Tag Archives: Los Angeles filming locations

The License to Drive School

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This weekend, thanks to Mike over at MovieShotsLA, I got to stalk the high school used in fave 80s movie License to Drive.  When I found out that Mike had found this filming location long ago, I completely freaked out and of course immediately dragged my boyfriend, and my good friend Nat who was visiting from San Francisco, out to stalk it.  It turns out, though, that the License to Drive high school is not really a high school at all, but rather a middle school named Walter Reed.   And, let me tell you, for a middle school the place is absolutely HUGE.  I couldn’t get over it!  I think my entire junior high could have fit on Walter Reed’s front lawn.  LOL 

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Walter Reed Middle School shows up several times in License to Drive, most often as the location where Mercedes Lane waits on an outdoor bench for her Ferrari-driving boyfriend to pick her up after school.  It was that bench that I was most excited to see in person as I absolutely worshiped Mercedes growing up!  I am happy to report that Mercedes’ bench is still there twenty years later and looks pretty much exactly the same as it did when filming took place.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to be sitting in the exact spot my idol Mercedes Lane had sat all those years ago.  🙂  Too bad I didn’t have my denim skirt and white ankle boots on for the picture.  LOL

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Walter Reed’s unique pick-up/drop-off area located in front of the school is the reason I believe producers chose to use the school for filming.  That area worked perfectly for the many pick-up/drop-off scenes featured in the movie.

Besides License to Drive, Walter Reed also appeared in 7th Heaven (as Simon Camden’s elementary school), 2006’s The Shaggy Dog  remake, Role Models, Accepted, The West Wing, CSI, and Malcom in the Middle.  The exterior of the school is very picturesque and has a very Middle America feel to it, so it is easy to see why it is used so often for filming.  I was also excited to find out that quite a few celebs attended Walter Reed during their tween years, including Mayim Bialik (aka TV’s Blossom), Brian Austin Green, Adam Carolla, Teri Garr, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alyson Hannigan, Christina Milian, and, ironically, Khrystyne Haje who played Simone on Head of the Class.  I say ironically because the storyline of Head of the Class, the show Khrystyne would later star in, was actually loosely based on the Walter Reed Middle School honor program. 🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Walter Reed Middle School is located at 4525 Irvine Avenue in North Hollywood.

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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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Anaconda!

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No, the above title does not refer to the 1997 JLo/Ice Cube action flick Anaconda (a movie I have never seen), but a Beverly Hills, 90210 episode of the same name.  The other day while I was hanging out on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Mike (from MovieShotsLA) called me and asked if I wouldn’t mind stalking a nearby location for him.  He was looking for the pawn shop that down-on-his-luck Dylan visited in that Second Season episode, which he could tell from the above screen capture was located somewhere on 2nd Street in Santa Monica. 

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While watching the pawn shop scene, Mike immediately recognized the famous Santa Monica Crocker Clock Tower in the background behind Dylan.  The Crocker Clock Tower is somewhat of a landmark building in Santa Monica, most likely due to its unusual art deco style and size – it is the second tallest building in the city.  The clock tower is also famous for another reason, though.  On January 17, 1994, at 4:31 a.m. the Northridge Earthquake struck Los Angeles and its surrounding area.  The 6.7 magnitute quake not only rocked the city, but the Crocker Clock Tower as well, stopping its hands at the precise moment the first wave struck.  For over six years afterwards the clock’s hands remained frozen in time at 4:31 a.m., a constant reminder to all who viewed it of the devastating quake.  In 2000, the clock was finally fixed for the meager cost of $75,000.

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Using the clock tower (and the above screen capture) as his guide, Mike was able to figure out the exact location of Dylan’s pawn shop, which I am sad to say is no longer in business.   Such a bummer!  Currently a sound design company named RMD Entertainment occupies the space.  “Anaconda” was filmed 17 years ago and in that time a lot on 2nd street has changed.  While I haven’t been able to confirm it, I do believe that filming took place at an actual pawn shop that was once located in RMD’s space.   Although it is also a possibility that a fake pawn shop was set up in a vacant storefront at that location strictly for the filming of the “Anaconda” episode.  But I believe the former is true.

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I am constantly shocked when locations Mike and I stalk look different than how they appeared onscreen.  Mike is always telling me that I need to remember that these episodes were filmed almost two decades ago and that the locations where they were filmed will have changed considerably in twenty years time.  But since Beverly Hills, 90210  is so frozen in time for me, I am always expecting the locations to be frozen in time, as well, and am always shocked when I find that they aren’t.  LOL

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The pawn shop featured in “Anaconda” is now RMD Entertainment which is located at 1418 2nd Street in Santa Monica. The Crocker Clock Tower building is located just around the corner at 225 Santa Monica Boulevard.

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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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The Ambassador Hotel

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Katharine Hepburn once said, “I have many regrets and I’m sure everyone does.  The stupid things you do, you regret . . . if you have any sense.”  Katharine was right.   One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to see the Ambassador Hotel in person before it was torn down in 2005.  I lived in L.A. for a good five years before demolition began on the legendary hotel and am literally kicking myself now for never taking the opportunity to see the hotel with my own two eyes.  And now it is too late.  Today the hotel is completely gone.  It absolutely sickens me that this rare piece of Los Angeles history has vanished from our skyline.  😦   I asked Mike, from MovieShotsLA, if he had ever visited the Ambassador while it was still standing, which of course, he had, and he sent me the above photos.

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Today, the 23.7 acre property that once held one of L.A.’s finest hotels is nothing more than a construction site – the future location of three new public schools for the Los Angeles Unified School District.   

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The only pieces of the hotel that remain are the circular entrance,

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and one wall of the legendary Cocoanut Grove nightclub – both of which are said to be incorporated into the building of the new schools.

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The Ambassador opened it doors on New Year’s Day 1921. From opening day up until the late 1960s, the 500 room hotel was a home away from home for movie stars, world leaders, U.S. Presidents, and other V.I.P.’s.  Such famous names as Howard Hughes, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Carey Grant, Katharine Hepburn, President Kennedy, President Hoover, and Bob Hope all frequented the hotel at one time or another.  The hotel’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub was the place to see and be seen once upon a time.  Such legendary performers as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Bing Crosby and Richard Pryor all performed on the Grove’s hallowed stage and the Academy Awards were held there six times.  One of the Ambassador’s main claims to fame (or at least my favorite) is that it is the place where Marilyn Monroe first got her start.  In 1944, the then unknown Norma Jean Baker signed with Miss Emmaline Snively’s Blue Book Modeling Agency, which was located inside the hotel.  Perhap’s the Ambassador’s more well known, and much more tragic, claim to fame is that it was the location where Robert Kennedy was shot and killed in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968.  Kennedy had just won California’s primary nomination for the presidency and was giving his victory speech in the hotel’s Embassy Ballroom.  After the speech, he was wisked through the hotel’s kitchen on his way to the press area.  Sadly, he never made it.  He was instead shot to death near the kitchen’s pantry by Palestinian radical Sirhan Sirhan. 

At the time of RFK’s assasination, the area surrounding the Ambassador had become infested with gangs, drugs, and crime, causing the once grand hotel to fall into a steady economic decline.  Sadly, once the hotel began its slump, it was never revived.  😦   The Ambassador’s doors were closed to the public in 1989 and the hotel was sold to Donald Trump for $64 million.   The Donald, and many others, had plans to completely rennovate the hotel and restore it to its former grandeur, but sadly, that was not to be.  The Ambassador sat empty for the next 16 years while its fate was decided.  The Los Angeles Unified School District, in need of property to build new schools, obtained rights to the land based on imminent domain.  This plan tied up the property for years, while L.A.U.S.D. fought developers, conservationists, and even lawyers for Sirhan Sirhan, who argued that the hotel’s kitchen must be kept intact so further evidence could be gathered to exonerate their client.  Sadly, the developers and the conservationists lost the battle and in September of 2005, L.A.U.S.D. began its demolition of the Ambassador.  The last remaining piece of the Ambassador was knocked down on January 16, 2006 – almost 85 years to the day of the hotel’s grand opening.  It sickens me that this was allowed to happen.  

During the years when the Ambassador was closed and a battle was being fought over her future, Hollywood moved in and started filming!  The 500 room hotel provided producers with the perfect locale to shoot movies – a vacant, already-built hotel set with plenty of parking for film trucks.  The Ambassador has been featured in so many movies that it is virtually impossible to even try to mention them all.  A short list of examples: That Thing You Do (where it played itself), Crossroads (where it stood in for all of the hotel room scenes), The Graduate (it was the hotel where Dustin Hoffman carried on his illicit affair with Anne Bancroft), Catch Me If You Can, The Mask (where it stood in for the Coco Bongo Nightclub), Bobby, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Pretty Woman (the main ballroom was used for the scene where Hector Alizondo teaches Julia Roberts about table manners and the scene where Richard Gere plays the piano), Forest Gump (it was featured as the bar where Jenny plays the guitar naked onstage), Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (it was the reunion locale), Apollo 13 (two hotel rooms stood in for Gary Sinese and Kevin Bacon’s apartments), L.A. Story (it stood in for the fictional L’Idiot restaurant), and The Wedding Singer – among literally countless others!  So even though the Ambassador is now gone, she will be forever preserved on the silver screen thanks to the magic of the movies.

Here is a great website devoted to the hotel.  Here is a great article written by one of the last men to ever photograph the hotel, Whit Wagner.  I absolutely love the title.  🙂  And here is a link to some of the photographs he took that dayHere are some more great photos of the interior.  And finally, here is a great blog about the hotel’s demolition.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

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Stalk It: The site where the Ambassador Hotel once stood is located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

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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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Ray’s Pumpkins

Last week, thanks to Mike over at MovieShotsLA, I was able to stalk the pumpkin patch that was owned by Ray Pruit’s family on the original Beverly Hills, 90210.   I was shocked when Mike told me that the property where filming took place is the location of an actual pumpkin patch in real life.  I had been convinced that producers just dressed an empty lot for the filming of 90210, but in reality they rented out a real pumpkin patch that has occupied the same corner in Sherman Oaks for over fifteen years. 

When I drove up to the patch I just about keeled over with excitement as there was a large sign out front which read “Ray’s Pumpkins”.  I naively thought the owner named the patch after Ray Pruit because of the filming that took place there, but it turns out that the actual owner’s name is Ray!  How cool is that! 

Ray really could not have been nicer and spoke to me about the filming of 90210  for a good 15 minutes.  He said that everyone on the cast and crew was very nice and very professional.  Even though the pumpkin patch scene lasted only about four minutes and was shown in only one episode (the Season 5 episode entitled “Homecoming”), the filming took a full two days to complete.  Ray told me that during the filming, some construction was being done on an apartment building located across the street from the patch.  At one point the construction noise got too loud, so the producers of 90210  actually paid to have all construction shut down for the remainder of the shoot!  LOL  The cast and crew of 90210  returned to Ray’s later that same year and the real Ray’s Christmas tree lot stood in for the one owned by the Pruit Family in a Christmas episode of the show.  Ray said there is always some sort of filming taking place at the patch.  He couldn’t remember all of the productions that had filmed there, but he did say that Dancing With The Stars  featured the patch in a brief segment last year. 

Ray’s Pumpkin’s is a very cool pumpkin patch and I highly recommend stalking it.  There are hundreds upon hundreds of pumpkins to choose from and tons of cute Halloween merchandise and decorations for sale.  Ray told me that he also gets quite a few Valley celebs visiting his patch each year, so you just might get to rub elbows with the stars while pumpkin shopping.  🙂  Unfortunately I visited Ray’s after it was already dark outside, so my pics didn’t turn out very well and don’t really do the patch justice.  But a BIG THANK YOU to Mike for providing the top pic.  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Ray’s Pumpkins is located at the corner of Hazeltine Avenue and Moorpark Street in Sherman Oaks.  Ray also owns the Peterson Ranch Fruit Stand located at 3402 Los Angeles Avenue in Somis, CA. The fruit stand is also a frequent filming location.  It is most often used in commercials and was featured recently in a car ad.

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We’ll Always Have Paris

Once again I am indebted to Mike over at MovieShotsLA  for finding yet another location that had eluded me – a location I had been searching for for close to 16 years!  During Season 3 of the original 90210, Brenda and Donna spend their summer in Paris.  In the episode entitled “Shooting Star/An American In Paris” Brenda meets a tall, dark and handsome college student named Rick in a beautiful French garden.  Later on in the episode the two walk underneath a curved rose-covered trellis and it is that trellis that I have been searching for ever since that episode aired way back in August of 1992.  A few years after that episode aired, my parents took me on a trip to Europe as a present for my high school graduation.  Our first stop was France and I remember walking around the streets of Paris carrying a small picture of Brenda and Rick under that trellis, stopping every native French person I could find to ask if they knew where it was located.  Yes, I really am that blonde!  🙂  My naive 18 year old self truly believed that Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling had actually flown to France to film their Paris scenes.  That reality was shattered this past summer when I took the Universal Studios tour  and discovered that most of “Paris” was actually filmed at the Universal backlot.   Not filmed at Universal, though, were the garden scenes.  So I still had no idea where Brenda and Rick’s trellis was located.  Knowing how obsessed I was with finding Brenda’s garden, Mike stayed up very late one night this week and located it for me and I was able to actually stalk it yesterday!!  Let me tell you, I could not have been more excited!!

Mike and I were fairly certain that Brenda’s garden was located in one of the three main botanical gardens in LA, and since I had stalked the Arcadia Arboretum on Sunday  without finding it, Mike set his sights on the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.  He stayed up late one night searching Google images until he finally located Brenda’s trellis in the Rose Garden area of the Huntington, a good 5,000 miles from Paris, France.  THANKS MIKE!!!!  So yesterday, I dragged my dad out to the Huntington, in 103 degree heat no less, to do some 90210  stalking. 

The Huntington shows up three times in the “Shooting Star/An American in Paris” episode.  We first see it in the scene when Brenda and Rick first meet.  In that scene, Brenda is sitting on a circular bench underneath a large oak tree.  Sadly, that circular bench was removed long ago and the tree Brenda sat under is now surrounded by foliage, so the area looks very different.  But there was a similar bench located just a few yards away, so I had to take a picture sitting on that.  🙂

The area where Brenda actually sat sixteen years ago is located on the very Southeast corner of the North Vista lawn, pictured above.  The path Rick walks through when he first comes upon Brenda is now gone and filled in with foliage.  Such a bummer!!!!   

This same tree and bench area also show up in the episode following “Shooting Star/An American in Paris”, which is entitled “Castles In The Sand”.  It is shown in the scene when Brenda dreams about Rick on her plane flight home to LA

The next location I dragged my dad to stalk was the white flowered trellis Brenda and Rick walk under on their last night in Paris together.  This is the location where “Reek” tells Brenda that if she were truly in love with Dylan she wouldn’t be standing there with him and then the two share their final Paris kiss.  This particular trellis is located in the Rose Garden area of the Huntington, just off of the Tea Room. 

This same location also shows up in the Hil D. movie A Cinderella Story.  In the movie Hilary attends a masquerade ball at the Huntington.  The exteriors of the ball location were filmed outside of the Huntington Gallery building (the interiors were actually filmed at a theatre in Downtown LA).  During the ball, Chad Michael Murray takes Hil on a walk under the same trellises Rick and Brenda walked under 12 years before.  After walking under the trellises, Chad leads Hilary to a gazebo where the two share a moonlit dance.  That gazebo was brought in by producers and put in the Brown Garden especially for the filming and was removed when the three day shoot was complete.

Next up was the site I was most excited about seeing in person, the location I had wandered the streets of Paris trying to find – the curved rose-covered trellis Brenda and Rick walk beneath during their tour of Paris.  Even sixteen years later, I could not have been more excited to see this location in person.  🙂  I truly felt like a high school girl all over again!  The trellis appeared in the scene where Brenda takes Rick on a walking tour of Paris and I am happy to report that it looks EXACTLY the same as it did when it appeared on 90210, except that due to the time of year, the flowers usually covering it were not in full bloom yesterday.  This trellis is also located in the Huntington’s Rose Garden; it covers the path which leads to the Japanese Garden area.

Interestingly enough, this very same location showed up on 90210  some years later as the location where Steve and Janet tie the knot.  Producers added some black street lights to the site which are not normally there.  Otherwise it looks much the same as it did when it first appeared on 90210

 

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens was originally the private home of Central Pacific Railroad owner Henry E. Huntington and his wife Arabella.  Originally called the San Marino Ranch, Henry and his wife purchased the property in 1902 and began creating a truly incredible botanical garden in their backyard.  Throughout his lifetime, Henry also collected fine art and books and today it is his art, library and gardens that make up the Huntington.  The 207 acre property is an absolutely beautiful place to spend an afternoon.  I am usually not big on museums, but the Huntington is simply breathtaking.  The gardens alone cover over 120 acres and consist of painstakingly maintained landscapes from different areas of the world. It really takes more than one visit to discover all of this amazing place.  The grounds are serene and peaceful and when visiting, you will feel a million miles away from Los Angeles.  The Rose Garden is exquisite, the Bonzai Court and Zen Garden are truly unique, the Japanese Garden is incredible with its winding koi ponds and bamboo forests, and the newly built Chinese Garden with its enormous lake is absolutely gorgeous.  This is one location that is a must-see, not just for stalkers, but for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area. 

Besides 90210  and A Cinderella Story, The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens has appeared in countless movie and television productions, including First Daughter, Be Cool, Legally Blonde 2, The Bachelor  reality show, The Wedding Planner, Beverly Hills Ninja, The West Wing, American Wedding, Monster in Law, Charlie’s Angels, as well as hundreds of others.  It was also the location of Robert and Anna’s wedding on the soap opera General Hospital.  Anytime you see a garden popping up on one of your favorite television shows or movies, chances are it was filmed at the Huntington. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino.  You can visit their website here.  You can also visit their filming website here.

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“De Plane, De Plane!”

         

This weekend my boyfriend and I hung out with Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and his fiance Jen, and we all sat down to watch some Season 3 episodes of the original 90210.   I became a bit obsessed with finding the location that stood in for the Paris garden where Brenda takes “Reek” in the episode entitled “Shooting Star/An American In Paris”.  I knew, from the Universal Studios tour, that most of the Paris scenes on 90210 were filmed in the Little Europe section of the Universal backlot, but the garden area used in the episode we watched on Saturday was definitely not a backlot.  Mike and I figured out that the scenes had to have been shot in one of three places – the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, or Descanso Gardens in La Canada.  I decided if I really wanted to find Brenda’s garden, I was just going to have to hit up all three (I told you I was a bit obsessed!), so yesterday I dragged my boyfriend out to the Arboretum for a little 90210  stalking.  Unfortunately, after walking pretty much every square foot of the 127 acre property, I realized that 90210  was not in fact filmed at the Arboretum.  But since countless other productions have been filmed there, I still felt it was blog-worthy.  🙂

The Arboretum was originally the private ranch of real estate tycoon Elias Jackson Baldwin, who first purchased the land in 1875.  He lived on the property, which at the time was called Rancho Santa Anita, and eventually built a guest home, called the Queen Anne Cottage, to house his many guests.  In 1936, the land was purchased by a group of investors led by Harry Chandler, publisher of the LA Times  newspaper.  That same year Hollywood came a knockin’ on the Arboretum’s door when producers of the film Tarzan Escapes chose to film much of their movie on the vast property.  In 1947, the property was purchased by both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles, who turned it into a public arboretum and botanical garden.  

           

                               

Since Tarzan Escapes, literally hundreds upon hundreds of film, television and commercial productions have shot at the Arboretum.  The most notable credit on the Arboretum’s resume is the television series Fantasy Island, which showcased Elias Baldwin’s former guest house, the Queen Anne Cottage, each week in its opening credits.  The Cottage was none other than the location where Tatoo proclaimed “De plane, de plane!” at the beginning of each episode.  The first few episodes of Fantasy Island  were actually filmed on location at the Arboretum, but after that a replica of the cottage was built on a soundstage to be used for filming.   You can watch the intro to Fantasy Island  here.

The Queen Anne Cottage was also featured in Meet the Fockers  as Ben Stiller’s parents’ home.  In Meet the Fockers  the Cottage was painted brown and looks very different than it does in real life.

                 

Besides Fantasy Island, the Arboretum shows up in The African Queen, The Road to Singapore, Roots, Wonder Woman, The American President, Anaconda, Bedazzled, Battle of Shaker Heights, Terminator 2, as well as a recent episode of Heroes, where it stood in for the Peruvian jungle.  The waterfall and bamboo park area of the Arboretum were also featured in the Destiny’s Child Survivor  video (pictured above).

                 

The Arboretum is an absolutely beautiful place to visit, with a very reasonable $7 entrance fee.  Even though I was seriously dissapointed that it was not the location used in 90210, I still had a great time spending my day there.  The Arboretum features over 127 acres of gardens, ponds, lakes, waterfalls, meandering pathways and forests to explore.  I highly recommend stalking it!

        

Perhaps the best feature of the Arboretum, though, are the hundreds of peacocks that make their home there and walk the property freely.  The peacocks are extremely tame (I even saw them eating grapes right out of a little girl’s hand) and walk right next to you, as if exploring the Arboretum themselves.  They were so much fun to see!!   

Until next time, Happy Stalking!! 🙂

Stalk It: The Los Angeles State and County Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located at 301 N. Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia.  The Arboretum is open from 9am to 5pm.  Tickets will cost you $7 per person, but you can get in free each third Tuesday of the month.

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“I Don’t Need the BMW Anymore, I Already Have A Mercedes!”

This past weekend while out stalking Les Anderson’s house  from my fave 80s movie License to Drive, I randomly found the house of his girlfriend Mercedes from the movie.  This was another location that Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I were obsessed with finding.  We had been doing some cyber-stalking of Mercedes’ house for a few weeks with no luck.  We both had an inkling, though, that the house was somewhere right around Les’ house.  And then, this weekend, fate stepped in.  As my boyfriend pulled the car away from Les Anderson’s house, he took a turn onto Loring Drive and I literally started screaming “STOP THE CAR!”  Out of the corner of my eye, I had spotted the house!

Truth be told, I didn’t so much spot the house, as I did the street in front of the house.  While watching License to Drive  trying to find Mercedes’ house, I noticed that three streets joined and became one right at her front door (shown in the above screen capture).  I had been cyberstalking all week, trying to find three streets that came together in front of a large brick house, but to no avail.  Until my boyfriend took a turn onto Loring on Sunday, and I noticed the exact same street set-up that I had seen so many times in the movie.  When my boyfriend backed the car up, I looked at the house located where the three streets meet and sure enough, there was Mercedes’ house!  YAY! 

I must say it was very exciting to be standing there in my teenage idol’s footsteps, even all these years later.  🙂  Especially since the house looks exactly like it did back when License to Drive  was filmed.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Mercedes house is located at 485 Loring Drive in Los Angeles, just a few blocks from Corey Haim’s house in the movie.

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