The Alleyway and The Blue Banana Club from “Pretty Woman”Feb 17th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my post about the Pretty Woman party house, fellow stalker Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I have recently been on the hunt for a few of the flick’s more elusive locations – the two most important of which being the alleyway where the body of “Skinny Marie” was found and, across the street from it, The Blue Banana Club where Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) and Kit De Luca (Laura San Giacomo) hung out in the film. And, amazingly enough, Mike was able to track down both locales in a relatively short period of time – as were fellow stalkers E.J., from The Movieland Directory website, and Scott Michaels, from the Findadeath website, whom I also enlisted in the hunt. So, while out doing some stalking in the Hollywood area three weekends ago, I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on over to stalk both spots.
In one of Pretty Woman’s opening scenes, Vivian is shown walking through an alleyway where the dead body of a fellow prostitute named Skinny Marie has just been pulled out of a garbage dumpster.
While watching the scene, Mike happened to recognize the unique roofline of the historic Miceli’s Restaurant in the background behind a very young Hank Azaria, who played the role of a nameless homicide detective who laments about tourists taking photographs of Skinny Marie’s body in the flick. From there, Mike simply used Google Street View to look for an alley in the area half a block west and on the opposite side of the street from Miceli’s. And voila, it was not long before he found the right spot! Yay!
As it turns out, though, the Pretty Woman alleyway is not actually an alleyway at all, as we had originally thought, but the main lobby of The Outpost Building – a Spanish-Colonial-style structure that was commissioned by a Mr. and Mrs. B.C. Donnelly and designed by architect B.B. Horner in 1927. The historic property, which was fashioned after stores in Madrid, Spain, was originally comprised of apartment units that became home to countless aspiring starlets during the Hollywood heyday, but today is made up solely of offices and retail space.
Sadly, the building was closed when we showed up to stalk it, but I did manage to snap the above photographs through the glass front doors. As you can see, the “alley” still looks exactly the same today as it did in Pretty Woman, despite the fact that over twenty-two years have since passed! Even the shoe shine stand that Vivian walked by is still there! LOVE IT!
Amazingly enough, when I showed Mike the photographs I had taken of the lobby of The Outpost Building, he immediately recognized the place as the “Celebrity Apartments” where Tom Turner (Greg Kinnear) lived in the 1996 comedy Dear God. Both the exterior of the property . . .
. . . and the lobby area were used in the flick. In an interesting twist, Dear God was directed by none other than Garry Marshall, the very same man who also directed Pretty Woman. I guess the guy just has a thing for The Outpost Building!
Thanks to the Lenrek website, I also discovered that in the 1984 cult classic Angel, high school student/prostitute Molly “Angel” Stewart (Donna Wilkes) walked from the rear entrance of The Outpost Building, through the lobby and out the front door while on the search for a serial killer.
Interestingly enough, according to the GPSMyCity website, The Outpost Building also has a connection to novelist Raymond Chandler. In his 1939 mystery The Big Sleep, Chandler describes Geiger’s Rare Books and Deluxe Editions as follows: “A. G. Geiger’s place was a store frontage on the north side of the boulevard near Las Palmas. The entrance door was set far back in the middle and there was a copper trim on the windows, which were backed with Chinese screens, so I couldn’t see into the store. There was a lot of oriental junk in the windows. I don’t know whether it was any good, not being a collector of antiques, except unpaid bills. The entrance door was plate glass, but I couldn’t see much through that either, because the store was very dim. A building entrance adjoined it on one side and on the other was a glittering credit jewelry establishment.” Apparently, numerous Chandler aficionados believe that that description was inspired by none other than The Outpost Building. So incredibly cool!
Once Mike had located The Outpost Building, tracking down The Blue Banana Club was a snap, since in the movie it was shown to be situated directly across the street from the alleyway where Skinny Marie’s body was found.
Shockingly enough, The Blue Banana Club was actually a part of the historic Egyptian Theatre! At the time that the movie was filmed, the property belonged to the United Artists Corporation and it looked considerably different than it does today, but you can see pictures of the place in its Pretty Woman state on The Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection website here and here, and on the Gorillas Don’t Blog website here. Ironically enough, a few minutes after Mike had texted me to let me know that The Blue Banana was actually the Egyptian Theatre, I received an email from both E.J. and Scott telling me the exact same thing. Great minds . . .
Today, the storefront that stood in for The Blue Banana houses the newly-opened Maui and Sons Bar & Grill. I am, unfortunately, unsure of what was in that location at the time of the filming, but back in the 1930s through the 1950s it housed the Larry Dine men’s clothing store and, in more recent years, it was the site of a Lickity Split ice cream shop.
In his commentary on the Pretty Woman 15th Anniversary Special Edition DVD, Garry Marshall states that, while set dressers had created a fake exterior for the outside of The Blue Banana Club, the interior scenes were filmed at an actual club located somewhere in Hollywood. Sadly though, as of yet, we have been unable to track down that location.
The interior looks like it might have been some sort of historic building, though, as it features some fairly ornate detailing, as you can see in the above screen capture.
On a side-note – My good friend Katie, from the Matthew Lillard Online website, is hosting a contest today to win two tickets to the Hollywood Rush show, in which the cutie actor will be directing a ten-minute play, taking place this Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in L.A. You can enter the contest on Matthew Lillard Online or on twitter at @mattlillardfans.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Pretty Woman alleyway is actually the lobby of The Outpost Building, which is located at 6715 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. You can visit the property’s official website here. Maui and Sons Bar & Grill, aka the exterior of The Blue Banana Club from Pretty Woman, is located across the street at 6708 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. You can visit the restaurant’s official website here.