The Chase House from the Pilot Episode of “My So-Called Life”Jan 5th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: My So-Called Life Filming Locations
Ever since fellow stalker Andrew tracked down the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles from the “So-Called Angels” episode of fave show My So-Called Life, I have been itching to re-watch the entire series from beginning to end as I have not seen it in years. So, I immediately went out and purchased the most recently-released boxed set of the show and finally sat down to start watching it last night. While doing so, I became a bit obsessed with locating the house where the Chase family – Graham (aka Tom Irwin), Patty (aka Bess Armstrong), Angela (aka Claire Danes), and Danielle (aka Lisa Wilhoit) – lived, because, as an astute fellow stalker named Somerset pointed out to me a while back, it was not the same property that was used for the other 18 episodes of the show.
Unfortunately though, there was virtually nothing for me to go on for this particular stalk – no house number, no visible street signs, not even a full view of the exterior of the property. But then, all of a sudden, like a lightning bolt from the sky, I spotted a clue – a very important clue. In the scene in which Angela waits for Rickie Vasquez (aka Wilson Cruz) to pick her up to go to Let’s Bolt nightclub, I noticed that the streetlights on Angela’s street were round. And while I had seen those streetlights (pictured above) before, I had only ever seen them in one place – in one very small section of Pasadena. The trees that lined Angela’s street also looked very familiar to me and I had an inkling that they might be the very trees that are located along Pasadena’s oft-filmed Madison Avenue.
So, I began my search for the Chase home on Madison Avenue and, using Google Street View, found the property almost immediately! YAY! And I ran right out to stalk the place first thing yesterday morning.
And while the full exterior of the house is never actually shown in the pilot episode of My So-Called Life, as you can see in the above screen captures and photographs, the location of the window to the right of the front door and the roof lines of the front porch match up perfectly to what appeared onscreen.
The house across the street matches up perfectly, as well.
As does the house that is located at the end of Angela’s street.
The tree that is visible in the background of the scene in which Brian Krakow (aka Devon Gummersall) and Angela are shown arguing also looks exactly the same today as it did onscreen.
And amazingly enough, the tree that Brian sits in at the end of the episode is actually there in real life and still looks EXACTLY the same today as it did in March of 1993 when the pilot was filmed! SO INCREDIBLY COOL!
When Angela gets dropped off by the police at the end of the episode, instead of going directly home, she and Brian walk north on Madison Avenue to the corner of Madison and Alpine Street, where Angela spots her father talking to a woman who is not her mother. That area also looks much the same today as it did during the filming.
And, according to the DVD commentary by series creator Winnie Holzman, director Scott Winant, and executive producer Marshall Hershkovitz, the interior of the property was also used in the filming of the episode. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see the inside of that house!
After the Grim Cheaper got off work yesterday evening, I dragged him back out to the house so that he could snap a picture of me reenacting that famous shot of Angela and Brian standing in the middle of the street. Oh, I cannot tell you how long I have wanted to take that picture! I was literally skipping to the car on the way there. Sigh!
On a side note – the creators of My So-Called Life, whose production company is named “The Bedford Falls Company”, threw in quite a few references to their favorite film It’s A Wonderful Life in the pilot episode of the series – including the scene in which Angela changes her clothes behind a bush a la Mary Hatch (aka Donna Reed) and a scene in which Brian wears a shirt with the number “3” on it, a la George Bailey (aka James Stewart). Love it, love it, love it!
It’s A Wonderful Life is also playing in the background of the scene in which Angela apologizes to her mother.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Chase house from the pilot episode of My So-Called Life is located at 1025 South Madison Avenue in Pasadena. The tree Brian sat in at the end of the episode is located in front of the house at 1014 South Madison Avenue. Angela spots her father talking to the mysterious woman at the southeast corner of South Madison Avenue and Alpine Street. And, finally, the famous shot of Angela and Brian standing in the middle of the street was filmed in front of 1014 and 1025 South Madison Avenue with the camera looking north on Madison towards Alpine Street. The Mr. Deeds house is located just three doors down from the MSCL pilot house at 989 South Madison Avenue. The house that was used as the Chase home in the other 18 episodes of the series is located at 1110 Glendon Way in South Pasadena.