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The “L.A. Story” Intersection

May 8th, 2013 | By | Category: Movie Locations

L.A. Story crash intersection (6 of 10)

The locale from L.A. Story that I was most interested in tracking down was also the one that I thought for sure I would never find – the intersection featured in the movie’s opening montage.  Because the intersection was fairly non-descript, only shown briefly and no clues as to its location visible in the scene, and because over two decades had passed since filming had taken place, I figured it would be a virtually impossible find.  Enter fellow stalker Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, whom I had sent a couple of screen captures to in the hopes that he would assist in the hunt.  Amazingly enough, he emailed me back 24 hours later with an address!  Somehow, Owen had managed to track down several of the flick’s crew members (have I mentioned he missed his true calling by not joining the FBI?), all of whom had gotten back to him almost immediately.  Most did not recall the intersection’s location, but thankfully one did remember that it was in the vicinity of the Santa Monica Airport.  And while it took a bit of time searching aerial views of all of the four-way stops near SMO, Owen did manage to pinpoint the place.  So I ran right out to stalk it two weekends ago while in L.A.

L.A. Story opens with a montage of clips showing everyday life in Los Angeles.  And while the segment is seemingly satiric, I can attest to the fact that most of the bits are truthful.  You can watch that montage by clicking below.

In my favorite part of the segment, four cars meet at a four-way stop and each driver waves the others on.  In a hapless twist, all of the drivers wind up hitting the gas at the same moment and crash into each other in the middle of the intersection.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been in that exact same scenario – minus the crash, thankfully – and I can’t help but laugh every time I watch the scene.  It is just so L.A.

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I was absolutely thrilled to discover that the intersection and houses visible in the background of the scene still look pretty much exactly the same today as they did in 1991 when L.A. Story was filmed.

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Ironically enough, if you look closely at the scene, you will notice that more than four cars were actually used in the filming – a behind-the-scenes tidbit told to Owen by one of the crew members.  In fact, he said, “I recall we wrecked about 16 cars on the various takes on that scene.”  How cool would it have been to see that in person?

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Even more interesting is the fact that the actual crash portion of the scene was not shot at the intersection, but at a random parking lot (I think a parking lot at the Lantana production center in Santa Monica where the L.A. Story production offices were located).  The crew member informed Owen, “To crash the cars on the street, I would have had to close down those streets and permit for the crash.  That would have required too much time since the crash is shot from overhead, in other words, it required a crane.  So we would have shot the crash/crane part of it in a parking lot.”  I absolutely LOVE learning little bits of trivia like that, especially being that there was never a commentary made for L.A. Story, something that I am still in shock over.

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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.

Big THANK YOU to Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, for finding this location!  Smile

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The four-way stop from L.A. Story is located at the intersection of Butler Avenue and Kingsland Street in West Los Angeles.

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6 comments

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  1. Ashley says:

    The house shown super briefly at the 0:55 mark looks familiar to me! Any idea?

    • Owen says:

      I have an idea, Ashley: You should ask me. Hey, turns out that’s a good idea! ;) The house is in the Floral Park neighborhood of Santa Ana, California. It’s at 2409 N. Park Blvd. and is just off I-5. It’s changed a tad since “L.A. Story” was filmed (the color is different; the hedge entryway is gone; etc.), but it’s definitely the place.

      • Ashley says:

        Haha you’re right Owen, your expertise always comes in handy! So I’m guessing it hasn’t been used in anything else that you know of? I wonder why it looks so familiar to me!

        • Holy crap! How did you find that one, Owen??? It looks familiar to me, too, Ashley, but I’m not sure why. OK, I’ve got another one for you, Owen. How about the house with the odd art at the :56 mark?

        • Owen says:

          I know nothing about the house’s filming history, Ashley. In fact, before reading your comment, I knew nothing about the house. I found it by using, well, methods that aren’t exactly groundbreaking. I put the following into a Google Images search: “’Los Angeles’ house turret ‘narrow windows’” That’s it. The house showed up on the first or second results page, and the subsequent website mentioned it was in Santa Ana. From there, it didn’t take long to come up with an exact address. I’m not sure why the house, which locals have dubbed “the Castle,” looks familiar. Have you ever checked out the Hooked on Houses website? If so, that could be your answer. The Castle was featured on Hooked on Houses in March 2011. Here is a link: http://hookedonhouses.net/2011/03/05/a-storybook-house-for-sale-in-santa-ana/

  2. MM says:

    Wow. I was alway’s curious about this locale & didn’t think I’d ever find out!

    Thanks Lindsay (& Owen)!

    I don’t know if you like Madonna videos from the 80′s but Borderline, La Isla Bonita, & Open Your Heart were all shot on Locations near downtown LA.


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