Monday, December 28, 2009

The Monster Squad - Finale Locations

The Monster Squad - Blu-ray
One of my favorite childhood movies has got to be hands down, The Monster Squad. The film was not very successful when it was released in theaters and still many people haven't heard of the film, but for those who have seen it as kids, it has become a cult classic. The film, which was released in 1987, was always hard to find on VHS and it was never released (until recently) on DVD, so my brother and I ended up wearing out a recording that we taped off of Cinemax years ago. Apparently, many fans were doing the same thing - making their own recordings from the few times the film aired on television.
Thankfully, Lionsgate has now released a 20th Anniversary edition of the film, loaded with plenty of extras, including a five part film retrospective featuring cast and crew interviews. The newly remastered film looks better than I have ever seen it. Of course, probably anything would look better than the worn out VHS copy I taped off of TV. I just finished watching a blu-ray version of the film that I got for Christmas and I'm amazed at how well the film holds up.
For those of you who haven't seen The Monster Squad, in short, Co-writer and Director, Fred Dekker wanted to make a film that would be "The Little Rascals" meets the Universal Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Gillman, and Mummy. It has a similar feel to The Goonies, another 80s kids adventure film, but monster themed rather than pirate themed.
During my recent viewing of the film I noticed that the finale all takes place on the Warner Bros. studio backlot in Burbank, CA, specifically, the small town themed set. Below are some screenshots matched with some photos I have taken during the past year.
Above, the "Scary German Guy" and some of the kids are parked out front of a church. Below is a view of the same church today. It recently was refurbished for the TV show Eastwicke.

Church on WB Backlot

Vampires Attack!
Above is a "Fox Photo Lab" and a Burger King as seen in the film. Below are the same structures today. Unfortunately, my shot doesn't include the Burger King building but I do show it in another picture further down.


Above is a sporting goods store featured in the film. In the shot Rudy is about to shoot the lady vampires with a wooden arrow. The next two photos below show the row of buildings that made up the stores in this scene.
Sportmart Building

Above is a screenshot looking across the central town square towards the City Hall structure. Below is a view looking across the same park as it appears today.

Another shot of the Burger King as seen in the film. Below a better picture of the building used as the Burger King.

Above Dracula arrives for the fight. Below is a view of the same street corner with same house in the background.

Above the Monster Squad are able to open the vortex of time and all the monsters and people are being sucked away. Above is shot of one of the buildings seen in the film and below is a photo of the same building as it appears today.

City Hall building on Warner Bros. Backlot

During the end credits you get a good glimpse of this area of the backlot, looking across the park. Below is one of my photos looking across the same park.

The Monster Squad - Movie Trailer

Are there any Monster Squad fans out there? You're thoughts?

Related Post: East of Eden Film Locations.

I'm Back! "La Dolce Vita"

Robby & Zinnia @ Trevi Fountain in Rome (10/2009)

Sorry for you guys who have been checking back here for updates. I've been on a bit of a hiatus. A couple months ago I received a promotion at work and have been extra busy ever since. My computer recently died so I've been trying to recover my photos and videos. I also got married in early October and then went away on my honeymoon to Europe. Of course, being the movie fan I am, I had to make a couple stops at some cinema landmarks, one of which you can see in the photo above. That is my wife Zinnia and I at Trevi Fountain in Rome which you may recognize from the classic Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita.
Now that things have settled down a bit I'll try and do some regular posting again. Thanks to all who have been stopping by and for your comments. I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy New Year!

Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rebel Without a Cause: Film Location Update

James Dean dragged into Police Station
I recently took some new photos for another Rebel Without a Cause film location. This time I got the Police Station which can be seen at the beginning of the film when James Dean is being dragged by two cops. See the screenshot above.
The Police Station was actually a facade located on the the Midwestern Street of the Warner Bros. Studios backlot. Below is a photo showing how the same facade appears today.
Police Station Facade
If you look closely you can see that the facade is now being dressed to look like a high school, more specifically, "Eastwick High School," for the upcoming TV Show, Eastwick, airing this Fall on ABC.

The Police Station is now Eastwick High School

Police Station/Eastwick High School on WB Backlot
To see my full Rebel Without a Cause film post click here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

East of Eden: Film Locations

East of Eden
Much of James Dean's first major film, East of Eden, was filmed on location in central California, but there were a few scenes filmed on the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank. One scene in particular, the parade scene, was shot on the Midwest Street backlot. Here are some screenshots from the parade scene matched with some of my photos of the Midwest Street backlot. [scroll down to see additional updates added on November 18, 2013].

Click images to see larger.

East of Eden - Parade Scene
Above, the parade goes through town in what is supposed to be the Salinas Valley, but really it is the Warner Bros. Midwest Street backlot. Below is my photo showing the same area as it appears today. Notice one big difference? No dirt in the streets. Yes, dirt was brought in to cover the streets of the backlot in order to establish the time period of when the film takes place - 1917.

Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Chapel as seen in East of Eden
Above is a screenshot showing a chapel that can be seen during the parade scene. Below is the same chapel as it appears today.

Chapel on Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Drug Store - East of Eden

Above is a screenshot of the drug store. Julie Harris and Richard Davalos can be seen cutting between the cars.

Drug Store Location - Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank

Watching the Parade from the Park
Above Julie Harris and Richard Davalos watch the parade go by from the middle of the park. Below is a photo showing the park looking further out. That fountain in the middle is actually a set piece for a new TV show called Eastwick, based on the film The Witches of Eastwick. The show will be airing on ABC this fall.

Park in Midwest Street Backlot, Warner Bros. Studios

James Dean Stands Along Parade Route
Below is a photo I took of the buildings that appear behind James Dean when he stands along the parade route. Although the buildings have been repainted and changed slightly you can still make out the patterns on the windows.

Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Updated November 18, 2013

Raymond Massey, Julie Harris and James Dean

The "Trask" house located on Kings Row on the Warner Bros. backlot.

Previously this post on East of Eden film locations only included those locations seen on Warner Bros. Midwest Street backlot. Today I've updated this post to include the "Trask" family home set where James Dean, Raymond Massey, and Richard Davalos live in the film. The house is also located on the Warner Bros backlot, on a residential street just off of Midwest Street that is sometimes referred to as Kings Row (after the 1942 film titled Kings Row). Above is a comparison of the house and below is a comparison of the view looking down the sidewalk in front of the house.

Looking down the sidewalk from the Trask home on Kings Row.

A contemporary view looking down the sidewalk in front of the Trask home.

I also recently came across this brilliant video put together by Herve Attia which does an excellent job of doing a video comparison of the central California locations seen during the opening scene of East of Eden. You can push a button on the lower right corner of the video to expand to full screen.

East of Eden (1955) Opening scene filming locations comparison.

If you want to see where James Dean lived when he left New York for California to film East of Eden check out an earlier post of mine here.
If you want to see some film locations from another James Dean film click here.
You're thoughts?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cleopatra: Big Premiere - Big Disaster

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
The 1963 film Cleopatra, starring the always beautiful Elizabeth Taylor in the title role, is the third most expensive film ever made. A lot of money was spent getting this film right. Despite all the money spent and the all star cast which also includes Richard Burton, Rex Harrison and Roddy McDowell, the film was a complete flop. 20th Century Fox almost went bankrupt because of this film!

Although many reviews of Cleopatra were negative, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called the film "one of the great epic films of our day" in his 1963 review. And Cleopatra would even end up winning four Academy Awards.

To go along with the big budget of the film there was a big movie premiere at the historic Pantages theater in Hollywood, California.

Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood, Blvd, Hollywood, CA
Here is a video of the Cleopatra premiere at the Pantages theater. The video is a bit psychadelic but keep your eyes peeled for some old Hollywood stars:

You're thoughts?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chadney's Restaurant in Burbank

Chadney's Restaurant in Burbank, CA
Right across the street from NBC Studios in Burbank, CA is a shell of an old restaurant. Once a lunch spot and after hours hangout for NBC staffers, Warner Bros. employees, and workers from the Disney lot, the restaurant has been sitting vacant since 1998. Whenever I drive by the place I think of all the stories that could be told of the restaurant from when the times were good.
Chadney's Restaurant started in 1974 when former Sportsman Lodge pianist, Bill Chadney, joined up with contractor Bob Hoeller to open a steakhouse with live music. During the day the restaurant offered up juicy steak lunches for the nearby studio workers and at night a hoppin' jazz lounge for the after work crowd.

A view of Chadney's looking from NBC Studios, Burbank
Hoeller was quoted in a 1999 Los Angeles Times article saying, "I used to see Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, and Bob Hope in here all the time. And I used to watch Milton Berle stink the place up with his cee-gars. He was big on cee-gars." I wish I could have walked in to Chadney's for a nice steak dinner when that was the crowd coming in. I think I could put up with the cigar smoke if it was coming from Milton Berle.

Chadney's Restaurant in Burbank - NBC to the Left
Business was good at Chadney's from the 1970s into the 1980s. The celebrities and workers were coming in. The big names in jazz came to perform - then business started to trickle off. By the late 80s the popularity of the place began to wear away and eventually Chadney's was sold to new owners in 1992. The new owners tried to keep Chadney's going but the big names had stopped coming. In 1998 the roof caved in on the restaurant and the place has been closed ever since.
Currently the building is up for lease and it has been this way for a long time now. I'm hoping somebody comes in, refurbishes the place and opens it as a new restaurant. However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone buys the place and tears the whole building down. Let's hope that someone can breath some life into the old restaurant!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Father of the Bride: Film Location

Father of the Bride home - 843 S. El Molino Dr. Pasadena, CA
As many people know, I'm getting married soon and in the same way I get into the spirit for Christmas or Halloween, I've been watching wedding related movies to get into the wedding spirit. What do you expect from a movie lover? My favorite wedding film is Father of the Bride, the 1991 version, starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton (I was going to say the recent classic as opposed to the old classic but 1991 really isn't that recent anymore!). Last week when driving through Pasadena I decided to stop by the house that was used for the Banks family home and to take some pictures.
Above is a screenshot from the film showing the Banks family home. Below is a photo I took of the actual home a week ago (8/7/2009).

Father of the Bride house in Pasadena
Looks nearly the same doesn't? The only real difference is the flowers on the white picket fence and the fuller foliage on the house.

Steve Martin in the driveway.

A view of the driveway as it appears today (8/7/2009)

One of the touching moments in the film is when Steven Martin is playing basketball with his daughter (played by Kimberly Williams) in the driveway. I've been told that the basketball scenes in the driveway were actually done at another location but I'm not sure where that might have been.

Screenshot of the Father of the Bride House in snow

Above is another screenshot of the Father of the Bride house after it is covered by a surprise snowfall. Now anyone living near Pasadena knows that it doesn't usual snow in this area and I think Steve Martin says something in the film that he was nine years old that last time he remembers it snowing. The above snowfall is pure movie magic. Below is another shot of the house as it appears today.

Father of the Bride house in Pasadena


Related Posts with Thumbnails