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The “13 Going On 30” Thriller Dance Location

Mar 4th, 2010 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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A few months ago, I enlisted the help of fellow stalker Owen in tracking down the location from fave movie 13 Going On 30 where Jenna Rink (aka Jennifer Garner) saved the Poise Magazine  party by performing her rendition of the Zombie Dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which, not surprisingly,  just so happens to be my very favorite scene in the flick.  From the beginning, I was absolutely convinced that the “Thriller” scene had been filmed in a building located somewhere in New York, but Owen had a hunch that it had actually taken place right here in Los Angeles.  And, as usual, Owen was right.  After doing a bit of cyber-stalking, he somehow managed to track down one of the movie’s location managers who told him that Jenna’s “Thriller” dance had actually been performed inside of an oft-used filming location in Downtown Los Angeles, one that I am ashamed to admit I was already very familiar with – the former Bank of American building located on the corner of 7th and South Spring Streets.  The building has been used in COUNTLESS productions over the years, but I am sad to say that, for whatever reason, I somehow failed to recognize it.

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Being that the former bank’s big ol’ safe is clearly visible in the background of the “Thriller” scene, I really should have figured this one out.  Man, I’m such a blonde sometimes! 

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Once Owen had tracked down the location for me, I put the former bank building on my very long “To-Stalk” list and finally managed to visit the place in person while out doing some stalking in the Downtown Los Angeles area a couple of weeks ago.  The Spring Street Tower, as it is sometimes called, which was built in 1912 by the architectural firm of Schultze and Weaver, served as the Los Angeles headquarters for the Bank of America Corporation from 1930 to 1972.  After Bank of America vacated the twelve story high Beaux Arts style building, the upper floors served as offices for various companies throughout the years, while the marble clad lobby became an extremely popular filming location.  In recent years, SB Properties, a building development company, took over the building and converted the former offices into lofts.  And while the lobby area still looks much the same as it did during the time when it was operating as a bank, there are currently plans in the works for a restaurant and club to open up in that space, which is both good news and bad news.  Bad news because I am guessing that once the space becomes a restaurant, it will cease to be a filming location and will most likely be heavily remodeled and good news because if it does eventually become a restaurant that means that someday in the near future I will be able to stalk the area where Jennifer Garner danced, a place which is currently off limits to the public.  YAY!  :) 

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When we first arrived to stalk the former Bank of America building, I did not actually have high hopes that I would be able to see any of the interior.  So, let me tell you, I just about passed out from excitement when I discovered that the lobby area, where the “Thriller” dance scene took place, was thoroughly visible through the former bank’s front windows.  From the windows you can see the vault;

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the main staircase;

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the second floor balcony;

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and several of the wood-paneled main offices.  You can also see some fabulous interior photographs of the bank building here.

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In 13 Going On 30, the former Bank of America building was the location of the Poise Magazine “Girls Night Out” party, during which Jenna’s boss, Richard (aka Andy Serkis) complains that the guests are leaving far too early and if someone doesn’t do something to liven up the joint – and quick – then the entire magazine might go down the drain.  So, Jenna immediately heads over to the DJ booth where she requests Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and then proceeds to lead the entire party in the famous Zombie Dance.  Oh, how I would love to do that dance at my wedding!  😉

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So I, of course, just had to imitate Jenna doing the “Thriller” dance while I was at the building.  :)  I think it goes without saying that my fiancé was HIGHLY embarrassed while taking the above photographs of me. 

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The former bank is also where Robbie (aka Adam Sandler) tries to get a job to impress Julia (aka Drew Barrymore) in 1998’s The Wedding Singer.  When the bank’s manager, who was played by Kevin Nealon, turns him down, Robbie says, “You don’t even have to give me the job.  If you could just give me some business cards with my name on it, I think that might help.  How ‘bout this – I’ll give you ten singing lessons for one business card.  Please?”  LOL 

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In 1995’s Se7en, the bank building was dressed to look like a library and appeared in the scene in which Detective Lt. William Somerset (aka Morgan Freeman) researches the Seven Deadly Sins.

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In L.A. Story, the bank stood in for the Fourth Reich Bank of Hamburg where Steve Martin is forced to show his financial records to the owner of the impossible-to-get-into L’Idiot Restaurant in order to secure a dinner reservation there. 

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In 1994’s The Mask, the bank was used as Edge City Savings and Loan where Stanley Ipkiss (aka Jim Carrey) worked.

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In Spiderman 2, the bank appeared up as the spot where Peter Parker (aka Tobey Maguire) takes his Aunt May (aka Rosemary Harris) to apply for a loan from a bank teller played by none other than The Soup’s Joel McHale.  :)  While the two are in the bank, Doc Ock shows up to rob the place and almost succeeds until Spiderman steps in and, of course, saves the day. 

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In Ghost, the bank was used as the place where Sam Wheat (aka Patrick Swayze) takes Oda Mae Brown (aka Whoopi Goldberg) to fill out a signature card under the false name of Rita Miller.

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In Blow, the former Bank of America building stood in for the Bank of Panama in one very brief scene.

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In The Prestige, the building shows up twice.  First, the bank lobby appeared as the courtroom where Alfred Borden’s (aka Christian Bale’s) murder trial is held.

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And second, the bank’s second floor mezzanine area stood in for the bar where Robert Angier (aka Hugh Jackman) shared a drink with Cutter (aka Michael Caine).

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The bank also appeared in the movies Marathon Man, Traffic, Fatal Vision, Prizzi’s Honor, St. Elmo’s Fire, All of Me, and in episodes of 24, Cagney & Lacey, Hill Street Blues, Matlock, and Hardcastle & McCormick.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The old Bank of America building is located at 650 South Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles.  The best place to catch a glimpse of the interior of the property is through the windows located on either side of the building’s front doors, which are pictured above.

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4 comments

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  1. Eric Tornow says:

    If Michael Jackson still alive he will love to meet Jennifer Garner From “13 Going On 30” I miss him alot : ( !!!

  2. Liz says:

    This is fantastic!! Will be checking it out soon. How do you find time to post such a complete blog? So cool!

  3. Ashley says:

    WOW! Pretty crazy how often that place has shown up in movies! The funny thing is that I was just watching The Wedding Singer & thinking about all the locations from it that you’ve stalked – and now you found another one! 😀

  4. Lavonna Foster says:

    Love 13 going on 30!


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