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The Glendale Amtrak Station from “Bulletproof”

Sep 26th, 2012 | By | Category: Movie Locations

Glendale Amtrak Station (13 of 20)

I don’t know about y’all, but this stalker is so darn excited for Halloween that I am practically bursting at the seams!  I have already decorated my apartment with all things orange and black (much to the Grim Cheaper’s chagrin) and can hardly wait for Monday when I can begin my Haunted Hollywood postings.  Only three more days to go!  Yay!  Smile  Anyway, while going through some stalking photographs from earlier this year, I came across pictures of the Glendale Amtrak Station that the GC had taken way back in May and I decided that it was about time I do a blog post on the place.  So here goes.

The Glendale Amtrak Station was originally constructed in 1924 on the site of the former 1883 Atwater Track Office.  The Mission Revival-style structure was commissioned by the Southern Pacific Railroad line and was designed by architect Kenneth MacDonald Jr. (who also designed Villa de Leon in Pacific Palisades and the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation in North Hollywood) and structural engineer/architect Maurice Couchot (who also designed The Bellevue Club in Oakland and the 1917 warehouse that later became the Gift Center in San Francisco).  The site was originally named the Glendale Southern Pacific Railroad Depot and then was later known as the Tropico Station.

Glendale Amtrak Station (14 of 20)

Glendale Amtrak Station (18 of 20)

In 1989, Southern Pacific sold the depot to the city of Glendale for $3.5 million, at which time the name was changed to the Glendale Amtrak Station (or the Glendale Amtrak/Metrolink Station or the Glendale Transportation Center, as the site is also sometimes called).  A $6 million renovation and extension project was begun shortly thereafter, during which the building was restored to its original 1923 grandeur.  As you can see below, the result is nothing short of spectacular!  The dazzling exterior of the Glendale Amtrak Station, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, features elaborately sculpted terra cotta;

Glendale Amtrak Station (1 of 20)

a faux second story;

Glendale Amtrak Station (2 of 20)

ornamental wrought-iron detailing;

Glendale Amtrak Station (8 of 20)

and ornately carved wooden doors.

Glendale Amtrak Station (3 of 20)

The small, one-room interior boasts a terra-cotta tiled floor,

Glendale Amtrak Station (10 of 20)

intricately painted exposed wooden beams;

Glendale Amtrak Station (9 of 20)

checkered tile baseboards;

Glendale Amtrak Station (11 of 20)

and old-school wooden benches.  (I love the arty photograph that the GC took below.  I think it’s a framer!  Smile)

Glendale Amtrak Station (12 of 20)

The second I walked inside the historic depot, I was instantly taken back to the famous train station scene from the Season 4 episode of Family Ties titled “The Real Thing: Part 2”, during which Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) finally professed his love to Ellen Reed (Tracy Pollan).  While the train station featured in that scene was just a set, it was very reminiscent (to me, at least) of the Glendale Amtrak Station.  When I mentioned this to the GC, he said, “I don’t remember a train station scene from Family Ties.”  I swear, how did the two of us end up married???

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You can watch the Family Ties train station scene by clicking below.  “Now, what did you think I would say at this moment . . . ”  Sigh!  Has to be one of the best scenes in television history.  Smile

“Family Ties” Train Station Scene

In 1996’s Bulletproof, the Glendale Amtrak Station stood in for the supposed Pasadena bus station where Keats (Damon Wayans) and Moses (Adam Sandler) met up with special agents Gentry (Xander Berkeley) and Cole (Sal Landi).

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Glendale Amtrak Station (15 of 20)

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Glendale Amtrak Station (4 of 20)

Bulletproof was hardly the first production to film on the premises, though.  In 1931’s Big Business Girl, the station was where Johnny Saunders (Frank Albertson) bid adieu to his lady love, Claire ‘Mac’ McIntyre (Loretta Young).  Although, not much of the station is visible in the scene.

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The Glendale Amtrak Station also stood in for the depot where Kay Curtis (Glenda Farrell) and June Dale (Mary Brian) missed their train in 1933’s Girl Missing.  Not much of the station can be seen in that movie, either, though.

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The only recognizable detail from the station that is visible in the movie is the ornate light fixture pictured below.

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Glendale Amtrak Station (6 of 20)

Thanks to the stalking tome Location Filming in Los Angeles by Harry Medved, Marc Wanamaker and Karie Bible, I learned that 1927’s Horse Shoes, 1931’s One More Chance and 1934’s Here Comes the Groom were also shot at the Glendale Amtrak Station, but, unfortunately, I could not find copies of any of the productions with which to make screen captures for this post.  The Glendale Amtrak Station was also featured in 1927’s College and 1948’s Act of Violence, which you can see screen captures of on the Silent Locations blog here.  And True Blood apparently did some filming on the premises a couple of weeks ago, as well.  The station also had a brush with history when, on September 20th, 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stopped there for about six minutes.   You can see a photograph of his visit here.

Glendale Amtrak Station (17 of 20)

Glendale Amtrak Station (16 of 20)

And while IMDB states that 1966’s The Trouble with Angels was filmed at the Glendale Amtrak Station, when I scanned through the movie yesterday, I found that the two depots did not match.  Upon digging further, I came across this article which stated that the station used in the opening and closing scenes of the flick was actually the Monrovia Santa Fe train station located at 101 West Duarte Road.  Sure enough, as you can see in this historic photograph, the two depots are indeed one and the same.

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And while countless websites state that the Glendale Amtrak Station was where Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) dropped off Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) in the thriller Double Indemnity, that information is actually incorrect.  In reality, the station used in the 1944 flick was the old Burbank Southern Pacific Station, which once stood at 201 North Front Street, but was sadly partially burned down in 1991 and then completely demolished a few years later.  The Burbank Metrolink Station was subsequently built on that site.  You can check out some historic photographs of the former Burbank Southern Pacific Station here and here.  As you can see, there is no denying that it matches the station that appeared in Double Indemnity (pictured below) perfectly.

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You can find me on Facebook here and on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER.  And be sure to check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic.

Glendale Amtrak Station (19 of 20)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Glendale Amtrak Station, from Bulletproof, is located at 400 West Cerritos Avenue in Glendale.

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6 comments

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  1. OMGEEEE. I am crying. What is wrong with me. I love that Family Ties Scene. I haven’t watched it in ages. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

  2. John (Bay Area) says:

    Awesome. I love old train stations. The mission style building with all the palm trees in the background made me think of the Eagles album cover for Hotel California (which is actually the Beverly Hills Hotel). Great post.

  3. Ashley says:

    What a pretty building! I so love it when you debunk false information like you did here :)

  4. Great post Lindsay, and great catch about Double Indemnity NOT being filmed at the Glendale station. For some reason when filming DI they put a GLENDALE sign on the Burbank Station. Can’t remember whether Glendale was a plot element in the DI story, but a great example of movie misdirection.


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] As Lindsay Blake proves in her wonderful I’m Not a Stalker film and TV location blog, the noir classic Double Indemnity (1944), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray was NOT filmed at the Glendale station, but actually the Burbank station, even though a “GLENDALE” sign appears during the scenes in the movie.   Instead, for some reason they put a “GLENDALE” sign on the Burbank station for the shot.  You can read about this and several other movies filmed at the Glendale station in Lindsay’s post HERE. […]

  2. […] in September, while doing research on the Glendale Amtrak Station from Bulletproof (which I blogged about here), I came across a fabulous post on the Paradise Leased website about Villa de Leon – a huge […]

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