Philadelphia Museum of Art

The World is Your Movie Set (Part I)

I absolutely love Google’s new Find Your Scene commercial. Especially because my family and I have actually been to some of the ones shown, plus a good handful more. Many of which I have detailed below. For the most part, this list doesn’t count places like Times Square, Columbus Circle, and Central Park. All of them have been in dozens of movies, but aren’t necessarily famous for a particular one.

I haven’t yet been to the Joker Steps, but it’s definitely on my list for a future trip. But like the Carlo Stoop (see below), they’re a little out of the way.

Rocky Steps (Philadelphia)
This is one of the first movie locations I think we ever visited. You can’t go up the Rocky Steps without seeing people run up and do the pose at the top. It’s going to happen, no matter the weather. There’s even a book about it.

Christmas Story House (Cleveland)
This is truly like walking both back in time and right onto the movie set. The actual house used in the film has been completely restored, right down to every detail. Even the Red Ryder BB-Gun in the corner and the Orphan Annie Decoder Ring in the bathroom.

Doc Brown Mansion (Pasadena)
We found this one by accident riding around one day. We saw the signs for the Gamble House and in checking it out, realized that this was where Doc Brown invented time travel.

The Godfather (NYC)
There are a handful of Godfather locations in NYC. The first I ever visited was the hallway Luca Brasi strolled down on his way to visit Sollozzo (Hotel Edison, West 46th Street), which still looks almost the same. In Little Italy (or what remains of it), you can find Genco Olive Oil (128 Mott Street, The Mietz Building). Across the street (137 Mott Street) is where the Don was hit buying oranges. Still on my list is the spot where Sonny beat the hell out of Carlo with the broomstick and trashcan lid (503 East 118th Street).

Katz’s Delicatessen (NYC)
This location is actually a legend on its own, as it’s been around since 1888. But it’s also famous for the iconic scene in When Harry Met Sally, and appears in the Google commercial. You can visit it for either reason and still enjoy both the chaos and a gigantic, awesome sandwich.

Home Alone House (Winnetka, IL)
A few years ago, we decided to go to Chicago after Christmas to see some snow (mission accomplished as a blizzard hit on our way there). On our way home we swung through Winnetka to see the Home Alone House. Aside from a new fence (I assume to keep out annoying tourists like us), the house looks exactly the same. Also nearby is the shopping center and Nativity scene church.

Ferris Bueller High School (Northbrook, IL)
Just a twenty-minute drive away is the setting for another pair of John Hughes movies. At Glenbrook North High School, you can find the steps and parking lot where Ferris picked up Sloane. Hallway scenes for The Breakfast Club were also shot there.

Father of the Bride Houses (Pasadena)
The same day we found the Doc Brown Mansion, we also found the houses (yes, plural) that were used for Father of the Bride with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. The front of the house is at 843 South El Molino Avenue. For the back yard and basketball hoop, they went to 500 North Almansor Road in Alhambra.

Sherlock Apartment (London)
On our first trip to the UK, in addition to visiting Abbey Road (just follow the Beatles fans out of the St. John’s Wood Tube station), we had to visit the door for Sherlock’s apartment (187 North Gower Street). Anyone who’s watched the show will immediately recognize Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Café located next door.

Spooks (London)
One of my all-time favorite shows is Spooks (known as MI-5 in the US). I learned a lot about London watching the show and visited two specific locations (in addition to seeing major landmarks like the London Eye, The Shard, and The Gherkin). The first was Freemasons Hall near Covent Garden. This building stood in for Thames House (home of MI-5) and appeared in just about every episode. The other was Millennium Bridge, which hosted any number of clandestine meetings.

Notting Hill (London)
Sadly, we didn’t make it to Notting Hill on our previous trip, but it’s at the top of our list for the next one. Hopefully, this summer. If you look up Notting Hill, you can see people posing in front of Will’s blue door on Google Street View. The book shop location, The Coronet Theater, and more are all within a few blocks.

The Amazing Race Season 29 (Milan, Lake Como, Italy)
We’ve been to a few places we’d seen on The Amazing Race, such as in Paris, London, and Venice. But on our trip to Italy last summer, we actually visited two spots that we learned about on the show. ATMosfera is a two-hour dinner aboard a moving trolley that takes you all around the city. The meal was incredible and the setting truly awesome. But even cooler was Castello di Vezio in Varenna on Lake Como (George and Alma said hey). If the medieval castle itself wasn’t cool enough, every year it’s decorated with plaster ghosts. Beautiful and unsettling at the same time.

In Part 2, we bounce all over the East Coast. From Massachusetts to Georgia.


2 responses to “The World is Your Movie Set (Part I)”

  1. […] and First Baptist Church. The original bench was a prop built for the film and is now on the Paramount Studios lot, which you can see on the tour. A replica provided by Paramount is in the Savannah History Museum. […]

  2. […] starting a brand new, two-part series, The World Is Your Crime Scene. This was inspired by our previous series on film locations. But details locations of an entirely different […]

Leave a Reply