One of my favorite sites to stalk in all of Beverly Hills is known simply as “The Witch’s House” and it just so happens to fit in perfectly with this month’s Halloween theme. Although not really a filming location, the house is a Beverly Hills landmark of sorts. Known formally as “The Spadena House”, after the Spadena family who lived there in the 1930s, the house did show up very briefly in fave movie Clueless, during the scene when Alicia Silverstone is “totally buggin'” about Ty’s crush on Josh (pictured in above screen capture).
The home was originally built on a silent film studio lot in Culver City known as Irvin C. Willat Productions and was used as an office/dressing room. It was designed by the very first art direction Oscar Winner, Henry C. Oliver, in 1921. Willat Productions was sold in 1926 and the house was purchased and later moved to its current location in the heart of Beverly Hills, where it was turned into a private home for the Spadena family. No one can say for sure how the house came to be called “The Witch’s House”, but mention the words to any Beverly Hills native and they will know exactly what you are talking about. Personally, I believe the house got its nickname due to its resemblance to the witch’s home in the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”.
In 1998, a real estate agent named Michael Libow was hired to sell the house. Apparently he became frustrated that all prospective buyers planned to demolish the property, so he took matters into his own hands and purchased the home himself for $1.3 million. He is currently restoring the property to its original state, along with the help of art director Nelson Coates. For the past few years the two have painstakingly rennovated the home, even re-creating the original moat which once surrounded the property. The Witch’s House is still currently under rennovation, so unfortunately a large chain link construction fence blocks some of the view from the street. But hopefully in a few years the rennovations will be complete and the house will be even more spectacular for us stalkers to view.
Because it is so truly unique, I am actually very surprised that the house hasn’t appeared in more Hollywood productions. Besides Clueless, the Witch’s House was also featured in the 1965 movie The Loved One, as the home of Sir John Gielgud’s character, and in the 1957 horror film The Undead. Supposedly, during its time on the Willat lot, the home also appeared in a quite a few 1920s silent films, as well.
The Witch’s House is simply a must see for all Beverly Hills tourists, especially during the Halloween season, and it is a beautiful example of Storybook style architecture.
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: The Witch’s House is located at 516 N. Waldren Drive, at the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue, in Beverly Hills.