Tag Archives: CSI: Miami filming locations

The 90210 Pilot Church

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A few days ago I sent Mike, from MovieShotsLA, a screen capture of the church featured in the pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.  I had a hunch he might know where it was located – and, sure enough, he did!  He immediately called me and said “That’s the Spiderman  church!” as it was also used in the filming of Spiderman 3.  🙂  God, he’s good!  St. Brendan Church – or as Mike and I like to call it, the “pilot church” – was built in 1927 by Los Angeles area architect Emmett Martin. 

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In the pilot episode of 90210, Brenda, not wanting her new twenty-something boyfriend Jason to know that she is only sixteen years old and still living at home with her parents, lies and says that she is attending UCLA and living in a sorority house named Sigma Rho Tau.  After their first date, Jason drops Brenda off in front of her fake sorority house, which just happens to be located next door to a church.  That church is St. Brendan and that sorority house is not really a sorority house at all, but the church rectory.   As you can see in the above screen captures, all the producers had to do was add a sign with the sorority’s name to the outside of the rectory and cover up the stained glass window with a bulletin board – and voila, they had themselves a sorority house!

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While researching St. Brendan Church earlier today I remembered something very ironic from my past.  I can’t even believe I’m admitting to this – in a public forum no less – but you only live once, so here goes!  When I was in high school I receieved the Sacrament of Confirmation.  At the time I was fifteen years old and deep in the throws of my 90210  obsession.  So much so in fact, that I chose Brendan, after St. Brendan, as my confirmation name.  In the Catholic faith, when ones receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, they are to adopt the name of a patron saint who is said to then guide and protect them.  Confirmation candidates are supposed to study the history of the saints and find one that represents the type of Christian they want to become.  But for me the choice was easy.  Once I found out there was a saint named Brendan, that was it for me!  Of course, the female version of the name Brendan is Brenda.  🙂  Yes, I was THAT obsessed.  LOL  Being that my mother wanted to kill me when she found out the saint name I chose, this little episode of my life has been a long running joke in my family.  LOL  So earlier today when I found out that St. Brendan was the name of the 90210 church, I just about fell out of my chair.    

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St. Brendan actually has quite a rich filming history.  Besides the pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, the church was also featured in Armageddon as the location of Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler’s wedding.  You can watch the wedding scene here.

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It was the location of Stephanie Seymor and Axl Rose’s wedding in the Guns N’ Roses music video for the song “November Rain”.    On a side note – I must say that I absolutely LOVE Stephanie Seymour’s wedding dress from the video (pictured above).  I am gonna have to get me one of those for my wedding!  LOL  As if!!  🙂  You can watch the “November Rain” music video here.

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In the Season Four episode of  CSI: Miami entitled “From the Grave”, my fave Horatio Caine confessed his sins at Saint Brendan.  The church was also featured in the 1953 version of War of the Worlds (as the location where the residents of L.A. gather during the final scenes of the movie),  Spiderman 3 (the interior is where Topher Grace prayed for God to kill Peter Parker), Fight Club (Edward Norton’s cancer support group was held there), and an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.  You can see interior pics of the church on the Saint Brendan website.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Beverly Hills, 90210  pilot church, aka St. Brendan, is located at 310 South Van Ness Avenue in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

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CSI: Pasadena

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My dad is not a big fan of Hollywood.  And by Hollywood I mean the industry, not the town.  He can’t stand all of the overindulged, self-absorbed actors, even though his own daughter is one (minus the overindulged, self-absorbed part, of course).  🙂  He just barely tolerates my stalking and often asks me why I care so much about celebrities.  But there is one actor and one show that my dad absolutely loves – and that’s loves with a capital L-O-V-E-S.  That show is CSI: Miami and that actor is David Caruso.  My dad often walks around the house randomly quoting characters from the show saying “H is on it!”, he nicknamed his Harley Davidson “H”, and he has so many CSI: Miami reruns saved up on TiVo that he often burns through all of the memory causing my mom’s shows not to record.  Yes, my dad loves himself some Horatio Caine.   When we were in New York this past December, my boyfriend and I just had to snap the above photo of Horatio Street for my dad.  🙂

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So when I found out that CSI: Miami would be filming in Pasadena last Wednesday, I just had to drag my dad out to stalk it.  Except truth be told, there really wasn’t much dragging involved.  My dad, who normally hates stalking with me, was more than a willing participant this time around.  He was absolutely floored at the possibility of meeting his TV idol.  And so was I.  CSI: Miami has always been my favorite CSI and I, too, love me some Horatio Caine.  I also love me some Emily Procter.  I am absolutely obsessed with her cute little Southern accent – I want one just like it.  🙂  So on Wednesday morning, bright and early, we showed up at the Pasadena location where where they were filming.  And I have to say that it was an absolute dream day!

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The crew truly could NOT have been nicer to us.  When we arrived and told them we were big fans of the show, they welcomed us with open arms and invited us to take a seat to watch the crew setting up the scene.  One of the A.D.’s told us that David Caruso would arrive on the set within 45 minutes and that he was very fan friendly and would most likely take a photograph with us.  Let me tell you we were floored!  And I have to say that watching the crew set up for the scene was almost as exciting as watching the actual filming.  It was amazing to compare the real life overcast grey sky that was above our heads with the orange and pink sky that appeared on the filming monitors. It turns out that a special filter is placed on top of the cameras during filming to make the sky look more bright, sunny, and “Miami-like”.  It was eerie to see.

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Just before actual filming was to begin, a large water truck came by and sprayed water all over the street.  I had known from watching a director’s commentary on DVD a while back that streets are often wetted down prior to a film shoot – for some reason, wet streets look better on camera than dry streets – but I had no idea how it was done.  So that was very cool to see.  If you’ve never noticed this phenomenon before, you will now.  🙂   Start looking at streets in the background of your favorite television shows and movies – nine times out of ten they will be soaking wet.  One of the crew members was joking that while you never see it rain on CSI: Miami, miraculously somehow the streets are always wet.  LOL

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After the street was sprayed, a white van pulled up and out stepped David Caruso.  And I just about died.  There he was, Horatio Caine, in the flesh, aviator sunglasses and all.  He immediately waved to us and said “Hi guys!” while a make-up artist put the finishing touches on his face and hair.  Then he called us over and introduced himself.  It was unbelievable!   Last October, when my dad and I got to watch The Closer  be filmed, not one cast member came over to talk to us.  So this was quite a surprise!  And when my dad handed over his CSI: Miami  Season One DVDs to be signed, David seemed genuinely touched and told us how appreciative he was to meet fans of the show.  He also gave us little autographed pictures of himself.  Then the A.D. called him over to begin filming and David gave both my dad and me a hug!  🙂  A few minutes later while they were setting something up for the shot, David walked over to us once again and asked if we wanted to take a picture with him.  He really could not have been sweeter and I can honestly say that out of all the actors I’ve met in my eight years living in L.A., David Caruso was by far the nicest.  A crew member told us that on one occasion when they were filming in Long Beach, a large tour bus filled with 75 German tourists pulled up, and got very excited that David Caruso was there.  David stopped filming and proceeded to sign autographs and take pictures with each and every person on that bus!!!  My dad kept saying “I just knew  he’d be nice!”  🙂  I hope that when I become a successful, famous actress that I will be that nice!  🙂 

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After our pics, we got to watch David film a scene with Elizabeth Berkley (of Saved by the Bell  and Showgirls  fame), who play’s H’s ex-wife Julia on CSI: Miami.  I cannot even tell you how amazing it was to be standing less than five feet away from David Caruso as he filmed a scene.  And I just about died when he did his trademark putting-on-sunglasses-and-staring-off-into-the-distance move.  It was the coolest thing ever!  I was very impressed with how quickly filming moved, too.  I’d say David filmed his scene in less than forty minutes, which in Hollywood time is almost unheard of!  What I was most impressed with, though, was how happy the cast and crew seemed to be.  There was a lot of joking around between takes and A LOT of laughter in the air.  Everyone seemed to be really enjoying their jobs and like they were just happy to be there.

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When David was wrapped for the day he had a crew member ask for my address as he had some CSI  memorabilia in his trailer that he wanted to give us.  How nice is that!  Then, as we were leaving the set, one of the crew members told us to stop back by later in the afternoon when the rest of the cast would be there filming a different scene.  So, of course, a few hours later my dad and I headed back to the set.  🙂  As soon as we arrived, one of the A.D.’s ran over to us and handed me a large envelope from David Caruso.  Inside was the memorabilia he had planned to send me, including several photographs autographed to both me and my dad, a Horatio Caine bobble head, and some CSI: Miami postcards and buttons.  That was just such a nice thing to do, we couldn’t even believe it!!!  My dad was especially excited about the bobble head which is now sitting on his desk.  🙂 

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As if all that wasn’t enough, a few minutes later the same A.D. walked over with Rex Linn who plays Detective Frank Tripp on the show.  Rex introduced himself and, like David, seemed genuinely happy to be speaking with fans of CSI:Miami.  Rex signed my dad’s DVD’s, posed for pictures with us, and even let me hold his prop gun.  🙂  Like David, Rex could NOT have been nicer or more outgoingly friendly to us. 

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While we were speaking with Rex, Eva La Rue came out of the house where they were filming and Rex took us over to meet her!  Eva was also completely friendly and super down to earth.  And gorgeous in person – much prettier than she even appears on television.

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Then the most amazing thing happened.  Are you sitting down for this??  Rex asked if we wanted to go inside the house to watch a few scenes be filmed.  Did we want to go inside and watch filming with Detective Frank Tripp as our personal tourguide?????  Is he crazy?  Of course we did!  Rex then took us through the backyard of the house where a scene was being filmed, introduced us to virtually every crew member on set, explained what all sorts of equipment was, and what was happening during the filming.  Rex is an amazing man and I could not believe he was taking time out of his busy day to give us a tour of the set.  I mean stuff like this just doesn’t happen in real life! 

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Once filming began, Rex led us over to the monitors and pulled out Emily Procter’s directors chair for me to sit in.  I was like WHAT?  I can’t sit in her chair!!!!  LOL 

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After we watched a bit of the filming that was taking place in the backyard, Rex was called inside to finish up a scene he was filming in the house with Eva La Rue.  He told us we could come inside to watch, so we, of course, followed him.  That scene was especially exciting for us because we got to watch firsthand as Eva administered one of the flashlight tests that the CSI  shows are so famous for.   SO COOL!  After that scene, Rex was wrapped for the day, but he told us we could go back outside to watch more of the filming in the backyard. 

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Which we, of course, did. 🙂  And that is when we got to meet both Megalyn Echikunwoke, who plays the new medical examiner on the show and who was very sweet . . .

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. . . and my fave, Emily Procter.  Emily was a total sweetheart and she really does have Calleigh Duquesne’s cute little Southern accent in real life.  I love it!  Emily was wrapped for lunch at that time and we ended up walking out of the house behind her.  On her way outside she made it a point to stop to thank the L.A. County policemen who were on duty and she gave both of them autographed pictures of herself.  I was completely amazed at this.  Not just Emily, but the entire cast seemed to be just so appreciative, thankful, and friendly.  It was so heartening to see.  And it just made me love the show even more than I already did.  What a truly amazing group of people!  

Sitting back and looking at these pictures of me on the set of my favorite TV show makes me think about how much I love L.A.  As much as I say I want to move to New York, it’s days like this one when I realize I am right where I am supposed to be.  🙂  More importantly, though, being on the set was a truly extraordinary experience for my dad.  Especially since he just recently got out of the hospital and has been sick on and off for the past few years.   I believe having such a memorable encounter with the cast of his favorite television show brought him some much needed healing in a form he never would have found in a hospital or a doctor’s office.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: CSI: Miami  was filmed at 887 El Campo Drive in Pasadena, right around the corner from the Brothers and Sisters  House.  Look for the episode to air sometime in March.

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The Largest Home in Pasadena!

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If you thought the Benson mansion  was huge, you ain’t seen nothing yet!  🙂  Just down the street is another immense mansion – one that actually has the distinction of being the LARGEST home in Pasadena!!!   The 31,415 square foot home has 15 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms!!!!!, and sits on close to five acres.  I mean, come on, does any one person honestly need that much room????  19 bathrooms????  LOL  When I first moved to Southern California, in the year 2000, this mansion was actually under construction.  (There are some differing reports which state the mansion was built in 1991, but when I visited the property in 2000 and in subsequent years, it was still undergoing construction.)  The building was finally completed about two years ago and the home has sat empty ever since.  So strange! 

From what I heard from a real estate agent, in 1997 the owners actually purchased three different neighboring mansions on South Oakland Avenue in Pasadena only to completely knock them all down and build the monstrosity that stands there today.  Sadly, one of the homes that was demolished was a mansion that formerly stood at 1284 S. Oakland that was featured as the Clampbett’s new upscale digs in the 1993 movie The Beverly Hillbillies.  Such a bummer!!!

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However, all is not lost, as the newly built mansion has a Hollywood resume of its own.  Besides being featured in an LG commercial, the property showed up in the Season 4 episode of CSI: Miami  entitled “Driven”.  In the episode, a group of rich women are robbed at gunpoint at an upscale hotel spa.  The mansion stood in for the hotel and spa in the episode.  It’s easy to see why producers chose to use this home as the hotel, the mansion and surrounding property are so unbelievably huge and ornate that they could easily pass for a resort. 

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From what I understand the mansion has never been lived in and has been on the market for the past two years for the meager asking price of $52 million.  You can take a look at its now-defunt real estate website here.  According to this article, the mansion is one of the ten most expensive homes in the United States!   And this article  has some great pics of the unbelievable mansion and its five acre property. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The largest home in Pasadena is located at 1288 South Oakland Avenue.

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Miami-Dade-Hawthorne-California Police Department

Me Doing My Best Horatio Cane!My favorite CSI is CSI: Miami and I was absolutely obsessed with finding the location used as the Miami-Dade police department.  One of my good friends had an audition for CSI: Miami and, knowing what a stalker I am, he took me with him to the CSI:Miami  studio in Redondo Beach so that I could scout locations.  I was hoping the building was located somewhere inside the studio gates, but alas, I was wrong. 

I ended up finding the location on the website www.seeing-stars.com, while stalking filming sites from another show – The O.C – where the same site was used as The Newport Group building. 

Miami-Dade PD is located in Hawthorne, California and is actually the headquarters for the F.A.A. Federal Credit Union.  I highly recommend visiting this unusual building – even if you are not a fan of The O.C. or CSI: Miami – it is an amazing sight to behold.  The curvature of the exterior walls almost gives you the feeling of vertigo.

Me doing my best Horatio Cane!Me doing my best Horatio Caine imitation!

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 

Stalk It: Miami-Dade Police Department is located at 14600 Aviation Blvd. in Hawthorne, California, pretty close to LAX and just off the 405 Freeway.  Drive slowly down Aviation Blvd. as the building is set far back from the road and you might drive right by it without seeing it.  Peek inside and you’ll see that the CSI: Miami sets were modeled after the real interior.  I would try to visit the building on a weekday – you just might see the cast and crew filming an episode!  I would definitely recommend visiting www.seeing-stars.com as well – it is a great stalking site!

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