The Former Site of the “Doogie Howser, M.D.” HouseApr 27th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
This past (dismal and dreary) Sunday afternoon, after stalking the Jack & Jill house, which I blogged about on Tuesday, I dragged the Grim Cheaper a few blocks south to stalk a location that I had been wanting to see in person for years – the Howser residence, where teenage prodigy Dr. Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris) and his parents, Katherine Howser (Belinda Montgomery) and Dr. David Howser (James Sikking), lived in the 1989 television series Doogie Howser, M.D. As Stephen Sondheim said, “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum”, though, because when we arrived at the site, the property did not look at all familiar to me.
The address of the Doogie Howser, M.D. house – 796 Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades – has long been listed in pretty much every filming locations book ever printed, as well as on every filming locations website that can be found online. I first discovered it, though, thanks to The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book by William A. Gordon. As you can see above, the property that stands at 796 Amalfi is a very large, very beautiful, wood-shingled, Hamptons-style residence, but the property that I remembered Doogie living in was a much more traditional, Colonial-style dwelling. I figured that my memory, which is usually like that of an elephant, must have been deceiving me, though, so I decided to snap some photographs of the place regardless. It was not until I got home and scanned through my Doogie Howser DVDs that I realized my recollection had, in fact, been correct. Thank God! I knew I was too young to be completely losing my faculties!
Screen shots of the actual Howser residence are pictured above. As you can see, the home is very traditional and Colonial in style, much as I had remembered, and looks nothing at all like the property that I had just stalked.
Upon doing further research, I discovered that the dwelling located at 796 Amalfi Drive was not constructed until 2006, a good 13 years after Doogie Howser, M.D. had gone off the air. Because author William A. Gordon obtained most of the information in his book from ultra-accurate “shoot sheets”, though, I was 99.9% certain that the address he had published was correct. For those not familiar with the term “shoot sheet”, up until September 11, 2001, anyone could walk into the EIDC Film Office in Hollywood and obtain a list of every production being shot in the area on any particular day, along with the exact address of where filming was taking place. Those lists were called shoot sheets. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have been living in Los Angeles at that time! I so would have been at that film office every single day to pick up a sheet so that I could follow around the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 wherever they might be filming. As Gary states on Seeing Stars, “In short, it looks like 9/11 has produced another victim: the well-meaning tourist who used to enjoy watching movies being made on location in Hollywood, who will now have to do without the shoot sheets that were once his guide.” UGH! You can check out what a shoot sheet looked like on the Seeing Stars website here. Isn’t it just about the coolest thing ever? Sigh!
From what I had gathered online, I surmised that the Howser residence did at one time did stand at 796 Amalfi Drive, but that it was torn down sometime since the series ended and a new dwelling built in its place. Because I do not like to blog about a location unless I am 100% certain that the information I am giving out is correct, though, I wanted to see a photograph of the former 796 Amalfi Drive house before writing this post. Unfortunately, I just could not seem to locate one anywhere. Thankfully, fellow stalker Billy stepped in and gave me the idea to track down historic aerial views of the property, which I did using the Historic Aerials website. As you can see in the above (albeit blurry) images, which were taken in 1980 and 2003, respectively, the domicile which used to stand on the site does very closely resemble the Doogie Howser house. The residence’s general shape, the circular driveway, the two-tiered roofline, and the white fence surrounding the property all match up to what appeared onscreen. Voila!
So, even though the Doogie Howser, M.D. house is no longer standing, because there is so much misinformation about the property online and because the dwelling that was built in its place is pretty darn spectacular, I figured the location was still blog-worthy.
According to The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book, the Doogie Howser house was not-so-coincidentally located in the same neighborhood as that of legendary television producer/writer Steven Bochco, who created the series. Thanks to my buddy E.J.’s The Movieland Directory website, I found that address, as well. Steven Bochco’s former home is located at 694 Amalfi Drive, one short block away from the Howser residence. Unfortunately though, I did not stalk the property while I was in the area.
Ironically enough, in the Season 3 episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. titled “Lonesome Doog”, Doogie’s home address is shown as 1782 Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades. In reality, Amalfi Drive does not have any addresses in the 1700 range as the street dead-ends at the 1600 block.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Doogie Howser, M.D. house was formerly located at 796 Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades. Doogie Howser-creator Steven Bochco’s former home is located one block south at 694 Amalfi Drive. And the Jack and Jill house is located just a few blocks up the street at 1343 Amalfi Drive.