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Angela’s Substitute Teacher’s Apartment Building from “My So-Called Life”

Jan 14th, 2011 | By | Category: My So-Called Life Filming Locations

My So-Called Life address number

Well, it appears as if I am definitely on a My So-Called Life kick as of late because once I popped in my DVD of the series’ pilot episode last week, I have literally not been able to stop watching since.  The show has definitely withstood the test of time as it is still absolutely riveting to watch today, sixteen years after it originally aired, which is simply incredible to me!  Anyway, while watching the Season 1 episode of the series titled “The Substitute” earlier this week, I noticed an address number of “1008” in the background behind Angela Chase (aka Claire Danes) in the scene in which she goes to the apartment building where her substitute teacher, Mr. Vic Racine (aka Roger Rees), lives to confront him about deserting his family.  And while the outside of his building is never actually shown in its entirety in the episode – all that appears in the scene is a brick wall, a wooden fence, and a red door – I became rather obsessed with finding where it was located.  Not because I necessarily wanted to stalk it, but because seeing that “1008” was like a challenge, a little clue being dangled in front of my eyes, tauntingly daring me to track the place down.  As crazy as it may sound, for whatever reason, once I spotted that address number I was absolutely NOT going to rest until I found it!

Railroad tracks - My So Called Life

I had also noticed railroad tracks in the background of the scene, so I was 99.9% certain that Mr. Racine’s apartment building was located in the South Pasadena area, somewhere in the vicinity of Andie’s house from the movie Pretty in Pink.  I immediately emailed my super-friendly and super-knowledgeable contact over at the South Pasadena film office to ask for her thoughts.  While waiting for a response, I decided to start searching aerial views of the the streets on either side of the city’s Metro Gold Line tracks and it wasn’t long before I came to a conclusion – Mr. Racine’s “apartment” was actually the side of the popular South Pasadena eatery Buster’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop.  I emailed my contact once again to tell her my theory and to send along a set of screen caps from “The Substitute” episode and she wrote me back almost immediately saying that I was indeed correct – the scene had been shot on the side of Buster’s Coffee Shop.  YAY!  So, early yesterday morning I headed on over to South Pasadena to snap some pics.

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And let me tell you, I just about died upon realizing that the EXACT SAME “No Trespassing” sign that had appeared in the episode was still there in real life!  Seeing that sign literally gave me goose bumps, I was so excited!  SO INCREDIBLY COOL!  As you can see in the above photograph, the “1008” address sign was also there in real life, as well.

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The area looks quite a bit different today as the majority of it has been fenced off.

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But you can kind of catch a good glimpse of the spot where filming took place if you head north across the train tracks.  And while it does seem like a VERY odd spot for a substitute to live, or anyone to live for that matter, it does appear that there is some sort of small apartment complex located behind the wooden fencing pictured above.

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The door pictured above is actually the side entrance to Buster’s and it still looks very much the same today as it did back in 1994 when “The Substitute” episode was filmed.

The Substitute Trees IMG_3352

The tree and telephone pole that appeared in the background behind Angela also still look very much the same.

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And the electrical meters which appeared in the scene are also still there in real life.

South Pasadena Mr. Racine's Apartment

While I was taking photographs yesterday, one of the Buster’s workers came outside and inquired as to what I was doing.  When I explained that an episode of My So-Called Life had been filmed on the premises over 16 years ago, he said, “Oh yeah, I know!  Wow, I haven’t thought about that in a REALLY long time!”  As it turns out, he was there during the filming of “The Substitute” episode, although he doesn’t remember much of what went on.  I thought it was still incredibly cool nonetheless – I mean he actually witnessed the filming of one of the most ground-breaking shows on television!  Love it!  The front of Buster’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop is pictured above.  The purple arrow denotes where “The Substitute” was filmed.  Ironically enough, Michael Myers’ house from the original Halloween movie is located just across the train tracks from Mr. Racine’s apartment and is denoted with the pink arrow in the above photograph.


On a My So-Called Life side note – while watching the episode titled “The Zit” a couple of days ago, I was floored to discover that the department store where Angela and her mother, Patty (aka Bess Armstrong), shopped for make-up was none other than the former Bullocks Wilshire department store, now Southwestern Law School campus, near Downtown Los Angeles, which I blogged about back in December of 2009


The Mother/Daughter Fashion Show scene from that same episode was also filmed at Bullock’s Wilshire, in the former department store’s Louis XVI Room.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Vic Racine’s apartment from “The Substitute” episode of My So-Called Life is located at 1008 Mission Street, directly behind Buster’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop, in South Pasadena.  Michael Myers’ house from the original Halloween movie is located right across the train tracks from Buster’s at 1000 Mission Street.  And the former hardware store, now Radhika restaurant, where Michael Myers stole a mask and some knives in the original Halloween is also located across the street from Buster’s at 966 Mission Street.



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  1. micheal says:

    on the dancing in the dark episode where angela kisses her camp cancelor where was that little bit filmed was it on a set or in the yard of the house where the pilot was shot.

  2. Andrew says:

    Got one,

    Episode 11 – Life of Brian
    The Gym and outside area. I don’t think it was at Uni High. I will have to watch the episode again but I believe they mentioned in the commentary it was somwwhere else and hot as hell that day.

    • Lindsay says:

      OK I will definitely search for that one. I haven’t gotten that far in my episodes yet, though. I am currently in the middle of the Halloween episode. I am having SO much fun re-watching the show!!!

  3. Andrew says:

    Are you kidding me? Simply unreal…….!
    You are on fire and very cool the trespassing sign is still there. I haven’t watched the full series in along time so I’m also thinking of more locations. Let’s Bolt parking lot is a good one. In “So called Angels” the store front area with all the Christmas trees was in Culver City somewhere down the street from Sony. Wasn’t there a field trip to a museum? I need to start watching the episodes again, what one are you on now Lindsay?
    Great work as always.

    • Lindsay says:

      SO funny you mention the museum as I have been trying to figure out where that was filmed. I think it was either the Norton Simon Museum or Huntington Gardens, both in Pasadena.

  4. Ashley says:

    Nicely done! How funny they would chose this spot for an apartment. I LOVE that the ‘no trespassing’ sign is still there, totally amazing! Your MSCL posts are great, I’m trying to think about what other memorable locations from the show you could scope out. How about the Let’s Bolt parking lot?

    • Lindsay says:

      That one’s gonna take some work. I watched the commentary from the pilot and they didn’t say anything about where Let’s Bolt was located, so I have to do some digging. But I’ll call in the team and hopefully we can come up with something. 🙂

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