Tag Archives: LA filming locations

Pawn Shop to the Stars

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Another day, another pawn shop to write about.  🙂  Ironically, just around the corner from the now defunct Beverly Hills, 90210 pawn shop that I blogged about yesterday, is yet another local pawn shop that also has a  filming history.  Who knew that pawn shops were such popular filming locations??  🙂  Angelo’s Jewelry and Loan Company, which touts itself as the “Pawn Shop to the Stars”, opened up in 1984 and has the distinction of being Santa Monica’s oldest pawn shop.  Since it was around at the time, I can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t used as Dylan’s pawn shop in the “Anaconda” episode of 90210.  Or why there would be two pawn shops in such close proximity to each other.  Perhaps that explains why the “Anaconda” one is no longer in business.  Anyway, even though the tiny shop was overlooked by 90210 location scouts, it did get featured just last year in the Owen Wilson movie Drillbit Taylor. 

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  In Drillbit Taylor, a group of nerdy teenage boys hire con man Owen Wilson to be their bodyguard.  But instead of protecting them, Drillbit ends up robbing them blind and hawking their goods at a local pawn shop.  That pawn shop was Angelo’s.  And it looks exactly the same in real life as it did in the movie.   According to the owner Angelo’s has also been featured in other productions over the years, but he was unable to recall which ones – which boggles my mind!  LOL  My guess is that Angelo’s has appeared in one or more of the L.A. based crime dramas such as Without A Trace, Cold Case, or the CSI shows. 

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I found this location thanks to Mike over at MovieShotsLA, but the truth is I really should have recognized it myself. For over two years I took acting classes right around the corner from Angelo’s and would pass by the shop at least three times a week on my way to grab a coffee before or after class.  Every time I walked by I would laugh at the silly signs in the store windows (pictured above).  So when Mike told me that my acting class pawn shop was the very same pawn shop featured in Drillbit Taylor, I had to mentally kick myself for not immediately recognizing it.  And I call myself a stalker!!  LOL  Sometimes I really think all that blond dye goes straight to my head.  LOL  Thanks, Mike!

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According to this article, Angelo’s claim of being the “Pawn Shop to the Stars” is actually not a joke.  Apparently movie stars do stop in to Angelo’s from time to time, although the owner refuses to divulge which ones.  I didn’t see any while I was there, but who knows, while stalking the place you might end up spotting a celeb or two!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Angelo’s Pawn Shop is located at 206 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica.

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Beverly Hills, 90291

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A few weeks back while I was out stalking the Californication  house, Mike (from MovieShotsLA) and I set out on a mission to find Kelly Taylor’s house from the new 90210  series.   I had been searching for the house for quite some time and on this particular day I called Mike at work (poor guy!) and said “We are going to find that house today!”  I’m nothing if not determined!  Mike and I knew the house was located in Venice from an article that appeared in Entertainment Weekly this past summer, and since I was already in the area, I realized it was now or never!  I was not leaving Venice without finding that house.  🙂

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 Kelly’s house has appeared on 90210 quite a few times, beginning with the pilot episode.  And each time it appears, a plaque with the numbers “2229” is clearly visible in the background.  But neither Mike nor I could seem to find any area in Venice with house numbers in the 2200 range.  We found blocks with addresses of 2100, 2300, and 2400, but for some reason 2200 was nowhere to be found.  Mike had become convinced that the “2229” sign was just a prop added to the house for filming, but I held out hope.  Something told me that sign was really there. 

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Since Google Street View does not cover the Venice area, I acted as Mike’s eyes and ears driving around Venice while he sat in front of his computer at work looking at aerial maps.  LOL  My boyfriend always says how amazing it is that Mike and I managed to find each other.   I mean who else in their right mind would do this stuff with me??  LOL  Anyway, after driving around for a while I was just about ready to give up hope.  Then all of sudden, an idea struck Mike and he told me to head to Glyndon Avenue.  He had remembered working once in a quaint little section of Venice and thought it might be the area where Kelly’s house was located.  So, using my trusty GPS, I drove over to Glyndon Avenue and sure enough, there was the house – “2229” sign and all.  See, you should always trust a woman’s intuition!  🙂 

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Many episodes of 90210  were filmed at the actual Venice Beach house and I also believe that some interior filming took place there, as well.  This is apparent in both the pilot episode, in which fellow teacher Ryan stops by Kelly’s house, flowers in hand . . .

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. . . and the episode entitled “Secrets and Lies” in which Silver’s house party gets slightly out of hand.

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Kelly’s house is very cute and very picturesque in person.  In fact, it is just the type of house I would expect to find a grown-up Kelly Taylor living in.  Especially since she is so obviously still carrying a torch for Dylan and this house is so reminiscent of Dylan’s Craftsman style home from the original series.  🙂  I absolutely loved stalking Kelly’s house.  In fact, driving around Venice that day while talking to Mike on the phone will always be one of my fondest stalking memories!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Kelly Taylor’s house is located at 2229 Glyndon Avenue in Venice.

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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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The Standard Hotel

     

My friend Stephanie, who is even more obsessed with Sex and the City  than I am, has a birthday coming up this Friday, so I decided to do a little post today in her honor.  In Stephanie’s favorite SATC  episodes, entitled “Escape from New York” and “Sex in Another City”, Carrie and the Girls take a little vacay to the West Coast.  While there, they stay at the uber-trendy Standard Hotel on the Sunset Strip, and it is that location that I set out to stalk yesterday.  So Steffi – this one’s for you!  🙂  

         

         

The Standard Hotel was featured prominently in both of the L.A. episodes of SATC.   The Standard’s rooftop pool shows up in several scenes – most memorably it is the location where Carrie discusses a rather painful bikini wax.

        

 The lobby area – complete with its live performance art – is also shown several times. 

         

But most memorable for me is the scene that takes place at the hotel’s front entrance – when Carrie is reprimanded for smoking. 

The Standard Hotel is an ultra-trendy, ultra-modern hot spot, with a huge celebrity following.  Originally opened in 1999, with celeb investors such as Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio (sigh!), the hotel was considered a less expensive alternative to the many other pricey West Hollywood hotels.  The Standard is a truly unique hotel – it’s sort of like a W Hotel, only amplified to the power of a hundred.  The Standard features ghost chairs and floor-to-wall-to-ceiling shag carpeting in the lobby, blue astro-turfed patios, live nude performance art showcased in a glass case behind the front desk, a roof-top pool/dessert bar, DJ’s spinning tunes nightly in the lobby, and, most famous of all, upside-down signage.  The whole thing is not really my cup of tea, but if you are into modern decor and the avant-garde, I highly recommend stalking the place.  Today there are four hotels in the Standard chain, with branches in Downtown L.A., Miami Beach and New York.  The Downtown L.A. Standard was featured repeatedly in the 2005 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  

BIG THANK YOU to Mike, over at MovieShotsLA, for sending me the above screen captures!!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Standard Hotel is located at 8300 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  You can visit the hotel’s website here.   A room there will run you $240 and up per night.

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West Beverly?

 

         

A few weeks ago, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, sent me some screen captures from a Season One episode of the original Beverly Hills, 90210  series entitled “Fame Is Where You Find It.”  In the episode Brandon “goes Hollywood” after landing a role on Brenda’s favorite television series Keep It Together.  In one scene in the episode, Keep It Together’s  star, Lydia Leeds, picks Brandon up from West Beverly High in her limousine during lunch.  While watching the episode, Mike noticed that the high school shown in that scene did not look like Torrance High School, the real life locale which was used to portray West Beverly High during the first three seasons of 90210.  Mike made it his mission to find out exactly what school was used in that scene. 

          

I tried to help him out in this stalking mission, but as usual he was one step ahead of me.  🙂  It didn’t take long at all before Mike found some online photos of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and recognized it as the place that stood in for West Beverly in the “Fame Is Where You Find It” episode.  I have visited and blogged about this location once before, but I just had to run right out to re-stalk it so that I could see the exact spot that was used in 90210.  🙂  And standing there at Notre Dame High, it was easy to see that, without a doubt, it was definitely the location used in the “Fame Is Where You Find It” episode.  It is so strange to me that producers filmed Brandon’s limousine pickup at a different location than Torrance High School, especially since there were a few other scenes from that same episode that were filmed at Torrance High.  What was it that caused producers to shoot this scene elsewhere when in ever other instance I know of, all exteriors of West Beverly were shot at Torrance?  Were they looking for a specific look for that particular scene that Torrance just didn’t have?  Did they run out of time and decide to shoot the brief limo scene at Notre Dame because it is about 20 miles closer to the 90210 studios  than Torrance High School?   Perhaps we will never know, but it is these little idiosyncrasies that absolutely fascinate me when it comes to filming locations – and that will keep me stalking day after day for years to come.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Notre Dame High School is located at 13645 Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks.  The exterior of the school’s chapel area was used for the filming of Brandon’s limousine pickup.

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The Sunset Tower Hotel

One of my favorite places to visit in all of LA is the Sunset Tower Hotel, located on the legendary Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  The Sunset Tower Hotel was built in 1931 by architect Leland A. Bryant for owner E.M. Fleming.  The Art Deco building, which originally functioned as an upscale apartment house, was the very first earthquake proof property to be built in Los Angeles.   While the hotel enjoyed some glory years during the hey dey of Hollywood, in the 1980s it fell into serious disrepair and was saved from demolition when it was purchased by London’s St. James Hotel chain.  Peter de Savary, owner of the St. James chain, poured $46 million into restoring the Sunset Tower and renamed it the St. James Club.  Since that time, the hotel has undergone several more renovations and name changes, until 2005 when it was purchased by New Yorker Jeff Klein, who restored the hotel to its original name and former grandeur.

During the hotel’s glory years numerous celebs called the Sunset Tower home, including Howard Hughes, Ava Gardner, Truman Capote, John Wayne, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Billie Burke aka Glinda the Good Witch, Mae West, Elizabeth Taylor, Conrad Hilton, gangster Bugsy Siegel – who was eventually evicted for running a gambling center out of his room, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Tim Curry, my fave Marilyn Monroe, and Iggy Pop, who made a habit of jumping into the hotel pool from his apartment window.  Today, the Tower is still popular with celebs.  The hotel’s restaurant, the Tower Bar, is a favorite of Jen Aniston, who dines there regularly.  Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Posh Spice, Brian Grazer and Barbara Walters have also all been spotted at the Tower Bar grabbing a bite to eat.  According to Wikipedia, during her pink-wig-wearing days, Britney Spears tried to book some rooms at the Tower.  Hotel owner Jeff Klein reportedly said to the hotel manager “If that piece of trailer trash so much as enters my driveway, you are fired!  She can’t come here with all my chic guests, she’ll ruin the place!”  LOL  Love it!  It  was during that same time period that the Bel Air Hotel also reportedly refused to rent rooms to BritBrit. 

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The hotel’s poolside Terrace Bar, my fave place to grab a drink in all of LA, is also quite popular with the celebs.  The first time I visited the Terrace, Kate Bosworth was there with her model boyfriend James Rousseau. I just had to go up to her, too, to tell her how much I loved Win A Date With Tad Hamilton.    She ended up signing an autograph for me and seemed genuinely thrilled that I had such good things to say about Win A Date.  Kate truly could not have been nicer and I can honestly say she was hands down the kindest out of all the celebs I have ever met.  And her boyfriend was a total cutie, too!!!! 🙂  I took the above pic of her with my blackberry, but it didn’t come out very well.  LOL

The legendary hotel has also been featured in countless television and movie productions, including The Player, Spinal Tap Goes to 20, Shadow Hours, Freaky Friday, Murder My Sweet, Get Shorty, Wayne’s World II , Strange Days, The Italian Job,  and  Rich Girls.  In The O.C., the hotel stood in for Newport Beach’s Four Seasons Hotel which was owned by Ryan’s rival, Oliver, on the show.  Only the exterior of the Tower Hotel was shown in The O.C.  For the interior shots of the lobby and Oliver’s penthouse suite, a different hotel was used – one which I am still trying to locate.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Sunset Tower Hotel is located at 8358 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  I highly recommend stalking the Sunset Tower – the poolside Terrace Bar is a great place to grab a drink while enjoying one of the best views in all of LA. 

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Lynn Bracken’s House

      

Thanks to E.J. over at The Movieland Directory, I was able to do a bit more LA Confidential  stalking this weekend.  As I mentioned in a previous post, LA Confidential  is one of my mom’s favorite movies of all time.  She has always been in love with the houses and bungalows used in the movie and has requested several times that I stalk them for her.  In fact, when my family first moved to LA she told our real estate agent that she wanted an “LA Confidential  house” and that’s pretty much exactly the type of house we moved into.  🙂

     

So when E.J. gave me the address to Kim Basinger’s character’s house from the movie, I of course had to run right out and stalk it.  Lynn Bracken’s house shows up several times in the film, especially the front door and front porch area, and from what I can tell from watching the movie, it appears that both the interior and the exterior of the home were used for filming.  The house is a very cute little 1950’s style Spanish bungalow and it’s pretty easy to see why producers chose to use it in the movie as it looks like it came straight out of the 1950’s. 

     

I must admit that when we first arrived at the house, I didn’t immediately recognize it.  The way the movie was filmed was somewhat deceiving and the layout of the house appears much different in person than I’d remembered it looking onscreen.  In the movie, Russell Crowe spends many hours in his car staked out in front of Lynn’s home watching her greet and say goodbye to her many “houseguests”.  But in real life the front door is located on the side of the home and is not immediately visible from the street which made me not entirely sure I was stalking the correct house.  But when I got home and popped in my LA Confidential  DVD it was easy to see that the two houses matched perfectly!  🙂  Thanks, EJ! 

I highly recommend stalking Lynn’s house if you are at all a fan of LA Confidential  or 1950’s California architecture.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Lynn Bracken’s house is located at 501 Wilcox Avenue, right where Wilcox meets Rossmore, in Los Angeles.  It is just around the corner from the American Idol and SYTYCD apartment which is located at 445 N. Rossmore.

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