The Bedtime Stories SchoolJun 11th, 2009 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Last week, while searching for the Bedtime Stories house, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I decided to also try to find the school featured in the movie. We started our search by looking at street views of different elementary schools in the Los Angeles area, but pretty much came up empty-handed. So, I decided to once again ask my friend who had worked on the movie if she happened to remember where the school was located. She, of course, did not, but what she did remember was that the school from the movie wasn’t actually a school at all, but a public library. She said that the exterior of the library had been changed quite extensively for the filming and made to look a lot bigger than it actually is. Two whole wings were actually added to one side of the building to make it look more like an elementary school. So, armed with that little bit of information, off I went to search local libraries. And, sure enough, it wasn’t long before I found the right one!
In real life, Daniel Webster Elementary School is, in fact, the Los Angeles Memorial Branch Library which was constructed in 1930. It was built to honor twenty alumni of Los Angeles High School, which is located directly across the street, who had lost their lives in the first World War. Students had originally purchased a small parcel of land across the street from the high school in 1922 and turned it over to the Park Commission with the decree that a memorial park, in honor of all alumni who had fought in the war, would be built on the premises. Today, that park is known as L.A. High Memorial Park. The following year, students and alumni purchased an additional parcel of land adjacent to the park. In 1929, the City of Los Angeles decided to build a library on that adjacent piece of land and commissioned the architecture firm Austin and Ashley, who had also designed the high school, to build it. The library was designed to match the English Tudor style architecture of the high school, which had been built twelve years beforehand. A stained glass window, designed by Judson Art Studio, with the names of the twenty alumni who had lost their lives, was installed in the adult reading room. The library officially opened to the public on April 29, 1930.
Sadly, the original Los Angeles High School building was badly damaged in the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake and was quickly condemned by the City of Los Angeles. Preservationists tried to stop the demolition of the beautiful building, but a mysterious fire gutted the school, thereby sealing its fate. The building was completely demolished later that same year and a huge blue and gold cement monstrosity was built in its place (pictured above). That monstrosity even pops up in Bedtime Stories, in the scene when Adam Sandler picks his niece and nephew up from school. You can see pictures of what Los Angeles High School used to look and pictures of its demolition here and here. So sad!!!!
Ironically enough, the original Los Angeles High School building was a frequent filming location, showing up in A Kiss Before Dying (1956), Compulsion, and the television series Room 222. You can watch the intro to Room 222, in which the school is featured prominently, here.
As you can see in the above screen capture and photographs, the Los Angeles Memorial Branch Library looks much different and much smaller in person than how it appeared onscreen. You can also see the wing that was added to the right side of the building.
The front door of the library is very recognizable from the film, though.
Because the real interior of the library looks nothing like an elementary school, the interior scenes were shot about 20 miles away at McKinley School in Pasadena. And, according to the librarian who I talked to while stalking the place, the interior of the Memorial Branch Library, but not the exterior, was featured in the 1987 movie Baby Boom. Go figure.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Bedtime Stories school is really the Memorial Branch Library located at 4625 West Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles. The interior school scenes were filmed at McKinley School located at 325 South Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena.