Labyrinth (1986)

As part of the Jim Henson “Imagination Unlimited” Exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, some costumes and memorabilia from Henson’s 1986 fantasy film “Labyrinth” were on display. The exhibition ran from June 1 through September 2, 2018.

Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly, wore this dress in the film.

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Jareth, played by David Bowie, wore this costume.

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Here is one of the set models from the film.

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And some concept art.

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A poster for the film.

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Lastly, some alternate titles for the film, hand-written by Jim Henson.  The titles include “The Labyrinth,” “Magic Maze,” “Into The Labyrinth,” “Sarah’s Maze,” “Lost in the Maze,” “Trapped in the Mind-Maze,” “Inside Outside,” “Outside Inside,” “Turning Inside Outside,” “Outside In” and “Inside Out.”

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Related articles: The Dark Crystal (1982)

Jack Kerouac

There are so many sites related to author Jack Kerouac scattered across the United States, one could probably dedicate an entire website to it.  Here we pay a homage to a man who not only influenced a generation, but helped shape American counterculture.

This residence in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts is where Kerouac was born on March 12, 1922.  His family lived on the second floor.

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LOCATION: 9 Lupine Rd, Lowell, MA 01850

A plaque can be found on the front porch of the house.

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Kerouac’s family frequently relocated around Lowell.  By age four, they moved to this house, said to be Kerouac’s third home, which the author referred to as “sad Beaulieu.” Beaulieu was the name of the street and Jack’s older brother Gerard died of rheumatic fever while they lived there.

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LOCATION: 34 Beaulieu St, Lowell, MA 01850

The Kerouac family relocated to Jamaica, New York (near Queens), where they lived in the upstairs unit above what was then a drugstore.  It was here that Kerouac wrote the “The Town and the City” and began crafting the initial pieces of his most famous novel, “On the Road.”

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LOCATION: 133-01 Cross Bay Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11417

Kerouac would finish “On the Road” in New York City at 454 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011.  Nearby, at the corner of 7th Ave and W 20th St is where Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty say their goodbyes at the end of the novel.

As is well documented, “On the Road” was not published for many years after it’s completion.  By the time it was first published in 1957, Kerouac had moved to Orlando, Florida.  It was in this home where he lived when “On the Road” became a bestseller and skyrocketed the author to instant fame.  Kerouac also began the manuscript for “The Dharma Bums” at this home.  The historic nature of the house was not known to Kerouac historians until 1996, when research for an article about the author led to the discovery.

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LOCATION: 1418 Clouser Ave, Orlando, FL 32804

Kerouac’s final home, where the author resided in 1969, can be found in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The house, reportedly still owned by the Kerouac family, is said to still contain the desk of the author, as well as other personal belongings.  Mostly sitting empty since the 1970s, the house is in need of renovation.  If upkeep can be successfully funded, the home has been considered to be opened up for public visitation in the future.

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LOCATION: 5169 10th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710

After Kerouac’s passing, he was relocated back to his birth town of Lowell, Massachusetts for his funeral and burial.  His grave can be found at the Edson Cemetery.  The trails around the cemetery are laid out like streets.  The author’s grave site can be found near the corner of Lincoln and 7th, six graves up and three graves in.  It is rumored that singer Bob Dylan still visits Kerouac’s grave twice a year.

Two grave stones can be found there for the iconic writer.  Here is the original.

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LOCATION: Edson Cemetery, 1375 Gorham St, Lowell, MA 01852 (Lot 76, Range 96, Grave 1)

Just past it is a larger headstone, which was added in 2014.  It features an engraving of the author’s signature, along with the words “The road is life.”

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These locations only scratch the surface of all the Kerouac sites to be discovered all across the United States, but it is of course the man’s writing which stands the greatest test of time.

Paramount Ranch

In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased land in Agoura Hills, California in the Santa Monica Mountains, where they constructed the original movie sets of Paramount Ranch, which were known for representing everything from colonial Massachusetts to ancient China, becoming widely used in a number of classic films, such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”  The legendary TV series “Gunsmoke” also filmed at the ranch.

In the 1950s, William Hertz purchased the ranch from Paramount (although their name stuck) and brought in sets from RKO Pictures’ former Encino Ranch, which would become the basis of the “Western Town” at Paramount Ranch.  This opened up the property to a new generation of Westerns and the ranch flourished.

With Hertz’s health in decline, he would sell the ranch to an auto racing company.  However, after two fatal crashed in 1957, the racing company folded.

In 1980, the ranch was adopted as Paramount Ranch Park, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  Due to this change, the ranch became open to the public and free of charge, which is a very unique quality for movie ranches in Southern California, as most those remaining are privately owned and closed to the public.

While many of the buildings did change over the years, the National Parks Service restored the “Western Town” to it’s former glory and resumed using it as a filming location, including notable appearances on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “The X-Files,” “Carnivàle” and “Westworld.”  Countless films also shot at the ranch, including “Reds,” “The Flintsones in Viva Rock Vegas,” “Bone Tomahawk,” “The Great Outdoors,” “American Sniper” and many more.  Even when filming was taking place at the ranch, it still remained open for public visitation.

Unfortunately in November 2018, the ranch fell victim to wildfires and nearly every building was burnt to the ground.  The same fires damaged some of the “M*A*S*H*” set at Malibu Creek State Park.  This has actually happened to several sets around Southern California over the years, with many often being rebuilt.  Paramount Ranch is no exception.  Plans have been announced to rebuild the sets, with a target to re-open around late 2020.

We had the good fortune of visiting the ranch on multiple occasions before the fire, so here we’ll take a look at pretty much everything that could be seen around the Western Town set.

LOCATION: 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (now demolished)

Here is entrance the entrance to the ranch.

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A map of the grounds.

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The “Chins” building, seen on the TV series “Carnivàle.”

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The church, seen on the TV series “Westworld.”  It was the sole building to survive the wildfire.

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A look inside the church.

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The general store.

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The Trapper.

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A house at the ranch, which was actually used as a residence by staff.

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The saloon and gazebo, where the climax of Season 1 of “Westworld” takes place, with Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins and Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, causing a dramatic scene.

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The hotel, seen on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

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A glimpse inside.

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The barber shop.

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The bank.

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Another general store.

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The jail.

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The stable.

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The train depot, seen on “The X-Files.”

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A covered cafeteria area with picnic tables, where film crews could eat their meals.

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We are hopeful that the sets will be reconstructed in time, but until then, we hope this article serves as a document of what was.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

As part of the Jim Henson “Imagination Unlimited” Exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, some puppets and props from Henson’s 1982 film “The Dark Crystal” were on display.  The exhibition ran from June 1 through September 2, 2018.

Here are the Kira and Jen puppets.  Jim Henson served as puppeteer for Jen in the film.

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This is the puppet for SkekSil the Chamberlain, for which Frank Oz served as puppeteer.

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Some miscellaneous props used by the Skeksis, Mystics and Pod People.

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Some tie-in books to the film.

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While the exhibition has since closed, all of these pieces were on loan from New York’s Museum of Moving Image (gifted by the family of Jim Henson) and will likely go back on display there at a future date.

Related articles: Labyrinth (1986)

Kenneth Anger House

Perched across the corner from Alamo Square Park is the infamous Kenneth Anger house, also known as the Westerfeld House.  First built in 1889, the house managed to survive a 1905 earthquake.  In 1928, a group of Czarist Russians purchased the home and turned part of it into a brothel.  The house became nicknamed by locals as the “Russian Embassy,” or simply, “The Embassy.”  In the 1950s, with the rise of the beatniks, the house became occupied by many jazz musicians.  It is said that everyone from Allen Ginsberg to the Grateful Dead all visited the house.

By the mid-1960s, the area had fallen into decline and in 1966, the house was rented to filmmaker Kenneth Anger.  Although his stay was brief, lasting only until 1967, the house took on a new level of infamy during this period.  Anger filmed portions of his short film, “Invocation of My Demon Brother” at the house, which featured Anton LaVey and Bobby Beausoleil, with music by Mick Jagger.  Anger also claims to have sighted UFOs from the tower of the house.

A documentary about the history of the home is even in the works, known as “Westerfeld House of Legends.”

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LOCATION: 1198 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Beausoleil, who not long after would become involved in one of the Manson Family murders, posed for a famous photo on the front stairs of the building.  On decidedly less of a counter-culture note, the house sits adjacent to San Francisco’s famous “Painted Ladies,” which readers might recognize from the TV series “Full House.”  The creator of “Full House,” Jeff Franklin, later moved onto the property where the Manson Family murders took place.

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In 2014, Kenneth Anger himself made a rare public appearance at the Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles, which was hosting a collection of his films.  It was scheduled to feature the first ever public screening of Jimmy Page’s unused film score to Anger’s “Lucifier Rising” (Page’s score was rejected in favor of one by Bobby Beausoleil, who composed the music from prison while serving out his murder sentence).  The screening featuring Page’s score was cancelled, however, reportedly due to legal threats.

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Here is a photo of Anger, who briefly spoke at the event.

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Lastly, we leave you with Kenneth Anger’s signature and hand prints, which can be found in front of the Vista Theater, one of L.A.’s best vintage theaters.

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LOCATION: Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

 

Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

The iconic Herbie, the Love Bug was revived in 2005 as a vehicle for the Lindsday Lohan remake in 2005’s “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”  One of several 1963 Volkswagen Beetles built for the film, this particular model was seen being driven by Lindsay Lohan during the racing sequences.  The car can be found at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

Several costumes and props from the 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” can be found on display at Warner Bros. Studios, as part of their studio tour.  First up is Ben Affleck’s take on The Caped Crusader.

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Here is Henry Cavill’s Superman costume.

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Arguably general audiences’ favorite character in the film; Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

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Batman’s desert strike outfit.

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The Batmobile from the film.

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Some kryptonite from Lex Luthor’s Lexcorp.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

MTV Studios

In the heart of Times Square is MTV Studios, where the network has taped an endless variety of shows over the years, most notably “Total Request Live” from 1998 – 2008.  MTV acquired the location in 1997, part of One Astor Plaza and still regularly film programming there today.

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LOCATION: 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Great Gatsby (2013)

For 2013 adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby,” director Baz Luhrmann strayed a bit from the book.  While Fitgerald described Gatsby as driving a 1922 Rolls-Royce, Luhrmann elected to go with a 1934 Duesenberg.  The car is actually a Duesenberg II, a modern reproduction of the original.  The reproduction was used for financial and practical reasons.  This model can be seen being driven by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film.  The car can be found on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Batman Returns (1992)

One of the original Catwoman costumes, worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s 1992 sequel “Batman Returns” can be found at the Batman exhibit as part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

A prop of one of The Penguin’s armed penguin soldiers can be found on display at Planet Hollywood, Florida.

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LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830