Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bachelor in Paradise (1961) - Film Locations

Bob Hope as "A.J. Niles"

Ask and you shall receive! A few months back I wrote a post about three movies I wished were on blu-ray or dvd. There are many films that I wish had some kind of a home video release, but I just chose three for the post - and you know what - the Warner Archive Collection recently made available one of those titles from my list!

The 1961 film Bachelor in Paradise is a favorite of mine for two reasons. First, I love Bob Hope in the role of A.J. Niles, an author of a series of books on the sexual lives of people in foreign countries. Hope has one hilarious quip after another and he is perfect as the smooth, cunning, ladies man. Second, to anyone who appreciates mid-century (20th century) fashion and design, the look of this film is stunning. The mid-century tract homes, an early suburban grocery store, bowling alley, tiki bar, cars, drive-in restaurant, clothes - everything in this film is a colorful step back in time. To celebrate the release of Bachelor in Paradise I decided to do a film locations post to show some of these colorful images.

In the film, Hope finds himself in trouble with the I.R.S. for back taxes. In order to pay back the I.R.S. Hope's publisher convinces him to write a new book about the developing American suburbs. Hope, using a false identity, relocates to the new California development of Paradise Village, and begins secretly compiling data for his book. Being the only bachelor in Paradise Village, Hope becomes popular with the bored housewives and not so popular with the husbands in the community. The film also stars Lana Turner, Janis Paige, Don Porter, Paula Prentiss, Jim Hutton, and in a cameo appearance, Agnes Moorehead.

Below is an image of Hope and Turner arriving at the home in Paradise Village that Hope will be staying while conducting his research. As Turner says in the film, that house, "It's not pink, its 'California coral.'" Paradise Village is a fictional suburb and even the street signs seen in the film are fake, so you can't go by those to find the locations. Hope's home is located in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, at address 22931 Brenford Street.

Hope & Turner, 22931 Brenford Street

22931 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

As you can see in the photo above the home is no longer "California coral."

Hope & Turner at 22931 Brenford Street

Above is an image of Hope and Turner parked in the driveway at the Brenford Street home. In the photo below you can see how this view looks today, along with a modern car in the driveway.

22931 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

Hope in the driveway at 22931 Brenford Street


Jim Hutton, Hope's neighbor.

Above, Jim Hutton arrives home from work. Hutton and Paula Prentiss live in the home next door to Hope.

22941 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

22941 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

It is incredible to see how much this neighborhood has changed since 1961. In the next few images below you can see in the film how sparse the vegetation was. There are only a few trees and they are all quite small still. Today, the neighborhood is filled with trees and bushes and they are all quite large. It's difficult to see the homes or the mountain views which were visible in the film.

Rounding the corner at Brenford St. & Coloma Ave


Brenford St at Coloma Ave

The kids leave for school at Brenford at Coloma.

Brenford at Coloma

School bus drives down Brenford Street.

Looking down Brenford Street.

The photo above is looking down Brenford Street and that white house on the left is the same as the one in the image below with Turner and Prentiss. That house is located across the street from Hope's home.

Prentiss and Turner on Brenford Street

The husbands leave for work. Brenford Street.

The newspaper delivery boy drives down Brenford.

The Brenford St. Home seen above.

In the image below Turner is seen parking in front of Hope's house and you can see the home next door. The following image is a google earth screen capture showing this same location. I hadn't noticed this home at the time I was taking photos. If you look closely, the roof above the front door has changed since the time of the film and I didn't recognize the building. Of course I didn't notice this until I was back home. Besides, after a while, all these homes really start looking the same and it is hard to tell one from the next.

Turner parked in front of Hope's house.

In front of Hope's house. (c) Google

In the film Hope visits a suburban supermarket. That supermarket was the Hughes market located at 14620 Parthenia Street in Panorama City, another Los Angeles suburb. Today the supermarket is now a Hispanic grocery store, "El Super," and has been drastically remodeled. IMDB has the address for the market listed as 8231 Woodman Avenue, Panorama City, but I think that address is incorrect. There is a supermarket at that address, but I don't think it is the one used in the film. Interesting though is the market at 8231 is now a Filipino grocery store, so both markets in this former "whitebread" neighborhood are now two very different ethnic grocery stores.

Hughes Market, 14620 Parthenia Street

El Super, 14620 Parthenia Street

You can see in the background of the parking lot the sign for El Super. The El Super sign sits on the same base that used to hold the Hughes market sign. Below is a close-up of the sign.

El Super Sign.

Hope enters the Hughes Market.

El Super, the former Hughes Market.

Inside the Hughes Market.

The image above and below show how the Hughes Market looked inside. Do you recognize any of the products on display?

Hope & Turner Shop at Hughes Market

Benny's Drive In Restaurant

In one scene in the film Hope goes to a drive in restaurant, "Benny's," which you can see in the photo above and in some of the photos below. The location used for this restaurant is now a catering business called "Michael D's," and the address is 23130 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. This is very close to the neighborhood where all the homes were filmed. Does anyone remember a Benny's drive in restaurant in Woodland Hills? I'm not sure if for the film the production created a fake sign and then just used the exterior of the building?

Benny's Drive In. 23130 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills

Michael D's, 23130 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills

Woodlake Lanes Bowling Alley

Turner & Hope inside of Woodlake Lanes Bowing Alley

Later in the film there is a scene of Hope and Turner at a bowling alley. I'm guessing this was the Woodlake Lanes bowling alley which is attached to the Michael D's catering business (Benny's in the film) at address 23130 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. If you look at the screenshot of the Benny's Drive In sign, in the background is a sign for a bowling alley, so even in the film, the restaurant and the bowling alley were right next to each other.

Woodlake Bowl/Michael D's, 23130 Ventura Blvd

At the end of the film, because of all the trouble he stirred up in Paradise Village, Hope needs to go to court. Below is the Los Angeles County Courthouse as seen in the film. The courthouse address is 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, in downtown LA, but the below image is of the entrance located on Grand Avenue. The three mosaics above the entrance were designed by artist Albert Stewart in 1956. Stewart made his mark as an artist for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s.

Los Angeles County Courthouse, Grand Avenue Entrance

LA Courthouse, Grand Avenue Entrance

Agnes Moorehead in her cameo as Judge Peterson

Your thoughts?

28 comments:

Laura said...

This looks fabulous! Like you I love the mid-century look. I actually recorded this some time ago from TCM -- I'm going to have to bump it up in the viewing stack! Thanks, as always, for sharing your location research and these terrific photos.

Best wishes,
Laura

Husband said...

WOW. I have been wanting someone do post something like this for a long time. I love that movie, in fact I would say it is one of my favorites of all time. Thank you, I will share this.

Robby Cress said...

Thanks for the comment Laura. Yes, you definitely need to bump to the top of your viewing stack :) I know it is always so many movies, so little time.

Husband,

Thanks for stopping by and for sharing this post. I hope others enjoy seeing the locations and if they haven't seen the film, give it a view.

happythoughtsdarling said...

What a fun post about a fun movie. I really enjoyed seeing the "then" and "now" location comparisons. :)

MC

Ken Levine said...

Loved this post. I grew up in that neighborhood at the time. Even blogged about it recently. http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2011/03/hey-theres-portion-of-my-car-on.html

I don't remember Benny's so I suspect that was a sign made for the movie. The bowling alley used was indeed the Woodlake Bowl. In the lounge, Gus Buvona was a fixture.

We lived in a house that was the exact floorplan as the one Hope was assigned to. The interior was very different. We didn't have Lana Turner.

Another favorite cameo -- they go to a Dodger game and cut to a couple of shots of the very young Vin Scully broadcasting with (silent) partner Jerry Doggett.

By the way, that was also the neighborhood where Frank Sinatra Jr. was held during his kidnapping.

Great site.

Robby Cress said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for confirming that it is the Woodlake bowl. I assumed it had to be that one due to the proximity to the homes and the fact that the Michael D's looks like the exterior of the Drive In restaurant. That's pretty cool that you grew up in that neighborhood. It must be really interesting to see how the neighborhood has evolved over time.

And what an interesting anecdote about Frank Sinatra Jr!

Now I'm off to check out that link.

Zoƫ Walker said...

Hello.. because I'm a fan of your blog and its a marvellous one, you've been bestowed with the "Stylish Blogger award" (Details over at my blog). interesting post btw!

Bill said...

great post Rob, love anything about Bob Hope

Amy said...

This one is fantastic, just like all your other posts! Thanks!!

bigtreeboys said...

Thanks for a marvelous trip down "memory" lane. I love the movie and have wondered where the house was located for years. One place that was not mentioned is the restaurant where Lana does her "wild" hula. Was that a real place?

mdemos said...

If only we could go back......

Kennedy was in the White House, gasoline cost $0.25 a gallon, bread, $0.20 a loaf, and most Americans knew absolutely NOTHING about a place called Vietnam.

Thanks so much for the SWEET little waltz down memory lane!!!

Tim said...

Wow- a million thanks for this! I'm 56 years old and have watched this movie at least twice a year for years. Having lived in Southern California from '84 to '96 I was always curious where this neighborhood was. Now I know! I swear the next time I'm in LA I'm driving past these places! Thanks again!

Robby Cress said...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the comment and glad to hear you enjoyed this post. It will be quite shocking if you make it back to California and tour these locations. The area has changed so much! But you will get a feeling of deja vu.

Stevie Duster said...

Great research work, Robby! I distinctly remember in 1961 sitting in the back seat of our 1960 Ford Falcon watching this terrific film at the Farmington Drive-In theater on Route 6 near Bristol, Connecticut. I was 7 or 8 years old at the time and became so fond of this work that I bought it soon after it appeared in VHS format. A couple weeks ago I discarded the video version when, finally, ... I'd been waiting years ... the DVD from the Warner Archive Collection reached me through Amazon. The location research work I see here is truly amazing ... My heartfelt thanks for a job well done, Robby ... For years I assumed Bennys was in reality a "Dennys", but I guess I was wrong. ...And, do my eyes deceive me? Eric von Stroheim assisted the director on this project... All the best, Stevie Duster

Don said...

Bobby, thanks SO MUCH for posting this info. I had the address of the house and some Google maps photos. But the rest of the info is priceless. This was always one of my favorite movies mainly due to the era, the neighborhood and autos. I just ordered it from oldies dotcom because I did not know it was available at Amazon.

The then/now photos are the most interesting. I suspect the restaurant could have been a Denny's or a Kip's or Bob's "Big Boy" from that era. I'm also glad I found your blog and have already sent the link to several friends. You might want to include a "donation" link. The info is priceless but your time isn't.

Thanks again so much!!
Don in Dallas

www.airstreamfm dotcom <--My online station playing the Bachelor In Paradise sound track, including the music from the "bedroom" dinner scene, the BBQ restaurant scene and most of the rest.

Robby Cress said...

Stevie,

Thanks for the kind comment. What a great way to first experience watching "Bachelor in Paradise" - at the drive-in in the back seat of a Ford Falcon that is!

Don,

Thanks for stopping by and believing what I do here on Dear Old Hollywood is worthy enough that people would consider donating to the blog! Please do check back and I hope you continue to enjoy the site. No charge.

blog owner said...

Thank you so much for this amazing post. I DVRed "Bachelor in Paradise" recently as I hadn't seen it for quite some time. I watched it today and froze it at a shot of street signs at an intersection. I couldn't make out the cross street's sign, but the one I could read said "Miradelle Dr" and I promptly headed to Google Maps to find it. But couldn't! Then I started looking around and found your post. Thank you so much for the info regarding the actual addresses in the movie. I grew up in the OTHER valley (San Gabriel), but the '60s-era locations are great to see regardless.

bradforddecaussin said...

Whoa.... crazzzzy. Lana Turner standing in front of our house!

I grew up in the house next door (the one with the big oak in front). We bought it in 1973.

SO wild to see those pics! The neighborhood looks so OPEN with none of the trees and bushes that had developed by the time I was there.

Robby Cress said...

Hi bradforddecaussin,

How wild that you grew up on this street! I wonder how many current residents are familiar with the film and the use of the neighborhood as a filming location?

Best regards,
Robby

nfc9rfan said...

Hello my name is Randy, and I grew up just down the street from Hugh's market on Parthienia. I remember them shooting the film there. I was 11 or 12. There is so much history around that market. I remember Santa and his reindeer would be there every year. I remember Nixon campaining in the parking lot. That's just to name a couple things. Watching this film really brings back a lot of memories of the era and the area. I'm 63 now and man do I wish I could go back. Thanks for this blog.

Robby Cress said...

Hi Randy,

Thanks for sharing your memories of the Hugh's market on Parthienia. That must have been pretty exciting as an 11 or 12 year old seeing that film crew come into your neighborhood market! Thanks for the kind comment.

Kind regards,
Robby

Jim said...

Robby Cress,
I can't believe I've found someone with the same 'weird' interest I have - finding where movies/TV shows were filmed! As a geographer and map lover, I always wanted to know the places used for film scenes. I'd remembered seeing 'Bachelor in Paradise' decades ago, in the 1970s? I would guess, and loving the houses and street vistas. Finally got the chance to record it on TCM last week. The scene where street signs were shown had me searching my AAA maps of SoCal for Miradelle Dr. to no avail! So on a whim I typed 'where was bachelor in paradise filmed' and was sent to your wonderful site! Thanks for the film clips and modern street views! I live in Maryland but always had a love for SoCal - still remember the night 20 yrs. ago when 'Knots Landing' showed a street view with a visible street sign. My San Fernando Valley map listed a "Crystalair Pl" - a couple yrs. later I vacationed in SoCal and drove onto that infamous cul-de-sac! Thanks again for your informative site!
Sincerely,
Jim Nealis

Douglas said...

I grew up in that era in LA. The movie is goofy but fun. The cars, the tract houses...all VERY LA 1960s.

Even the semi swinging music adds to the ambiance.

I've seen this film 5 times. I know, weird.

Douglas

Unknown said...

Just watched Bachelor in Paradise for the first time, found this site and just told my Gf that I am not the only crazy one who loves these dated movies and Google's the movie locations. You did all the research work for us Robby. Thanks!

Annika said...

Thank you SO MUCH for looking up all these places! I've salivated over the mid-century styles---exterior and interior---of this movie ever since I first saw it several years ago (thanks TCM!)and I immediately wanted to know exactly where all the locations for this movie were filmed. The Hughes Market scene is especially wonderful to see because I came to live in Southern California not long after this film was made and I remember those markets everywhere. I'm pretty sure my mom and I shopped at the Hughes near where we lived at the time in Long Beach. And of course, to see those prices now!

That housing tract and those unmistakable beautiful California brown hills around it look so fresh and inviting. I wish it all could have stayed that way.

Oh to live in that era again, but this time as an adult who could appreciate everything about it.

Thanks again for a walk down memory lane!

Benovite said...

Watching this movie now on TCM, same story as Jim up there. Was curious about the street names so I searched Google Maps. Guess what- no such streets! I figured as much since I grew up in L.A. Funny how fake street names in L.A. stand out despite obviously not knowing EVERY street in L.A.!

Ha just saw the young Vin Sculley during the Dodger scene. Wow he looked different! Anyways thanks for the research and love put into this post. Always been a fan of Dear Old Hollywood.

JCM said...

Because Bob Hope had a relationship with the Chrysler Corporation (Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Golf Tournament and the Bob Hope Chrysler Theater), his movies frequently featured Chrysler vehicle - Bachelor in Paradise certainly features some great Mopars. The cars driven by Hope's and Lana Turner's characters are beautiful and rare nowadays, but the 1961 Mardis Gras Red Chrysler 300 G convertible driven by Janis Paige is amazing to see - one recently sold at auction for $220,000.

VP81955 said...

However, the baseball sense wasn't filmed at Dodger Stadium (it didn't open until 1962) or at the Los Angeles Coliseum (we see columns in the ballpark, which the Coliseum never had). I'm guessing it was shot at L.A. Wrigley Field, probably during the one year the AL Angels played there (1961; the film was released that November).

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