Farnsworth ParkMay 19th, 2009 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
My favorite movie of all time has got to be Dirty Dancing. I’ve loved the coming-of-age film ever since I was about 13 years old. Oh, how I wanted to be Baby! Growing up, I made my best guy friend practice doing “the lift” with me everytime we were in a swimming pool. LOL And, like Baby, I could never seem to get it right! It has long been my location dream to one day travel to Pembroke, Virgina to stalk Mountain Lake Resort, the hotel where most of the filming of the movie took place. So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I read in my new favorite stalking book that the final dance sequence from Dirty Dancing was actually filmed right here in L.A.! I literally just about died of excitement!!!! LOL According to the book, the Kellerman Playhouse, which supposedly existed at the Catskills resort where Baby and her family were vacationing, was, in reality, the Davies Memorial Building located in Farnsworth Park in Altadena. So, of course, I ran right out to stalk it!
Unfortunately, though, after watching Dirty Dancing earlier today – accompanied by screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s commentary – I am fairly certain that the rumors about the movie being filmed in Altadena are simply that – rumors. As you can see in the above screen captures, the Davies Memorial Building in no way resembles the Kellerman Playhouse where Johnny and Baby performed their famous final dance. The differences between the two buildings include: the Kellerman Playhouse has French doors and stone columns running along its walls, but the Davies Building does not; the ceiling of the Davies Building is flanked by wooden beams, while the ceiling of the Kellerman Playhouse has an almost curtain-like ceiling; the Davies Building features a huge rock fireplace centered on one wall, while the Kellerman Playhouse is lacking a fireplace; and the chandeliers in the Davies building are craftsman style, while the Kellerman Playhouse chandeliers are more traditional. Final proof that the dance scene was not filmed at the Davies Building? In the commentary, Eleanor states that the scene, which took a whopping five full days to film, took place in North Carolina. SUCH A BUMMER!!!!
My stalking trip to Farnsworth Park wasn’t a complete bust, though. While I can pretty much state with absolute certainty that Dirty Dancing’s final dance scene did not take place there, I am happy to report that many other productions have been filmed on the property.
In American Pie 2, Farnsworth Park stood in for Tall Oaks Band Camp. The amphitheatre area was featured in the scene where Jim played the trombone before a packed audience . . .
. . . and the Davies Memorial Building was used as the camp lodge where Jim and Michelle had a late night chat. You can see the building’s huge stone fireplace behind Jim and Michelle in the above screen capture. Farnsworth Park also made an appearance in the movie’s sequel, American Pie Presents Band Camp.
The Davies Memorial building was also used in the Margaret Chow series Two Sisters and it’s kitchen area was featured in an episode of NCIS, where it was dressed up to look like a morgue. The picnic area of Farnsworth Park has been featured in CSI: Las Vegas, numerous episodes of Ghostwhisperer, and a commercial for Apple Computers.
And even though Dirty Dancing wasn’t filmed there, I still highly recommend stalking Farnsworth Park. It is a really pretty place to walk around, lounge in the shade, or have a picnic. The staff there is also EXTREMELY friendly. I was even given a mini-tour of the property by one of the staff members, who told me all about what filming had taken place there. Love it!!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Farnsworth Park is located at 568 East Mount Curve Avenue, at the corner of Mount Curve and Lake Avenues, in Altadena. Park hours are from 9 a.m. to sunset. Parking is free. You can visit the park’s official website here.