Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A beach where
Johnny Harper falls to his death.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. The exact
location isn't mentioned, but most likely somewhere near Newport Beach.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 14 (of the third season), "The Cliffhanger".
Johnny, depressed about having been left unable to surf after a car accident, and knowing that Marissa won't return his love, gets drunk on the beach with Kaitlin one night, and then makes the fatal decision to try to climb up a dangerous rock wall.
Kaitlin is joined by Marissa, who both try to persuade him to stop and come down, but he's too drunk to listen.
Johnny makes it to the top, but when Ryan shows up and tries to talk him down, Johnny backs up, loses his footing, and plunges to his death.
We see the same beach again in Episode 15 (of season 3), "The Heavy Lifting", (in the daylight, this time) in which Johnny's friends stage a memorial service for him on the beach, lighting candles & symbolically carrying his surfboard out into the waves.
( I believe we also saw the same beach in an earlier scene in Episode 14, where Johnny tries to teach Kaitlin to surf - but the brief scene doesn't reveal enough of the beach for me to be 100% sure of the location. )
Q. What is it actually in real life?
It's a rocky beach, but not in Newport.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. Although Johnny's surfing contest was staged on Westward Beach, his death scene was filmed a mile and a half northwest of that beach, at Leo Carrillo State Beach, in Malibu.
The general address is 36000 Pacific Coast Highway.
To be more specific, it was filmed at a rocky cliff next to the beach's famous caves, just west of where Mulholland Drive meets Pacific Coast Highway, 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica.
Johnny's funeral ceremony was filmed on the sand just west of those cliffs.
Quite a few movies & TV shows have been filmed at this picturesque spot, including the opening scenes of "Grease" (where John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John frolicked in the surf).
(The beach, by the way, was named for actor Leo Carrillo, who was best known for playing the sidekick of "The Cisco Kid" on early TV.)
Here is an aerial photo of the rocky beach.
Here is a map link.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. Because the
scene was shot at night, with details difficult to make out, it was a little
tricky. But I was eventually able to ID one of the beach's unique rock
formations. I later found more proof of the location. Right after Johnny's
funeral, there is a scene of Ryan talking to Marissa when she is in a car.
Out the window, behind Ryan's head, you can see an unusually bright
blue spots along the coastline in the distance. A check of both Google
aerial photos and (the closer) Live Local Birds-Eye photo revealed
a string of bright blue plastic sheets had been placed on a grassy embankment
leading down to the beach, about a mile east of the beach.
O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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