Seeing Stars: Where the Movies Were Shot (on Location)


  • The 1998 remake of "MIGHTY JOE YOUNG" features a climatic scene where the giant gorilla rescues a young boy from a burning ferris wheel, at a fictitious "Palisades Ocean Park." This park is supposed to be near the Santa Monica Pier, but since the producers burned the carnival to the ground in this scene, they simply built a new "park" near the ocean. It was actually located along the south side of Shoreline Drive (at the southern end of the 710 Freeway), between the Aquarium of the Pacific and Shoreline Village in Long Beach.
      [Buy the Movie.]

  • Another key scene in the same movie ("Mighty Joe Young") sees the oversized ape rampaging down the actual Hollywood Boulevard, passing the Roosevelt Hotel, and climbing up to the roof of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Most of those scenes were shot on location, right on Hollywood Boulevard. [Buy the movie.]

(Click the photo above to see a QuickTime trailer of the movie.)

  • 1998's "PRIMARY COLORS" (starring John Travolta and Billy Bob Thorton) was shot at various locations throughout the South Bay, including the colonial Banning Mansion, located in Banning Park, at 401 E. "M" Street) in Wilmington, CA. When producers go out looking for a Civil War-period southern mansion, they often turn to the Banning Mansion  This stately home was built in 1864 (the year before Lincoln was shot), and has been used as a backdrop for numerous films and TV shows. In the 1992 movie "RUBY," for instance, Jack Ruby receives a phone call telling him to go to Cuba; the man making the call is speaking from within the Banning Mansion. [Buy the movie.]

  • The campaign scenes for "PRIMARY COLORS" were shot on the streets of nearby San Pedro. In order to make sunny San Pedro look like the East Coast, the producers brought in fake snow and plastered campaign posters in the windows of vacant buildings along the 600 block of Pacific Avenue. Later, for a scene where John Travolta campaigns in the rain, they set up sprinklers on an overhead boom to simulate the downpour. The scenes in the beauty shop were actually shot at auto service garages at 1509 & 1525 Pacific Ave. And the "Stanton For President" campaign headquarters was actually the British European Auto showroom at 1525 W. Pacific Ave., in San Pedro. (A large cardboard cutout of Travolta - as Stanton - still stands in the auto dealer's showroom.) [Buy the movie.]

    A key scene from "LETHAL WEAPON 4" (1998, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover) was shot in downtown Long Beach, at the corner of First Street & Elm Avenue. It involved a terrorist brandishing a flame-thrower, who causes a gas tanker truck and a filling station to explode in a spectacular fireball.

    The producers built a fake Unocal gas station at the northeast corner of First & Elm then blew it up, sending the tanker truck crashing into the middle of First Street. The earlier scenes of the madman scorching trees, cars and awnings were shot along First Street.

    (* This location is only a couple of blocks away from the circular tower used in the suicide jump scene that opened the original "Lethal Weapon.") [Buy the movie.]

    Speaking of "Lethal Weapon 4, " many of its scenes were filmed in L.A.'s Chinatown, located just north of downtown Los Angeles, on North Broadway. You may remember Mel Gibson dangling from some of Chinatown Plaza's ornate facades, as well as a number of chase scenes through its narrow streets. (The final scenes of the movie "Chinatown" were also filmed here.) [Buy the movie.]

  • The 1998 comedy "THE BIG LEBOWSKI," starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, features several scenes set in bowling alleys. Those bowling scenes were shot at Hollywood Star Lanes, 5227 Santa Monica Blvd., in West Los Angeles.
  • Unfortunately, Hollywood Star Lanes closed and was torn down in 2002. It will replaced by an elementary school. However, some of the vintage neon signs and retro decor from that Hollywood landmark have found a new home at Lucky Strikes, a brand new bowling alley which opened recently at the new Hollywood & Highland center. The new alley's wooden bar top is actually made from the original lane 16 at Star Lanes. [Buy the movie.]

Click the poster below to see locations from "The Wedding Singer":

1920's - 1930's - 1940's - 1950's - 1960's - 1970's - 1980's - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1994
1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007- 2008
2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013


* Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may be located in areas with high crime rates.
Exercise reasonable caution.

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