William McKinley High School from “Glee”Jan 13th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Glee Filming Locations
My Hollywood obsession as of late is the new Fox musical dramedy Glee. Actually, stating that I am obsessed with the series is a rather gross understatement. To say it’s more of an all-out, withdrawal-symptom inducing addiction would be closer to the truth. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this enamored of a show since, dare I say it, high school when Beverly Hills, 90210 was on the air. Let’s face it – I am ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE with Glee! In fact, the “Sectionals” episode was so fabulous that I watched it three times in a row (not kidding!), mostly because of the big “My Life Would Suck Without You” grand finale number, which was just about the cutest thing ever – especially the kiss at the end! To illustrate just how smitten I am with the show (and its leading man Matthew Morrison – sigh!), I’d like to share the following little anecdote with you. This past Friday, my dad had a minor surgery in the West L.A. area and, being the nice daughter that I am, I volunteered to drive him to and from the hospital. Well, I guess it’s true what they say about no good deed going unpunished because I later found out that Glee would be filming on location on Larchmont Boulevard that very same day. Of all the bum luck! Anyway, my dad’s surgery went off without a hitch and while leaving the hospital I realized that Larchmont Boulevard was (sort of) on our way home. So – and I can’t even believe I’m about to cop to this in a public forum – I just HAD to stop by. I mean, don’t I owe at least that much to you, dear readers? So, yes, while my dad was drugged out of his mind on anesthetic, sleeping in the passenger seat of my car right next to me, trying to recover from surgery, I drove over to Larchmont Boulevard to stalk the Glee set. Unfortunately, because they were filming inside of a store, I couldn’t see a whole lot via a simple drive-by. And while deciding if I should park my car – with my dad inside – to venture closer to where they were filming, my conscience got the best of me and I turned around and drove on home. So sad! Ironically enough, though, my mom, who is also a big “Gleek” and who knew about the filming, called me up about five minutes later to ask if I had stopped by the set. When I told her that I just couldn’t do it because I was worried about my dad, she said, “Why?? He’ll never know the difference!” LOL LOL LOL As the author of the I Am A TV Junkie blog said recently of his own Glee addiction, “It’s becoming a little ridiculous. I may have to join a support group.” Well, if you find one, TV Junkie, please sign me up, as well! Until that time, though, I figure if you can’t beat ‘em, stalk ‘em! So, this weekend I headed down to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, which stands in for William McKinley High School on Glee.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School is featured extensively on Glee. In fact, according to this article, filming takes place there on a very regular basis. The areas of the school which appear in the series include the football field, track, and bleachers, which were unfortunately completely locked up at the time;
the staff parking lot area, which is located directly in front of the gym;
and the outdoor stairwell located just to the left of the gym. (Please excuse the above photographs – the position of the sun was making it very difficult to take pictures that day.)
The Cabrillo High School location that I most wanted to stalk was the arched-over outdoor hallway where Emma and Will shared a brief chat in the episode entitled “Showmance”. Ironically enough, that outdoor hallway can be found at the top of that very same staircase located to the left of the gym, but unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until after I got home and re-watched the episode.
While stalking Cabrillo, I was lucky enough to run into two teachers who could NOT have been nicer and even went so far as to point out all the areas of the school used on Glee. Both teachers I spoke with were quite amused over my excitement at seeing the Glee locales in person, especially since one of the them had yet to ever even watch the show! I tried to explain to him that not watching a series that regularly films at his workplace is tantamount to sacrilege in my eyes, but I don’t think he much cared. Most of the filming of Glee is relegated to the one small section of Cabrillo High’s 64-acre campus (and no, that’s not a typo, the school actually measures a whopping 64 acres!) pictured above. The football field, staff parking lot, and gym, which are all located near the school’s main entrance just off of West Willard Street, are denoted with pink circles in the above aerial image.
A more close-up view of the staff parking lot is pictured above.
According to the teachers I spoke with, several interior areas of the school, which I unfortunately could not stalk, are also used on Glee, including the cafeteria;
and the auditorium. You can see interior photographs of the school here.
From what I understand, though, McKinley High’s gym is actually located on the campus of another school altogether – Helen Bernstein High School in Los Angeles.
And a little bit of Glee trivia for you – according to one of the teachers I spoke with, Cabrillo High’s real life steel drum band was featured in the series’ pilot episode in the scene pictured above. So cool!
Besides regular episodic filming, a photo shoot with the cast of Glee was also recently held at the school, which you can watch a behind-the-scenes video of here. Cabrillo High School has also been featured in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, an episode of the television series Bones, and both Cheaper by the Dozen movies.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, aka William McKinley High School from Glee, is located at 2001 Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach. Please remember that even though Cabrillo is a “public” school, it is still considered private property. Take good care not to trespass, especially when students are present. If you do want to visit the school, I suggest doing so on a Saturday or Sunday, and always ask permission from a faculty member before gaining access to the property.