Rickie’s Alley from the “So-Called Angels” Episode of “My So-Called Life”Mar 14th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: My So-Called Life Filming Locations
As I have mentioned quite a few times in recent months, I just finished re-watching fave television series My So-Called Life from the beginning. And I have to say that when I came to the final episode, it was a very bittersweet moment for me as it brought up all of the same sad emotions I experienced back in 1995 when the show was first cancelled. Sigh. The only bright spot in coming to the end of my re-watching of the series was the fact that I could then begin to watch the countless special features on the My So-Called Life: The Complete Series DVDs, including – count ‘em! – seven full-length commentaries of six different episodes. And those commentaries did NOT disappoint. There were two commentaries included on the Christmas-themed “So-Called Angels” episode – one with series creator Winnie Holzman and actor Wilson Cruz and a second with the episode’s director Scott Winant. Thankfully, both Wilson and Scott dished the dirt on a few of the episode’s locations – most notably the alley featured in the opening scene, which I ran right out to stalk early last week.
In the opening scene of “So-Called Angels”, Rickie Vasquez (aka Wilson Cruz) is shown beaten and bloody, struggling to stand near the end of a snow-covered brick alley.
The camera then pans over to Angel (aka special guest star, singer Juliana Hatfield) who is sitting on the sidewalk out in front of the alley. According to Scott Winant, a snow machine had to be brought in for the filming of the scene and, at the time, the weather outside was a whopping eighty degrees despite the fact that the episode was filmed in late October.
Later on in the episode, Patty Chase (aka Bess Armstrong) follows Angel down that exact same alley while looking for her daughter, Angela Chase (aka Claire Danes), who has gone missing.
Wilson Cruz mentioned in his commentary of the episode that the alley was located on Bagley Avenue in Culver City, just down the street from Sony Pictures Studios, so I immediately started searching aerial views of Bagley to see if I could find it. As it turns out, though, Bagley is a residential street made up almost entirely of private homes – until it reaches Venice Boulevard, that is, where it turns into Main Street, a short one-block-long road with commercial businesses located on either side of it. And, sure enough, right in the middle of Main Street was Rickie’s alley! And while the shops located on either side of it (a pizza restaurant named LaRocco’s Pizzeria and a storefront that is currently vacant) have changed slightly over the years, the alley is still very recognizable from the episode. Love it!
I just about died when I saw that the yellow fire hydrant which was visible in the background behind Juliana Hatfield in the opening scene was STILL there almost two full decades later! So incredibly cool!
Scott Winant also mentioned in his commentary that the grocery store where Jordan Catalano (aka Jared Leto) ran into Rickie and offered him a ride was located right through the alley. Sadly though, that grocery store is no longer.
A SUPER nice neighborhood business owner, who gave me all sorts of scoop on filming in the area, informed me that the former Balian Market was converted into a renal dialysis center a few years back.
Thankfully though, the shop-owner also informed me that very little had been done to alter the exterior of the grocery store building since the dialysis center purchased it. Yay! The area which appeared in the “So-Called Angels” episode of My So-Called Life was the former market’s back entrance, the doors of which have since been changed.
But, as you can see in the above photographs and screen captures, everything else matches up perfectly, including the cut-out decor elements of the cement wall located next to the door and the iron beams which hold up the awning.
The buildings which appear in the background behind Jordan’s car in the scene also look very much the same today as they did when filming took place over seventeen years ago.
The super nice business owner also informed me that Rickie’s alley appeared in episodes of the television series Boomtown and Bones and in the yet-to-released music video for Kim Kardashian’s new single featuring Kayne West.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Rickie’s alley, from the “So-Called Angels” episode of My So-Called Life, can be found directly north of LaRocco’s Pizzeria, which is located at 3819 Main Street in Culver City. The former Balian’s Market, the grocery store where Jordan ran into Rickie, can be found just through the alley at 9432 Venice Boulevard in Culver City. My So-Called Life was filmed in the market’s back entrance area, which is denoted with a pink arrow in the above aerial view. Jordan’s car was parked in the spot that is marked with a pink “X”.