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.