Tag Archives: Altadena

Fill ‘Er Up!

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In the film-friendly city of Altadena, where pretty much every other house has been featured in a movie or television show, it seems that even the gas stations are famous!  🙂  Last week, while doing some Altadena stalking with Mike, from MovieShotsLA, he drove me by Ronnie’s Automotive, a gas and service station that has been used in countless movies and television shows.  Mike had stalked the location a while back after recognizing it while watching Transformers  where it was used as Bernie Mac’s car lot (pictured above and below). 

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While we were there snapping photographs, the owner of the garage happened to step outside.  He really could not have been nicer and ended up chatting with us for a good 15 minutes.  He told us all sorts of stories about different productions that had filmed there over the years.  He said that Clint Eastwood, who directed Million Dollar Baby  which was also filmed at the station, was by far the nicest and most professional director he had ever seen.  Apparently Clint is so prepared and focused that he is able to complete each shot in just a few takes and his days are usually wrapped very quickly.   He also told us that Clint is extremely nice and does not tolertate any sort of yelling on his sets. 

All in all Ronnie’s Automotive has been featured in over 200 productions – so many, in fact, that the owner George could not remember most of them!  Besides Transformers  and Million Dollar Baby  and countless commercials, it was also used in the Vince Vaughn flick Dodgeball  and in Pamela Anderson’s July 1992 Playboy pictorial.  I was also convinced that Ronnie’s was used as Dan Akroyd’s garage in the Britney Spears’ movie Crossroads.  Back when I was an extra in Crossroads, one of the crew members told me that the garage used in the movie was located in Altadena, so I just assumed that it was Ronnie’s.  However, when I recently re-watched the movie, I could see that the two stations didn’t match up.  So it looks like Mike and I have a new location to find!  🙂

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Ronnie’s Automotive Service is located at 2012 Lake Avenue in Altadena.  You can visit their website here.

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90210’s Baby Mama’s House

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While stalking the 90210  house last week, the owner, Jack, told Mike [of MovieShotsLA – as if you didn’t already know by now :)] and me about a few Beverly Hills, 90210  filming locations that we had yet to locate.  One location was the home of Brandon’s love interest from the Season 1 episode entitled “One Man and a Baby”.  In the episode Brandon dates an Ivy League hopeful named Melissa whom he later finds out is also a single, teenage mother.   The house used as Melissa’s in the episode just happens to be located directly across the street from the Walsh home in Altadena.  While re-watching the episode last night, I was cracking up at the scene when Brandon drives up to Melissa’s house to pick her up for their date, because in reality her home is located a hop, skip and a jump away from his home on the show.  LOL 

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 According to Jack, Melissa’s house looks very different today than it did when 90210  was filmed there back in 1990.  Today there is a large stucco wall surrounding the front of the home, which hides most of the property.  Sadly, the front door is the area of the home that was featured most prominently on 90210 and it is no longer visible from the street.  😦 

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Jack also told us that the same home’s pool area was also used in a few different 90210  episodes and I found one of those episodes yesterday.  In the Season 1 episode entitled “Every Dream Has Its Price”, the pool belonged to Brenda’s shoplifting friend Tiffany.  A short scene takes place there where Brenda confronts her sticky-fingered friend and gives her a lesson in good old Midwestern values.

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The very same pool, diving board, and bikini clad actress from that scene were also featured each week in 90210’s  opening credits.  🙂

The house was also featured in the 2008 film Finding Amanda  where it was used as Matthew Broderick’s home and in the Eva Longoria flick Over Her Dead Body  where the backyard was used for a wedding scene.  The home is currently for sale and for a mere $2,850,000 you can own a piece of 90210  history!  You can visit the home’s real estate website, which has interior pics of the house, here.  Ironically, the stairwell in the home looks very similar to the stairwell from the set of the Walsh house.  The real estate website also features some clips of movies featuring the home. LOVE IT!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Melissa’s house is located at 1690 Altadena Drive, right across the street from the Walsh house.

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The Real Clark W. Griswold House?

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I absolutely love Christmastime!  Halloween may be my favorite holiday, but the weeks leading up to Christmas are definitely my favorite time of year.  Each November I start looking forward to the red and green decorations lining city streets, the twinkle lights adorning houses and store windows, Starbucks eggnog lattes, carolers, the general goodwill in the air, and even all the hustle and bustle.  I just love it!  But my absolute favorite thing to do during the Christmas Season is to drive around looking at the many homes decorated with multi-colored lights.  The very best, and most famous, decorated home in all of Los Angeles also just happens to be a filming location!  🙂  So, of course, I had to blog about it!

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 No family does Christmas decorations better than the Balian Family.  The Balians are the owners of the Los Angeles based Balian Ice Cream Company and they live in a big, pink mansion in Altadena.  Their 21 room home was built in 1922 and is commonly known around the L.A. area as “The Balian Mansion”. The Balians have been decorating their home for Christmas since 1955 and, let me tell you, it is truly a sight to behold!  I honestly think it must have been the real life inspiration for Clark Griswold’s Christmas light display in the movie Christmas Vacation.  While standing in front of the house, you can almost see the City of Altadena’s main power meter spinning out of control just like in the movie.  LOL 

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Never in my life have I seen a home as decorated for Christmas as the Balian Mansion is each year.  Every last inch of the 5,459 square foot house and its surrounding 3.5 acre lot seems to be completely covered in Christmas lights and Christmas decorations, including a life size nativity scene, painted signs and lighted plastic statues.  A few entrepreneurial souls even stand out front selling t-shirts and glow sticks out of their cars.  Visiting the Balian Mansion at Christmastime is definitely an event!  People come from miles around to behold the site in person and the streets around the mansion get extremely backed up with cars during the weeks leading up to Christmas.  This year it’ll propbably be even more crowded than normal, being that the mansion just got a shout out on AOL’s list of Top 12 Festive Holiday Homes.     

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 Although the mansion’s main claim to fame is its yearly Christmas light display, the home also made an appearance in an early episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.  The house shows up in the first season episode entitled “The First Time” in which Brandon’s girlfriend from Minnesota comes to visit.  In the episode, Brandon and Brenda pass by the Balian Mansion while driving home from school (pictured above).  At the time the mansion was painted brown, but today it is a bright pink color.   When I re-watched that episode recently, I almost fell out of my chair upon seeing the mansion, which I immediately recognized from my many pilgrimages there each December.

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The Balian Mansion is an L.A. Christmas tradition and I HIGHLY recommend stalking it!  If you are in the area during Christmas, you must, must, must drive by!  The lights are typically put up the first week in December and stay lit through the first week of January.  When I drove by the house yesterday it looked as if the lights were still being set up and I made my boyfriend take a pic of the many powerlines needed to light the house (shown above).  LOL  I can only imagine what their power outlets look like!!! 

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Balian Mansion is located at 1960 Mendocino Lane in Altadena.  If you are in the area, be sure to also make a stop at Christmas Tree Lane, which is located on Santa Rosa Avenue, just off Woodbury.  Christmas Tree Lane is a mile long stretch of huge cedar trees decorated with hundreds upon thousands of multi-colored lights.  It is absolutely magical.  Christmas Tree Lane, although not a movie location, is definitely a must see! 

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Casa Walsh

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Last Friday, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I set out to do a little Pasadena stalking.  Who knew that our day would hold the stalking adventure to end all stalking adventures!  Even as I sit here, days later, writing these words, I am pinching myself, unsure if the whole thing even really happened.  But since I have the photographs, I guess it really did.  🙂 

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On Friday afternoon, after stalking a few Pasadena locations, Mike and I stopped off at our old staple, the 90210  house, aka Casa Walsh.  Even though Mike and I had stalked this home countless times before, we had to return yet again as it is one location that we just never grow tired of.  On this particular trip, though, the stalking gods must have been smiling down on us because the owner of the home pulled up in his car right when we arrived.  So of course, we got to talking with him.  🙂

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The owner, whose name is Jack, could NOT have been a nicer guy!  He stood and talked with us in the Walsh driveway for about 45 minutes, sharing all sorts of 90210  stories and behind the scenes info.  For instance, he told us that on one occasion when they filmed at his house, producers cleared out all of his living room furniture and built a soundstage of Kelly’s bedroom in the vacant room!  LOL  He also told us that some of the camping scenes from the Season 2 episode entitled “Camping Trip” were actually filmed in his backyard!  And – my personal favorite story of the many Jack shared with us – one day he got home from work to find a message on his answering machine from a woman who said “Hi this is Emily Valentine and I wanted to let you know that I just got out of the asylum.”  LOL  Jack even told us of a few other 90210  filming locations that he knew about.  🙂  Now, this is where the story gets REALLY exciting.  After talking with us for a bit in his driveway, Jack invited us into his backyard to take some photos.

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Numerous events in the Walsh twins’ lives took place in Jack’s backyard,  including Cindy and Jim’s 20th wedding anniversary, Jackie Taylor and Mel Silver’s wedding, the painting of the gang’s homecoming float which was later doused with gasoline by Emily Valentine, and – my personal favorite – one of the first times Brenda lays eyes on Dylan. 

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In that episode, entitled “Isn’t It Romantic”, Dylan and Brandon are working on Brandon’s car Mondale in the Walsh backyard.  In the meantime, while speaking with Kelly on the phone, Brenda walks outside onto a little balcony to admire Dylan from afar, but he notices her and turns around to give her that cute Dylan smile that I was so in love with.  🙂  LOVE THAT SHOW!  Anyway, Brenda’s balcony is really a part of the Altadena home and I could not have been more excited to see it in person!  I believe it was at this point in our Casa Walsh tour, as Mike and I stood there snapping pictures like crazy and screaming like little schoolgirls, that Jack told us we both had way too much time on our hands.  LOL  🙂

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After seeing us go a bit crazy over being in the actual 90210  backyard, Jack (wait, are you sitting down for this???) INVITED US TO SEE THE INSIDE OF THE HOUSE!!!!  Yes, you read that right – HE INVITED US INSIDE THE HOUSE!  THE 90210 HOUSE!  BRANDON AND BRENDA’S HOUSE!  WE GOT TO GO INSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mike and I both just about keeled over and died at this proposition and I am surprised we didn’t knock poor Jack to the floor as we made a running b-line for the house.  🙂  LOL  While inside, Jack first showed us some scrapbooks he had made with photographs and articles from his house’s filming days.   The scrapbooks included all sorts of photographs and memorabilia from the 90210  days, including photos of his kids with the stars and the original contract he signed allowing the production company to use his home for filming.  I couldn’t help but smile as I read one clause in the contract which stated that a basketball hoop would be added to the exterior of Jack’s garage.  🙂  That basketball hoop is now gone as Jack is in the middle of remodeling his garage (say it ain’t so!).  There were actually two different basketball hoops used during the filming of 90210 and when the series ended, Jack got to keep both of them.  Many years later he ended up giving both of those hoops away to 90210  fans who had stopped by his house to take pictures.  Like I said – what an amazingly nice guy!  Mike was extremely bummed that he wasn’t the lucky recipient of one of those basketball hoops, but we should consider ourselves lucky as Jack said that Mike and I were the first two fans he had ever invited inside the house.  🙂

The most surreal moment of the day for me happened when my phone rang while I was standing in the 90210  kitchen.  You see, my ring tone is, and always has been, the 90210  theme song.  I kid you not.  So there I was standing in Casa Walsh when the familiar strains of “Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh” came pouring out of my phone.  LOL  After looking at Jack’s 90210  scrapbooks, he took us on a mini-tour of the downstairs of his home.  I was in utter shock not only at the fact that he would invite us into his home, but also that I WAS ACTUALLY STANDING INSIDE THE 90210  HOUSE!  I had dreamed of seeing the inside of that home for YEARS and the only thing I can imagine that would have been more satisfying to a stalker like myself would be to have visited the studio set of the Walsh home during filming.  I had read that the set of Casa Walsh was based on the real interiors of the Altadena home and on Friday I saw for myself that that was sort of true.  While the kitchen area looks nothing like Cindy Walsh’s kitchen, the entryway, living room and dining room are all very similar to what we saw on TV.  When walking inside the house it was like worlds were colliding inside my head as the image I knew of the interior sets meshed with reality.  It was surreal and almost as if my brain couldn’t accept both images at the same time.  LOL

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The dining room area, which was just re-painted and therefore has no furniture in it, is very reminiscent of the Walsh dining room.

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The living room is also quite similar to its television counterpart, except that it is longer and not quite as deep as the Walsh living room.  In real life it is also missing the Walsh’s built-in bookshelves.

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The area of the home I was most excited to see was the entryway/stairwell, as the Walsh’s entryway/stairwell was shown so often on the show.  In reality, the stairway is situated like a mirrior image of how it appeared on 90210.  The stairs run from the left to the right, while the Walsh stairway went from right to left.  I asked Jack why he thinks they made this change for the studio set and he said he thinks that it worked better for camera angles that way.  Aside from the stairway running the opposite direction, the real entryway looks very similar to the Walsh entryway and I still cannot believe I got to see it with my own two eyes!

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Of course, we just had to take a picture with Jack in the entryway to document our time spent at Casa Walsh.  On our way out, after giving Jack our phone numbers and telling him that if he ever needed ANYTHING to give us a call :), Mike told him that if he ever decided to sell Casa Walsh he wanted to be the first to know.  🙂 

I still can hardly believe this whole thing even happened!!  Mike and I seem to have a lot of luck when it comes to stalking 90210  locations, and I think I need to bring him with me on all of my stalking adventures from now on.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Casa Walsh is located at 1675 E. Altadena Drive, in Altadena.  We got really lucky being let inside the house, but please don’t bother the owner to do this yourself as it is not his common practice.

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The Rubio House

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One of my new favorite shows of the television season is the CBS series The Mentalist.  Simon Baker’s acting on the show is truly incredible and I absolutely love watching his character!  Anyway, while watching last week’s episode, I recognized not one, but two filming locations!  The first location I recognized is a home that is used fairly often in movie and television productions and is known to us stalkers as “the Rubio house”.  While watching the episode on Tuesday night, I turned to my boyfriend and screamed “Oh my god, that’s the Rubio house!” to which he replied “What’s the Rubio house?” and I realized I had yet to blog about it.  So here goes.  🙂

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The Rubio house is a large colonial style home located on Rubio Street in Altadena, just a few miles north of Pasadena.  On Tuesday night’s Mentalist  episode, which was entitled “Seeing Red”, the home belonged to millionaire murder victim Rosemary Tennant.  The interior and exterior of the home, especially the front porch area, were featured several times in the episode.   According to the Movieland Directory, the Rubio house has also been featured in the pilot episode of 7th Heaven (as the Camden family home), How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Babysitter’s Club, Can’t Hardly Wait  (as the party location), Bye Bye Love, V: The Final Battle, and The Great Mom Swap.  According to Seeing Stars  the first two American Pie  movies also used the interior of the Rubio house –  Stiffler’s parties at the beginning of both flicks were filmed there.  There are some conflicting reports and ongoing debates among stalkers that the home was also used as Tom Cruise’s house in the movie Risky Business.  But according to one of my fave tour books, it has been confirmed through several location scouts who worked on the 1983 movie that the entirety of Risky Business  was shot on location in Chicago, Illinois and that the Rubio house was not, in fact, used.  I am sure it is something stalkers will continue to debate about for years to come, though.  🙂

Note – Just got a comment from Timothy over at Altadenablog that the Rubio house was also used as Lindsay Lohan’s residence in the movie I Know Who Killed Me.  Thanks for the info and the shout out Altadenablog! 

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The Rubio house is HUGE in person – much, much larger than it appears onscreen.  It is easy to see why producers choose to use this home again and again in productions, as it looks like a very typical American home that could be found anywhere in the Midwest.

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The next location I recognized from The Mentalist  was the swamp area from the Warner Brothers Lot, which Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I had just visited a few weeks beforehand.  In The Mentalist, the car that killed murder victim Rosemary Tennant is found in the WB swamp and a short scene takes place there as Simon Baker and his crew watch as the car is being removed from the water.  As I mentioned in last week’s post about our WB tour, the swamp has been used in numerous productions over the years including ER, Million Dollar Baby, and Gilligan’s Island.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Mentalist  house is located at 1090 Rubio Street in Altadena.  The swamp is located on the Warner Brothers backlot and can only viewed while on a WB tour.  Warner Brothers Studios is located at 3400 Riverside Drive in Burbank.  Tours run every 30 minutes Monday through Friday from 8:20am to 4:00pm.  Advance reservations are recommended.  Tickets cost $45 per person.  You can learn more about the tour here.

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A Cinderella Story

As I have said before, I am a total sucker for a good teeny bopper movie.  I still cry every time I watch the Melissa Joan Hart movie Drive Me Crazy!  LOL  So, a few years back, I was absolutely esctatic to have stumbled upon the filming of the Hilary Duff movie A Cinderella Story  while driving in Altadena.  I stopped to watch them film for a bit and got to see Hil-D from afar while she was rehearsing some scenes.  Very cool!  🙂

Anyway, the movie is about a girl who lives a real life, modern day version of the Cinderella fairy tale.  It is not too hard to see why producers chose the house for the movie, as it looks straight out of a fairy tale!  With its thatched roof and quaint feel, it literally looks like it was ripped right out of the pages Hansel and Gretel  and placed on Calaveras Street.   When the movie came out, of course, I dragged my boyfriend right out to see it.  It was absolutely adorable, and I was super excited to see the house featured many times throughout the movie.  🙂

 Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It:  The Cinderella Story house is located at 1272 Calaveras Drive in Altadena, not too far from the 90210 houses.

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