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location: The Junkyard Trial
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
An impromptu vampire trial, held in a junkyard.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Somewhere in Louisiana.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 10 of Season One ("I Don't Wanna Know").
In a previous episode, Bill was forced to kill the vampire bartender at the bar Fangtasia, when he tried to kill Sookie.
As a result, Bill is summoned before a kangaroo court assembled in a junkyard, presided over by a bizarre, sadistic 'Magister', who sits perched in the back of a pickup truck.
Brushing off Bill's defense that he acted to protect Sookie, declares that Bill "murdered a higher life form for the sake of your pet!"
As punishment, and noting that Bill has never been "a maker", he sentences him to create a new vampire to replace the one he killed.
They then open a car trunk and drag out a near-hysterical young girl, named Jessica. From the bruises on her face, it's clear that she has already been abused, and she frantically begs for her life - to deaf ears.
Bill does everything he can to try to avoid killing her, but in the end he is left with no choice and bites her (much to the delight of the voyeuristic audience of vampires).
Jessica awakens as a new vampire - and isn't quite as innocent as she appeared
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A junkyard (or auto-parts dismantling yard).
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The trial scene was shot in a real-life junkyard named Aadlen Bros. Auto Wrecking, at 11590 Tuxford Street, in Sun Valley, CA.
Sun Valley is a small city located in the northeast corner of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, between North Hollywood (on the south) and the Hanson Dam area (on the north).
The junkyard is located at the east/southeast corner of Tuxford Street & Telfair Avenue, just south of the Golden State (5) Freeway.
The odd, box-like cubicles seen in the background of the trial scene are real, located just inside the fence off Tuxford.
Believe it or not, Aadlen Bros has been used many times before as a filming location. Previous shoots at this 26-acre wrecking yard include movies such as "The Running Man", "Deep Impact" and "Escape from L.A.", plus TV shows such as "The A-Team", "Tales From the Crypt" and "Beverly Hills 90210". They've even shot music videos here, including Sheryl Crow's Sweet Child of Mine and Usher's You Make Me Wanna. (They even have their own website, at www.aadlenbros.com.)
(It's also about two miles south of another auto salvage yard where they filmed a scene from "Dexter".)
(To the uninitiated, a junkyard might seem to be an odd choice for a filming location, but the more you learn about L.A., the more you realize that the entire city is just one big backstage for the film industry.)
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. After Googling "junkyard", "trial" and "True Blood", I came across an article written by one Abbie Bernstein, a writer for Fangoria, who happened to be there on the set in Sun Valley when they filmed the scene.
The story began:
"A group of 50 vampires are watching a legal proceeding in a junkyard. Naturally, it’s the middle of the night—both in the story, set in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and in the real world in Sun Valley, California, where the True Blood cast and crew are trying to finish before the sun rises."
So I knew where to look. Unfortunately, Sun Valley has more junk yards than a stray dog has fleas. Virtually the entire upper half of the city seems to be made up of nothing but junk yards, auto dismantling companies, and similar enterprises. So trying to find one junkyard in that vast sea of junkyards wasn't going to be easy.
I spent a solid week looking at aerial photos of Sun Valley, checking out junkyards one at a time, without success.
The scene, shot at night, didn't offer many clues. The only distinctive feature was a set of box-like cubicles seen in the background, where some of the vampires stood or sat during the trial. So I looked for those cubicles. But after failing to find them, the horrible thought occurred to me: What if those cubicles weren't real? What if they were just set decoration brought in by the production company? If that were the case, I would have no hope at all of identifying the location.
So I switched tactics, and began to try to track down the writer of that original article. But then I caught a break.
After fellow locations enthusiast Owen Lockwood helped me find Maryann's home, I casually mentioned that the only location I had left to find for "True Blood" was a junkyard in Sun Valley. He had never even seen the show, and had no idea what the junkyard looked like. The next morning, though, I got an email from Owen with a link to Aadlen Bros. Auto Wrecking, asking if this might be the one.
I took a look (via Bing aerial photos), and what did I see? Those cubicles!
I blew up a
small portion of the aerial photo to make the comparison shots below:
First, here is a screenshot from "True Blood". Note the double row of seven cubicles.
here is a blurry blow-up of an aerial photo of the junkyard. Notice the
arch shape at the bottom of
It was a perfect match.
I asked Owen how he found it so fast, when he didn't even know what it looked like, and he told me that he just tried some random Google searches for "Sun Valley", "junkyard" and "movies," and Aadlen Bros came up often, so he figured it might have been used in "True Blood." And he was right. (Thanks a million, Owen!)
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