The location: Luke's traffic accident.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A street.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 24 (of season one), "The Proposal", where Luke has a near-fatal traffic accident at night.

    Marissa was angry with him (for sleeping with her mother), so Luke was drunk and in distress when he sped away in his truck from the grand opening of the Balboa Lighthouse, and right into a horrible accident. Ryan & Marissa arrived just in time to see him taken away in an ambulance.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An intersection - but nowhere near Balboa.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. In an unusual spot (for this show): San Pedro, CA, at the intersection of Pacific Avenue & 7th Street.

    This isn't a particularly great part of town, so I wouldn't advise spending much time there after dark. The producers probably chose it because they had just finished shooting the movie theatre scene (in the same Episode 24) at the nearby Warner Grand.

    Here's a daytime photo I shot of the same location in 2006:

    (Other O.C. scenes shot in San Pedro include Ryan's fishing boat, Jimmy's boat dock, Luke's accident and a golf scene up at Angels Gate Park.)

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. In the background of the accident scene, I could make out the two things: the Pacific Shopping Mart and a thrift shop. I knew they had been shooting in San Pedro in this episode for the first time (at the Warner Grand), so I just checked the Yellow Pages for a "Pacific Shopping Mart" in San Pedro. Sure enough, the address of Pacific Shopping Mart is 630 S. Pacific Avenue, in San Pedro. Since it is a low-income area, there are also a large number of thrift shops near that intersection, and the one in the scene is right across the street from the Mart. Then I drove by to confirm that it was the same place.

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