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The Emser Tile Building from “Lethal Weapon”

Sep 26th, 2011 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Located just up the street from the original Barney’s Beanery restaurant in West Hollywood, which I blogged about last Friday, is the Emser Tile Building which appeared in a very memorable scene in the first Lethal Weapon movie.  And even though I have never actually seen any of the four Lethal Weapon flicks (I know, I know – that has to be tantamount to stalker sacrilege or something!), because I was right there stalking Barney’s, I figured I might as well head on over to the Emser Building to snap some quick pics.

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Surprisingly enough, even though the 7-story Emser building is quite unique and appears to be historical, I could find virtually no information about the structure online.  All that I was able to discover was that, as you can see in this 1928 picture from The Bruce Torrence Photograph Collection, the building originally belonged to the Bekins moving and storage company.   And thanks to the YouAreHere website, I also learned that it was constructed in 1925 by the architecture firm of Niebecker & Jeffers.  The property now serves as the corporate offices of Emser Tile, a company that supplies natural stone and tile to commercial builders and contractors.

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In one of the most famous scenes in 1987’s Lethal Weapon, Martin Riggs (aka Mel Gibson) is sent by his new partner, Roger Murtaugh (aka Danny Glover), to the top of the Emser Tile Building in order to talk down a potential jumper.

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Instead of talking him out of committing suicide, though, Riggs winds up handcuffing himself to the man and jumping off of the building with him, tandem-style, right into the safety of a police airbag.  Sadly, Dar Robinson, the stuntman who stood in for the suicidal man and performed the actual jump in the scene (and yes, he really did jump off of the 7-story Emser Building for the filming!), was tragically killed a few weeks after principal photography on Lethal Weapon had wrapped.  Dar, who was the holder of 21 different stunt records and was listed as the highest paid stuntman in the 1986 Guinness Book of World Records, had never so much as broken a bone in his 19-plus year career.  But on November 21, 1996, while performing a routine motorcycle stunt in Page, Arizona for the movie Million Dollar Mystery, he accidentally lost control of his bike and careened off of a cliff at the tender age of 39.  You can read a more detailed history of the legendary Dar, who was dubbed “King of the Stuntmen”, on the People Magazine website here.

And you can watch a short video in which Mel Gibson talks about Dar and the Emser Building jump by clicking above.

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After Riggs jumps off of the Emser Building, Murtaugh pulls him into a vacant storefront where he chastises him for his dangerous behavior and suicidal tendencies.  It is there that Murtaugh realizes that Riggs is not acting crazy in order to “draw a psycho pension”, but that he just simply is crazy.

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Ironically enough, that storefront was actually vacant when I stalked it back in July, just as it was portrayed to be in the movie.  Love it!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Emser Tile Building from Lethal Weapon is located at 8431 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.  The storefront where Riggs and Murtaugh discuss the fact that Riggs might actually be crazy is located at 8441/8445 Santa Monica Boulevard.   The original Barney’s Beanery restaurant is located just half a block west of the Emser Tile Building at 8447 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

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4 comments

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  1. Matt says:

    How insane! After benders in the Bean, I used to hop the fence in the parking lot, go up the fire escape stairs to the top of the Emser building, climb up to the top of the sign and look at Santa Monica and Sunset. I had no idea that was used in the jump scene from Leathal Weapon! I’m also glad I’m not dead from doing that so many times. Or in jail.

  2. John (Bay Area) says:

    Interesting. I saw this building in the Colombo Screen Shot from your Barney’s Beanery post and wondered what that odd semi-windowless building was and then your very next post covered it. Its like you read my mind.

  3. Chas says:

    One thing that is interesting about that scene is just after they start to jump off the building the prop handcuffs break apart and to cover it up they grab each other’s hand to make it still look like they are handcuffed. You can see that in the short video in case you have never seen the movie.

  4. LAVONNA says:

    Good post love Lethal Weapon movies!


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