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Paradise Cove

Apr 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Marilyn Monroe Locations

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One location I have been wanting to stalk ever since I first moved to L.A. nine years ago – has it really been nine years??? – is Malibu’s Paradise Cove.  Countless movies have been filmed at the Cove, but I wanted to stalk it for one reason and one reason only.    Back in April of 1999, it was the location where Britney Spears filmed the music video for her hit song “Sometimes”.   And I absolutely LOVED that video.  I can still remember the first time I watched it on TRL   just about ten years ago.  And ever since that day I have been dying to see the white pier featured in the video in person.  So, this past Saturday, I finally did just that.  When I happened to mention to my mom that morning that I was on my way to stalk the Cove and the reason why, she said “Oh Lindsay, when are you going to get over this Britney obsession?”  LOL

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Paradise Cove, as we know it today, came to be in the early 1950s when a man named Joe Morris purchased two adjacent parcels of land and combined them into 70 beachfront acres complete with a private cove and a beach cafe.  In the beginning, the area was a fisherman’s hangout, a place for sea-weary workers to not only launch their boats, but to kick back and grab a drink after a long day on the open water.  The Cove gradually turned into a beachfront community, a place for local families, tourists, and celebrities alike to hang out by the sea.  In the 70s, Joe sold his land, his beachfront restaurant, and his private cove to the Kissel family, who turned the area into a waterfront mobile home park.  Joe’s son Bob was heartbroken over the sale and in 1998, he returned to Paradise Cove and purchased his father’s former restaurant.  He renamed it Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Cafe and remains the owner to this day.    The above photograph is of a picture on display at the Beach Cafe of my girl Marilyn Monroe  posing on a cliff above the restaurant many moons ago.

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Most of the action of Britney’s “Sometimes” video takes place right on the Paradise Cove pier.  In the video, while hanging out at her beach house, Britney spies a cute boy playing nearby in the sand.  She rushes down to the local pier, where her back-up dancers, dressed all in white, are waiting for her.  The group then performs a very “Britney” dance routine (of course, I memorized it!) for the boy.  I know, I know, the premise sounds incredibly lame, but – trust me – the video is adorable!  You can watch the “Sometimes” video here.

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In person, the pier looks exactly the same as how it appeared in Britney’s video.  The only difference is that, in real life, there is no “Kenny’s Cove” sign located over the entrance.   Apparently the video’s producer, Nigel Dick, thought an entrance sign similar to the one that adorns the Santa Monica pier was needed for decoration.  He decided to name the cove after the video’s location scout, Kenny.  :)  Love it!

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Had to do it!  :) 

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Paradise Cove has been featured in countless productions over the years.   In American Pie 2,  the Michigan lake house the boys spend their summer at was actually a facade the producers built on the beach at Paradise Cove just North of Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Cafe.  That’s the Paradise Cove Pier behind the boys in the above screen capture.  Producers also built a fake lighthouse on the end of the pier for the production.

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In Lethal Weapon 4, Mel Gibson and Rene Russo lived in a trailer/house also located just to the North of the Beach Cafe.  Their house was also just a facade built for filming.  You can see the Cafe’s exterior just to the right of Mel Gibson in the above screen capture. 

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The pier is featured twice in Indecent Proposal.  It first shows up as the location where Woody Harrelson proposes to Demi Moore in the beginning of the movie.  Then, at the very end of the movie, it is where the two reunite.

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Other productions filmed at the Cove include Rockford Files (James Garner lived in a trailer on the beach), Gidget, Monster-in-Law (JLo and Michael Vartan explored the Cove’s tide pools in the beginning of the movie), Alias, Charlie’s Angels, X-Men (Spider-Man creator Stan Lee served hot dogs by the sea) and The House of Sand and Fog.  The Beach Boys also shot the cover for their Surfin’ Safari album at the Cove (pictured above).

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I HIGHLY recommend stalking the Cove – but be forewarned, it’s not cheap!  Parking there costs $25!  Yes, you read that right!  Which is the very reason it took me nine years to stalk the place.  Stealing a term from my friend Mandy, I long ago dubbed my boyfriend the “Grim Cheaper” because the guy just hates spending money.  Five years ago, when we went to stalk the Cove for the first time, he took one look at that $25 parking sign and turned the car right around.  LOL  What we didn’t realize at the time is if you grab a bite to eat at Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Cafe and spend more than $20, the parking fee drops to $3, which is not bad at all.  So, after stalking the Cove this past Saturday we marched right into the cafe and parked ourselves on some bar stools.   And while we had a good time and the food was definitely yummy, I think we actually missed the boat on that one.  What we didn’t realize is that there is actually a back patio area where you can sip a cocktail while sitting outside under the sun, watching the surf.  But the rules for the back patio are pretty confusing because while the cafe provides the outdoor seating, they do not actually own that particular area.  So, you can buy a bottle of wine or beer inside the restaurant to take outside, but the bottles have to remain closed until you reach your sandy destination.  If you open your beverages before you leave, you will have to finish them inside.  Confused?  So was I.  

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Basically, Bob Morris’ Beach Cafe acts as a liquor store and sells full bottles of wine and beer that you can purchase at the bar and then take outside to drink on the back patio area.   I SO wish I had known that at the time, as the patio looks like a really fun place to grab a drink, put your toes in the sand, and watch the sun set.  Oh well, it looks like I’ll just have to go back to stalk the place again.  :) 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Paradise Cove is located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.  You can visit the Paradise Cove website here

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8 comments

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  1. dwight says:

    So glad to see this location featured, was a big fan of Rockford Files as a kid and loved the location. Glad to hear the lethal weapon connection, been a long time since I watched those movies but I just assumed it was the same place. The location was also used in the first episode of the 4th season of Columbo, An Exercise in Fatality. The pier is seen when the bad guy(a Jack La Lanne type) in the episode comes out of the water, and he starts jogging, with poor Columbo trailing behind, and they go around the same corner where Jim Rockford “borrows” the restaurants(a pizza place in the show) old beetle to escape from some gansters in one episode. The pilot of the show is a good re-watch, early on a young Linsday Wagner driving in a convertible Beetle, does it get any more 70s than that 😀

    • Cheri says:

      The restaurant has actually been many different things since it was first built as a bamboo bait shop. It was really small when I lived there, was open to the elements all year, and the closest thing it served to food was hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, ice cream and snow cones, and that only in the summer. The rest of the time is was boarded up. I wouldn’t doubt it sold pizza by the time Rockford Files began filming. It was quite a bit larger by then. I lived there in the early 60s.

      Oh, and Rockford’s trailer wasn’t really “on” the beach. It was smack dab in the middle of the parking lot, which always cracked me up. Somehow they managed to get water to it without hookups BECAUSE THERE WERE NONE in the parking lot! Duh. I certainly doubt there was a working toilet as there was one in the restaurant by then. Not when I was a kid. That would have really come in handy sometimes since I had to walk all the way home if I needed to go and in the summer it was a very hot walk on sunny days. Of course I was always walking into the water for a quick pee when I didn’t want to go home, which was most of the time. At least when I was a kid not many people used the beach because it was a private beach for the residents, so I never had to worry much about anyone thinking it was gross because everyone did and does it. You had to pay to park then, as well as to use the pier if you didn’t live there. And the pier had a snack bar on the end that looked a lot lit the “lighthouse” in the Brittney video. There were two boat launches that hung off the southeast side of the pier then too and you could drive your boat out there to launch it. The new pier is pathetic compared to the old one compared to the old one. I have lots of fond memories of this place, but the pier is special to me because it saved my life one day when I got caught in a riptide and swept out to sea.

  2. Lynn Cornell says:

    It’s one of the best places to go when a friend from out of town is here.
    But the prices hace risen, it is now $40 to park, $6 with $30 cafe purchase and only 4 hours.
    $20 if you’d like to hoof it in. LA is NOT cheap.

  3. Rusty says:

    Just wanted to mention that the link to the video of Britney’s song no longer works. This one does:

  4. Penny says:

    I had the pleasure of visiting Paradise Cove a couple of summers ago. My SIL insisted we go. I LOVED it. I had my eyes peeled all day in hopes of seeing celebrities. I thought I’d see some for sure since it was a crowded summer weekend day. Sadly, I saw none, but the place was gorgeous, enjoyable, and the epitome of what a southern California LA beach is all about.

  5. Amanda Allyn says:

    Hey Lin, Thanks for the shout out! Michael hates it when I say it, but he is the original Grim Cheaper!


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] have a drink. The restaurant is a place where lots of movies, TV shows, and commercials have been filmed. It has been featured in The OC, Baywatch, SpongeBob Squarepants, American pie, and Charlie’s […]

  2. […] 20. Paradise Cove – A beautiful, private beach located right in the heart of Malibu. This spot features a picturesque pier (where Britney Spears once danced), a fabulous restaurant (Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Café), and an outside bar area where you can dip your toes in the sand while sipping cocktails and watching the sun set. Don’t let the $25 parking fee scare you off – the Beach Café validates. Paradise Cove is located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. You can read my post on the site here. […]

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