Tag Archives: Pasadena filming locations

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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Donna Martin, Rose Princess

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When I first moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago, one of the very first items on my stalking agenda was to visit the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Headquarters.  I wanted to sign up for their annual Rose Court Pageant just like Donna Martin did in the Season 6 episode of 90210 entitled  “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”.  🙂  I was absolutely flabbergasted when after asking for an application the receptionist explained to me that in order to apply for the Rose Court I had to currently be in high school or in my first year of college (at the time I had just graduated from college).  I calmly told him that that simply wasn’t true as Donna was in her third year of college when she entered the pageant on 90210, to which he replied “Yes, but that was a TV show!”  LOL  I cannot believe 90210 decieved me like that!!  Anyway, even though my attempts at becoming Rose Queen were thwarted even before they began, I still loved being at the Tournament House and seeing where 90210 had filmed.  🙂

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The Tournament House was originally built for the Wrigley Family – yes, Wrigley as in the spearmint gum.  Construction on the home took over eight years and was finally completed in 1914.  At the time Orange Grove Boulevard was known as “Millionaires’ Row” due to the countless opulent mansions lining both sides of the street.  Sadly, most of those mansions are now long gone, torn down many years ago to make room for apartment complexes and smaller homes.  But the Tournament House remains.  When Mrs. Wrigley passed away in 1958, she deeded the home to the City of Pasadena with the specific instruction that it was to be used as the Tournament of Roses Headquarters, which it has remained ever since.

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The Tournament House, which sits on over 4 1/2 acres of beautifully manicured rose gardens, is absolutely beautiful in person.  The interior of the mansion is supposedly incredibly beautiful, as well, although I have never seen it.  Free tours of the House are offered every Thursday between 2pm and 4pm during the months of February through August and I think I am definitely going to have to partake in one soon.  🙂

The Rose Queen tradition began in 1905 and continues to this day.  It is so named because the Rose Queen reigns over Pasadena’s Annual Tournament of Roses Parade each New Years, riding on a special float.  Each year over 1,000 girls compete for the Rose Queen title, in a process that takes a month to complete.  Out of those thousand, one girl will become the Rose Queen and six others will become Rose Princesses in her Royal Court.  An interesting side note – actress Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill  fame) won the Rose Queen title in the year 2000.  🙂  You can see a photograph of Sophia with her Court here.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Tournament of Roses House is located at 391 South Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.

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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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The Benson House

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A few weeks ago while out stalking in Pasadena I stopped to take some pics of the mansion that was used as the home of Governor Gatling in the 1979 television series  Benson.  I had actually stalked this mansion eight years before when I first moved to Southern California, but had yet to blog about it.  So here goes.  🙂  Growing up, Benson  was one of my very favorite shows, but to tell you the truth it’s been so long, I barely even remember what it was about now!  But I sure do remember loving it as a kid.  🙂  The series, which ran from 1979 to 1986, was a spin-off of the show Soap.  Jerry Seinfeld’s very first acting gig was actually on Benson, where he played a character named Frankie.  According to IMDB, Jerry was unknowingly fired from the show after three episodes.  He apparently showed up to work one morning only to find out that he no longer had a job and that producers had forgotten to let him know!  LOL  Sounds like a plotline straight out of Seinfeld.  🙂

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In reality, the Benson  mansion is known as the Bundy House, named for its original owner, Harlow E. Bundy, inventor of the time clock.  Harlow, a resident of Endicott, New York built the mansion in 1914 after deciding he wanted to retire to Pasadena.  After retiring to the West Coast in 1915, he became involved (surprise, surprise) in the motion picture industry.   Sadly, though, he passed away in 1916, a brief year after moving into his Pasadena mansion.  The Bundy House is absolutely HUGE – almost unbelievably so!   According to Zillow, the ten bedroom, ten bathroom home is a whopping 15,878 square feet and sits on an 87, 070 square foot lot.  I highly recommend stalking the place as pictures just simply don’t do it justice. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!

Stalk It: The Benson  house is located at 1365 S. Oakland Avenue in Pasadena.

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Lady Heather’s House

 

On the second season of CSI: Las Vegas  we were introduced to a character whom Grissom later became very fond of named Lady Heather.  On the show Lady Heather, who was played by The O.C.’s  Melinda Clarke, owns an S&M fetish club in Sin City which she runs out of her extraordinary home.  Lady Heather first appeared as a guest star in an episode entitled “Slaves of Las Vegas” and has since reappeared on four separate occasions, becoming something of a cult favorite for CSI  fans.  Her unique home also appeared in all five of the “Lady Heather” episodes and, being that it is a pretty spooky house and fits in with my Haunted Hollywood theme for this month, I dragged my dad right out to stalk it.

Lady Heather’s house is an absolutely ginormous mansion (13,393 square feet according to Zillow!!) located on a large corner lot in South Pasadena.  I found the home thanks to Scott’s LA Audio Driving Tour of Pasadena, which lists many great Pasadena filming locations.  It is easy to see why producers chose to use this house for the filming of CSI, as it has a very looming and dark presence, most likely due to its sheer size.  For the filming of CSI, producers brought in many Gothic decorations, like large candelabras,  to create a more dark and spooky atmosphere.  But when you see the home in person, it becomes obvious that not much had to be done in preparation for filming due to its naturally ominous look.  In person, the home looks like it could be a real life haunted house.  And it actually looks like it belongs on a bayou in New Orleans rather than in the middle of Suburban Pasadena.  Unfortunately I don’t own CSI  on DVD, so I couldn’t get very good screen captures of the home.

In the various Lady Heather episodes, the exterior of the home is shown numerous times, especially the front door and front porch area (which unfortunately I do not have any screen captures of).

 A back porch area is also shown in a special 90 minute episode from Season 3 entitled “Lady Heather’s Box”.  It is the location where Grissom and the dominatrix sit down for a cup of tea.

Lady Heather’s house is a very cool place to see in person.  I highly recommend stalking it if you are at all a fan of CSI  or if you want to conduct your own Haunted Halloween tour.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Lady’s Heather’s house is located at 929 Buena Vista St., at the corner of Buena Vista and Meridian Avenue, in South Pasadena.

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Stalk Me If You Can

            

I have been head over heels for Leonardo DiCaprio for what feels like pretty much my whole life – since long before Titanic, and even before the Growing Pains  days.  Yes, I actually sat through his first flick Critters 3.  I do love me some Leo!  One of my fave Leo movies (besides Titanic, of course!) is Catch Me If You Can, so a few years ago, when I found out that scenes from that movie were filmed at a house on California Boulevard in Pasadena, I ran right out to stalk it.  The Pasadena house shows up towards the second half of the movie, as the home where Leo’s mom lives after she divorces Christopher Walken’s character.

The first scene where the house is featured is the scene when Tom Hanks and two other FBI agents pay a visit to Frank Abagnale Jr’s (Leo’s character) mom to dig up some information on the con man.  In the scene, Frank’s mom naively offers to “write a check” for the money Frank has stolen until Tom Hank informs her the amount owed is about $1.3 million.  🙂   

 

Towards the end of the movie, the house is featured yet again in the scene when Leo arrives at his mother’s home on Christmas Eve only to discover that she now has a whole new family.  A few minutes later, Tom Hanks shows up with a calvary of police cars to arrest him.  Not a very Merry Christmas for Leo!  You can watch the (ultra depressing) Christmas scene here.

The Catch Me If You Can  house looks pretty much exactly the same in person as it does in the movie.  It is interesting to note, though, that there are hundreds of homes in Pasadena that look almost exactly like this one.  There is truly nothing different or spectacular about it to distinguish it from the countless other white clapboard homes in the area.  So it absolutely fascinates to contemplate what it was about this home that made producers choose it over the others.  The only reason I can come up with is that this home has a very large front yard area, which was necessary for the scene when Leo is arrested, as there needed to be enough room for six police cars to drive up onto the front lawn.  These location decisions always fascinate me, though, and I would love to sit down and talk with a location scout someday to find out what exactly their thought processes are in determining locations.    

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Catch Me If You Can  house is located at 3077 E. California Boulevard in Pasadena.  I also just found out that Martin Sheen’s New Orleans house in the movie is actually located in Altadena, so it looks like I have some more Catch Me If You Can  stalking to do!  🙂

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Stalking In Pink

Got a challenge  the other day from Niki all the way over in Greece to stalk some of the locations from her favorite 80s flick Pretty In Pink.  I have to admit that before I got the challenge I had never actually seen the movie, so this week I made a special trip to Blockbuster to rent it.  After watching it I was in shock that I had somehow missed seeing this movie during the 80s – Pretty In Pink  is pretty much right up my alley and I have no idea why I had never watched it before this week.  Better late than never, though, right?  Anyway, thanks to Mike over at MovieShotsLA, who located all of the Pretty In Pink  locations long ago, I was able to stalk one of the houses from the movie yesterday.  

   

In Pretty In Pink, Molly Ringwald plays Andie, a girl who is literally from the wrong side of the tracks.  In the movie, Andie’s tiny home is located directly next to a set of train tracks supposedly in the Chicago area.  In reality, her home can be found just outside of L.A., in South Pasadena, right next to the Metro Gold Line tracks.  Andie’s train tracks looks much the same today as they did back during the filming of the movie.  I was actually pretty surprised to discover that the majority of the filming of Pretty In Pink took place in Los Angeles, as John Hughes usually prefers to film on location in Chicago. 

     

               

Anyway, I was absolutely amazed to discover that Andie’s house also looks EXACTLY the same today as it did back in 1985 when filming for Pretty In Pink  took place.  The only major difference I noticed is that there is now much more foliage located in front of the house than there was 23 years ago.  Otherwise the home is exactly as it was portrayed onscreen.  It is always amazing for me to stalk a location from a movie or television show that was filmed over two decades ago only to find that little to nothing has changed over the years.  I’ve never been a big fan of change.  : )                 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Andie’s house is located at 1010 Hope Street in South Pasadena.   Literally directly around the corner from Andie’s house is Michael Meyer’s house from the original Halloween  movie.

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