Empty Nest

The house from the late 80s/early 90s sitcom “Empty Nest,” supposedly located in Miami, Florida, can actually be found in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.  The show is a spin-off of “The Golden Girls” and much like that show, a replica of the house was later built at the former Disney-MGM Studios backlot in Orlando.  While the facade in Orlando has long since been demolished, the original home in Brentwood still stands.

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LOCATION: 1457 Jonesboro Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Related articles: The Golden Girls

Problem Child 2 (1991)

While the original “Problem Child” filmed in mostly around Dallas, Texas, the sequel, “Problem Child 2,” was filmed primarily around Orlando, Florida.

Ben Healy, played by John Ritter, moves with Junior into this lakefront home.

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LOCATION: 1216 Lancaster Dr, Orlando, FL 32806

The school Junior attends is Kaley Elementary School.

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LOCATION: 1600 E Kaley St, Orlando, FL 32806

This is the curb where Ben wrestles to get Junior out of the car and rips the entire seat out.

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This entrance is where the bully tries to push the satellite onto Junior from the roof above.

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Several scenes were also filmed at the Harry P. Leu Gardens.  You have to pay to enter the grounds and the property is bigger than you might expect.  Grabbing a map from the reception area might help you find your way, but if you’re seeking out the “Problem Child 2” locations, you might end up doing a bit more walking than you anticipated.

The Leu House Museum is where Ben prepares for his wedding to Lawanda.

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LOCATION: 1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

The wedding itself is set in another section of the same property.

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The love rock Junior and Trixie visit is also at the Harry P. Leu Gardens.  This is where the rock was placed, but the prop is long since gone.

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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.

The Florida Project (2017)

Sean Baker’s excellent 2017 film “The Florida Project” was shot almost entirely on location in Kissimmee, Florida, along the outskirts of Disney World in Orlando.  The vast majority of the film takes place at the Magic Castle Inn & Suites, where a slice of life story unfolds about a mother, Halley, and her daughter, Moonee, played by Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince.

The Magic Castle Inn is a real, operational hotel in Kissimmee and still appears exactly as it did in the film.

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LOCATION: 5055 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746

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Halley and Moonee stay in room 323 for most of the film.

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The kids often sit underneath these stairs near the front entrance of the hotel, including the film’s opening scene.

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The hotel manager, Bobby, played by Willem Dafoe, comes over to the pool to tell an elder guest, who is sunbathing topless, to cover herself up.

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The kids are playing around these picnic tables when a child predator approaches them and strikes up a conversation.  Bobby, seeing what’s happening from afar, quickly intervenes.

In the open field behind the picnic tables, helicopters regularly take flight.  Lacking the funds to control this, the filmmakers instead incorporated the helicopters into the film.

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Another view of the hotel, which was filmed from nearly every angle imaginable over the course of the film.  We won’t attempt to document them all.

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Jancey stays at the former Futureland Inn.  The hotel has since changed ownership and is currently known as the Paradise Inn.  Gone are the distinctive rockets from the front sign.  What does appear the same, other than a paint job, is the room where Jancey and her mom stay, which the kids visit early in the film, spitting on the car from the second level.

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LOCATION: 4501 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746

Related articles: Starlet (2012), Tangerine (2015)

My Girl (1991)

For those seeking out the filming locations of the 1991 film “My Girl,” prepare yourself for a lengthy journey.  While the film was set in Madison, Pennsylvania, it was shot mostly around Central Florida, with many of the locations scattered far apart from one another, tucked away in small towns.  To see the “My Girl” locations for yourself requires a lot of time and travel.

The Saltenfuss house, where Vada, played by Anna Chlumsky, lives with her father Harry, played by Dan Aykroyd, can be found in the town of Bartow, Florida.  For quite some time after the film, the property operated as a bed and breakfast.  Due to the property’s distance from major tourist destinations, however, it was unfortunately forced to shut down due to a lack of guest bookings.  It has since returned to being a private residence.  The house is very impressive and recognizable to how it appeared on screen, so if you have the time to venture to Bartow and are a fan of the film, it’s worth the journey.

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LOCATION: 555 E Stanford St, Bartow, FL 33830

Shelly, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, pulls her RV up from around this corner in front of the house.

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The main street where Veda and Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, ride their bikes can be found in Sanford, Florida.  They can be seen crossing this road with the clock tower to the right, then riding down the sidewalk.

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LOCATION: Intersection of E 1st St and Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They then ride their bikes up a ramp that specifically says “no bicycles,” taking a short cut through a mechanic’s garage.  That building and ramp have since been demolished.  The alley they exit onto can still be found, however, where the garage owner yells at them as they ride away.

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LOCATION: Alley directly behind 228 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

As they approach Dr. Welty’s office, they continue riding their bikes down another alley, which features a “Nixon / Agnew ’72” poster on the brick wall.  This alley really is just around the corner from the Dr. Welty’s office filming location.

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LOCATION: Alley between 107 and 111 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

Vada visits Dr, Welty’s office, where, in spite of her claims that she’s sick, the doctor insists she’s in perfect health.

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LOCATION: 113 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The kids then come across their school teacher, Mr. Bixler, played by Griffin Dunne, who is painting his house.

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LOCATION: 605 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The tree where Vada and Thomas J. become “blood brothers” and later kiss in the film was a bit of movie magic.  It was, in fact, an artificial tree, built in part using pieces of a real tree.  After extensive location hunting for a willow tree beside a lake, the filmmakers failed to find what they were looking for and instead opted to make their own tree.  A team was hired to cut down a large oak tree, tagging each branch for reassembly, then uprooting it and moving it to the lake location.  The lake in question is Mirror Lake in Clermont, Florida, which is located somewhat far away from the other filming locations.  The base of the tree was held in place by five tons of cement, with metal coupling sleeves to reinforce the branches.  They then covered the entire thing with $15,000 worth of silk willow leaves to give you the tree you saw in the film, which appeared quite authentic.  Today all that remains is the metallic base of the tree.  The dock was there until a few years ago, when it was removed due to deterioration.

This portion of the lake is not open to the public and is not visible from the road.  However, the much of the surrounding land is currently up for sale, in an effort to develop more housing around the area.  So while an eventual sale of the property could open it up for easier visibility, there is always the possibility that developing the land could in turn lead to the removal of the tree base.  The reason it hasn’t already been removed is most likely due to the five tons of concrete beneath.

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LOCATION: Mirror Lake, Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711 (closest known address is 15647 Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711, the GPS coordinates of the tree base itself are 28.565015, -81.700218)

A bit closer look at the tree base.

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Vada sneaks over to Thomas J.’s house and asks him to go to the church with her to spy on her father’s date with Shelly.

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LOCATION: 603 Myrtle Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They church they head to is Ocoee Christian Church in Ocoee, Florida.  The kids can be seen walking down the sidewalk on the left and passing the front steps as they make their way over to the bingo tent.  Once again, Ocoee is not a short drive to get to and it’s somewhat puzzling why the filmmakers chose such a far-removed location, as surely there must have been other churches available that were closer to the other filming locations.

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LOCATION: 15 S Bluford Ave, Ocoee, FL 34761

Here is the yard to the church, where the bingo tent was set up.

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The school where Mr. Bixler teaches his creative writing class can be found at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Building, not to be confused with the present day Plant City High School.  The 1914 building is an old landmark and serves as a community center.

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LOCATION: 605 N Collins St, Plant City, FL 33563

Back in Sanford, near the end of the film, Thomas J.’s mother runs into Harry at The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar, which is located right by the clock tower on the main street, where the kids are seen riding their bikes early in the film.  Harry is eating inside, when he comes out and speaks to her on this sidewalk at the corner.

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LOCATION: 112 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

If you’re a fan of the film, the good news is most of the filming locations are still well preserved.  The biggest challenge, aside from the handful of locations found in the town of Sanford, is simply traveling to all of the towns distant from one another, which composite the small Pennsylvania town depicted in the film.