Thriller  is my favorite album of all time!  The Anniversary Edition contains seven bonus tracks with special guest artists including Fergie and Kanye West, a promotional booklet, and a DVD of music videos including Michael Jackson’s legendary “Billie Jean”  performance at the Motown 25  television special. 

Big THANKS as always to Mike for finding this location – just in time for Halloween, too!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Thriller  main dance sequence location can be stalked at 3701 East Union Pacific Avenue in Los Angeles, just outside the City of Commerce.  The area is highly industrial and not in the safest part of town, so please exercise caution – especially if you visit it at night.

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They’re Here!

A few weeks ago I sent Mike from MovieShotsLA out to do a little Haunted Hollywood stalking for me. I had read online that the house from the original Poltergeist movie (another horror flick I have yet to see!) is located in Simi Valley, and since Mike was in the area, I asked him to run by and snap some pics for me. As you can see from the above screen capture, the home looks exactly the same today as it did 26 years ago when the movie was filmed. The house actually looks like an average, everyday home that could be located on any street in America, and I think that is exactly why producers chose to use it. In fact, the voiceover in the trailer for the movie says this: “The house looks just like the one next to it, and the one next to that, and the one next to that. A couple lives in it with their three children . . . and something more.” The normalcy of the house makes the movie all the more scary.

Even though I have never actually seen Poltergeist, the movie has always intrigued me due to the rumored curse that has long been attached to it. Four actors from the Poltergeist trilogy passed away at fairly young ages causing many to believe the movies are cursed. The most tragic of the Poltergeist deaths were, of course, the deaths of the two young girls who played the Freeling family daughters. Dominique Dunne, who played Dana Freeling in the movie and who was the real life daughter of author Dominick Dunne, was strangled to death by her former boyfriend in the driveway of her West Hollywood home on November 4, 1982, just a few months after Poltergeist premiered. She was 22. Child star Heather O’Rourke, who played younger daughter Carol Anne, passed away on February 1, 1988 due to complications from cardiopulmonary arrest and intestinal stenosis. She was 12. Ironically both girls are buried at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood. The other two Poltergeist actors who passed away at fairly young ages both starred in the second movie in the trilogy. Julian Beck, who played Kane, passed away from cancer at the age of 60, and Will Sampson, who played Taylor, passed away at 53 due to complications from surgery. Curse or no curse the untimely passing of so many of the trilogy’s stars definitely adds an amount of grim allure to the movie.

Big THANK YOU to Mike for taking the pics and stalking this location for me! 🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: The Poltergeist house is located at 4267 Roxbury Street in Simi Valley.

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Haunted Hollywood Tour Takes a Detour to SF!

When I was in high school my good friend Dana and I were absolutely obsessed with a real life haunted house located close to where we lived.  Every Friday afternoon like clockwork the two of us would make an after-school pilgrimage to the abandoned house known as the Carolands Mansion before stopping by a local cafe for our ubiquitous weekly frozen lattes.  I have no idea why the two of us were so obsessed with this particular mansion and, in fact, I asked Dana today what it was that started our obsession and she couldn’t remember, either.  LOL  Whatever the reason, ever Friday afternoon without fail Dana and I would make our weekly visit to the abandoned property and drive around the perimeter once or twice for a little looksie.  So this weekend when I went up north to attend my friend Nat’s annual weekend-before-Halloween murder mystery party I asked her to drive me by the house so I could do some stalking.

I hadn’t driven by the Carolands in over a decade and I was absolutely shocked to see how much the mansion had changed.  The once abandoned house had been purchased and refurbished in my absence and it is no longer the haunted house of my high school memories.  It was so strange to see the once dilapidated and spooky property post-facelift and I almost didn’t recognize the place.  Gone are the broken, boarded-up windows, the yellowing, dead lawn and the decaying, overgrown foliage.  But even after a complete remodel, the house has definitely retained some of its spookiness.  I am not sure if it is the sheer size of the mansion (68,000 square feet makes it the largest enclosed space in a private house in the entire United States – it’s even bigger than the Spelling Chateau!) or its tragic history that evokes a creepy feeling.  But either way, the house has a haunted feel to it, so it fits in perfectly with my Haunted Hollywood theme.

The Carolands Mansion was built from 1914 to 1916 for Harriet Pullman Carolan, heir to a vast railroad fortune.  Harriet, a true diva of her day, had the chateau built on a 544 acre parcel of land at the highest elevation point possible so that she could literally  “look down on the Hearsts”.  LOL  The home was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by French architect Ernest Sanson for a cost of $3,000,000 (and we’re talking 1914 money!).  The mansion stands at over eighty feet tall and boasts almost one hundred rooms, including 25 servants quarters, a flower arranging room, and even a secret floor hidden in between the second and third levels.    In 1950 a Countess named Lillian Remillard Dandini purchased the home from Harriet and lived in it for the next 23 years.  Upon her death she bequeathed the home to the City of Hillsborough, hoping it would become a cultural center.  The city, however, could not afford the upkeep on the massive property, and after several subsequent owners, the home fell into serious disrepair and was left vacant and abandoned.  During the Roosevelt Administration and again during the Kennedy Administration the US government considered purchasing the home and making it the “White House of the West”, but both times plans fell through.  After decades of abandonment and neglect, Franklin Templeton heir Charles Johnson purchased the home in 1998 and spent the next few years and many millions of dollars restoring it to its former grandeur.   But no face lift can fully erase the mansion’s tragic history.

When I was a little girl, my uncle used to tell me stories about visiting the Carolands with his high school buddies late at night and getting tours from the security guards hired to guard the home.  Back then it was commonplace for area high schoolers to grab a six pack, hop the chain link fence surrounding the property, and slip a security guard a $20 for an interior tour of the mansion.  Everyone did it.  But that all changed one tragic night in 1985 when two teen-aged girls getting a tour of the mansion were raped and stabbed by a security guard named David Allen Raley.  After torturing them for hours in the mansion, he put them in the trunk of his car and drove to his parents house where he ate a meal and played a game of monopoly with his family.  He then dumped the two girls in a ravine and left them for dead.  But one of the girls managed to crawl out of the ravine on her hands and knees and flagged down a passerby who rescued her and her friend.  Sadly, though, while the girl survived, her friend later passed away on an operating room table.  The case became very famous in the sleepy town of San Mateo where I grew up.  I am not sure why the case garnered so much attention – perhaps because the crime was so heinous, or maybe because there was a survivor, or because the house had long carried the reputation of being haunted or perhaps most likely because up until that point it had been so common for teenagers to use the Carolands grounds as their high school hang out.  It literally could have happened to anyone.  Whatever the reason, the murders remain a stain on the memory of the once beautiful mansion.

Although not a true filming location, the house did appear in the 1992 pornographic film entitled All American Girls.   The mansion was also the subject of the 2006 award winning documentary film entitled Three Woman and a Chateau.  A book named Carolands was also written about the property.  Although currently a private residence, the Carolands is sometimes opened up for events and fund raisers.  The Republican National Commitee hosted an event there in January of this year and George W. Bush was in attendance.   The Carolands is truly a marvel of a home and I highly recommend stalking this real life haunted house.  Seeing it in person, it’s almost unbelievable how big it is.   

Side note – while flying home from SF, who should be on our plane but actress/model Mariel Heminway.  I snapped a quick pic of her in baggage claim, but it did not come out very well!  I would so make a terrible paparazzi!  LOL  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Carolands Mansion is located at 565 Remilard Drive in Hillsborough.  After seeing the front of the mansion, follow Remillard to Ralston Avenue and make a right.  Make another right on Craig’s Road and follow it past the bend for a nice view of the back of the house.   

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Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe

A few years ago I read a fabulous murder mystery called Shamus In The Green Room written by one of my favorite mystery authors, Susan Kandel.  A significant piece of action in the novel takes place at the real life location of one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.  That location is named Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe, and its namesake and owner, Thelma Todd, died there in 1935.  After reading Susan Kandel’s book, I became completely intrigued with Thelma and her roadside cafe, so I immediately dragged my boyfriend out there to do some stalking.  Since then, Thelma’s cafe has been incorporated into my annual Haunted Hollywood tour.  🙂

Thelma Todd was a famous Hollywood starlet and comedienne during the 1920’s.  She appeared in over 120 feature films during her brief ten year career, including several Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy productions.  In 1931, the “Ice Cream Blond” as she came to be called, opened up a cafe on the ground floor of a huge Spanish style building overlooking the Pacific Ocean just north of Santa Monica.  The top floor of the building housed a very popular private Hollywood club named Joya’s.  Thelma’s Sidewalk Cafe also became extremely popular with the Hollywood elite and Miss Todd lived in a little apartment located above her cafe. 

On the night of her death, Thelma attended a party hosted in her honor at the legendary Trocadero nightclub in Hollywood.  After the party, Thelma’s chauffeur dropped her off in front of her cafe at approximately 4:20 a.m. the following morning, December 15.  In the early morning hours of December 16, 1935, a full day later, Thelma was found dead inside of a garage belonging to her neighbor/business partner/lover Roland West, located just behind her cafe.  The famous blond was slumped over the steering wheel of her Lincoln Phaeton, still wearing her evening gown from Saturday night’s party, her face covered in blood.  The coroner, however, ruled her death an accident.  The cause listed on the coroner’s report?  Carbon monoxide poisoning.  Most of Hollywood was quick to discount that account of her death and theories of the true cause are endless.  Most widely believed, however, is that mafioso Lucky Luciano, whom the Ice Cream Blond was rumored to be having an affair with, murdered her when she refused to allow his gambling ring to operate out of her cafe.  Another theory is that her married business partner/boyfriend/neighbor Roland West (in whose garage she was found) murdered her in a jealous rage.  The truth may never be known and Thelma’s murder is one of the most celebrated mysteries in Hollywood history.   

Now home to Paulist Productions, the Spanish style building that once housed Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe was first built in 1928, and was originally used as a shopping center for nearby homes.  In the 1960’s the building became home to a Christian film and television production company named Paulist Productions.  The company remains there today. In 2002 the building was given a full face lift and restored to its original grandeur.  The structure is a very beautiful, ornate piece of Hollywood history, complete with detailed Spanish tiles and large arched wrought-iron windows.  I highly recommend stalking it, as much for its beautiful architecture as its rich history.

If you want to read more about Thelma Todd and her death, check out the Find A Death  website which does a great write-up.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Thelma Todd’s Roadside Cafe is located at 17575 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades.  Thelma was found dead in the garage of Roland West’s home located at 17531 Posetano Road, located just behind the former cafe.

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More Halloween!

Last year, during our annual Haunted Halloween tour, I dragged my boyfriend to the two houses where Jamie Lee Curtis and her friend babysit in the movie Halloween.  The final action sequence in the movie takes place at these two houses, which are located across the street from each other.  Even though I had never seen the movie Halloween, being that it was the season, I just had to stalk it.  🙂   I seriously need to rent this movie!

The first house I dragged my boyfriend to was the Doyle Family home where Jamie Lee Curtis babysits Tommy and Lindsay Doyle at the end of the movie.  The Doyle home is a very cute house and it actually looks like it should be located in the Pasadena area.  Being that the majority of the filming of Halloween  actually took place in Pasadena, I am very surprised that the producers didn’t just find a home there to use.  These location decisions always fascinate me and I would love to find out the reasoning behind them!  Someday I really need to sit down with a location scout to pick their brain!

Anyway, the next house we stalked is located directly across the street from the Doyle house.  It is the house where Jamie Lee’s best friend Annie babysits and also where she meets her untimely end.  From what I can tell from the screen captures, this house looks very different from how it appeared in Halloween.   While the front porch area is still recognizable from the movie, it appears that the home was somewhat modernized in recent years and a side garage was added.  I so hate it when movie homes are remodeled!  Filming locations should really be designated historical landmarks so that the exteriors are protected and forced to remain the same for eternity.  🙂  I mean I think I would seriously cry if anyone ever remodeled the 90210  house!  LOL

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: The home where Jamie Lee Curtis babysits is located at 1530 North Orange Grove Avenue in Hollywood.  The house where her friend Annie babysits is located directly across the street at 1537 North Orange Grove.

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Scream – One More Time

 

Many, many years ago – back when I first started college, in fact – I did a little stalking of my fave horror movie, Scream.  I guess you can say that I have been pretty much obsessed with that movie ever since it premiered back in 1996.  At the time I was still living in Northern California, and I was absolutely floored when I found out that the entire movie was filmed on location in the towns of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, just about an hours drive from my house.  I absolutely could not believe that one of my favorite movies was shot in such close proximity to where I lived, so of course I dragged my mom and my aunt Lea, who lives in the area, right out to stalk it. 

The first stop on our Scream  stalking tour was the Healdsburg police station, which stood in for the “Woodsboro” police station where Deputy Dewey worked in the movie.  I was quite the little stalker, even back then, so I of course marched right inside the station and asked the officer on duty if Scream  had actually been filmed there.   He could not have been nicer and even took us on a little mini-tour of some Scream  locations. The officer first told us that while Scream had in fact used both the interior and the exterior of the real life Healdsburg police station for filming, shortly after filming was completed, the police station was relocated to a new building.  The former police station is now a grocery store/delicatessen called Oakville Grocery and sadly looks very different than it did in Scream

But the officer also gave us some good news – while the Woodsboro police station no longer looks like it did in Scream, the alleyway where Sidney punches Gail Weathers towards the beginning of the movie is still there and it is still very recognizable from the movie.   🙂

And, in fact, the officer told us that if you watch that scene closely you will notice a crowd of people standing just outside the alleyway (pictured above).  The crowd was actually made up of residents of Healdsburg who had come out to watch the filming.  Wes Craven decided to keep them in the shot, and simply set up barricades and police tape around them to make them look like gawkers hanging around the police station waiting to hear news about the killings of Casey Becker and her boyfriend. 

Another little tid bit of trivia that the officer shared with us was that the scene where the street sweeper drives around the Woodsboro town square at dawn the morning after the murderer first tries to kill Sidney (pictured above) was actually not filmed in the morning, but at dusk.  Apparently Wes Craven needed the shot and was not able to get it during the morning of his last day of filming, so he simply shot it at night.  I always love hearing little bits of insider information like that!  : ) 

The last Scream  location the officer showed us was the Healdsburg town square, which was featured several times in the movie, most prominently in the scene where Sidney and her friends eat lunch after learning about the killings.  The town square looks EXACTLY as it did during the filming and even the fountain the group sits on is still there.  For some reason, though, the fountain is usually boarded up, but otherwise it looks the same as it did in Scream.  I must say that it was very exciting for me to visit the Scream  locations in person – especially since visiting them was one of my very first stalking adventures.  The town of Healdsburg is an absolutely adorable place, with great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.  I highly recommend stalking it, even if you aren’t a Scream  fan!

On a side note, my aunt told me this morning that Bradley Video, which was also featured in the movie Scream, just announced they are closing down.  😦  How sad!

Note – the above photographs were taken during two different trips to Healdsburg, which is why I am wearing two different outfits.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Healdsburg town square is located on Healdsburg Avenue, between Plaza Street and Matheson Street.  Oakville Grocery (the former police station) is located at 124 Matheson Street, kittycorner from the town square.

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