Wednesday, January 26, 2022


Watching Murder, She Wrote (for the old stars), we spotted the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard. There’s a building with a distinctive rounded front on one corner. It’s a drugstore in the show, and a drugstore still (now a CVS).

It’s strange that movies and television seem to turn the vastness of Los Angeles into a small town, with one recognizable location after another. It’s the West Coast version of what I call the Naked City effect: see here, here, and here.

A related post
“Our knowledge of Los Angeles is vast and shallow!””

comments: 6

Anonymous said...

Some of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Mendocino, Ca (which I have been to). When you go there (at least in 2001) you feel like you've been there before.

Mendocino can look a lot like small towns in Maine.

The fun one is to watch old NCIS where they were allegedly in Georgetown (supposedly the show was in the DC area) and the streets look like the streets of NYC. They also used to spell "Rosslyn" as "Roslyn".

A co-worker worked for the real NCIS and his wife made him stop watching the show as they would have the NCIS actors drive to Richmond Va in 45 mins -- it's usually 3 hours away!! He would yell at the tv set about all the stuff that was wrong.

I do like watching old tv shows to see who shows up.


Joe DiBiase said...

A good example of a television show that gets outside of small town LA is Emergency! My Dad was a firefighter, so watching it was near-mandatory.

Michael Leddy said...

I have to admit I’ve never seen either show. I wonder how they could pass off New York as DC.

ChasM said...

Growing up on LA's west side, I always got a kick watching movies set here because inevitably someone would drive through the intersection of Wilshire and Ocean Ave., usually one cut after cruising down Miracle Mile.
I'm only half-joking. Have you ever watched the YouTube series with titles like "California 1950's, Driving Wilshire Blvd", "...60's...", etc.? Whoever posted them must have been a studio stock librarian or some such because they're all process plates for projecting on a screen behind the actors "driving" cars on sets. Notice the angles - rear, side and 3/4 side. Quite a few of them are of the Miracle Mile area, and you can reliably date quite a few of them by the movie titles on the marquees.
Then you go down to Ocean Ave and set up a nice crane shot for the left turn... Viola, Mid-town and Santa Monica are right next to each other!

ChasM said...

"I wonder how they could pass off New York as DC"

Uh... TV does the ALL the time. No show set in DC is ever shot there except for establishing shots as permitting would be nightmare and there are no crews or nearby facilities.

Take a second look at "The Americans" for example. I can't believe you didn't notice that all of it was shot in Brooklyn, mostly around Greenpoint.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve watched some driving videos, but I’ve never noticed the cut. I hope I get a chance to. I’ve never seen The Americans either.

I know that other cities stand in for New York (often), but I bristle at the idea that NYC could pass for
DC. : )