You could say I’m a bit of an eighties nerd. I run the world’s largest retro websites doyouremember.co.uk, I’ve written a book all about the 80s and I spend way too much time listening to 80s music and watching 80s movies. So you can probably imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to jet off to L.A. on a mission to track down the filming locations of some of the very best movies of the eighties.
A business meeting in California gave me the opportunity to stay with some friends in San Diego for the weekend and these good and very patient friends of mine kindly agreed to spend a long day driving me hundreds of miles around L.A. hunting down cool photo opportunities.
When the good people at retro t-shirt store TruffleShuffle.co.uk heard about my forthcoming mission, they kindly agreed to give me the matching movie t-shirts to wear in each location. They have the coolest t-shirts in the world – seriously!
So at the weekend, after all the business meetings were concluded, I threw on my first 80s t-shirt and headed off in search of the first stop on our circular tour – Doc Emmet Brown’s house from Back to the Future.
Next up was Elliott’s house from E.T. (the Extra-Terrestrial)
The next stop was the holy grail of 80s film locations – Marty McFly’s house from Back to the Future…
I had hoped to get to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s house but Google Street View showed me that you really couldn’t see much of it because of the trees planted all around the perimeter so we skipped this in favour of visiting Hollywood instead. We saw the famous Hollywood sign on the hills and the walk of fame with the stars names and handprints on the ground. We also popped into the famous Roosevelt Hotel where Marilyn Monroe began her modelling career and took a look around. Something struck me as very familiar about the pool area at the hotel and a quick Google revelased the reason: this was the place they filmed the scene where Tom Hanks catches up with Leonardo DiCaprio in “Catch Me If You Can”.
After a cracking meal in the Hard Rock Cafe, we set off for our next destination: Ferris Bueller’s house!
And then swung by Hill Valley High School from Back to the Future.
The final stop on our tour was the Puente Hills Mall, better known as Twin Pines Mall from Back to the Future. This was where the scene with the DeLorean was filmed. It has just got dark as we arrived which was perfect since this scene was shot at night time anyway and seemed all the more familiar in darkness!
We managed to get around all these locations in one tiring day with about 300 miles of driving. We spotted two more filming locations the next day, one from The Naked Gun (“Everywhere I look, something reminds me of her”)…
And the bar from Top Gun where they filmed the “Great Balls of Fire” scene. In fact if you look carefully, you can see the actual piano they used in the far right corner of the picture.
Thanks again to the people at TruffleShuffle.co.uk for providing the cool t-shirts and for my amazing friends Dale and Jayne who drove me around and helped me fulfil my nerdy dream!