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The Probable “Beat It” Diner, Part II

Mar 30th, 2010 | By | Category: Michael Jackson Locations

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This past Friday, after yet another doctor appointment in Downtown L.A., my dad and I stopped by the Monte Carlo Restaurant, aka the (probable) diner which appeared in Michael Jackson’s 1983 music video for his hit song “Beat It”.  Our mission that day – and yes, we chose to accept it ;) – was two-fold.  First, I wanted to take more interior photographs of the place in the hopes that I would be able to find some small element which matched what appeared in the video so that I could finally confirm or deny once and for all whether or not “Beat It” had actually been filmed there.  Second, I wanted to take a closer look at the restaurant’s “Open/Closed” sign to see if it was, in fact, the same exact one which was featured in the video, as fellow stalker John had speculated in a comment in my last post on the Monte Carlo.  If it was, my plan was to ask the owner if we could swap it out with a new sign that my dad had purchased so that I could take the “Beat It” sign home as a souvenir.  Upon closer inspection, though, the sign which is currently displayed in the window of the Monte Carlo Restaurant is brand, spanking new and is in far too good of shape and is far too clean to possibly be the same sign which hung there 27 years ago.  But . . .

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. . . as luck would have it, while we were dining my dad did happen to spot a loose linoleum floor tile that someone had propped up against the wall near where we were sitting, so he snagged it on our way out the door.  I’m really not kidding – he actually walked out of the restaurant with a floor tile in his hand!!!!  LOL  And while I’m still not even sure if “Beat It” was actually filmed at the Monte Carlo or, if it was, if that particular floor tile was in place at the time, it’s still a pretty cool relic to have.  But, while I did walk away with a nifty souvenir, sadly the first part of our mission was not achieved as we didn’t get any sort of confirmation about “Beat It” being filmed on the premises.  In fact, if it’s possible, I am even MORE confused now than I was before!  This was actually a particularly frustrating stalk for me.  The woman who owns the Monte Carlo is Chinese and speaks very little English and I can’t tell you how difficult it is to know that she has all of the answers I am seeking, yet not be able to fully communicate with her.  I am dying to bring someone into the restaurant who speaks Chinese fluently who could translate our conversation as I think it would finally put an end to all of our doubts and questions about the “Monte Carlo” being the “Beat It” cafe.  Any volunteers???  Anyway, to aid in my conversation with the owner, I showed her some screen captures from “Beat It” that I had stored on my cell phone.  Well, let me tell you, she just about had a heart attack right then and there!  She was practically screaming over the pictures and kept saying “My restaurant!  My restaurant!  Oh my God, my restaurant!”  She immediately grabbed my phone and proceeded to show the pictures on it to all of the people who were working the breakfast shift and all of the patrons who were dining at the time.  She then came back over to me and, from what I could best understand, said that she had been made to leave the restaurant during the filming of “Beat It”, so she never got to meet or even see Michael.  She also explained that she had never actually watched the video before – which I found very odd.  If the biggest superstar in the world filmed a video in your cafe, wouldn’t you not only have seen said video, but also bought a copy of it?  So, while it was extremely cute to see her get so excited over the pictures of Michael standing in her restaurant, it really gives me pause that she had never seen “Beat It’” before.  Because of the communication barrier, though, I wasn’t able to ask her why that was.  Like I said before, I really need to get a translator in there!

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I did spot a few landmarks of sorts while my dad and I were at the Monte Carlo that match up with what appeared in the video – one of which was the conduit pipe which runs horizontally along the restaurant’s south wall.  I am ashamed to admit that I actually never noticed the pipe in the video until fellow stalker David from Spain pointed it out to me a couple of weeks ago when I posted my first write-up on the “Beat It” cafe.  So, this past Friday while stalking the restaurant I made sure to look to see if that pipe was there in real life, too, which it was!  YAY!  That’s a pretty big confirmation, at least in my eyes, that the Monte Carlo is, in fact, the same place that appeared in “Beat It”.

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As you can see in the above photograph and screen capture, the lower portion of the wall next to the restaurant’s entrance also matches the lower portion of the wall that appeared in the video.  It is apparent that the area of the wall closest to the floor was once painted a lighter shade of green, as was the case in “Beat It”.  The flooring also appears to be worn in pretty much the exact same spots as it was in the video.  But, again, I would expect that sort of wear and tear in an old restaurant.

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My dad took some photographs from close to the same angle from which “Beat It” was filmed so that I could try to match up certain aspects of the Monte Carlo to the “Beat It” cafe, but I am still unable to say whether or not it’s the same place.   I’d love to hear the opinions of my fellow stalkers, though.  :)

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In a very ironic twist of fate, fellow stalker David from Spain was recently watching videos at a party and almost fell off his chair when he noticed a familiar site in the 2004 Hoobastank video for the song “The Reason”.   That familiar site just so happened to be the Monte Carlo!  Yes, “The Reason” was filmed on location outside of the probable “Beat It” diner!!!!   Honestly, what are the odds of that?  What amazed me most about the whole thing, though, was how much of the restaurant has changed in the six short years since the video was filmed.  As you can see in the above screen capture and photograph, the exterior is almost unrecognizable.  In fact, if the “Monte Carlo” name hadn’t been displayed outside, I wouldn’t have believed it was the same place!  Apparently, at the time “The Reason” was filmed the restaurant had a green metal roof, a green metal overhang/awing, and completely different exterior signage, all of which is now gone, which got me to thinking – if that much has changed in six short years, imagine the myriad of changes that have occurred in the twenty-seven years since “Beat It” was filmed.  I mean, it’s no wonder the cafe looks so different today than it did in the video.  

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On a Michael Jackson side note – I recently became obsessed with tracking down and purchasing the SUPER CUTE rhinestone-encrusted MJ T-shirt that comedian Jo Koy wore last week on the Chelsea Lately show (pictured above).  Thankfully, after the episode aired Jo twittered about where one could purchase said shirt and I immediately did.  :)   The tee was created by a company named Broke2 and costs $40.  Not a bad deal, at all!  I had a feeling that some fellow MJ-obsessed stalkers might also be interested in the shirt.  If so, you can pick one up here.  They come in both women’s and men’s styles.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The probable “Beat It” diner, aka the Monte Carlo Restaurant, is located at 109 East Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles.  Please remember that the cafe is not located in the safest of areas, so exercise caution when stalking it.

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15 comments

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  1. Jonathan says:

    Lindsay, you’ve actually killed two birds with one stone here – you’ve also uncovered the filiming locations for Weird Al Yankovic’s video parody “Eat It”! Well played. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJjMnHoIBI

  2. Dan Nowel says:

    Hi Lindsay,.

    I, unfortunately, have to agree with Doubting Thomas’s arguement. I did go there a couple times, and was real exicted when I did, but then I watched the actual video and paused it when MJ firsts walks thought the door. After that, i looked up the location on google maps (I do live in the area, though), and noticed the window differences.

    As much as I would like to say that this is, in deed, the Michael Jackson Beat It diner, I’m nor really that sure that it is.

  3. Brooke says:

    This is incredible simply because I moved to that neighborhood almost a year ago, only a few steps from this place and the whole time I had no clue. I catch the bus RIGHT in front of the Monte Carlo restaurant every day for work! I walk past this place and peer in the front window every single morning. After carefully watching the video again, in my opinion Lindsay, you have absolutely found your Beat It diner. There are film crews in this neighborhood constantly so it doesn’t surprise me. This is one of the few places in LA that looks very much like New York they use it for TV and film all of the time for that reason. I am sure that you can dig up a ton of other movies, videos and TV shows filmed here (the area is now called The Old Bank District, or The Historic Core District.) The Hoobastank video was really fascinating for me to since that was only a few years ago. The neighborhood has improved leaps and bounds even since then. It still has a long way to go, but I like it, it’s got character. Thank you so much for all of your dedicated stalking, I thoroughly enjoy it. So glad to know that there are others out there who enjoy this stuff to. Keep it up!
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  4. LAVONNA says:

    I agree I think you found it! Can’t wait 2 weeks from today we’re in LA stalk time!

  5. Kerry says:

    A bit un-related but I have to ask: Am I the only one wondering why the owner of the Monte Carlo never mentioned the Hoobastank video to you????? I would think that when you were there inquiring about the MJ filming, she would have told you (in broken English) about the music video. STRANGE!!!

    • Davidete says:

      Well, you are right, that’s strage too, but think that all along the Hoobastank video, the Monte Carlo remains closed (maybe that was their day off? holidays? :p), so it’s pretty possible that the owner didn’t realize about the filming at all… that’s what I call really bad luck: 2 famous videolips on your business, and you don’t notice anything at all! :p

    • Lindsay says:

      I wondered the same thing. But the owner really speaks very, very little English. She kept calling “Beat It” a “picture”, instead of a video. She was trying to talk to me and I was trying to talk to her, but neither of us could understand each other. :(

  6. John (Bay Area) says:

    I still see some differences regarding the windows. If you look at the Google Street View of the building across the street from the Monte Carlo, there is a buisness (next door to the right of Lucky Pawn Shop) that has 3 windows above the door level. The address # is 108. The middle window is twice as wide as it is tall (2 X 1) while the other two windows are almost perfectly square (1 X 1). That 2 X 1 middle window seem to match the 2 X 1 window behind MJ’s head in the screen shot. But the window to the right of the center in the video screen shot appears to be wider than 1 X 1. One explanation for that could be that the vents seen in the street view shots were added after the video and required making the two outer windows narrower. The other thing I noticed is that the thickness of the window frame seems much thicker in the MJ Video than in the street view image. Again, maybe that whole window construction was re-build since the video.

    And while I hate keep going down this path of doubt, I do have concerns that the pipe on the wall is not the same either. The pipe seen in the video is right at the level of the guy’s knee while the one you photographs looks to be about 12 inches from the floor. Also the diameter of the pipe in the video looks larger in diameter than the one in the current photo. I actually think the pipe in the video is a water or drain pipe, and not electrical conduit like your current photo shows. Its more obvious in the video itself than in the screen shots. In the video you can see the pipe extend to the front of the diner and you can see a couple of water pipe like junctions. At the 20 second mark of the video, I see a vertical pipe the goes into a T section of the horizontal pipe. In your current photo, the pipe goes into an electrical socket box with no verical segments.

    None of this means it still can’t be the same diner but there still isn’t that one exact perfect piece of evidence to close the case. I feel bad being a doubting Thomas but I love that you went back to gather more evidence! Its starting to take on the scope and feel of the Warren Commission in 1964… perhaps this can be called the Blake Commission.

    • Lindsay says:

      OMG you are HILARIOUS! The Blake Commission! Love it!
      I am with you, though – while none of this means that the Monte Carlo isn’t where “Beat It” was filmed, there is still nothing to say without a doubt that it is the place! So frusterating!

  7. Davidete says:

    Yes, I’m with David, I have NO doubt that this is the place. I don’t know why the owner would say it once and again it it wasn’t, and if it was for giving herself importance, she would exploit it in the local in one or other way, but we can see NO signs of it at all. It’s really a pity you don’t know anybody who can speak her language to clarify it once and for all :p Neither the cook can speak english?

    And by the way, did the “Open” sign had the same “Closed” letters on its back that we can see in Todd Gray’s picture?

    Thank you for re-stalking this mythical location, and for bringing us back MJ on your blog!!!

    • Lindsay says:

      Well, the problem is that I think the owner was saying it was filmed there, but I really can’t be certain due to the language barrier. And the cook spoke Spanish, which I can speak a tiny bit of, but not enough to be able to confirm if the Monte Carlo is the “Beat It” diner. Just realized that I do know someone who does speak Spanish, though – YOU! You’ll have to go in when you are in LA this April and see what you can find out! :)
      And yes, the Open sign looked the same. :)

  8. David Crocker says:

    By the way….something to remember about your previous concern related to the background when Michael walks through the front door. The angle of your comparison photo is still a bit off. I am convinced that the 3 windows that appear behind Michael are the same ones that are above one of the businesses across the street. Look just right of the car in your photo taken a few days ago. Find the green trash can. Just to the right of that is a ‘garage door’. Above that door are the windows you see behind Michael. If the angle of your photo was from further behind the counter the windows would line up perfectly.

    Remember, David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear by putting his audience on a moving platform and rotating them just a couple of degrees, thus hiding the statue behind a huge support that held a big curtain. Here’s a link that shows how he did it. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1512/how-did-david-copperfield-make-the-statue-of-liberty-vanish.

    If David Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear by moving an audience a couple of degrees, I bet you we could match up the exact angle of Michael coming through the door if we could take a photo from behind the counter (i.e., a few degrees from our current comparison shots).

    In my book this is clearly the place. If anything, the conduit seals it.

  9. David Crocker says:

    Hey Lindsay,

    I think you can lift the lid on any doubt about this location’s authenticity. It is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY AND WITHOUT QUESTION


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  1. [...] 2010 as being the possible café that appeared in the King of Pop’s “Beat It” video.  (You can read my second post on that same location here.  I suggest reading both of my Monte Carlo write-ups, as well as all of the comments posted [...]

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