Tag Archives: famous churches

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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Mr. Big’s Church

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One New York location that I have long been wanting to stalk is the church featured in the Season One episode of Sex and the City entitled “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”.  In the episode Carrie, while doing some research on religion for her weekly column, stumbles upon Big and his mother coming out of a church one Sunday morning.  As usual, Carrie gets a bit carried away and returns to that same church the following Sunday, in full church regalia, to spy on Big and his mom.  At the end of the episode, after Mr. Big introduces Carrie to his mother as “my friend”, the two wind up breaking up – for the first of what is to be many times. 

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 This location was fairly easy to find as in the episode Carrie refers to the church as “Park Avenue Presbyterian”.  While not the actual name of the church, when I googled “Park Avenue Presbyterian”, the address of a Presbyterian church located on Park Avenue popped up and, sure enough, it was the one used in the episode.  In real life it is named Central Presbyterian Church and it is currently undergoing renovations, so I was not able to get the best photographs of it.  But you can see in the above screen captures that the exterior doors look just as they did on SATC.

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Filming for the “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” episode took place both inside and outside of the church.  And while I did venture inside for a quick peek at the interior, I didn’t take any photographs as I have to admit I would have felt just slightly uncomfortable taking pictures inside of a church for the sole reason that a show by the name of “Sex and the City” was filmed there.  I would have just died if a priest had walked up to me and asked me what I was doing!  LOL  The church is very beautiful inside, though, with stained glass windows, stone archways, and a huge altar, and I am happy to report that it looks very much the same today as it did back in 1998 when the episode was filmed.

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While there, I just had to take a picture across the street from the church, at the location where Carrie stands when she first spots Big and his mom.  The really sad part about this photograph is that I hadn’t actually seen the “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” episode for a while, yet, for some reason, I still remembered exactly how Carrie was standing in the scene.  I am beginning to think I really need to get a life!  LOL  Turns out, though, that while I had Carrie’s pose down pat, I actually had the wrong location!!  LOL    As you can see in the above screen capture, Carrie is actually standing in front of the building to the right of the one I posed in front of.  LOL  Although that building has since been painted white, it still has the same wrought iron window coverings with circular cut-outs. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Central Presbyterian Church is located at 593 Park Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side.  You can visit their website here.  In “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, Mr. Big and his mom exit from the church’s side doors which are located on 64th Street.  The brownstone where Carrie stands in the episode is located just across the street at 107 East 64th Street.

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If You Two Ever Have Kids and One of Them Accidentally Sets Fire to the Living Room Rug . . .

My family and I were supposed to take the red eye home from Hawaii on Wednesday night, but en route to the airport we decided to turn in our tickets and stay a few more days.  LOL  It was a totally spur of the moment thing and SO MUCH FUN!  I can’t even believe we’re still here.  Anyway – I didn’t do any Kona stalking today, so thank goodness I have some locations in my stalking reserves that I can blog about.  🙂

Two weeks ago when I dragged my mom out for some Hollywood stalking, we hit up the Hollywood United Methodist Church.  I had just discovered this fab website on Back to the Future filming locations and was floored to find out that the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance scenes were filmed at the church, so I just had to stalk it.   Hollywood Methodist is pretty much closed to the public on weekdays, but we knocked on the office doors and the facility manager, Stephen, was nice enough to take us on a little filming tour.

  

The first place we stalked was the church gym, where the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance was filmed and where Marty’s parents finally get together and Marty rocks out to Johnny B. Goode onstage.  Currently the gym is being used for rehearsals of Les Miserables, which is playing at the Hollywood Bowl this upcoming weekend.

The same gym was also used for the talent competition scene in That Thing You Do.  It’s the location where the One-ders play their hit song “That Thing You Do” for the very first time.  It’s not very hard to see why producers chose to use the United Methodist gym for both of these movies, as when you step inside the gym you definitely feel like you are stepping back in time to the 50s. 

 

The scene from Back to the Future  when Marty says goodbye to his parents and the year 1955 and says the famous line “If you two ever have kids, and one of the accidentally sets fire to the living room rug, go easy on him” also takes place at the church, in a stairwell leading off from the gym.  When BTTF  was filmed, the doors leading to the outside were double doors, whereas now there is just a single door.  Otherwise the stairway looks exactly the same as it did during filming and I absolutely LOVED being there.  🙂

Besides Back to the Future  and That Thing You Do, the church has also been featured in Jarhead, Domino, Anger Management, Big Mama’s House, Beautiful, A Civil Action, Super Mario Bros., Star 80, Imitation of Life, General Hospital, Murder She Wrote, Golden Girls, Jake and the Fatman, and The A-Team, among many others.  The church kitchen and an anteroom were used extensively in the movie Sister Act, but the exterior of Whoopi’s church was not United Methodist.  That church is actually in San Francisco.  The Season 7 episode of CSI  entitled “Double Cross”, where a woman is found dead inside a church in a false crucifixion pose was filmed inside of Hollywood Methodist.

Hollywood United Methodist Church, which was modeled loosely after Westminster Abbey in England, opened its doors on March 16, 1930.  The church was made a historic-cultural monument in 1981 by the City of Los Angeles. United Methodist has long been supportive of those afflicted with the AIDS disease.  While other churches turned their backs on those living with the disease, Hollywood Methodist became a safe haven to those afflicted.  In 1993, on World AIDS Day, congregation members placed two large AIDS ribbons on the church tower, where they still stand today. The exterior of Hollywood Methodist often appears in television and film establishing shots of the Los Angeles area and no doubt you will notice it popping up time and time again on your favorite shows.  The church is absolutely beautiful and the facilities manager Stephen could not have been nicer to us.  I highly recommend stalking there if you find yourself in the area.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

     

Stalk It: The Hollywood United Methodist Church is located at 6817 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, about half a block away from the Hollywood & Highland Center.

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