On location: 10 movie/TV sets you can visit
Monday, November 20, 2017
Movies are sometimes more memorable for the locations where they're shot than they are for their plots. Movie and TV locations and sets — both natural and man-made — are scattered across the country, and they make for intriguing visits long after the stars and film crews have departed.
When planning your next road trip, consider a visit to one or more of the sites described below — where it could be that one of your favorite movies or TV shows was filmed.
1. Squam Lake, Holderness, New Hampshire
If you've seen the touching 1981 film "On Golden Pond," you'll surely recall the "pond" that served as the primary location for this Academy Award-winning movie starring Henry Fonda (his last film), Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. It isn't a pond, but rather Squam Lake, located in a popular resort area in rural New Hampshire. Visitors still congregate at the pond where they can join a boat tour to view various filming sites.
2. Juliette, Georgia
The timeworn little town of Juliette served as the fictional Whistle Stop, Alabama, in the hit 1991 movie "Fried Green Tomatoes," starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson and others. When producers stumbled upon it, the town was virtually deserted, but it got a Hollywood makeover for the movie. After filming, sets used for the town's main street were renovated and made into into a tourist district — including the Whistle Stop Café (a former hardware store) that was recreated to mirror the film set. It's open today and visitors can drop into the café to indulge in (what else?) a steaming platter of fried green tomatoes.
3. Gloucester, Massachusetts
This statue in Gloucester serves as a memorial to the ill-fated crew of the Andrea Gail.
Founded in 1623, Gloucester was one of the first settlements in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony, so there's plenty of history behind this iconic New England seaport that served as the perfect backdrop for "The Perfect Storm." That 2000 thriller told the true story of the ill-fated crew of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing vessel that got caught in an epic storm. The town alone is worth a visit, but movie buffs always seek out the Crow's Nest Bar, one of the film's major sets. The bar's walls are plastered with photos and memorabilia of sailors who were lost at sea — and snapshots of film's cast, including George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
4. Mansfield, Ohio
Adopted from a Stephen King novella, and starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, "Shawshank Redemption" is considered one of the great films of the 1990s, receiving seven Academy Award nominations. Central to the success of this prison escape drama was the featured prison itself — the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield — a grim-looking stone edifice that served in the film as the fictional Shawshank State Penitentiary. Built in 1886, the reformatory operated until 1990 at which time part of it was torn down, but the administration building and two cellblocks were preserved and reopened to visitors.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the most memorable scenes in modern moviedom came as Sylvester Stallone, aka "Rocky," ran triumphantly up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
One of the most memorable scenes in modern moviedom came as Sylvester Stallone, aka "Rocky," ran triumphantly up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Reminiscent of a classical Greek Temple, it is the third-largest art museum in the U.S. and definitely merits a visit. But thousands of visitors a year since the 1976 release of triple Oscar-winning "Rocky" have run up the Museum's 72 steps. They also can make selfies in front of a bronze statue of Rocky located at the bottom of the steps.
6. Woodstock, Illinois
While the riotous 1993 fantasy-comedy "Groundhog Day" supposedly took place in groundhog-centric Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it was filmed in the Chicago suburb of Woodstock. The charming B&B where star Bill Murray's TV weatherman character Phil Connors stays — the Cherry Street Inn — is in reality the Royal Victorian Manor. Fans still flock there, especially on Groundhog Day, when the community sponsors an annual celebration of the film.
7. Dyersville, Iowa
Almost 30 years after Universal Studio's release of the inspirational hit movie "Field of Dreams," the baseball field featured in the film still draws crowds. More than 75,000 visitors a year drop by to see the field, still maintained today on the Lansing family farm in Dyersville. In the movie, recipient of three Academy Award nominations, corn farmer Ray Kinsella — played by Kevin Costner, with support from Amy Madigan and James Earl Jones — transforms part of his cornfield into a baseball diamond where men who have sacrificed in some aspect of their lives get a second chance. Nowadays, visitors have a chance to visit the field (at no charge), join a tour and buy T-shirts and DVDs at the gift shop.
8. Estes Park, Colorado
The historic 1909 Stanley Hotel was the original inspiration for Author Stephen King's best-selling 1997 novel "The Shining."
The historic 1909 Stanley Hotel, located just minutes from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, was the original inspiration for Author Stephen King's best-selling 1997 novel "The Shining." When it came time to make a movie adaptation, King was said to have been extremely upset that Director Stanley Kubrick elected to build an elaborate set for filming rather than shooting at the Stanley Hotel. King ultimately got his wish when the Colorado hotel served as the primary shooting location for the 1997 TV series "The Shining."
9. Tucson, Arizona
Built by Columbia Pictures in 1939, Old Tucson, located just outside the city of Tucson, has served as the location for more than 300 movies. Fans of Western films will recognize many of them: "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1957); John Wayne's "Rio Bravo" (1959); the 1986 comedy "Three Amigos," starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short; and "Tombstone" (1993), with Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell. Long-running TV shows including "The High Chaparral" and "Little House on the Prairie" also were shot here. Old Tucson continues to operate as a film studio and Western theme park, offering tours, living history presentations, rides and staged gunfights.
10. Los Angeles, California
Proclaimed the "Taj Mahal" of firehouses when was built in 1910, Fire Station #23 served downtown Los Angeles until 1960 when it was replaced by a new facility. Owing to its ornate design, the old station was declared a Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1966, and it was preserved as a museum. As it turned out, the station also became a popular movie set. A number of films were shot at the station in the 1970s and early 1980s, but it was "Ghostbusters" in 1984 (where interior scenes were shot) that set the stage for several dozen movies to follow, including "Police Academy 2" (1985), "The Mask" (1994) and "National Security" (2003).
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